Concluding our round-up of SciQuest's roadmap and AECsoft integration discussion, we thought it would be prudent to discuss some of the bigger picture items that SciQuest is focusing its vision on (in addition to some of the steps allowing them to get there, starting with recent and planned releases). These include the ability to structurally enhance the administrative side of the transactional procurement function to enable execution in a global environment. Here, we'll see, for example, "tools to centralize the procurement function while operating in a decentralized environment." This will further allow SciQuest to compete with other large providers more effectively (e.g., SAP, Oracle, Ariba) by focusing on delegated user administration that includes access rights, visibility rights to certain data, etc. Coming down the product pike later this year are capabilities to enhance overall search and access, new settlement capabilities, multi-business unit administration and a consortium offering to consortia markets (which of course requires a many-to-many architecture and data model).
We'll be covering SciQuest in the healthcare arena on our new site, Healthcare Matters, but we expect to see continued progress in the areas where they've opted to tailor their solutions here thus far. Namely, what SciQuest refers to as a "virtual item master" that creates linkages between ERP item masters and the actual P2P requisitioning environment for users in both clinical and non-clinical settings as well as the ability to enable consortium and regional GPOs by "extending the role of IDN [Integrated Delivery Network, essentially a collection of care facilities, for those who aren't in the industry] to 'non-owned' hospitals with integrated operational delivery of contract terms, items and prices." In short, we believe SciQuest has done a rather clever job of repurposing and blending existing capabilities and modules in other areas and customizing them for healthcare rather than re-inventing the Spend Management wheel.
Despite these broader ambitions, we still believe at Spend Matters that the linkages between supplier management and P2P alone represent a great opportunity and challenge. But if SciQuest pulls it off, they could gain a huge leg up on the competition. Still, they'll have to wrestle with two distinct development platforms and the learning associated with bringing a supplier management toolset into the verticals where they've created a successful, niche business built on industry expertise and specialization. Thomas Kase, Spend Matters Lead Analyst, who formerly worked at AECsoft and left just after the SciQuest acquisition, had this to say on the topic: "I am glad to see some of the plans from six months ago come to fruition. Long before the SciQuest deal, at AECsoft we knew that adding P2P functionality was essential to take the product suite to the full source-to-settle level, something we unsuccessfully tried to address with channel partner products – I hope SciQuest is successful at fusing the best portions of the two product lines into a whole, that should create a compelling suite, and give the other suite firms quite a challenge. I also hope SciQuest is able to retain AECsoft's creativity and custom flexibility as they grow."