Perfect Commerce: Reborn or Just Revived? Part 2

In Part 1 of this series on Perfect Commerce, I provided a bit of history behind the B2B mash-up as well as a quick overview of their current solution offerings. In this post today, I'd like to discuss in more detail the capabilities and features of Perfect's solutions as well as the how they've faired tackling customer support across their heterogeneous set of applications and development environments. While I am still waiting for references from Perfect's software customers, it would appear that Perfect is well under way to repairing some of the customer support issues that plagued them in the past. Does this mean that I'd recommend companies put Perfect on their short list across the Spend Management spectrum? Perhaps in some areas (based on product competitiveness and/or pricing), but I would also suggest customers do their own due diligence and speak to references as well.

Still, the customer support metrics that Perfect provided to me tell a positive story overall. Support calls have declined by 80% since the height of Perfect's post-Commerce One acquisition support challenges. This is not because the business is shrinking, mind you -- it's because they've made a concerted effort to fix product-related problems. As an example, PerfectSource error rates have fallen from a high of 1600 per month to the low double digits (and support calls have nearly been cut by a third). Overall supplier support calls have dropped from a high of around 450 per month to less than 150 in recent months. Support calls for the OSN, Perfect's supplier network, have dropped to less than 200 (from a high of 800).

But we'll all admit that having products that work as promised is just the ante to remaining a viable player in the market. It says nothing for how Perfect's products stack-up overall. While I did not have time to play around with the latest releases when I visited Perfect, I've gotten a pretty good sense from talking with Perfect's users over the years about how the products stack up. On the PerfectSource side, for example, the product certainly wins points for ease of use.

While PerfectSource lacks some of the functionality of leading vendors, for many companies, it may prove sufficient from a capability perspective. It includes RFP and RFQ authoring capabilities, both forward and reverse auction RFQs, a scoring weighting capability for RFP evaluation and supplier performance measurment and basic contract repository capabilities. In my view, it's probably worth including PerfectSource on a larger e-sourcing short-list if you're not after advanced capabilities like optimization or if you do not need significant customization or configuration. I doubt at this point that companies are inviting PerfectSource to the e-sourcing short-list table much these days -- I rarely see them in deals -- but this is not necessarily a reflection of how their solution stacks up. Check it out. You might be surprised.

If you did the 80/20 rule on the investment that's gone into Perfect's products over the years, PerfectProcure would probably represent the bulk of their software development costs (along with the Open Supplier Network or OSN). Like PerfectSource, PerfectProcure is a product that I rarely see surface on company eProcurement shortlists. But like PerfectSource, this most likely owes to PerfectProcure's poor market awareness rather than functional shortcomings. PerfectProcure includes a broad set of capabilities including PO authoring, P2P workflow, invoice management, presentment and reconciliation and supplier portal capabilities (for content and invoice management). I'd be very curious to see today how PerfectProcure, in its current SaaS delivery model, stacks up relative to Ariba, Ketera, Oracle, Hubwoo (SAP) and Coupa. I'd wager that it could give at least a few on that list a run for their on-demand eProcurement dollars. But I've not yet had the chance to do an in-depth comparative analysis to get down to this comparative level yet

Stay tuned for further analysis of Perfect's product and solution offerings later this week.

Jason Busch

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