Following Up on SAP Fieldglass Flex: The New VMS for Mid-Sized Organizations

services procurement

In December, Spend Matters covered SAP Fieldglass’ launch of its new product, SAP Fieldglass Flex. The new offering is effectively a VMS designed specifically for mid-sized organizations.

Existing enterprise VMS solutions have tended to be too complex and costly for mid-sized businesses. And although some enterprise VMS solutions may have achieved some limited penetration in the mid-market, we believe none has been (1) designed from the ground-up specifically for this purpose, (2) benefited from best practices knowledge of a leading enterprise VMS and (3) had the support of one of the largest global software players.

Given the above, we thought it was important to go a bit deeper into understanding Flex and were able to have a conversation with Rob Brimm, President of SAP Fieldglass, to gather more details about the product.

Market

As mentioned above, the overall target market is medium-sized businesses (revenues from $500 million to $1 billion). There are many underserved verticals (e.g., technology, healthcare, education) for which Flex may be particularly well suited.

We noted in our news article that SAP serves more than 100,000 small and medium-sized businesses across the globe. Brimm told us that in North America there are an estimated 15,000 SAP customer organizations today that could be suitable targets for Flex.

Some mid-market companies may have some type of procurement organization, which could take the lead on adopting a Flex solution. In many cases, however, finance and the CFO may be the most interested stakeholders due to concerns about compliance risks, Brimm said.

Product

Flex provides organizations typical functionality along the rec-to-check life cycle, with best practices-based, out-of-the-box workflows and templates, as well the capability to easily configure limited custom workflows. It also provides procurement process functionality from onboarding suppliers (by upload or online entry), storing contract documents in a digital repository, all the way through to capturing and analyzing critical data (cost, process, etc.).

The first release of Flex does not address SOW/services, but Brimm told us that SOW/services functionality is next in line on the roadmap.

Overall, a consumerized UI and a simple, out-of-the-box templates and configurable options enhance the product usability. Brimm told us that customers can be made operational with Flex very quickly (he said the goal was to be able to accomplish this within an hour).

Flex can be integrated with the SAP’s midmarket ERP offering, Business ByDesign, S/4HANA and third-party SMB products, such a Microsoft Dynamics.

Technology

The Flex solution is based on a different instance of the same technology stack that the SAP Fieldglass enterprise solution is built upon. Now over two years since SAP acquired Fieldglass, that technology platform incorporates or integrates with other SAP technologies.

Pricing

Brimm was guarded in his comments on this subject, mainly stating that the product is priced so that it is accessible to large parts of the mid-market. He also seemed to suggest that pricing was based on spend under management, but stopped short of saying that pricing model was the common VMS model for percentage of spend.

Sales

According to Brimm, Flex will be sold by SAP Fieldglass’ outside and inside sales teams. SAP SMB channels will also be leveraged as appropriate. In this context, Brimm mentioned that Concur’s customer base was well represented by mid-sized clients. As with any new product, various appropriate channels will be examined.

Conclusion

Flex is new to the market, and we will be closely watching its continued rollout in 2017. While sound in concept — and very promising, given the formidable knowledge, capabilities and resources of SAP Fieldglass — it is nonetheless a first stab into a green field market.

Please follow Andrew Karpie on Twitter @andrewkarpie. Read more of our contingent workforce and services procurement coverage.

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