A Common Supplier Portal Vision at Zycus Horizon

SciQuest

Rework should be a supplier’s middle name. In today’s procurement technology world, suppliers are expected to log into multiple portals to check on invoice status, inquire about payments, register their interest in working with organizations, collaborate around performance management and development initiatives and more. Through both its application and supplier network vision, Zycus is hoping to tackle some of these inefficiencies today by providing a common portal for suppliers to work with buying organizations.

At Zycus Horizon, Zycus' customer event, the provider described this vision as a “common portal for supplier management, procure to pay” that “will change this game entirely.” Mobile is a piece of the portal roadmap as well. For example, suppliers will have their own app to receive notifications on purchase orders (PO), created invoices from POs and the like.  

Initially, this vision appears limited to direct supplier and customer relationships on a one-to-one portal basis (i.e., one portal for each customer). No doubt, based on Zycus’ architecture, and with the agreement of customers, this roadmap could migrate into a model in which suppliers will be able to view documents and activities across customers using Zycus’ solutions. And ultimately, we hope, across multiple technologies not limited to Zycus — call this a platform-as-a-service or PaaS supplier network vision — but with Zycus bringing together a common supplier portal and view. The problem with supplier portals is deceptively challenging and important technology problem for procurement organizations to solve and requires them to focus their procurement information architecture in this area.

What is Zycus planning to include in this supplier portal/dashboard?

The provider shared eight areas that it will unite in this single supplier portal framework:

  • Performance management (including task and milestones, workbenches, etc.)
  • Contract management (collaboration, existing contracts, etc.)
  • Sourcing events (invitations, responses, standings, live event interface, etc.)
  • Supplier management (including performance management, supplier development activities/works streams, etc.)
  • Catalog management (uploading or updating new/existing catalogs, viewing catalogs, etc.)
  • Payments (viewing payment status)
  • Orders (viewing POs, other order information)
  • Invoices (creating invoices from POs, creating non PO invoices, etc.)

Given the build-out of the broader Zycus suite, we’d bet on Zycus to pull this off sooner rather than later, albeit with certain gaps that will need fleshing out over time because the underlying functionality is not yet included in the product modules (e.g., payment capability beyond basic status visibility, support for direct materials connectivity/documents, etc.).

The final word: You’d think this would have been done already. But surprisingly, we have not encountered a complete supplier portal or network approach that encompasses the range of strategic and transactional engagement from a supplier perspective, including in-depth supplier management, performance and development and related areas along alongside sourcing, P2P and other activities.

Even just basic technology support for single user sign on and role-based access management to different procurement technology application and integration services will provide a huge level of benefit to suppliers looking for a more cohesive way to interact with a large buyer. Zycus’ move to at least provide a solid infrastructure for its clients is a great effort to applaud.

Voices (2)

  1. Shubham:

    Very good articulation Jason.

    What Zycus is trying to solve is an issue for smaller suppliers. But to a great extent ASN already solves this problem. ASN though has an adoption challenge (my personal view) for smaller suppliers based on my personal experience.

    The real issue however for smaller suppliers is the number of networks/portals they need to login to support multiple customer. What I wish is to have a “network of networks” that can bring all supplier information and transactions at one place making their life very easy. But this is a wish that I do not see getting fulfilled in near term unless all the major player join hands or a supplier body is formed that just refuses to login unless this is done 🙂

    Big suppliers have different challenges. First they will not login into any portal due to sheer volume. Second the end user community at large supplier sites are different for these different functions. So they generally do not care about having one or multiple portal for these functions.

    To conclude this is a good first step, but lot needs to be done to solve supplier problems…

  2. Bill Kohnen:

    Agree that no purchasing solution providers has this and would bring tremendous value. Many of the capabilities are present also in Salesforce which of course is generally thought of as a customer management tool. Just different side of same coin in many respects.

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