Bristlecone Pushes Flexibility, Knowledge, Pricing as Differentiators With SAP SPM (Part 1)

After SAP Sapphire, Spend Matters reported that SAP was extensively ramping up its efforts in Spend Performance Management, including deploying its own services teams at aggressive price points as part of their Rapid Deployment Solution (RDS) bundle. From a functional standpoint, the latest 2.1 release of SAP's spend analysis product includes a number of enhancements, which we'll report on in more detail later. These include a range of new report and analysis capabilities (e.g., payment analysis, savings analysis, "what if?" analysis, etc.). There's even an element of predictive modeling included. In addition, the latest release features an enhanced UI, improved data management capability, better charting with full Business Objects dashboard integration and greater mobile support. New languages include Korean, Danish, Dutch and Finnish.

Yet SAP is not going it alone, despite their new services capability from their professional services organization (PSO). Bristlecone, SAP's original development and SI/deployment partner for Spend Performance Management, continues to support the application extensively and has priced its equivalent RDS package (for those who want to buy a license versus using a SaaS model) more aggressively than SAP, at least from a price sheet perspective (in one situation we are aware of, SAP did under-price Bristlecone, but this seems to be the exception rather than the rule).

Bristlecone's new fixed price RDS is based on deploying the capability in the latest Spend Performance Management release, outlined above. For a fixed price of $175,000 (compared with what some suggest is over $250,000 for SAP; SAP did not share pricing with Spend Matters although they did suggest $275K was "much higher" than their actual pricing), Bristlecone will deploy the solution to customers in ten weeks based on the following constraints: no more than five million transactions of total PO, invoice and contract line items and one SAP source system (ECC or SRM). This assumes that a user already has the correct version of SAP BW (SPM 2.1 with BW 7.0) already installed on their servers. For customers needing an updated BW installation (e.g., BW 7.0 for SPM 2.1), the cost bumps up to $200K and the deployment time increases to twelve weeks. For those deploying SPM in a hosted model, Bristlecone quotes an eight-week deployment time-frame for implementation, infrastructure cost, hosting support and level 2 application support (one year of support is bundled into this pricing).

Based on their track record serving as SAP's deployment partner to date (as well as Hubwoo's go-to partner in this solution area), it's clear that Bristlecone knows SAP Spend Performance Management as well as anyone. In its first tier (i.e., direct referral) BPO procurement partnerships, SAP has opted to have Bristlecone focus on SPM professional services, hosting and deployment as a preferred partner and to have Hubwoo focus on E-Sourcing (Bristlecone partners with Hubwoo for sourcing). Incidentally, both Bristlecone and Hubwoo (and others, including Infosys and IBX/CGE&Y) can deliver SRM professional services and deployment, though Hubwoo has the edge on multi-tenant and additional enablement capabilities (e.g., network, invoicing) for SRM 7.0.

Despite the experience Bristlecone brings, observers of this market are likely to comment that $175K let alone $250K+ (plus potential added sums based on additional source systems, line items, complexity, classification/enrichment requirements, etc.) might seem steep for a spend analysis deployment without the software, even in a perpetual license situation. These potential naysayers are right on some levels, but SAP also provides a SaaS version of Spend Performance Management including all software components delivered via Bristlecone that is price competitive with many of the bigger names (niche players can still undercut the pricing considerably, but it's not always an apples to apples solution comparison).

Stay tuned as we share some of the details of the complete SaaS packages available from Bristlecone for Spend Performance Management in Part 2 of this post.

Jason Busch

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