Warner Music cuts invoicing costs with Ariba

Global music record company Warner Music Group have mobilised and digitised their procure-to-pay systems to keep users happy and cut invoicing costs.

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Global music record company Warner Music Group has mobilised and digitised its procure-to-pay systems to cut invoicing costs and make its procurement processes more efficient.

Using SAP Ariba’s procure-to-pay system, hosted in the cloud, the record label’s employees have found it easier to manage data requests, invoicing and approvals with an average 400 new suppliers a month, which include hairdressers, security and stylists - all part and parcel of an artist’s entourage.

Tom Petriw, senior director of global procure-to-pay transformation at Warner Music group, said: “We had no mobile and email approval before. We are a young company and people expect consumer grade flexibility as they need to do business on the road. People are doing business all over the place, even in clubs. They need to get a new supplier on board and we need to get an advance payment for a new artist, and it is important that we do that in a timely fashion.

“Because of the volume and the way the company is de-centralised, it is a process which takes a lot of work to onboard new suppliers.”

The group is about to begin its global rollout of the PTP models it subscribes to on the Ariba cloud, following the successful deployment in its flagship North American label, Warner Music in April this year.

Warner Music began using SAP in 2010. Originally intending to combine this with a supplier relationship management (SRM)solution from a cloud provider, the project was deemed too risky after the company’s IT department was given a strict nine-month go-live deadline and pressure bowed to a “fairly vanilla” Sharepoint invoice solution deployment.

Warner Music decided to look into a hosted model once more in 2012,at the same time that SAP announced its partnership with Ariba. That summer, a deal was inked. Eight months later, the PTP solution went live for 100 users in the flagship Warner Music label. The group plans to go live with the model across the rest of the labels in the US in July next year, which will serve 600 users, and then extend it to their global markets.

Cost-cutting

With better visibility, the company can deduce which vendors should be given “preferred vendor” status to cut costs and “maverick spend”, Petriw said.

ScanOne, an application that comes with Ariba, digitised Warner Music’s 20,000 per year invoices which are now scanned after arriving in the post or email and flowed straight into the PTP system. This centralised invoices for better visibility and reduced paper costs. “The more paper we can get rid of the better,” he added.

Further, training costs were reduced as Ariba is “fairly intuitive” and Petriw was “pleasantly surprised” by the reduction in training and easy adoption, with even stalwart Microsoft Access fans taking to Ariba.