Category Archives: Uncategorized

Who Sets the Rules of Business?

In today’s B2B economy, there is a persistent focus on the customer. With products being commoditized, the customer experience becomes a competitive differentiator. Companies are leveraging new technologies to add value to every customer interaction. Customers demand more information, faster, and are beginning to recognize that they are in the driver’s seat.

The shift in power is beginning to show in the ways customers are dictating to do business. Suppliers are hearing the customers’ message of “my way or the highway.”

I attended a chemical industry discussion with the CCSMG group last week and the primary focus was on portals — customers are asking suppliers to go into their portal to get an order. The customer doesn’t want to do extra work or change their process to send orders to the supplier. Now the suppliers spend inordinate amounts of time navigating to these portals to obtain orders, and they’re thinking “There has to be a better way.”

The suppliers now face new obstacles: the additional cost of sale, legal terms and conditions, and transferring business to distributors to offload customers who will only transact through portals. It proves that being easy to do business with is more important now than ever before.

A new technology being utilized to help with this dilemma is Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Using RPA, a robot automatically awakens at a certain time, or by receipt of an email, to navigate to the portal, retrieve the order, and submit it for processing. This alleviates all the wasted time spent on these manual tasks. When companies combine that with an order management solution, it becomes a win-win. Now all orders arrive in one platform, where they can be validated in a couple clicks, or processed automatically, without all the manual steps that cause errors. Suppliers can monitor each order channel to track the value of those orders and be armed with data to make operational decisions in the future.

With all the technology available in the market today, there are various ways to meet, and exceed, customer expectations. Being easy to do business with, cost-effective, fast, and accurate are what everybody wants. Lucky for you, there’s technology available that allows you to achieve those goals.

Customer Service Trends to Follow in 2019

As your competition grows, so do customer expectations. While price and product may have been key differentiators at one time, customer service is now overtaking both.

In order to capitalize on this competitive advantage, businesses should explore the customer service trends of 2019. That knowledge, coupled with a strategic business plan and the right technology, can take your customer service department from hesitant participants to champions of providing a superior experience. But first things first, let’s take a look at the facts:

Now, it’s time to act on the above information. Where to start? Find the right technology for your business. It should help you to deliver impactful customer service that drives repeat customers while offering flexibility to meet your evolving needs.

What was previously perceived as a somewhat scary topic in the business world is now one that many businesses are turning to in order to achieve those goals and more: Artificial Intelligence (AI). An AI-driven solution automates manual tasks, bringing back office functions into the digital world while promoting focus on better customer service.

Head over to our website to start working smarter, not harder.

Esker Awarded for Excellence in Purchase-to-Pay Transformation by CFO Innovation

Sydney, Australia — January 24, 2019 Esker, a worldwide leader in AI-driven process automation solutions and pioneer in cloud computing, today announced it has been awarded an Editors’ Choice Award for Excellence in Purchase-to-Pay Transformation by CFO Innovation. Esker was nominated by its customer Luxasia, who, thanks to Esker’s Purchase-to-Pay (P2P) solution, has successfully increased P2P efficiency at its shared services center in Malaysia.

The CFO Innovation Awards, inaugurated in 2012, recognises Asia’s leaders in all aspects of financial management. Nominated and voted on by the readers of CFO Innovation, the awards provide an opportunity to celebrate excellence with hundreds of leading CFOs and their partner suppliers. Its Editors’ Choice Awards distinguish well-executed projects carried out by a finance department in collaboration with service providers.

Read more about this press release here:

Esker Shortlisted in 2018-19 Cloud Awards

Global Cloud Computing Program Shortlist Announced

Sydney, Australia — January 22, 2019Esker, a worldwide leader in AI-driven process automation solutions and pioneer in cloud computing, today announced it has been declared a 2018-2019 finalist in The Cloud Awards Program in three categories: B2B Customer Strategy, “Best in Mobile” Cloud Solution, and Best Cloud Payment, Finance or Billing Solution.

The Cloud Awards program celebrates success and innovation from the best and brightest in the cloud computing industry. The awarding body accepts applications from organisations of any size worldwide, from start-ups to established multinationals.

Read more about this press release:

Esker Recommended PEPPOL Access Point by IMDA in Singapore

Sydney, Australia — January 10, 2019 — Esker, a worldwide leader in AI-driven process automation solutions and pioneer in cloud computing, today announced today that it is a certified PEPPOL (Pan-European Public Procurement On-Line) Access Point authorised by the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA), a statutory board of the Singapore government. This accreditation enables Esker to send and receive e-invoices to and from all entities using PEPPOL network.

