Emptoris: A Quick Product Update — Empower Dispatch 4

Over the coming days on Spend Matters, I'll be covering the latest product news to come out of Emptoris in more detail. Even though I was recently briefed on some of the product enhancements and new releases, I'd like to first see them for myself before sharing anything more than superficial thoughts on them. But since Emptoris came out with news earlier today highlighting the most important elements of Release 8, I thought it might be worth getting a few quick words in. Perhaps most important of all, given current demands in the market, Emptoris announced that it is rolling out new supplier information management and supply risk management solutions. These capabilities combine new features to existing products (e.g. supplier performance management or SPM), entirely new modules and third party content.

My quick take before getting into more detail is that the solution feels quite a bit like the tangential moves Ariba has also made into these two sectors, albeit with one caveat. And that's the fact that Emptoris is building from a more robust supplier performance management knowledge/technology base, originally owning to its Valuedge acquisition (and code rewriting) years ago. Interestingly -- and perhaps a sad reflection on the state of interest in supplier performance management until recently -- this solution has taken a backseat to other areas where Emptoris fields products (e.g, spend analysis, sourcing, contract management, compliance, etc.) But I suspect with the rising interest in the market for both general supplier information management capabilities and supply risk solutions, specifically in the near term, that Emptoris' solid SPM base could prove quite advantageous.

From a risk perspective, Emptoris combines five separate components to create an integrated offering for both product and services suppliers (the contractor performance history component is clearly only relevant for the latter category). But a new supplier registration and certification solution (which attempts to mimic many of the capabilities of best of breed providers in the sector), extended supplier intelligence (i.e., third-party risk content and platform to integrate and present this information), multi-party contracting and location based supplier tracking components are all relevant across a company's entire supply base. For content, Emptoris announced a non-exclusive deal with Equifax today for supplier intelligence and spend enrichment data. I suspect we'll see other content deals follow in 2010, as Equifax lacks the depth in some of the key supply risk indicators of its competitors but is strong in others such as diversity (in the meantime, I suspect customers could always integrate their own third-party data feeds into Emptoris as well).

Other enhancements Emptoris announced today include what the provider is terming "actionable intelligence" to drive better decision making not just in its spend visibility/strategy development modules, but also sourcing and services procurement. Drillable, role-based dashboards are a major component of this enhancement. In addition, Emptoris also announced new scenario modeling, constraint flexibility and auto-sensitivity analysis enhancements to its optimization and post-bid analysis capabilities. Last, Emptoris also announced enhancements to its services procurement capabilities and a new contract management capability centered on global trade compliance and reporting. All of these, of course, are in addition to dozens of other smaller enhancements in each of Emptoris' product areas.

Stay tuned for my analysis and coverage of these components tomorrow and next week after I've had a chance to dig into them further.

Jason Busch

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