Live From Zycus’ Analyst Day — Dispatch Two

Anurag Dixit, Zycus' VP of Marketing, began his talk at his firm's analyst day -- the second of the morning -- by talking about the need for innovative and simple solutions. Incidentally, Zycus' current solutions span the following areas (but expect more in the future, based on the tone at the event): spend analysis (LiveConnect, iCost, iMine), sourcing (iOptimize, iManage -- category management), contract management (iAuthoring), supplier management (iSupplier, iPerform) and financial savings management (iSave). Spend Matters' general view of these products on Zycus' new platform (i.e., everything but spend analysis) is that they are often tops in their class in ease of use, but the deeper functionality is still often in build-out phase.

Anurag stormed through a history lesson focused on procurement and supply management. In designing its solution strategy, Anurag noted that the first priority in product design is always completeness. Zycus believes ease-of-use is second but equally as critical. Quoting Leonardo Da Vinci, Anurag cited that "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." For ease of use, the actual user interface most certainly is important, Anurag suggested. But it's equally important to simplify processes (e.g., complex cost breakdowns, pre-packaged optimization). And delivering an integrated suite that works together where the sum is more powerful than the pieces also contributes to this vision of delivering solutions that are truly easy to use, he also pointed out.

In terms of sourcing and ease of use, Zycus has developed a solution with straightforward (we've tried it) drag and drop features for creating events. For example, a user can drag and drop various elements of contract requirements into an RFP. Users can also take advantage of a simple but elegant total cost modeling capability that goes beyond providing cost breakdown capability. This tool is resident in the rebuilt -- and easy to use -- Excel-like capabilities within the Zycus sourcing tool. For response scoring and optimization-based sourcing approaches, Zycus also delivers sourcing capability that a user can walk up to without prior training and begin to take advantage of some rather advanced capabilities. Now granted, a geek like me would still probably take the extreme capabilities of other top vendors in the optimization space today where I could more easily tailor customized constraints and award scenarios across larger datasets. But the vast majority of users will likely find that they get more from an application that delivers 80% of the typically required capability that simplifies complexity rather than masking it.

Jason Busch

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