Segmenting the Supply Chain Risk Management Market — Vendor Categories/Types (Part 1)

We've spent a lot of time in the past year -- in our Compass research and on the blog itself -- examining different providers of supply risk, supplier performance, and supplier information management solutions. But what is the simplest way to segment different categories of providers and understanding how they slot into the landscape not by functional capability, but overall fit as part of a broader procurement technology portfolio? Our research suggests that there are three primary categories of providers. These include platform providers (e.g., ERP, supply management, spend management, supplier relationship management and procure-to-pay platform vendors) that have at least some end-to-end capabilities that extend beyond supply chain risk management. Broader capabilities might include spend analysis, P2P, supplier portals (as part of supplier networks), etc. Some may even have dedicated supplier management modules.

In this category of providers, we include Ariba, BravoSolution, Ketera/Rearden, Oracle, SAP, Spend Radar and Zycus, among others (editor's note: with its recent acquisition of Xcitec, Emptoris now stands out from others in this category given their depth of supply chain risk management and supplier management capability). The main characteristic of these providers is that they often view supply risk and supplier management solution areas as an extension to their enrichment capabilities or other solution areas. Some argue that that by tying supplier management and/or supply risk into a broader suite, users are better able to incorporate this information in different decision areas (e.g., sourcing, vendor selection, etc.). From a functional perspective, these providers often tackle supply risk in either spend analysis tools or in supplier management modules. New products/solutions from such providers are emerging, however, (e.g., Ariba Discovery incorporating D&B data and SAP Supplier InfoNet) that offer risk enrichment and sometimes, insight and information in other areas.

Many of these providers have OEM partnerships with enrichment content providers who can resell supply risk and other supplier data as part of a core software offering. While many of these solutions are not as robust as providers who focus exclusively (or primarily) on supply chain risk management and supplier management, the customer relationships that these providers possess allows them to up-sell SCMR insight and capabilities that often solve temporary pain points (e.g., a need to rapidly segment a supply base based on a one-time or periodic risk profile). Moreover, some of these providers are beginning to use niche supply risk capabilities (e.g., supplier performance, risk, portal) as an entry point into accounts to start discussions about larger, more comprehensive solutions.

Stay tuned as we continue this discussion, examining our next category of provider in the supply chain risk management marketplace: niche/best-of-breed vendors.

Jason Busch

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