I'm certain that many readers of Spend Matters are curious about where Emptoris is headed next from a sourcing perspective -- especially companies debating whether to go down the SAP or Oracle path versus best of breed. This post will hopefully shed some light on the Emptoris roadmap and help companies make more informed decisions on whether or not to go down the ERP sourcing route relative to Emptoris. In summary, it appears that what is on Emptoris' near-term radar -- if they can deliver -- will continue to create differentiation between their products and SAP/Oracle. The keys are twofold; 1: will companies actually use the forthcoming capabilities? And 2: can Emptoris deliver in the promised timeline? I'll leave these questions for you to decide.
In terms of what is coming down the pike, the Javelin release, which is due out by year-end 2008, will include reverse Dutch auction capabilities as well as support for financial formulae such as NPV (net present value), PV (present value), FV (future value) and PMT (payment). Emptoris has offered these capabilities via its service-based sourcing solutions for quite some time, but is now getting around to embedding them in software. Many readers might look at these acronyms and ask: who cares? The answer is everyone should. NPV and related bidding formats are critical for factoring in out-year discount rates to quantify the transformed or present value of a bid over a multi-year period. This stuff is not new -- Emptoris is leveraging formats that FreeMarkets used as early as 1997 and 1998 in a services delivery environment. Yet embedding it in software that users can easily deploy makes a lot of sense (I should note that other providers now have some of this capability in their software as well).
What will be Emptoris' roadmap themes for 2009? Look for Emptoris to continue enhancing its dashboard intelligence capabilities so users can work within the sourcing system vs. a spend analysis tool to slice and dice data on the fly. The roadmap also calls for enhanced scenario modeling and more flexible optimization capacity such as the ability to use scope constraints by the bid field a user desires -- not just what is already embedded in the application. For example, you might create a custom constraint around lead-time. These new capabilities will also enable supplier-entered cross-bid capacity constraints and the ability to limit bid fields using capacity and count constraints. Users will also be able to run incumbent-only scenarios. Emptoris currently delivers all of these capabilities via its advanced sourcing services approach today. But in 2009, they will turn over these optimization keys to users.
- Jason Busch