Getting suppliers onboarded takes a while – about 16 days, in fact, due in large part to manual processes.
Other inefficiencies abound: Transactions are done in cash or by check.
The firms noted on Wednesday that there have been parts of the B2B continuum that have been digitized, but “gaps still remain,” they said in the release — where half of transactions are done on paper and administrative costs are $500 billion annually and rising.
In an interview with Karen Webster, Carlos Menendez, president of Enterprise Partnerships at Mastercard and George Zinn, corporate vice president and treasurer of Microsoft, said the platform is powered by Microsoft Azure and spans activities across identity, compliance and payment management.
For the rollout, Mastercard is partnering with nine B2B networks and procure-to-pay providers, a roster that includes (alphabetically) Basware, BirchStreet, Coupa, the Infor and GT Nexus Commerce Network, Ivalua, JAGGAER, Liaison Technologies, Tradeshift and Tungsten Network.
Said Zinn: “Mastercard and Microsoft are providing the technology behind the directory. But the relationships are between the B2B networks and their buyers and suppliers.”
Beginning early in 2019, the customers of those firms will be able to access and maintain data related to their supply chains through the Track Trade Directory, billed by the firms as a “secure, permissioned repository” of 150 million companies globally.
Among the end results, as noted by Menendez: Firms have traditionally made business decisions “without understanding the group of people you’re working with – and it’s too much trouble to expand the supplier base.” That complacency ends as the platform, powered in part by AI, keeps feeding fresh and relevant information across a supply chain, and illuminating new, alternative choices that may be a better fit.
Find out more details about the collaboration here.