Two weeks ago, I had the chance to speak at Hubwoo's Americas user event (they held their European event the previous week). For those who know how close Hubwoo is to their patron, the location of the event would not surprise you -- the SAP HQ in Newtown Square. The US event was well attended (at least 30 practitioners) including a number of who spoke frankly about their experiences, opportunities and challenges. Hubwoo provided four customer awards at the event. Sara Lee won for supplier enablement. Consol Energy took the prize for "significant ROI," Ecopetrol claimed victory for "spend under management." And Honeywell came in first for "catalog content enablement."
I kicked off the festivities with providing a state of the market analysis. But the more insightful material came later, especially the information pertaining to Hubwoo's strategy and close working relationship with SAP. In this multi-part post looking at Hubwoo's emerging solution strategy, I'll share what I learned at the event as well as offer some analysis around what the Hubwoo relationship may say for SAP's broader strategy in the procurement market. Curiously, as I write this post, it's the morning after an event I went to at Oracle OpenWorld. At the gathering last night (last week, given the go-live timing of this article), I had some curious conversations with Oracle partners who are keen to become, in their words, "the Hubwoo of the Oracle ecosystem." Fascinating, although the privileged relationship Hubwoo shares with SAP is not one that would be easy do duplicate again.
At the event, Hubwoo shared with Spend Matters that their business network solution (i.e., their supplier network), is being aggressively sold by SAP's 8,000+ quota carrying sales reps. They believe this new sales channel will drive "explosive growth" in the solution "well beyond the 100% year over year growth" of their new solution areas (i.e., not the legacy business) in the past two years. But the network, which we'll cover in more detail later in this series, represents only one component of Hubwoo's strategy. They're also attempting to make SAP SRM an order of magnitude more user and adoption friendly.
To implement this strategy, Hubwoo has embarked on a number of initiatives, including the announcement of a new "Amazon one-click" like requisitioning interface which they believe will help drive "mass casual user adoption" of the toolset. As part of the UI enhancement strategy, Hubwoo is also supporting a single sign-on capability that spans the range of SAP applications that they host and deliver (i.e., eProcurement/SRM, sourcing, contracts, spend analysis) as well as their own supplier enablement and catalog management solutions.
When it comes to the "consumerization" of the user experience (as Hubwoo describes it), Hubwoo is working closely with the SAP solution management team. Their efforts have resulted in new search capability built on-top of SRM as well as the above-mentioned new user interface that leverages Simplifying IT's flex-based SRM front-end (See previous posts on the topic here, here, here, and here). Hubwoo's goals with this initiative are focused on driving user adoption with an interface that is so simple that it does not require any explanation to use for basic tasks.
Spend Matters is a big supporter of the Simplifying IT "re-skin" and believes that Hubwoo's embrace of the front-end will help drive not only adoption, but new sales. Funny they just didn't buy them, but perhaps best to take things slow. However, Hubwoo is also looking past just the desktop/laptop browser as a key interface point with SAP SRM. As part of their usability initiatives, Hubwoo is also focused on new mobile support, including a Blackberry app that enables shopping car approval. Beyond the app, Hubwoo is enabling mobile client browser support for Apple iOS and Android.
Stay tuned as our analysis of Hubwoo's solution strategy continues.
- Jason Busch