It's good to see Verticalnet enhancing its spend visibility capabilities. I especially like their positioning around using the solution to identify M&A synergies. Historically, Verticalnet has taken a largely services-driven approach to visibility while also offering supporting software. This model came out of Verticalnet's acquisition of Tigris, a consultancy with a large spend visibility consulting practice. While a proven model, it contrasts significantly with other providers that push focused, software-driven auto-classification technology (e.g., Softface, now part of Ariba).
An entirely new take on the spend visibility software market is Eric Strovink's new venture, BIQ. BIQ's solution is completely software driven and provides a highly flexible, affordable -- with pricing starting at $3K per month -- analytics cockpit which makes it easy to get started hacking away at data. Previously, Eric was CTO at Zeborg, which is now part of Emptoris. Zeborg followed a different and more expensive software and services-driven model to help companies build visibility into spending data (owing in part to its Zeborg legacy, Emptoris maintains the reputation of being one of the more expensive spend visibility providers in the market today). I had the chance to speak with Eric last week, and look forward to sharing what I learned in our conversation in the coming weeks. Later in the summer, I plan to dig into more detail on Zycus, one of the last spend analytics pure-plays left in the market, as well.