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Accounts payable automation and Purchase-to-Pay has only just recently become afforable and effective. So what are the key criteria, and which of the three leading publishers is most cost effective?
The basis of this review
The team and Advanced UK have been working with A/P automation technologies since the mid-1980’s, and since 2016 we’ve deployed systems from Docuware, Compleat Software, and YOOZ, on client’s sites, and it is these three systems which we’ve evaluated in this report.
We established these eight criteria, and put the three competing systems through their paces on real-world live documents in commercial settings, while interviewing users too:
- Publisher credentials,
- Subscription costs, including configuration,
- Connectivity to financial databases,
- The Artificial Intelligence factor,
- Sophistication of workflow possibilities,
- Reliability and support,
- Intuitiveness of the user interface,
Docuware is head-quartered in Germany and the USA, and was founded in 1988. While their core business is document management and workflow automation, they launched their SaaS P2P offering, DocuWare Cloud in 2012.
DocuWare Cloud is cited with one award, “Buyers Laboratory Inc. (BLI) – 2014 5-Star Rated for Product and Program Version 6 Online.” The Docuware P2P offering is sold globally, with particular emphasis on corporate clients.
Compleat Software is a UK-based business, offering a product called iCompleat. Founded in 2008, their circa 83 employees develop and support their SaaS solution which is aimed at the SMB space. With more than 500 customers, iCompleat is offered through Compleat Software’s offices in the UK, USA, and Australia.
It’s not just the software and invoice processing volume surcharges which must be considered, but the substantial costs of the software configuration and training!
YOOZ is head-quartered in France, and with approximately 260 employees, they offer affordable zero-risk subscriptions to more than 4,000 customers and 200,000 users worldwide. Yooz was created in 2010, with the ambition of removing manual tasks for Accounts Payable (A/P) and P2P automation adoption.
The YOOZ platform leverages Artificial Intelligence and RPA technologies to deliver an amazing level of automation with extreme simplicity, traceability and end-to-end customisable features. It integrates seamlessly with more than 250 financial systems, exceeding any other solution on the market.
With an 80% reduction in labour costs, the benefits of A/P automation are irrefutable regardless of the organisation size!
DocuWare have by far the highest licensing costs, being based on monthly volume limits together with pricing for the number of authorised users.
While there are few practical limits as to how far one can extend DocuWare, what surprises clients the most is that the basic SaaS P2P offering requires a minimum of five days to configure, and even more time for training. The net result is the first year cost to get up and running will exceed the three-year cost of ownership.
iCompleat is also priced on volume and users, and while the configuration is relatively straightforward, be aware that on-site consultancy days are required. We found the integration toclient’s financial systems, even ones as popular as SAGE, were too complex to complete remotely.
iCompleat does offer very generous terms on its volume pricing, in that the invoice processing credit tokens don’t expire for three years from purchase, and overall its licensing costs are
YOOZ reflect the most modern thinking of SaaS vendors: they abandoned the ‘per user’ licensing model, and concentrate solely on data volumes: how many invoices might you process is the only question, and the impact is clear.
With pricing starting at £129 per year, and support for an unlimited number of users, the real magic of YOOZ is that the typical client is up and running in one day!
What continues to surprised us most, is that many publishers, and not just those we’re reviewing her, have such abysmal options for connecting to third party databases.
The wooden spoon in this regard must go to iCompleat, which in our tests was categorically unable to connect to Quickbooks Online. When faced with a SAGE 200 system, the protracted effort was worrying.
DocuWare has sophisticated modules for connectivity, but they come at a significant cost: specialist technical support. If you want to connect to an SAP system, for example, the costs can rise to £2,000 per day, and even for popular systems, such as those from SAGE, consultants may require several days at £900 per day.
It’s YOOZ who have won the connectivity stakes, hands down, with inbuilt native connectors to more than 250 financial and ERP suites. You may choose to export this data manually based on your specific needs, or configure the system to automatically receive the latest data in your accounting software without even connecting to Yooz!
