SciQuest NextLevel: Dispatch 1 (Varied Ramblings: Headed West, AECSoft and Healthcare P2P)

I'm flying out tonight for a quick trip to SciQuest's NextLevel event in Carlsbad, CA. A number of practitioners and suppliers I've spoken with who have attended the event in the past are very enthusiastic about the vertical-specific content, especially in the life sciences and higher education sectors. Because of scheduling, I'll only be on the ground for a day at NextLevel. I'll plan to cover some of the event live tomorrow and will continue our coverage next week, but my day onsite Thursday will be fairly packed, so I'll post as time permits. At the event, I'm looking forward to digging into a number of areas not just limited to the general product roadmap and integration plans between AECSoft and SciQuest (See past coverage here, here, and here).

Still, I do find this one area quite intriguing. In some of our own research of late, we've observed greater interest among more sophisticated procurement organizations in combining both the transactional and profile/data aspects of supplier information management/supply base management together in their future roadmaps, so perhaps the AECSoft deal will end up looking prescient indeed if the integrated roadmap around P2P and supplier management comes together sooner rather than later. Yet in the shorter-term, one area I'm looking forward to digging into even more is how SciQuest plans to continue to pursue the healthcare sector given the massive opportunities that hospitals and IDNs have to drive savings and compliance -- and potentially play their own not-so-insignificant role in combating healthcare costs.

Within healthcare, SciQuest is taking somewhat of a different approach in how it packages its functional capabilities. The vendor is positioning what it terms a "Virtual Item Master" front and center as its core offering in the market, suggesting this SaaS-based solution can be centerpiece for a provider to enable "unified products and pricing with spending visibility and control." In reality, the offering is a clever means of driving compliance and purchases to preferred contracts/suppliers in the complicated healthcare purchasing world of GPOs, self-managed contracts, physician preferences items, services contracts and non-contracted goods. Aimed at enabling a range of users, from purchasing and materials managers to administrative assistants and even clinicians (e.g., nurses), SciQuest's Virtual Item Master is in essence a virtual P2P layer (including content/catalog management capability) designed to not disrupt the perceived status purchasing quo while driving material hard-dollar savings, compliance and general increased purchasing visibility.

Stay tuned for our dispatches from SciQuest NextLevel, as we investigate healthcare, life sciences and public sector procurement in significantly more detail than usual on these virtual pages. I'll also be updating from Twitter, so be sure to add us (@spendmatters).

- Jason Busch

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