I had the chance to catch up last week in Chicago with Henry Hwong, Provade's VP of Marketing. For those who do not know Provade, the provider is a managed services / BPO upstart in the procurement market. You can read an earlier post of mine on Provade by clicking here. While still very much a start-up -- the firm is less than two years old and has less than fifty employees -- Provade is getting some early traction in the market, and has recently closed 2 managed services deals, one with a Fortune 500 high-technology provider, the other with a global financial services provider. The total contract value of both deals is over $10 million.
What I find most unique about Provade is how they have built up their BPO capability on top of an existing Oracle platform. Provade sees no reason to reinvent the wheel from a technology perspective. This is smart in my book -- just look at how much all of the marketplaces and the ICG Commerces of the world have spent cobbling together disparate platforms over the years to build an integrated solution. But even more ingenious is how Provade can help diffuse IT's concerns about BPO by becoming a friend to IT, rather than a risk, given their close Oracle affiliation. After all, how many other BPO providers are 100% capable of hassle-free integration with an Oracle back-office environment because they run entirely on Oracle themselves? Not many, at least that I know of. The Oracle relationship / partnership will no doubt help Provade on the sales front as well, by giving Oracle reps something else to stick in their bag.
For Oracle, Provade represents perhaps the first experiment in building out a Spend Management partner ecosystem. As I've written about before, Oracle is clearly behind SAP in embracing a partner-focused business model when it comes to Spend Management. But perhaps the Provade relationship is a sign of things to come.