New Research: A Foundational Look at P2P (Including eProcurement) Technologies and Vendors

Spend Matters has been on a research publishing roll of late, churning out study after study. Lest you think I can keep up this pace on research and analysis on my own for any longer, this is the reason I've brought in Thomas Kase as a Principal Analyst to help. Our latest research report is titled: A Foundational Look at P2P Technologies. It's the first paper in our 2011 Compass Research Series:P2P and Working Capital -- Bridging Technology & Collaboration to Drive Savings and Cash. In our view, the history of the purchase-to-pay (P2P) technology market, while relatively short in duration, has certainly seen its share of fireworks and fire drills over the past decade and a half. We wanted to explore the market state of P2P platforms from basic, hosted e-procurement capabilities to broader deployments combining both best-of-breed and ERP technology components. And we wanted to dumb down a high-level analysis to the most basic level given the potential for serious complexity in more detailed analyses.

The analysis starts by looking at common pitfalls and challenges in P2P implementations and then covers the range of benefits that companies can expect to achieve through different types of technology deployments. As part of our investigation, we provide a short list of vendor recommendations and touch on enabling technology areas that companies should consider in deployments, including supplier enablement strategies, catalog and content management, vendor management, and P2P reporting and analytics. The report is designed to help users create business cases based on a variety of different criteria.

Candidly, I've become fed up with the forced ranking comparative analyses for P2P and eProcurement in particular. Such approaches not only fail to capture the nuance of what separates provider from provider, but also don't follow a real-world selection approach based on what is often a unique buying situation inside so many companies. To address the need for useful guidance in the short-listing of providers without forcing a comparative analysis, we've included a number of vendor shortlists based on unique organizational requirements (e.g., "Compliance Now", "Don't Get Fired for Choosing Us", "Renewal Price Pressure (Price Pressure in General)", "ERP with Caveats", "Don't Mess with My Suppliers", "ERP or Bust", "Asset Management Integration", "Geographic and Industry-Specific Expertise" etc.).

As I mentioned, we've held back on comparative feature analyses, although we've taken on these types of studies with endless Harvey-ball rankings a number of times in the past few years (Ariba, despite numerous quibbles, still tops our list from a functional perspective, but not by a wide margin). If you're curious to learn more about our approach to vendor analysis in the selection process -- P2P or broader -- drop a line.

Back to the research paper at hand, the Compass report ends with specific recommendations to take into consideration in selecting P2P systems including:

  • One solution size does not fit all -- identify what type of buyer you are to understand the specific vendors that are most likely to help address your top concerns and opportunities
  • Look to achieve significant value from deployments in less than six months. If returns do not begin until 12 months or more given long deployment cycles, look elsewhere in the interim -- or permanently
  • Make collaborative decisions with finance (including accounts payable) to address both the up and downstream components of the P2P lifecycle

Whether you're selecting a P2P system for the first time or looking to upgrade, replace or supplement existing solutions, this Spend Matters Compass report can provide a useful foundation, serving as a worthwhile starting point before creating final provider shortlists and embarking on a selection process. Download A Foundational Look at P2P Technologies for free today!

Vendors mentioned: Ariba, Coupa, Rearden, SAP, Hubwoo, Oracle, PeopleSoft, Verian, ePlus, Vinimaya, jCatalog, Transcepta, SciQuest, Proactis, Basware, Unimarket, Science Warehouse, b-pack, Ivalua, JD Edwards (not recommended) and Infor (not recommended).

Jason Busch

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