Singapore is the first Asian country to implement the e-invoice framework based on the PEPPOL standard. PEPPOL is an open network that simplifies document exchanges between companies (e.g., invoices, sales orders, etc.) and ensures standardisation of documents and connectivity.

Read more about this press release here:

Hays Automates the Delivery of Customer Invoices with Esker’s Accounts Receivable Solution

Sydney, Australia — January 8, 2019 — Esker, a worldwide leader in AI-driven process automation solutions and pioneer in cloud computing, today announced today that Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people, has automated its accounts receivable (AR) process using Esker’s cloud-based Accounts Receivable solution in France. The solution has enabled Hays to automate 100 percent of customer invoice delivery, 65 percent as e-invoices and 35 percent as paper invoices.

Until now, the company had been manually processing close to 35,000 customer invoices annually, which often resulted in invoice recipient errors, delays in sending (up to a week), and a lack of traceability and visibility. Automating the AR process was key to supporting the company’s growing business and global automation project to improve the productivity of its 650 employees across 21 offices.

Read more about the press release here:

Top 3 Credit to Cash Automation Projects for 2019

Finance leaders who are currently budgeting for automation projects and planning for transformational change in 2019 have an opportunity to make a significant impact based on the types of projects they undertake. Yet so many CFO’s and Controllers lack the necessary information to do so and struggle to make automation investment decisions within the credit to cash cycle. Top companies understand that it’s not about doing the most work, it’s about doing the most important work. Here are three projects that should make the short list in 2019:

Highest Impact – Least Resources

In collecting cash, it may seem like every project is a priority. The key is to consider what most have documented as having the greatest value with the least impact on accounting and IT resources: automated payment reminders. A function that is often manually done for most companies can quickly be set up to automatically generate fully customizable payment reminders based on delivery preferences at the company, customer group, or at the customer level. Messaging can be tailored based on level of severity (e.g., neutral tone within 30 days, stronger wording over 60 days, collections action over 120 days, etc.) Collectors can track delivery status and read-receipt status, as well as bounced emails. Automated payment reminders are a simple, yet completely underestimated collection tool. Read how automated payment reminders helped reduce manual duties at LinPepCo, significantly reduced their DSO, and virtually eliminated customers in the 90- day past-due category here.

Customer Experience First

What will have the greatest and most immediate positive effect on customers? A project holding unlimited potential for customers and improving their customer experience? Simply, be easier to do business with. By providing a customer portal that gives them a place to view and pay their invoices, download their statements, apply credits, request a payment plan, sign up for autopay, dispute an invoice, communicate with your AR staff, and so forth is crucial to improved customer satisfaction. Providing your customers with a bunch of these self-serve options will reduce the need for your customers to contact you as much for their account management and billing needs, thus, giving your team much needed time back to focus on other aspects of collecting cash and managing your receivables. Learn how Trek utilized a global customer payment portal to reduce their DSO in this case study.

Compliance – External Functionality That Compliments Existing ERP Investment

There’s often a struggle between deciding upon new products and features verses the need to optimize existing technology to reduce costs and facilitate a greater return on your investment. It’s not always obvious which way to go. Sometimes the best strategy is to find a way to do a little of both. It’s easy to get carried away with all the great new automated processes out there, especially solutions that promote doing more things at once. I’m not sure that’s always the most cost effective or efficient route. E-invoicing customers, for example, is probably already set up in your ERP. However, e-invoices sent to customers outside of the US may not comply with local country regulations and requires being handled manually.

Every country has its own specifications in terms of formats, required fields and platforms by which e-invoices must be sent. Italy is the first European member state to mandate B2B e-invoicing as of January 1, 2019. Any company that does not comply with Italy’s requirements and does not issue e-invoices in the required format faces heavy sanctions. If you’re VAT registered in Italy and currently sending your customers invoices electronically, but have not automated the delivery, the reception or fiscal archiving of e-invoices in compliance with country regulations, the financial impact could be significant for you. You do not need to revamp your entire e-invoicing process. Maintain what works, but consider investigating e-invoice compliance requirements for doing business outside of the US, to supplement your invoice delivery process. For more information on Trends & Developments in the e-invoicing market, read this interview with Bruno Koch from Billentis.

With emerging technologies combining process automation, artificial intelligence, and data analytics – and all promising to generate significant efficiencies, cost reduction, and improved quality for businesses, no wonder it’s challenging for financial leaders to commit to digital transformation projects. However, if you’re ready to do what top companies do and have an unrelenting focus on efficiency – challenging what to stop doing, as well as what to automate, a good place to start in 2019 is automating payment reminders, providing a better experience through a customer portal, and compliment your existing e-invoice process to meet global B2G & B2B compliance.

