September 13, 2020

Bugs and regression, the well-kept secrets of Source to Pay platforms

By Patrick Chabannes

Why is it that while marketing departments make a big deal about the value of Source to Pay platforms, vendors are so secretive about their application stability metrics? Because the quality of design and development is uneven across vendors, the lack of transparency gives a competitive advantage to the bad worker at the expense of the customer and the good craftsman.

Source to Pay extends the enterprise beyond its walls, the transparency of Support alone makes it safe.

Too many bugs kill innovation 

The quality of Source to Pay development is very uneven from one vendor to another. Thinking only of international software vendors, I’ve seen platforms with thousands of bugs, others that are stuck in technical debt, no longer developing endogenous innovations or suffering from the integration of their acquisitions. The more a development team is committed to fixing poorly written or hastily specified code, the less available they will be to innovate and improve the software platform at the expense of their customers. Engage your Source to Pay editor to publish the status of all open tickets in progress to all of their customers. A vital and necessary boost for everyone.

IT security in purchasing IS: essential and uncontrolled

Everyone will agree that, although they are vital, applications enabling collaboration between the company and its suppliers are among the most exposed to the risk of penetration. However, during the last fifteen years spent at four different vendors, I have only attended four security tests requested by a customer, each time for situational reasons. The results and improvement plan of these too few tests remained confidential, even though the entire SaaS-Cloud application customer community was concerned.
Buyers and CIOs, get your act together and get organized! Only a security testing policy with results shared with the customer community will allow vendors to raise their standards.

Half-interfaces and pseudo-connectors, trouble ahead

An unfortunate observation: integration – the standard interfaces and connectors – is not being invested in by vendors, using the pretext of the real diversity of ERP configurations and taking advantage of a market that is still willing to pay the prices asked for interfaces and connectors rewritten for each customer, with a shared responsibility that is often unclear.
What is the link between support and potential monitoring applications? What are the capacities for recovery in the event of a shutdown, for handling errors on incoming or outgoing data flows…? Your demands as IT managers and buyers can only help editors to make progress on these fragile points.
Does your Software partner give you access to a dashboard of all support tickets for all customers over a rolling 12-month period? No ? Why not?

SLA, the service level agreement

Editors rightly ask their customers to respect the format of a unique SLA to organize a unified ticket management in a professional way (improvement request, functional regression, security hole, bugs…). This unification of the service level agreement will allow the editor, under the kind pressure of its customers, to publish performance and quality indicators common to all its customers.
The marketing departments of the best vendors will not fail to publicize the objective quality of their application, to the detriment of poor craftsmen and for the benefit of innovation.

When will there be an Observatory for the quality of Purchasing IS?

Let’s dream of the creation of a Purchasing IS quality observatory managed by the buyers’ association and focusing on a few key indicators obliging all publishers to integrate the quality of their developments and their implementations as keys to their future commercial success.

Lectori salutem, Anthelme de Cyrénac”The mind likes better what confirms its knowledge than what contradicts it”. Gaston Bachelard