Catching Up With ePlus

Last week, I had the chance to catch up with ePlus for the first time in person. ePlus is one of those vendors that tends to fly under the radar in the sector and does not usually appear in the deals that I hear about (although they would certainly appear to be building a solid customer list). Perhaps best known in the sector for successfully suing Ariba in a process patent litigation -- and their IT procurement focus -- their Spend Management solutions are actually quite broad, including up-front spend analysis through requisitioning, catalog management, and invoicing. I will reserve judgment on how their solutions stack up until I talk to a few customers and demo their products in more detail. Surprisingly, I haven't spoken with any of their users over the years or had the chance to demo their solutions.

One reason that I might not be familiar with ePlus has nothing to with a lack of market penetration. Rather, their non-traditional channel, partnership, and marketing strategies most certainly play a key role in their overall command-and-control, but low-key go-to-market approach. As part of this strategy, ePlus firmly believes in running its own implementations rather than working through a partner ecosystem (which would result in more chatter and discussion about them). And since they're involved in a number of different businesses -- leasing, serving as a value-added reseller (VAR), asset management and even outsourcing in some areas -- procurement would appear to get short shrift from a marketing promotion standpoint (hence why they fly under the radar and have what I would describe as poor market awareness given their size). Of course none of this has anything to do with whether or not customers should consider them on their procure-to-pay shortlists. But I do hope to have an opinion one way or the other on this after further research and analysis in the coming weeks.

Jason Busch

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