Wallmedien: A P2P Wrapper for the Confused ERP Purchasing Masses (Part 1)

Ever so often in our jobs as researchers and analysts, we encounter a technology provider that is truly difficult to categorize. Wallmedien is one such solutions vendor. Wallmedien, which has only recently started to ramp up its sales and marketing efforts in North America, was founded over fifteen years ago in Germany. Since that time, has carved out a solid (and expanding niche) enabling eProcurement and P2P implementations with its own productized solutions as well as what we can best describe as “apps” that sit on top of third-party tools including SAP SRM.

You can pretty much guess based on its headquarters and product sector that Wallmedien started with a vision to enable SAP purchasing applications. And you’d be right. But today, Wallmedien’s enablement focus has expanded to include Oracle, PeopleSoft and Ariba procurement applications as well. All of this probably sounds relatively straightforward. But what makes Wallmedien different, especially as you get into the enabling capabilities and products themselves (more on this in a minute), is that its closest competitors, including Ariba, position themselves as “network” providers rather than enabling software. Moreover, Wallmedien’s users are truly global in scope, unlike several of their competitors (they support 29 languages).

Yet all of the content management, search, invoicing and transactional management capability that Wallmedien provides is delivered through software (installed or SaaS) paid for by buying organizations rather than a network business model that’s paid for, in part or in whole, by suppliers. These capabilities begin with a catalog-based search and shopping cart solution (Catbuy), a catalog/content management toolset (Catscout) and a web-store connections service based (think OCI and cXML-based connectivity) called Punchout Hub. Wallmedien also has products that tackle basic RFX supplier on-boarding/connectivity, contract compliance and relatively complex services procurement (the last which surprised us, we must admit). And if that’s not enough, they can also ship you an eProcurement system (shhh!) called easyProcure.

In other words, if you tackle the sum of these product pieces, Wallmedien’s closest “competitors” – if you can call them that –are really substitutes in both business model and execution approach. Moreover, Wallmedien’s capabilities in what we’ve previously labeled “federated search” on Spend Matters (simultaneous cross-catalog, cross punch-out, website, etc.) really lack direct competition that also includes such a broad, surrounding area of capabilities as well, although specialists are also worthy of consideration here for targeted requirements.

What really causes Wallmedien to stand out from the P2P enablement crowd is their  broad suite of capabilities outside of search and shopping. And they do so in what is best described as a “configurator,” or BPO-like model based on how complex (read “screwed-up” for you non-P2P neophytes) an existing ERP procurement implementation is. In other words, based on our own analysis and reference discussions, Wallmedien is one of the only providers we’d truly trust handing over a P2P system tangle to untangle many layers of knots.

Wallmedien’s list of SAP customers and reference accounts is quite large – larger than many of the supplier network providers we can think of that provide similar enabling capabilities around ERP procurement tools. Many of these customers are truly “doing the hard stuff” as we like to say, using Wallmedien’s capabilities not only in requisitioning and connectivity buying scenarios, but to manage item and supplier master data in a hub-based model where Wallmedien is integrated with other systems as a virtual catalog/item/supplier master. Some are also using Wallmedien to replace traditional supplier networks for connectivity and in doing so, are avoiding supplier fees.

As we continue our analysis of Wallmedien in this multi-part series, we’ll examine their solutions footprint in more detail. Spend Matters PRO subscribers will be able to access our recommendations and comparative product analysis of Wallmedien compared to providers such as Basware, SciQuest, IBX/Capgemini, Hubwoo, Ariba, Tradeshift, Coupa and others.

Stay tuned as our analysis continues. 

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