Yesterday at BravoConnect 2016, BravoSolution shared a vision for its product strategy, product development and network-based initiatives (see our initial coverage on these areas here: BravoConnect Dispatch: BravoSolution by the Numbers and a New Supplier Network Strategy and BravoConnect Dispatch: The Components of Future Procurement Technology Suites).
From a product strategy perspective, BravoSolution noted that it is focusing its longer-term roadmap initiatives (strategies) on four key areas: extending suite capability to new areas, increasing collaborative components in its solutions, providing tighter integration with internal, supplier and partner ecosystems and embedding intelligence in new ways throughout its products.
We explore these below:
- When it comes to extending suite capability, some areas of focus are already clear (e.g., a move to add native procure-to-pay and source-to-pay capability into the solution). Others represent logical extensions of current capability (e.g., increased investment in supplier and category management). While other areas would be less obvious, even to those who are familiar with BravoSolution (e.g., direct materials solutions, PLM connectivity, supplier innovation management, etc.).
- BravoSolution’s investments in collaboration will center on enabling procurement to not just work more effectively amongst internal, functional stakeholders, but to work externally (with suppliers and other partners) and across internal functions. Collaboration capabilities will center on “self service, usability, do-it-yourself, standardization and social” capabilities.
- From an integration perspective, BravoSolution’s strategy is complicated. It involves multiple areas including fostering a broader partner ecosystem (e.g., Basware, thus far, for P2P) and developing interfaces and integration hubs with internal and third-party systems. That sounds to us like an important step in a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) direction beyond just publishing and taking advantage of standard APIs. Finally, Bravo will expand its support for MDM capability (spend, supplier, etc.) across its suite and enable the integration of microservices (presumably from others) into its applications.
- “Intelligent” procurement items will center on incorporating predictive and embedded analysis throughout the suite — not just spend analysis. Central to these capabilities will be “methodological and result guidance, user and process guidance and context relevant information.” In other words, BravoSolution is looking to make users of all aspects of its suite that much more effective by embedding data-driven recommendations and guidance at all key points of decision, from high level dashboards that users are greeted with when logging on (i.e., “what should I prioritize and focus on”) to specific recommendations for category, supplier or sourcing strategies.
Here are my takeaways from BravoSolution’s product strategy framework:
- The product strategy appears to lead customers to where they need to go, versus taking customer feedback and making incremental improvements.
- Embedding AI and machine learning capabilities throughout the suite to drive “intelligent” outcomes will not be simple. This is potentially the area that can drive the most differentiation, but it also brings higher execution risk from both technology and usability perspectives.
- BravoSolution needs to further flesh out (or at least explain) how it plans to tie its integration and network strategy to a broader platform-as-a-service (PaaS) approach to collaboration with third-party solutions and “apps” — and even Bravo “apps” on other competitor solution stacks.