Continuing on with our analysis of BravoSolution and their broader solution set, we saw standout capabilities in a number of areas. These include:
- Surveys: as you can gather from the demand forecast example in our first post, the same line of thinking can change "quick-to-turn-stale" questionnaires and surveys into dynamic repositories around commodity risk, supplier risk, supplier diversity, CSR, supplier performance and segmentation and more. The possibilities here can really change how a company uses and leverages organizational and supplier data as an integrated component of spend analysis.
- Aggressive savings claims: Even considering the broad adoption of e-sourcing solutions these days, BravoSolution still confidently claims to be able to drive savings significantly beyond industry averages. Based on the information BravoSolution shared with Spend Matters -- including data on in its most mature customers, many of which Spend Matters considers to be among the most advanced from a procurement technology and general sophistication level perspective in their industries -- it's clear the provider's solution-driven approach is helping win advocates alongside savings numbers alone.
- Creative event builds: BravoSolution shows a lot of creativity in this area. Naturally, within their solution, there are large template repositories to keep category-specific builds on hand, but there's also quite original thinking in areas around supplier-defined bids (e.g., capturing obsolescence, generic or alternate products). In fact, users can cleverly bring in so much information in a single event that much of the strategic sourcing thinking that typically is required to create a successful lotting strategy is unnecessary. In a corrugated or foil packaging event, for example, a BravoSolution user might opt to deconstruct bids on what tasks are performed at different levels in the supply chain in addition to user submitted line-item preferences, bid coverage, and volume breaks.
- Scratching the Sourcing Surface: Even with a good deal of time looking at event building, I felt that I only touched the surface of what the solution is capable of. Event/bid attributes run the gamut from RFI-type qualitative questions, to hard data points, with options to selectively choose whether to display to suppliers, pre-populate with internal data (existing pricing, quality score, or other track record KPI) or capture as a supplier commitment.
- General Optimization Flexibility: If you're after 31 flavors, you've got it. With as many scoops as you want. The solution reminds me of the CombineNet solution I recently looked at, which makes it clear why both Bravo and CombineNet are often invited to the same table. Disparate bundles, discount structures, routing alternatives, multiple levels/tiers of pricing -- buyers and suppliers can build their own sundae!
- Projects: or category-specific workflows -- can be made as complex as needed. The primary benefit of this approach is to contain all knowledge and content around a sourcing activity in one place. Consider this a type of a bottled-up consulting experience. For example, a typical process can go from baseline data collection (spend analysis) to market analysis (ref. Porter, SWOT) to negotiation phase (with supplier vetting and down selection, RFx step, and bid analysis) to final negotiations, award, and contract implementation with progress monitoring in the tool along the way.
- Document and Reuse Knowledge: Leveraging the project capability in this manner, even rarely sourced categories can be fully documented, and the knowledge retained even in organizations with high turnover. And in the case of activities that are sourced frequently, they can be benchmarked and reported on with greater accurately with a consistent, repeatable process. Both the training of new resources in unfamiliar categories as well as getting better business side buy-in should be much easier with the transparency possible in this approach. Moreover, each step in the project can be assigned in form of task to other internal or external users, creating the possibility of shared-services type use scenarios with either a central internal organization delivering the process or a third-party consultancy or BPO.
Stay tuned as our analysis continues.
From selling, supporting and participating in the development of some of the best business-to-business solutions as well as briefly being involved with outright vaporware in the dot.com days, Thomas has developed a fairly keen sense of smell; helping him tell actual features and PR-speak apart.