While streamlining, Dell incubated event procurement start-up Eved
Dell was in the weeds with meetingspayment in2012. The technology giant had a mix of payment tools
in play: purchase cards, statements
of work to request purchase orders
and even cutting some direct checks.
All payment channels were supposed
to flow into Ariba, Dell’s enterprise
resource planning tool.
There were pros and cons to each
payment method in terms of compliance, data visibility,
Teddy Oberts, procurement category manager
for meetings and events
at the time, preferred
the SOW with purchase
order. It offered the
right level of documentation with clear roles,
responsibilities, expectations, service levels and due diligence
details for management to review
and approve funds. The P-card, on
the other hand, was convenient for
suppliers who require payment in
advance or for last-minute expenses.
While Dell required both documentation and flexibility, fragmented
payment methods were leading to
loss of data, despite the effort to funnel it all to Ariba. Additionally, lack
of visibility into the procure-to-pay
life cycle of an event translated into
process inefficiencies and delays in
both sourcing and payment.
Starting Up With Eved
“There was always an understanding that there were similar categories
where procurement had a more mature
methodology,” said Oberts, who now
leads cross-organizational productivity and integrations programs for Dell.
“Travel is very similar because you are
dealing with the same categories of
spend: air, hotel, ground transporta-
tion.” In 2012, Dell put a request for
proposals in play to solve its meeting
payment challenges and obtain more
visibility into the business.
But it wasn’t the RFP that led Dell
to event procurement platform Eved,
which founder Talia Mashiach had
the foresight to involve in both Dell
Women’s Entrepreneur Network and
its Founders 50, which supports new
technology companies. That strategic
placement eventually put her in front
of Oberts’ predecessor and led to discussions with the large marketing
agency that was managing Dell’s meetings spend at that time.
Mashiach wanted Dell’s RFP.
“We recognized there was a gap
in the middle [of the process], and
we needed to automate this whole
procure-to-pay workflow, not just the
beginning and the end,” she said.
That same year, the marketing
agency and Eved created a joint ven-
ture “to facilitate all of Dell’s [meet-
ing] payments and to give them vis-
ibility,” said Mashiach. The agency
delivered the service, while Eved
provided the technology. “We really
collaborated with Dell to understand
how the technology should work and
where we needed to enhance our
software.” Eved ultimately took over
the entire contract, in 2014, but first
it had to achieve significant tech-
nology development milestones and
integration with Dell’s systems.
Incubating Meetings Intelligence
Working with the marketing agency,
Eved created an electronic data interchange that allowed it to gather
or deploy information through
Dell’s systems and enable the technology to “incorporate the [procure-to-pay] documentation, the process
flow, and identify the stakeholders for approvals,” said
Oberts. Ultimately, the software also incorporated the
SOW, which had been a
separate document people
attached to the purchase
To work effectively, Oberts
emphasized, “it [also] needed
to tie with our ERP system to
know when programs were funded—
and that money was available rather
than just planned.”
That’s the key to Eved.
The technology works as a payment processor, not as a pay agent
(i.e., a credit provider). Corporations
put an approved budget into Eved’s
system, which can connect to the client’s ERP system. The company can
procure and pay up to the specified
amount, and Eved tracks the funds.
Depending on a company’s own
controls, invoices appear in a queue,
and the approver checks the ones
he’d like to pay. Eved then notes
those as paid and generates a single
accounts payable file with information like cost centers and general ledger codes so the finance department
can pay Eved for the designated
period, say, weekly. The system isn’t
just a rubber-stamp process, though.
Rather, it allows for customization.
Corralling Meetings Payment