Wallmedien: A P2P Wrapper for the Confused ERP Purchasing Masses (Part 3)

While no configuration is alike, when a typical user logs into Wallmedien, they can bypass an ERP procurement environment entirely (although Wallmedien can rely on the approvals, workflows, rules, etc. already configured within an ERP procurement implementation). Wallmedien’s Catbuy experience is straightforward enough. It’s not what we’d describe as groundbreaking, but it’s more than sufficient. For example, a typical user, depending on layout configuration, could be greeted with a screen that provides them with quick navigation to custom shopping lists (and saved kits/bundles), existing orders, supplier catalogs, saved carts and other fields (including a large search toolbar).

C-easyProcure Search Results with Highlighted Keywords  (Extension Cord) - Copy

An informed observer is likely to suggest this is par for the P2P shopping course. And they’d be right. But where Wallmedien begins to stand out is in the actual shopping and drill-down experience, as well as configuration for individual items that may have been historically used in a punch-out buying scenario with supplier-driven configuration, like IT gear, mobile devices including cellular service, or facilities maintenance. For searches, the system will recommend SKUs (catalog and service-based) even when searches are misspelled.

As items are presented, a faceted navigation experience (e.g., based on categories, suppliers, end manufactures or just about any attribute you can configure) allows for a quick drill-down and resorting. For services or highly configured buying in the case of services or configured items, the system can present fields as users drill through the process (so as not to overwhelm with information).

Wallmedien’s RFX capability is closely integrated with the overall buying experience, and users can jump between shopping/configuration and custom RFPs and responses. It’s not Iasta, BravoSolution or Emptoris/IBM, but the RFP capability provides more than just three-bids-in-a-box capability by providing a means to communicate and manage specifications and requirements across the “onesy-twosy” type items that comprise a company’s tail-spend.

More interesting is Wallmedien’s approach to services procurement, a solution model that also provides tight integration with the SKU/catalog buying experience (which is particularly useful in cases where parts in a catalog are tied to services that must be bought along with them as part of a common requisition, potentially involving multiple fulfillment and service delivery partners). Wallmedien’s services procurement approach is both template and services catalog driven (in cases where specific types of services are already “cataloged” such as a certain type of Java developer with a particular set of SAP deployment/integration skills).

While Wallmedien is not yet a replacement for services procurement specialists such as IQNavigator, Fieldglass and Beeline – especially for contingent labor – it does provide a welcome addition on top of core ERP procurement capability, especially given its linkages with related buying activities which might involve both goods and services in the same requisition (or for managing highly complex services buys and contracts involving an OEM managing broader services contracts and supplier underneath a high-level PO – or non-PO order for that matter.

Overall, Wallmedian’s current product footprint and ability to surround highly complicated ERP implementations, with the potential to replace point solutions such as as catalog management or federated search tools, with a broader suite, is somewhat unique as far as we can tell – especially given the software (vs. network) centric delivery model that embraces nasty P2P complexity rather than papering over it.

While we’ll explore Wallmedien’s strengths, weaknesses and competitive positioning in much greater detail on Spend Matters PRO as this series concludes, we’ll caveat our solid endorsement of the solution by noting that the overall user experience for SAP enablement feels slightly dated compared to the latest front-end buying UIs that SAP, Ariba, SciQuest, and others are in the process of rolling out in 2013 (let alone Coupa and those that specialize in front-end SAP tools such as Hubwoo, IBX/Capgemini and Simplifying IT).

Yet Wallmedien isn’t the girl you date for her plastic surgery and how she puts herself together after spending 30 minutes in front of the mirror. No, this is potentially the total package (and one that we’re sure will go through some further nip/tuck in the not-too-distant future based on live demonstrations we’ve seen -- and it's solutions which are not built around SAP enablement today specifically feel materially more modern). But more important, upon a deeper analysis and evaluation, you might conclude this is truly “the one” that can deal with your complicated and demanding mother-in-law, or the metaphorical systems and functional equivalents – in this case IT and ERP (SAP, Oracle, etc). And she won’t ask for a pre-nup.

Enough. This P2P metaphor is spiraling out of control. We’ll conclude our series by looking at some of Wallmediens’ emerging plans and capabilities before concluding our analysis with customer recommendations and comparative examination on Spend Matters PRO for our research subscribers

Check back in the coming days for our concluding coverage. You can also read Part 1 and Part 2 of our analysis. 

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