Ivalua NOW 2019 Chicago: Next Procurement Megavendor Steps Out of the Shadows

(Ivalua image)

After attending Ivalua NOW 2019 in Chicago this week, the conference solidified in my curmudgeonly mind that Ivalua will be the next break-out vendor, following on the heels of SAP Ariba and Coupa (on a software/SaaS revenue basis, at least).

Read about Ivalua CEO David Khuat-Duy’s “ambitious vision” in a high-level recap of the event’s kickoff.

Ivalua is like the tortoise in the race with the hare, but in this case, the tortoise has been putting on roller-skates and building a jet pack into its upgraded shell (161 upgrades to be exact). And the firm’s stats prove the point:

  • A massively impressive 98% customer renewal rate
  • Projected $115 million in revenue for 2019, representing over 50% growth
  • Approximately 300 customers across a wide diversity of industries, including everything from less mature industries such as public sector, higher education and health care, to sophisticated industries such as CPG, automotive, high tech, etc. Its customers include GE, flex, IKEA, McDonalds, Sprint, Ericsson, Whirlpool and more.
  • 450 employees now, with 600 targeted by year’s end and roughly 900 by the end of 2020. The firm also has been attracting some top-notch talent from its competitors, and since we know most of these folks, we know they’re thrilled with the culture. And the firm has a stated 5-8% employee turnover rate, which is also amazing given the hiring, but keep in mind that Ivalua has been in business since 2000.
  • “Preparation for IPO Readiness” on the roadmap for 2019. KKR invested $70 million in Ivalua back in 2017 (KKR = smart folks).
  • 30 partners — with KPMG as the leader at the top tier (although the mega players are finally starting to sign up too) and a strong bench of smaller players like Nitor, Shelby Group, and some good European players.
  • 1 million users
  • 162 releases of its software. Release 162 was demonstrated at the event, and it features an extremely clean and thoughtful revamped UI along with some guided searching/buying functionality (“Search 360”), an AI virtual assistant, and initial functionality on the new platform for direct materials focused on BOM-based sourcing scenarios and also some forecast/PO collaboration.

Of course, there will be other comparatively very large, successful players in the market besides Ivalua, like Coupa and SAP Ariba (and Oracle for that matter). For example, GEP also has developed an organically built customer-driven suite and exemplifies Spend Matters’  SolutionMap “Turnkey” persona for companies that want the full stack of technology and services under one vendor roof.

But, for our “Configurator” persona, Ivalua’s flexible platform is tailor-made for procurement organizations that want a system that is built for their nuances (e.g., industry). And that flexibility will also allow it to go to market directly and via partners to address all types of buyer personas (not just the standard personas that we have with our free off-the-shelf SolutionMaps).

By the way, as a quick shameless plug, practitioners who want additional deep-dive provider intelligence or the flexibility to choose source-to-pay technology that matches their unique needs rather than one-size-fits-all quadrants and waves, can make use of our latest SolutionMap RFI template database and vendor scorings (based on deeply vetted solution scoring by analysts and also from over 1,000 validated customer reviews).

Practitioners provide their own custom weightings against their choice of over 700 functional and technical requirements in source-to-pay and get a deep dive analysis to radically shorten and improve their vendor selection processes while having confidence from the deepest objective analyst team in the business. And we also do project-specific advisory work on our own or alongside large consultancies. OK, the commercial is over!

I’ll follow up with more thoughts on Ivalua, but also on what the provider’s platform approach means for customers — and how function (i.e., the procurement function in this case) can mirror the form (i.e., the platform) that Ivalua represents, and what both can learn from each other.

Also stay tuned for roadmap coverage and other developments to come out of Ivalua NOW 2019.

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