Ivalua Now Dispatch: Proving You Don’t Need to be a Megacorp to Succeed

One of the most curious points featured in each of the opening keynotes at Ivalua Now was that while technology providers have to grow to succeed in today's world, they don't have to become part of “Global Megacorp” — my words, not Ivalua’s— or acquire their way to global megacorp status to be a smashing success in the source-to-pay space.

The private equity irony was not lost on us if we compare which companies KKR has invested in (Ivalua) versus Accel-KKR (Jaggaer). Queue Whiz Kalifa in that latter case.

2017 Growth 

Look at Ivalua’s numbers from 2017, all driven by organic growth on a single technology stack:

  • Added “40-ish” customers in North America and EMEA
  • Maintained 98% of its customer base, which now consists of more than 200 global customers
  • Doubled global employee count across functions
  • Made hefty investments in R&D
  • Maintained its 40%–50% year-over-year growth rate

How did Ivalua accomplish all of this? These numbers were certainly not a result of Ivalua's new operations excellence department or customer success team, as the provider only instituted those over the last year or so.

While one might think it's because of Ivalua’s unique platform, which is delivered as SaaS in its own instance, with significant flexibility both in support of configurations and upgrades, it's not that. Many procurement pros are not IT leaders and can easily overlook the power under the hood, as they hear what sounds like the same messaging from all SaaS companies and don't know enough to differentiate, at least without education from consultants and analysts.

The answer is culture.

Culture and Customers

Ivalua has always had the vision to be one platform. But to be one platform, you have to be one solution.

Despite the hype, procurement doesn't want platforms. Procurement wants results delivered by solutions that work. Organizations don't want anything that has to be configured, fixed, integrated, maintained, supported, explained (repeatedly) or retaught on every update. They need a solution, delivered, integrated and tailored to their needs — and not what IT thinks they need.

Ivalua not only does this well but also goes one step beyond.

Of all of the companies we cover, Ivalua is one of the providers whose roadmap is most heavily influenced not by marketing or money but by customers. Over 60% of new features and functions are customer designed or influenced. Ivalua works heavily with its customers to identify not only what they need but also how they need it to work and look, so that each new release will be readily adopted and used.

And Ivalua doesn’t just speak the adoption mantra — it executes on it. One recent new customer implementation, for example, reached almost 100% internal use in eight weeks. Of course, Ivalua’s larger implementations may take quarters, but you get the point: it can be done.

Part of Ivalua’s culture is listening to customers to grow and evolve with them over time, to become a "platform for life," which is why the provider has such a high retention rate. But another crucial element, and what we think is the other key to its success, is its employee culture.

Customers for life are served by employees for life. Well, almost. Ivalua maintains an employee turnover of less than 10%, an impressive number for the technology space. The provider invests heavily not only in serving its customers but also in retaining, educating and empowering its global employees, creating a career culture, not just a job culture.

A culture of collaboration with employees and customers, and now partners — Ivalua has built a strong network of implementation partners across the globe who are now involved in 75% of implementation projects to enable quick time to value realization — allows even a non-megacorp to succeed and grow year-over-year in a market where most companies go out of business or get acquired.

And that is refreshing.

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