Security, stability, visibility

We had the opportunity at Tungsten’s recent annual buyer customer conferences in London and Atlanta to outline just a few of the many changes we have made to the Tungsten Network, and to discuss with our buyer customers where they want us to go next.

The theme for both events was, broadly, security and stability. Much of what we have done since last year’s customer events has been all about these themes.

All bar two of our buyer customers have now migrated to Cleo, the secure file transfer platform Tungsten uses, which adds greater stability and reliability and means even fewer outages. Then there’s the associated cloud migration exercise, which allowed us to remove aging hardware and reduce vulnerability.

Additionally, Tungsten’s move to the 11th version of Oracle’s database, and the resultant increase in transaction speed, has been so successful that we are now moving to version 12, which will help us to remain at the front of the technology queue. It has cost us, but it’s been worth it, as many of our customers will testify.

At great effort and expense we have also increased Tungsten’s number of compliant countries to 47, with India and Japan being teed up as I write. It has been striking and illuminating to hear our customers’ comments regarding how increasingly important it is for them to stay on the side of the angels when it comes to compliance. Their feedback is instrumental when we determine where we go next.

But the meat of our presentation was to show our buyer customers Tungsten’s Invoice Status service. So many buyers said to me afterwards, even the ones who already use it, that they had never seen it from their suppliers’ point of view.

Suppliers want to know two things: “Where is my invoice and when am I going to get paid?” And the Tungsten Invoice Status presents just that information to suppliers, so that they don’t have to call their buyer’s busy accounts payable team to inquire about the status of their submitted e-Invoices.

No wonder, then, that Mechelle Bernage from Abacus Industrial Flooring, an SME on the Tungsten Network, observed, “Once loaded onto the system, we see where our invoice is every step of the way from receipt right up until approval”. Or that, at the buyer end of the deal, GSK’s Procure to Pay Director Sue Coleman pointed out that GSK has seen, “a 60% reduction of invoice related calls from our suppliers in the first year using Tungsten Invoice Status.”

But the really exciting development this year is launching an extended Invoice Status service that encompasses all invoices, not just those submitted electronically. We can now extract the relevant Received, Approved and Paid messages from a buyer’s system and present these messages to suppliers whether they are sending electronic invoices yet or not.

Our Product Management team has done a great job of innovating. The non e-Invoicing supplier goes through a ‘challenge process’, which, in an automated manner, matches what the buyer knows about them in order to set up an account. Equally, with the newly introduced Customer Connect feature, suppliers can now simply scroll through a drop down menu and see what other customers they can connect with on Tungsten Network. They no longer need to use multiple portals to invoice their customers. And as the Tungsten Network grows and grows, and the number of buyers using Invoice Status increases, the Tungsten portal is fast becoming to go-to place for e-Commerce.

Happy buyers, happy suppliers, happy Tungsten.

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