SMART by GEP: Exploring Sourcing and Category Analytics in a Mobile Format

Smarty

Yesterday, we introduced one view of the new SMART by GEP procurement mobile client and some elements of the broader new platform roll out. We’ll be going into greater detail on SMART by GEP in the coming weeks after we’ve had a chance to review and demo the platform for ourselves. But what’s already caught our attention around the mobile components of the platform release is that it’s one of the first tools on the market enabling broader sourcing, category management, and supplier management activities in a mobile-centric environment – rather than treating those working through tablet and smartphone screens (outside of P2P) as second-class citizens.

We expect to see others get more aggressive in 2014 with truly native mobile clients in the areas of sourcing and category management. Yet, for now, GEP’s approach to mobile interfaces for managing sourcing activities (not just mobile analytics/reporting cockpits or transactional buying/approvals capability) provides some early views into how the future of mobile procurement team members will look outside of using desktop-centric applications.

The first example screen / emulator grab from SMART below shows a logistics-centric jumping off view into sourcing, buying, and supplier activity. This includes savings and spend trending, spend by supplier, recent sourcing projects (and results), and recommended suppliers. The second screen capture shows a view into an RFP for ocean freight, including the status of invited suppliers and the ability to add new suppliers into the mix. Users can also navigate to different areas of the sourcing tool, including RFI/RFP and negotiation design, supplier questionnaires, price sheets, scoring, and attachments.

GEP SMART 1

GEP SMART 2

Stay tuned as we review SMART by GEP – and the mobile interface and working experience – in more detail in the coming weeks. Part of the value proposition is a new network capability that goes beyond pushing documents back and forth by enabling supplier search— including matching requirements to supplier capabilities and broader supplier management integration both for initial onboarding and ongoing engagement with suppliers.

Regardless of a mobile-centric access environment (or not), this type of capability is interesting indeed. It puts GEP on course to compete against some aspects of the Ariba Network, such as its Discovery solution. One of the questions we have for GEP here is whether they will focus on “being the network” for supplier information or will interface with other networks and directories in a true platform-as-a-service (PaaS) manner.

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