With support included for Quickbookks Online, Sage, Intac, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and SAP, you get the picture. Not only does this save you significant configuration costs, you get up and running faster than any other system on the market globally.
AI or not?
A common theme foro A/P automation platforms is the publishers claiming to use artificial intelligence. Since there’s no offficial definition of AI, this can lead to disappointed and frustrated users.
DocuWare were the first on the market with a true AI platform, and it does a remarkable job at deciphering invoices, even when printed and of poor quality.
iCompleat also use AI, but when onboarding new supplier invoices, the error rates are numerous. To compensate, Compleat Software have teams of outsouorced staff manually reviewing the problems reported, and this creates delays which many users won’t tolerate.
Beware of systems which claim to use AI when the reality is extended human intervention by outsourced staff.
The YOOZ platform also relies on AI, and equals DocvuWare in its ability to recognise data, currencies and, since YOOZ supports 21 languages, formatting variations.
From an AI perspective, it’s a definite tie between DocuWare and YOOZ.
Workflow Sophistication Unsurprisingly, DocuWare win on the potential sophistication of their workflow, but at the cost of extraordinary complexity, and that complexity costs expert consultancy time.
iCompleat’s workflow is perfectly effective even if quite rudimentary. This isn’t a criticism, since most processes in their intended market – the Small to Medium Business – are quite uneventful. There’s merit in keeping things simple! The iCompleat interface doesn’t require external consultancy, and most managers can learn how to customise the functions.
In our opinion, it doesn’t matter how powerful the engine, if the user interface is obsolete, it’s time to look elsewhere.
YOOZ offer workflow too, with the notable claim to fame that theirs is the only Yooz is the ONLY invoice automation solution on the market based on a BPMN2 standard workflow. In other words, 100% no-code, rules-driven business process design.
Reliability and Support
DocuWare;’s support is superb, and for their SaaS solution it’s not needed very often. When there’s a confusing invoice, or data which it’s traffic light system flags as unreliable, the user can ‘point and shoot’ with a mouse to make the correction. DocuWare support only becomes problematic when you need help with configurations, since that’s 100% chargeable.
With iCompleat, end users are reliant upon their reseller who must report every individual issue to an overstretched support team at Compleat Software. They, in turn, raise the issue with India, and so the delays stack up.
Support via YOOZ is hard to quantify because the system is so reliable, it’s hard to offer much hands-on experience! In reality, you’re engaging with their own team of in-house staff who know their product and are supremely fast at guiding clients through to a resolution.
The User Interface
Despite being first out of the blocks, DocuWare’s user interface is appalling. Imagine stepping back twenty years, and you get the impression.
This is terribly disappointing for an otherwise world-class product, and we can only hope that change is afoot. However, what DocuWare lacks in prettiness, it makes up for in terms of raw horsepower to get things done. It’s fast and it’s scalable.
The iCompleat user interface has always been elegant, modern, and uncluttered. It’s also well explained, with a pop-up help file easy to access and comprehend. Kudos to Compleat Software for all of this!
The YOOZ interface is not so dissimilar to iCompleat, except that they seem to have invested more time in user customer experience (CX) analysis. You really are up and running within an afternoon!
We have awarded FIVE STARS to YOOZ, with DocuWare as the runner-up for effective P2P automation
If money is no object, and you can tolerate the user interface, then DocuWare is an incredible platform, but it is cumbersome to administer and the integration headaches are a potential pitfall.
iCompleat has disappointed, despite their lovely user interface, they seem to have forgotten that there are many finance applications out there, and a full integration with all of the bells and whistles is expected by modern users.
YOOZ, virtually unheard of in the UK until two years ago, is our winner in this year’s review. We can see why four out of the top five global Accounting Corporations have selected YOOZ, and also why they’re growing their customer base by 50% per annum.
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PRINT! Magazine December 2020. In this, our second issue of ‘PRINT!’, we’re looking at solutions which will help commercial printers to maximise their opportunities throughout the economic rebound of 2021.