Author Archives: Michael Lamoureux



AnyData Solutions: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary & Competitive Analysis

spend analytics

AnyData Solutions competes in a fragmented market for spend analytics. Yet unlike many of its peers, it is not a common procurement vendor name. But with better awareness, it could be a strong analytics competitor globally, especially considering how the solution packs a powerful one-two functional and pricing punch.

From a functional standpoint, AnyData’s rapid visual development framework can enable customers to go beyond spend analysis use cases to create custom, domain-specific analytics solutions (e.g., analytics centric contract lifecycle management and supplier performance management reporting and capability). Combined with AnyData’s low-cost pricing models (a fraction of the cost of other solutions under most scenarios), it should make the solution a shortlist candidate for just about any size organization needing a spend analytics platform that wants the option to move beyond the basics.

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

AnyData Solutions: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses

Analytics

AnyData Solutions is not just a standalone spend analytics toolset that includes “the basics.” Rather, it is a standalone platform for capturing, managing, sharing and collaborating on structured datasets of any type.

As an end-to-end analytics platform, AnyData is quite different from other approaches to spend analytics on the market today. On many levels, AnyData is closer to the data-centric heritage of BIQ, as it is fundamentally a self-service analytics solution, compared with the vast majority of spend analytics providers, which prefer to handle cleansing and classification activities “as a service,” even if they offer to sell the classification engine separately (which rarely happens).

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores AnyData’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations and other customers decide whether AnyData is the right fit for their need. The first installment provided a company and solution overview and a recommended fit list of criteria for firms considering AnyData. Part 3 will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

AnyData Solutions: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview

There must be something in the procurement climate in the United Kingdom that encourages procurement technology entrepreneurs to start spend analytics businesses. Coming on the heels of Spikes Cavell (acquired by Xchanging), Spend360 (acquired by Coupa), Simfoni and Rosslyn Analytics is the newest upstart, AnyData Solutions, which was founded in May of 2013. AnyData is yet another spend analytics vendor with strong capabilities, even some unique ones. But like many of its peers, it has been undercapitalized from the start and as a result has not invested in the type of sales and marketing efforts necessary to make it a household name. It has also lacked the channel and business development prowess of Spikes and Spend360, which helped drive significant, yet behind the scenes, growth.

Perhaps most important, as chronicled by Spend Matters previously (see: Exploring the Customer Experience of a Spend Analytics Provider that Should be On Your Shortlist), AnyData’s broad claim around the delivery of broad, powerful analytics is not the typical smoke and mirrors marketing that many vendors put forth. Our analysis suggests it delivers a true end-to-end analytics platform (unlike just about every other spend analysis solution) that is extensible across functions, industries and different use cases both inside and outside of procurement.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about AnyData Solutions and whether its capabilities are a fit for their needs. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and a detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider AnyData in the procurement technology and solutions area. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Measuring the Procurement Technology User Experience: More Than Just a Pretty Screen (Part 1)

UXI

A good technology user experience is not like pornography: One can actually define it without seeing it, or at least attempt to do so.

As you may have noticed, the “Vendor Snapshot” deep dive reports that Spend Matters has been doing for the past year on technology providers have included a section on user experience (UI). In this section, we have rated UI on a number of factors. While it may seem that the first five ratings are subjective, they were all based on a comparison of the platform to other platforms, with a generalized baseline against a set of criteria for “good” user experience that the Spend Matters Analyst team has been developing for over a year.

But now that Spend Matters has released its first SolutionMap℠ — with many more to come — we decided it was time to put down a standard set of more specific definitions, across specific procurement technology modules, about what makes for a good user experience based on the criteria we ourselves use to evaluate UIs across the source-to-pay workflow.

Today, we’ll start our discussion by defining what general characteristics make for a good UI, and an effective user experience (UIX), primarily by sharing examples (without naming vendor names) and different use case scenarios that separate out a base-level UX from an advanced one.

PRGX: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary & Competitive Analysis

While not as well known in the spend analytics and supplier management markets as most of its peers, PRGX has built up a small arsenal of solutions through acquisition and organic development that are likely to surprise potential customers — including those that are PRGX audit recovery clients but that may not be aware of PRGX’s emerging technology and solutions outside its traditional services business. In particular, with its OPTIX and Lavante product lines, PRGX brings a particular competency in delivering a “data as a service” model and supplier information management (SIM) solution capability.

This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering PRGX offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other procurement technology providers in the spend analytics and supplier management areas. It also includes a user selection guide, user interface and user experience (UI/UX) analysis and summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provide a company and deep-dive solution overview, a SWOT analysis, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider PRGX.

PRGX: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses

PRGX, a recovery audit specialist and a firm in the broader procurement services market, is the midst of transforming itself from a services orientation to a solution one, embedding both technology and expertise in productized capabilities. Although it has yet to invest in externalizing its core technology and data capabilities for recovery audit in retail and other industries, it continues to expand its data-centric capability in spend analytics and, more recently, supplier information management through its acquisition of Lavante.

