SciQuest — On the Public Stage Once Again, But What’s Behind the Curtain? (Part 3)

Check out a video we previously posted on this subject here.

In the first two installments (Part 1 and Part 2) in this mini-series looking at SciQuest, we provided what I termed a "superficial" background on the company. Candidly, these posts don't begin to do justice to the vendor, but hopefully they'll whet everyone's Spend Management appetite before we get to the main procurement course. In this final post, I'll offer up a short-list of SciQuest's relative strengths and weaknesses below. Please note in the comments that I'm looking at SciQuest from a solution and product standpoint. The summary lists are aimed at educating the broader potential market, rather than financial investors. Perhaps at some point I'll do a financial, competitive and market analysis of SciQuest relative to Ariba and other similar companies, but at this point, I'll stay focused on what really counts the most.

SciQuest Relative Competitive Strengths

  • Vertical emphasis and product differentiation in catalog/content management and frontline purchasing enablement leaves it without large competitors in key verticals
  • Community of support among users -- it's very unlikely that SciQuest will ever be removed (relative to other P2P solutions) in most target environments
  • Proven ability to co-exist peacefully alongside ERP
  • A product management and sales organization that understand the markets they're selling into better than the competition
  • Existing market share (and mindshare) in certain target verticals will allow further penetration with new solutions

SciQuest Relative Competitive Weaknesses

  • Footprint limited in scope and depth today -- expansion needed to functionally keep pace with Ariba and other competitors outside of existing core areas (e.g., spend analysis, sourcing, supplier management, contracts, enhanced services procurement, supplier diversity (content + multi-tier vendor management), etc.)
  • Mindshare, knowledge and awareness amongst SIs and consultants in target sectors could be stronger (e.g., healthcare practices in Big 5)
  • Given location of headquarters in Cary, NC, SciQuest's ability to attract the right global talent in R&D, product management, etc. could prove challenging (raiding SAS won't be enough given the emphasis on procurement, a functional skill-set where SAS does not possess significant talent depth)
  • Potential new competition by specialists (e.g., Science Warehouse) on a global basis
  • Size of existing organization (approximately 200 employees) could limit new product development efforts

Jason Busch

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