Earlier this week, Vinimaya announced the official launch of Aquiire, a cloud-based, real-time e-procurement suite. The announcement may confuse some, as Vinimaya has always been in the e-procurement business. But in fact, this is an entirely new solution, albeit one that leverages Vinimaya’s federated search, shopping and marketplace product roots. It’s also the first time Vinimaya has delivered a bundled P2P solution versus individual piece parts.
"The official launch of the Aquiire brand kicks off a new era at Vinimaya that speaks to who we are as a company — innovative, entrepreneurial and bold," said Mike Palackdharry, president and CEO of Vinimaya. "Aquiire is the fifth generation solution from Vinimaya that clearly expresses our vision, expertise and thought leadership."
From E-Catalog Roots to a P2P Tree
Vinimaya is not new to the procurement space. Since the early 2000s, Vinimaya has delivered a unique federated search and catalog management capability. But with Aquiire, the company is entering to the highly competitive procure-to-pay (P2P) product market, which include vendors Coupa, Ariba, SciQuest, BuyerQuest, GEP, Ivalua, Basware (Verian), Determine (bpack) and Vroozi.
Aquiire leverages Vinimaya’s depth in advanced search and semantic web technology. It’s not simply a “me too” e-procurement solution. For our PRO subscribers, Spend Matters will be doing an extensive analysis of the full Aquiire solution suite in the coming weeks. But for now we can say the philosophy driving the product is not so dissimilar from the past in terms of a “virtual catalog” model that blurs the line between locally hosted catalogs, punch outs, e-forms and package-based ordering models (e.g., lists, kits, bundles). The solution has also jumped on the guided buying bandwagon with an approach that leverages personalized business rules and workflow.
So What’s it Like?
One of the clever concepts of Aquiire is a “punch in” approach. In short, while it can allow users to “punch out” to a supplier site like Amazon Business, the idea is not to hand the user off to a supplier’s website for upsell or cross-sell but to more tightly control the process treating the “punch out” like a synthetic catalog. We saw a quick demo of this, but we need to see more. Stay tuned — it’s got us thinking.
On a more foundational level, the solution has strong semantic web modeling, visualization and the manner in which it serves up “facets” on the side of a screen just like Google Shopping, Amazon or any good sell-side e-commerce site is visually appealing and different than other P2P providers. Further, the solution lets users sort results by priority flag, which they can use for approved suppliers in a category (in a manner that is not so dissimilar from looking for hotels on a corporate travel site based on approved permissions and negotiated rates).
Granted, Aquiire doesn't yet support an open web search like Tradeshift Shop with its browser plugin, where you forward a cart for approval. But these techniques are still very much in the early adopter territory.
We at Spend matters celebrate the effort of Mike Palackdharry and the rest of his team in taking the experience and unique attributes of Vinimaya, rewriting every single line of code and wrapping an underlying shopping P2P philosophy in something that doesn’t just copy others. It will most definitely enhance the competitive options for companies evaluating P2P solutions.
One thing we know for sure (which bodes well for Aquiire) is that we’ve been around P2P systems long enough — from analyzing them to implementing them — to know that a good solution starts with a great shopping experience for the users. This is always something that Vinimaya has done in an outstanding way.
Having said this, our initial demonstration of Aquiire did not get deep into such areas as the behind-the-scenes components governing requisitioning, purchase orders, fulfillment, reconciliation and payment. These components include approvals, workflows, budget checking, change orders, fulfillment and receiving, supplier portal capabilities, collaboration mechanisms, invoicing process, early payment options, payment processes and the like. Moreover, we still need to dig into Aquiire’s configuration and business rules engines to evaluate how easy they are to configure and use — not to mention understanding better how Vinimaya is managing the analysis of structure and unstructured data.
Stay tuned as we put Aquiire through the P2P wringer. We’ll see what comes out the other end, but so far, it looks promising, which is great news for the market.