Throughout 2012, we've had a number of interactions (and brief demonstrations) with WALLMEDIEN, a provider that is probably one of the most comprehensive vendors we've seen when it comes to surrounding existing P2P implementations. We're going to continue our investigation this fall into WALLMEDIEN, including more demonstrations and customer calls, but our early analysis suggests that across a range of areas, from catalog management to the complete front-end re-skinning and back-end enablement of SAP and (and Oracle and Ariba Buyer), that this European-based provider is going to continue to build traction within the installed eProcurement community in North America as more and more people hear about them.
Over on Sourcing Innovation, Michael Lamoureux recently penned a useful summary post exploring WALLMEDIEN in the context of the broader market. But he really nails how they fit into the confusing morass of P2P providers and enablers in one paragraph in particular:
Wallmedien has a powerful Procurement Automation Suite that includes all of the standard features in a new, consumer-inspired, easy-to-use cart-based UI which allows for easy catalog-based purchasing (whether it be through EDI, cXML, or a custom database), punch-out to a supplier's online store, and services procurement as well as straightforward RFX capability which can be used with or without their private supplier network portal. Their portal is a standard web-based supplier interface that allows for easy supplier communication and document exchange. And it all runs seamlessly on top of SAP, with or without SAP SRM, and Oracle (although most of their customers are currently SAP, as that is the ERP platform they cut their teeth on).
This may sound like a complicated description for the uninitiated P2P geek, but it's not. What WALLMEDIEN does is as complicated as many of the SAP SRM deployments that it has made work over the years. If you think they sound a bit like a Frankenstein's Monster combining elements of traditional catalog management vendors (e.g., jCatalog), federated search, distributed content management and shopping management (e.g., Vinimaya) and a services procurement enabler (not VMS, but more broadly around SRM systems), you'd be right. Yet there's integrated elegance in the broader WALLMEDIEN package that can help diffuse the horror of a P2P system that's come up short.
Any organization trying to get more from existing eProcurement implementations (installed) or evaluating an upgrade path today should take a look and see what they have. And if you can wait, we'll be exploring their capabilities in much more detail in the coming months.