The Spend Matters analyst team has collectively spent roughly 200 years looking at procurement, finance and supply chain technologies. We’re probably the biggest bunch of critics you’ll find. (Experience breeds skepticism.) But every so often, a provider comes along that seeks to do something truly revolutionary. At first, some of us usually dismiss it – we want to see the proof rather than the vision.
But slowly – and usually it is slowly – the vision sometimes becomes reality. Such is what appears to be happening at Tradeshift, the provider we believe has the best, and right, vision for building a transactional connectivity operating system between buyers, suppliers and partners. In vision, Tradeshift is actually closer to Apple, with the App Store, and the iPad, iPhone and Apple Watch infrastructure, than it is to purchase-to-pay, e-invoicing and supplier network rivals.
In building a business entirely around what we call a “platform-as-a-service” business model – in which Tradeshift is at once creating both infrastructure and applications that can plug and play with third-party applications and services built on top of it – the level of complexity the firm must support is much greater than those living in a world of only applications and connectivity. In part, this explains why Tradeshift has been slower to get out of the box than some rivals, especially in the e-invoicing, trade financing and supplier network areas.
But the flexibility customers and third-party developers, including customers and partners, have with Tradeshift to enhance the core services the provider offers internally are second to none – and of course the core services such as e-invoicing need to be up to the task to begin with. But assuming the core infrastructure and Tradeshift apps work for customers, the level of flexibility they are building into their businesses and supply chains by selecting Tradeshift is entirely different than simply buying an application or connectivity service.
Spend Matters is excited to name Tradeshift a 2015 Provider to Watch. Ideal potential Tradeshift customers include:
- Companies looking to enable the “long-tail” of suppliers through clever onboarding technology for e-invoicing and related connectivity
- Those that believe the infrastructure that exists between companies is as or more important than internal architectures, applications and services
- Organizations that like to be early adopters and play with next generation technology capabilities and explore how it can fit with or transform their business
Granted, Tradeshift is not for everyone yet. There will always be those who want the Lexus over a Tesla, as well as those that don’t want to stop to charge the engine, so to speak. But it’s clear which car Tradeshift is and the types of buyers that will self-identify themselves as wanting to be on the technology edge of what’s next.