Author Archives: Michael Lamoureux



Per Angusta: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses

Per Angusta is the only technology solution Spend Matters has reviewed that is entirely focused on program management in support of category, sourcing and supplier and broader procurement activities. Moreover, the provider represents a unique case in which it is increasingly focused on developing tight, platform-based integrations with leading source-to-pay suite and module providers, embedding its capabilities out-of-the-box on an integrated basis with third-party technologies.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about whether Per Angusta, as a standalone or integrated program management solution, should be looked at as a “nice to have” or a mandatory extension of their current capabilities and solutions. 

Part 1 of this series provided key facts on Per Angusta, a detailed solution overview and shortlist criteria for organization that should prioritize the provider. Part 2 provides an analysis of Per Angusta’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as summary recommendations on when to consider Per Angusta as a technology to support program management requirements.

Per Angusta: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview

tech

You might infer from our research on program management solution capabilities that we view this component of procurement technology solutions as a “missing link” (see Part 1: Design Building Blocks and Part 2: Functional Building Blocks). Simply put, program management technology components — mirroring or in fact driving process requirements when an organization has not yet defined them — is quickly becoming a key requirement for strategic sourcing and broader procurement success, especially in more advanced organizations.

Few source-to-pay technology suites and modules, however, bring program management components that deliver sufficient capabilities to support procurement requirements. This is where Per Angusta comes in. Per Angusta is a technology solution designed solely for category, sourcing, supplier and supply management program management. It’s also a platform in the definitional sense — think “PaaS” — as it supports open, deep and application-specific integrations with third-party procurement technologies that organizations might have in place already or are in the process of selecting and implementing.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about whether Per Angusta should be considered alongside other source-to-pay technologies (or as an embedded solution to extend them). Part 1 provides key facts on Per Angusta, a detailed solution overview and shortlists criteria for organization that should prioritize the provider. Part 2 provides an analysis of Per Angusta’s detailed strengths and weaknesses and summary recommendations on when to consider Per Angusta.

Supplier Management: When the User Experience Guides Functionality (Part 3)

This Spend Matters PRO series provides an insider perspective on what separates best-of-breed supplier management technology providers from the pack. It emphasizes both the user interface and underlying solution capabilities of technology solutions, and, in certain cases, how the two come together. We also provide a hint at what’s to come throughout the rest of 2018 and 2019 — that is, what top performing providers will be introducing when “procurement 2020” becomes reality rather than punditry.

Need to catch up on what we’ve covered thus far? Part 1 in our series explored messaging, chat and collaboration; guided survey and template creation; and leading functional elements that enable the uploading of templates and documents. Part 2 unearthed differentiation among leading capabilities that support supplier categorization and tagging, scorecards (inclusive of alerting and predictive analytics), corrective action management, innovation management and master data management.

As our series concludes today, we will turn our attention to:

  • Guided supplier workflow management
  • Relevant risk identification for both parties
  • Integrated smart catalog and product management

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.

HICX: Vendor Snapshot Update (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses, Customer Perspective and Summary Recommendations

HICX is representative of a provider that excels in a single platform-level element of a particular discipline (i.e., master data management within supplier management), using this element to build competitive differentiation and a strong customer following in a highly competitive marketplace. While much of our original Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot from 2016 (see Part 1 and Part 2) on HICX remains an accurate review of the provider in 2018, the MDM specialist has leveraged its core strengths to deliver adjacent capabilities and product line extensions.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot Update provides an update to our previous analysis HICX. Part 2 provides updated strengths and weaknesses, customer reference insight and summary recommendations on when to prioritize HICX as a shortlist candidate. The first installment of our 2018 update provides 2018 key facts on HICX, a solution overview, a recap of its overall footprint and solutions, insight into new features and capabilities, and a competitive landscape update.

HICX: Vendor Snapshot Update (Part 1) — Updated Facts, Solution Footprint, Solution Enhancements and Competitive Landscape

In our last deep dive analysis of HICX, a U.K.-based supply chain master data management technology firm, we noted that the provider delivered a unique set of supplier-centric MDM capabilities coupled with configurable workflow for buyers and suppliers. Our original HICX Vendor Snapshot series (see Part 1 and Part 2) still provides a useful foundation for those considering the MDM specialist as a shortlist candidate for supplier management.

For those evaluating HICX, we also recommend the latest Q1 2018 Supplier Management SolutionMap Insider coverage to understand how the provider compares in the supplier management and risk management market on a comparative basis.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot Update provides an refresh to our previous analysis of HICX. Part 1 provides updated key facts on HICX, a solution overview and a competitive landscape update. Part 2 provides updated strengths and weaknesses, customer reference insights, and summary recommendations on when to consider HICX as a top shortlist candidate for supplier management.

Supplier Management: When the User Experience Guides Functionality (Part 2)

digital

When it comes to procurement and supplier management technology solutions, you can learn a lot when spending time looking both at and below the user interface surface of specific solutions. However, the user experience and underlying technology stack are increasingly interconnected — and coupled. Thus, separating the two from each other can be difficult.