Whether these or related technologies ultimately automate and digitize core aspects of recovery audit for PRGX in retail (the recovery audit sector where it has dominant market position) is a question for the future. Today, PRGX sells core technology and solutions — including “data as a service” to fuel the back-end of spend analytics — in addition to its auditing service. It is these technologies and related solutions that are the focus of this analysis.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores PRGX’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations and other customers decide whether PRGX is the right fit for their need. The first installment of our analysis provided a company and solution overview and a recommended fit list of criteria for firms considering PRGX. Part 3 will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

PRGX: Vendor Snapshot Part 1 — Background & Solution Overview

For those that do not know it, PRGX would appear to be one of a select number of dominant services provider in the niche market for recovery audit services — a market that unlike other procurement services faces tremendous price pressure for its core recovery, statement and related auditing and profit recovery services. But PRGX has started to remake itself quietly from within — out of necessity, given these broader market trends — building and acquiring technology capabilities in the spend analytics and supplier management areas, both to expand its relevance and to start driving automation and scale in its core business.

Its recent acquisition of Lavante, a supplier management provider with best-in-class supplier information management (SIM) and master data management (MDM) capabilities, showcases the direction PRGX is taking as it migrates from an audit-driven services firm to a new type of savings and recovery “as-a-service” solutions provider. It brings particular competence in extending core spend analytics to payment and product (SKU) analyses, the latter of which is particularly relevant to its core retail client base (from its recovery audit business).

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about PRGX and whether its technology and solution capabilities are a fit for their needs (it does not provide a review of PRGX’s core recovery audit services capability). Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider PRGX in the procurement technology and solutions area. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Simfoni: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Competitive & Summary Analysis

Analytics

A great “mash-up” is happening within the procurement solution provider market. SaaS companies are increasingly delivering content such as benchmarks, KPIs, templates and more within their applications. Consulting firms are developing their own technologies and pre-configured instances of third-party solutions, such as vertically configured systems, in addition to deploying and implementing standard products and tools. And managed services providers and business process outsourcing (BPO) firms are increasingly blurring the line with their own proprietary solutions that extend beyond just the billable hour and “outcomes as a service.”

Simfoni, an upstart global solutions provider with both technology and services offerings primarily targeting the analytics and tail spend areas today, fits perfectly into this converging world. This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering Simfoni offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other vendors in the spend analytics and tail spend market that companies may wish to shortlist. It also includes a user selection guide and summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provide a company and deep dive solution overview, a SWOT analysis, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider Simfoni.

Simfoni: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses

spend analytics

Simfoni represents a new type of solution provider in the procurement technology and services market. While it brings significant out-of-the-box capability in analytics and tail spend management, it is also a solutions integrator, of sorts. In deploying solutions to customers, Simfoni leverages both its own organically developed capabilities and third-party technology to deliver customized solutions to each customer.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Simfoni’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations and other customers decide whether Simfoni is the right fit for their need. The first instalment of our analysis provided a company and solution overview and a recommended fit list of criteria for firms considering Simfoni. Part 3 will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Simfoni: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview

If experienced procurement consultants and product developers had a third chance to create a firm, what would they decide to emphasize, especially when taking a global perspective to creating solutions that are appropriate for customers at different levels of maturity in both established and developing markets? The answer to this question is enlightening, because Simfoni, a London-based provider of procurement solutions, represents a unique melding of experienced perspectives based on needs that, in many cases, are not being directly met today in the area of procurement, sourcing strategy and tail spend management.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Simfoni and whether its capabilities are a fit for their needs. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Simfoni in the procurement technology and solutions area. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Serex: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Competitive & Summary Analysis

consultant

The market for strategic sourcing technology is highly competitive. Procurement organizations have many choices within a fragmented landscape. As Spend Matters observes in our 2017 report, Landscape Definition and Overview: Sourcing, Contracting and Supplier Management, procurement organizations can chose from four different classes of solution: procurement technology suites, which offer either source-to-contract enablement or broader source-to-pay capability; standalone sourcing solutions; direct materials-centric solutions; and sourcing optimization providers.

Within our market segmentation, Spend Matters classifies Serex, which offers a reverse auction solution, as offering technology that falls within a sub-segment of the standalone sourcing solution area.

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering Serex 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 Serex and offers provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides summary analysis and recommendations for companies considering the vendor. Part 1 provided an in-depth look at Serex as a firm and its specific solutions, and Part 2 gave a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses, as well as a review of the product’s user interface and user experience.

Serex: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses

RFP

Procurement groups often emphasize different strategic sourcing technology requirements based on the needs of the organization. For some, capturing and automating a basic RFX process through the most easy-to-use technology is a top priority. For others, advanced bidding/auction format and highly detailed cost breakdown capabilities take center stage. Still for others, the most highly sought after capabilities are those that allow them to reimagine the strategic sourcing process entirely by fully considering both external (i.e., supplier, supply market and supply chain) and internal constraints. Yet other companies just want a reverse auction solution that maximizes the efficiency and speed of their teams for simple (“three bids in a box”) and complex (thousands of line items) bids alike. It is this latter procurement organizational profile that is likely to most appreciate the e-sourcing capability that Serex, a recent entrant into the procurement technology market, provides.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Serex’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider using as a core strategic sourcing technology. The first installment of our analysis provided a company and solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering Serex. Part 3 will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives and additional evaluation and selection considerations.