12 Holiday Tradition Ideas from the Esker Family

The year flew by, again, and it’s already holiday season. If you’re anything like me, you’re running around like a crazy person trying to get everything in order.

As much of an anxiety inducer as the holidays are, one of my favorite things about them are the traditions. Old or new, holiday traditions bring joy to all involved … unless you’re Scrooge. Just saying.

Thinking about my family’s traditions made me wonder “What are the holiday traditions of my coworkers?” So, I set out to find out just that, and this is what I discovered.

Some holiday traditions start early:

“Growing up, my Mom would say we’d open presents on Christmas but then get too excited and we’d end up opening them on Christmas Eve — now we always open gifts the night before Christmas.” – Amanda Samuel, Marketing Coordinator

“On Christmas Eve we have some heavy appetizers and watch the movie “White Christmas” with Bing Crosby. After the movie, the kids make up a plate of goodies for Santa and his reindeer. Before bed, we gather on the couch and I read The Night Before Christmas. My children are now 17 and 15, but the tradition continues.” – Joe Hanousek, Customer Experience Manager

“My Mom used to wake us up at the stroke of midnight and we’d open presents.” – Jairus Harper, Customer Advocate

While others revolve around family:

“We have an annual Whobilation, based on the 2000 film “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Different competitions take place and the winner from the previous year is the Cheermeister, overseeing everything. There’s even a themed invite sent out.” – Will Bakker, Sales Demand Rep

“My family celebrates Hanukkah together every year. We’ll make potato latkes, light the menorah and end the night by playing board games.” – Josh Chaimson, Esker Solutions Support Specialist

“Before I got married, I’d spend every Christmas Eve at home with my parents and brother. We’d have my Mom’s homemade egg rolls and Grasshopper cocktails for dinner before opening presents. After presents, we’d have some more Grasshoppers, eat candy and play the board game Rummy Royal. Oh, the good old days!” – Kasey Schmitz, Marketing Director

“For the past 10+ years I have done a big Lego project during vacation between Christmas and New Year’s. It started because my daughter (now 17 years old) loved Legos like I did, and it was a special thing we could share and look forward to each year. She has since outgrown, but I carry on the holiday tradition and will be working on an awesome Mack Anthem tractor-trailer rig this year.” – Jeff Fritsche, Technical Architect.

or food:

“We came out with a spin on White Russians called “Fat Russians” in which the cream is replaced with eggnog. This is included in our traditional Swedish smorgasbord which contains items like: Limpa bread, Swedish meatballs, Bond Ost, lingonberries, pickled herring and Glögg.” – Joe Anderson, Sales Demand Rep

“Every Christmas Eve we have a big Polish party in Chicago. There are always homemade pierogies with different fillings (potato and cheese is my favorite), mizeria, salatka jarzynowa and other yummy dishes and desserts.” – Samantha Heavner, Creative Coordinator

Holiday traditions are something we’re all fond of:

“We’re starting a new holiday tradition this year — dressing up in ugly Christmas outfits!” – Steve Smith, U.S. Chief Operating Officer

“Holiday mad libs. It’s fun and silly.” – Joanna Honore, Strategic Alliance Specialist/Customer Advocate

“As a Christmas gift, my family goes to a sporting event. It could be Badger football or basketball, a Packers or Bucks game. It’s a fun holiday tradition because we don’t always know what to get each other and this gets us out together as a family.” – Renee Platto, Digital Marketing Manager

From all of us at Esker, we’d like to wish you a very happy holiday season. What’s your favorite holiday tradition?

5 Fast Facts About Esker

In 1985, Esker was just another startup eager to establish a name for itself in a burgeoning sea of tech innovators. Back then, the company was focused on software consulting and began developing emulations and host access solutions shortly thereafter. But a lot can change in 30+ years. And it has. Esker has since gone on to become a global leader in cloud-based, AI-driven automation solutions that span the entire cash conversion cycle. Think you know everything there is to know about our company? Let’s put it to the test.

Here are five fast facts about Esker that even some of our most longstanding customers and employees may not know.

1) “Esker” is actually an acronym.

Black and white version of one of Esker’s early logos featuring the now defunct tagline, “Making Open Systems a Reality.”

When I tell people that I work for Esker, it’s not uncommon to hear a response along the lines of, “So, what does ‘Esker’ mean, exactly … does that stand for something?” Actually, yes. Yes it does.