This Spend Matters PRO series explores what separates best-of-breed supplier management vendors from the pack, with an emphasis both on the UI and underlying technology capabilities. Part 1 in our series explored messaging, chat and collaboration; guided survey and template creation; and leading functional elements that enable the uploading of templates and documents. In Part 2, we continue with an emphasis on exploring the intersection of functionality and usability.

Supplier Management: When the User Experience Guides Functionality (Part 1)

tech

When it comes to supplier management technology, there seems to be a near universal playbook that most of the top technology providers follow for defining, capturing and managing supplier data. It’s not surprising, then, that when it comes to marketing such capabilities, there's essentially no differentiation at all. As a result, you'd be forgiven if you thought that many supplier management vendors sound interchangeable, despite claims of advanced master data management, metric tracking or portal superiority.

In practice, however, nothing could be further from the truth. As our latest Supplier Management SolutionMap indicates, there is significant differentiation among providers, and our PRO Vendor Snapshot reviews on providers such as Aravo, HICX and Lavante only further illustrate this point. But you need to dive deep to find the variation that counts — differentiation that only comes into play when you start unpacking the specific supplier information management, performance management, supplier portal, relationship management, initiative management, discovery, master data components and related capabilities of best-in-class providers.

The purpose of this series on supplier management functionality and user design is to, in effect, share the ingredients to the secret sauce we see in use today among both top performing providers and those making the recipe list for tomorrow’s supplier management menu. We kick off our series by first exploring messaging, chat and collaboration, guided survey and template creation, uploading of templates and documents, and simplified data creation and validation.

Spendata: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses

data analytics

Spendata is one of the first third-generation spend analytics platforms that takes analytics out of the fixed data warehouse world and into the modern big data era, where you can do the analysis you want, when you want, where you want and how you want. As it runs in the browser, your only restriction is an OS that runs Chrome (which are 99% of the OS deployments). And you don't have to worry about whether or not the vendor is GDPR compliant, because the data stays on your machine.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Spendata’s product strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should shortlist the vendor. It also offers a critique of the user interface. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Bonfire in the sourcing technology area. The final installment in this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Spendata: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview

There are two views one can take of spend analysis. The modern view envisions that all of the data needs to be centralized in a data warehouse, business intelligence (BI) or spend analysis tool in a single standardized hierarchy agreed upon by the entire organization. The belief is that there needs to be only one view into a single version of the truth before any (spend-related) progress can be made. This desire to find the be-all single spend taxonomy structure bolted onto a corporate data warehouse is a fool’s errand because there is no single hierarchical structure that represents the multi-variate richness of spend/supply data that category managers need to extract value. For more on this topic, see here.

Then there is the postmodern view, where success depends upon taking appropriate action on whatever data you can get, whenever you can get it, in whatever form it's in. Any intelligence is better than no intelligence, and any savings or value you can identify today is worth more than the hypothetically better savings that you might identify next week, next month, or, more likely next quarter or year (which is likely how long it will take to agree on a common schema, collect all of the data across the organization, categorize it, cleanse it and enrich it). And while more data can allow for the identification of bigger opportunities, it's often not worth waiting until you have it all to start the analysis and start pursuing those opportunities that are available today.

In this series we are going to talk about a new and disruptive spend analysis solution that adopts the postmodern view of spend analysis, where a practitioner should be able to take action on any data she can get her hands on whenever she can get her hands on it and take immediate action wherever and whatever. This includes the situation where the practitioner already has access to an enterprise data warehouse or business intelligence solution, because the data doesn't always get into that solution right away — and even if it does, it's not always the case that the schema of the data warehouse or business intelligence solution will support the type of analysis that the practitioner needs to do.

Oh, and it’s only $699.

Bonfire: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary and Competitive Analysis

Bonfire is one of our most anticipated new participants in Spend Matters Q2 2018 Sourcing SolutionMap. Based on what we have covered in this deep dive analysis of Bonfire thus far, we suspect that the provider will personify many of the requirements of the Nimble persona, providing a compelling functional alternative to top-ranked Value Leaders including Scout RFP, Coupa, EC Sourcing, Keelver and Market Dojo (not to mention Nimble Solution Leaders including Ivalua, Zycus, Scanmarket and SynerTrade, as well as Nimble Customer leader SAP Ariba).

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering Bonfire provides an objective SWOT analysis of the provider and offers a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as alternative vendors to Bonfire and offers provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides a summary analysis and recommendations for companies considering the vendor. Part 1 provided an in-depth look at Bonfire as a technology provider and its specific solutions. Part 2 gave a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses and a review of the product’s user experience.

Bonfire: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses

The market for best-of-breed sourcing solutions continues to take off. Bonfire, which was founded two years before Scout RFP, is the newest provider in the sector to build significant momentum in North America, leveraging a similar playbook as its better-known competitor, emphasizing ease-of-use, adoption and the user experience. With more than 230 customers in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean, including market penetration in the public sector that rivals larger providers, Bonfire is becoming a more frequent shortlist candidate in an increasing number of sourcing buying scenarios in which suite capability is not a prerequisite.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Bonfire’s product strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should shortlist the vendor. It also offers a critique of the user interface. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Bonfire in the sourcing technology area. The final installment in this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.