The name Esker is an acronym derived from European Software Kernel. As geeky and esoteric as that sounds, its origin is fairly straightforward. A kernel is the central module of a computer’s operating system that connects the system hardware to the solution software. And, as stated previously, consulting on and providing host access software (to help PCs connect to mainframe computers) was Esker’s bread and butter in those early years. Lastly, Esker started out as strictly a European company, founded in Lyon, France, by Jean-Michel Bérard, our current CEO. Thus, European Software Kernel was born, shortened to Esker, and the rest is history.

2) We share our name with an ancient glacial landform.


Esker at Fulufjället, western Sweden. From Wikipedia.

It’s true. If you were to Google its dictionary definition, you may be surprised to learn that an “esker” is not a software company at all … at least not in geological terms.

In this case, an esker — note the lowercase “e” — is defined as “a long ridge of gravel and other sediment, typically having a winding course.” It’s argued that most eskers were formed from deposits of meltwater from a retreating glacier or ice sheet. Areas of Canada, Ireland and Sweden feature notable eskers, while in the U.S., Maine is generally considered the go-to location to catch a glimpse of these ancient glacial landforms.

3) Esker’s worldwide HQ is located in the “world capital of gastronomy.”

Famous view of Lyon from the top of Notre Dame de Fourviere.

France as a whole is revered for its culinary specialties, but there is a special place in foodies’ hearts for Lyon, the beautifully sprawling and historical city located in France’s Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. And lucky for us, Lyon just so happens to be where Esker was founded and the home to our worldwide headquarters.

Lyon’s unofficial title as “word capital of gastronomy” can be traced all the way back to 1935 when renowned French food critic, Curnonsky — fittingly dubbed the Prince of Gastronomy — famously bestowed the city with the flattering description. Eighty years later, the tag still sticks. From its legendary Michelin-starred chefs like Paul Bocuse to its modest bouchons and impressive outdoor markets, there are many reasons why Lyon continues to live up to its name.

4) In Madison, before Esker, there was Persoft.

A view of the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison.

In the mid-to-late 90s, equipped with its terminal emulation and host access solutions (which are still offered, btw), Esker had made some inroads into the U.S. market with a presence in both California and Oklahoma. However, it wasn’t until 1999 that its U.S. identity started establishing firmer roots. That’s the year that Esker acquired Persoft Inc., a Madison-based PC-to-host and Web-to-host connectivity solution provider. At the time, the merger was considered the best of both companies’ products and geographic strengths. It would seem that the prediction turned out to be quite accurate.

Today, Madison is home to Esker’s U.S. headquarters and is responsible for over 40% of company revenue. Well, technically, our headquarters used to be Madison. Following Esker’s “big move” in late 2016, when we moved just a few miles down the road, our address is now, technically, Middleton. Either way, we’ll always consider Madison home.

5) Esker just opened up its 13 country location in Hong Kong.

A snapshot of Esker’s worldwide presence.

Esker’s DNA has always been one of a growing global company. That’s why we’re proud to be one of the few mid-sized French companies to achieve international success. The most recent example of this was in September 2018 when we announced our new Hong Kong subsidiary.

This valued addition marks Esker’s 13 country location with more than 20 nationalities, joining: France (Lyon); United Kingdom (Derby); Germany (Munich & Dusseldorf); Spain (Madrid); Italy (Milan); Belgium (Brussels); United States (Madison, Denver); Canada (Montreal); Argentina (Buenos Aires); Australia (Sydney); Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur); and Singapore.

And, as Esker continues to expand internationally, our employee base is following suit. In just four years, we’ve nearly doubled the number of employees worldwide, going from 320 in 2014 to over 550 today.

Esker Expands Presence in the Asia-Pacific Through Partnership with IBIZ Consulting Services

Sydney, Australia — December 4, 2018 — Esker, a worldwide leader in document process automation solutions and pioneer in cloud computing, today announced its partnership with IBIZ Consulting Services, a consulting firm specialising in business management solutions. This alliance will enable Esker to further develop its presence in the Asia-Pacific region and IBIZ to expand its digital process automation offerings.

As part of the reseller partnership, IBIZ will introduce Esker’s solutions to its existing customers, primarily businesses using Microsoft Dynamics™ ERP systems in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. With solutions that complement the existing business applications of IBIZ’s customers, Esker enables them to eliminate the use of paper and fully digitise their core business processes. The agreement could eventually expand to new countries with solution support by IBIZ’s in-house consultants.

Read more about the Press Release here: