Author Archives: Michael Lamoureux



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

ClientLoyalty competes in what we could most accurately describe as a “sub-sub” segment of the supplier management market. Usually such niches relegate solution providers to a small corner of market obscurity, often to build profitable businesses that go unnoticed by most. But there is actually a real potential market in what ClientLoyalty is attempting to create alongside a select number of other technology providers also focused on the management of strategic supplier relationships: a market for a true supplier relationship management solution.

While there are many solutions today that address supplier information management (SIM) and also supplier performance management (SPM), only a handful actually focus on supplier relationship management — which we are hesitant to call SRM, because the term was usurped by ERP years ago and given an entirely different meaning. ClientLoyalty is one of the few, avenging the “SAP SRM” and “Peoplesoft SRM” product names that did such an original disservice to what SRM is really about. (Hint: It’s not e-procurement!)

This final installment of our Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering ClientLoyalty offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other supplier management providers for shortlist consideration. It also includes a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provided a company and deep dive solution overview, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider ClientLoyalty.

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

ClientLoyalty, a specialized supplier management technology provider, would argue that true supplier relationship management is not just about gathering and managing supplier information, performance metrics and action plans. Rather, it is a class of solution that addresses the fundamental aspects of strategic relationships including tracking, measuring and managing feedback (from the organization and the supplier). But it must also serve to monitor the evolution of the relationship — not just performance — and allow for the collaborative creation of action plans to improve the relationship. In other words, from a procurement perspective, ClientLoyalty is closer to serving as a data-driven co-therapist chair for buyers and suppliers in strategic relationships than anything else.

But is this a niche market or something more? This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores ClientLoyalty’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider it for their needs. The first installment of our analysis provided a company and solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering ClientLoyalty. Part 3 will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

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

Supplier performance management is quickly becoming a "hot topic" among procurement organizations that want to create step change improvement as part of their supply management journey. This technology segment is actually a sub-segment of the supplier management technology market, which is more broadly comprised of what we often describe as “strategic procurement technologies” (see Spend Matters’ Sourcing, Contracting and Supplier Management Landscape Definition and Overview report for more detail). But supplier performance management, while a hot topic among procurement people and among those marketing solutions on the vendor side, is unfortunately not a hot topic among developers, especially as it pertains to managing the relationship aspect of supplier collaboration. While many procurement suite technology providers offer supplier management solutions, the reality is that the majority of these emphasize collecting and managing supplier master data and limited supplier performance management requirements.

ClientLoyalty, a somewhat ironically-named technology provider based on its orientation to managing suppliers, is hoping to change this. ClientLoyalty was founded with the desire to bring strategic supplier relationship management to companies that realized the critical importance of relationship management in order to get the most value for their money from suppliers. This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about ClientLoyalty’s supplier management capabilities. 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 ClientLoyalty in the procurement technology area. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

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

purchasing

The full list of Simeno’s list of “substitute” competitors is long. The list of direct competitors is much shorter. Yet perhaps the more important question procurement organizations should ask when considering procure-to-pay (P2P) products is whether they view the solutions as a technology-driven extension of ERP or something else entirely.

Organizations that prioritize solutions like Simeno are more traditional customers of e-procurement and will typically view transactional purchasing activities as a means to both automate and influence everyday buying activities. In contrast, a newer breed of P2P “buyer” is as — and often even more — concerned with the other benefits solution can bring, including long-tail supplier enablement and adjacent functional capability.

This third and final installment of our Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering Simeno provides an objective SWOT analysis of the e-procurement provider and offers a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as alternative vendors to Simeno and offers provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides summary analysis and recommendations for companies considering the vendor. Part 1 offered an in-depth look at Simeno 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 experience.

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

Even though many procure-to-pay (P2P) deals are increasingly becoming showdowns between Coupa and SAP Ariba, the long tail of procure-to-pay (P2P) providers remains significant. In fact, many of these companies continue to thrive. Spend Matters tracks hundreds of different providers in the P2P market, and within e-procurement alone there are dozens. One of these is Simeno, a provider and “solution integrator” that is expanding in North America. Although not well known outside of Europe, Simeno has a strong track record of enabling complex e-procurement scenarios for global companies as a “surround” approach to ERP providers. It brings particular capability in catalog management, which drives its shopping, search and broader capabilities. Curiously, it also leads its own implementations, bringing its own consulting/systems integration capability.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Simeno’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 (pros/cons) 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 Simeno in the P2P technology area. The final installment in this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

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

To create “life” you need a number of ingredients. Scientists will say that these inputs include an atmosphere, water and a source of energy, such as sunlight. In a similar way, the number of focused European procure-to-pay (P2P) enabling providers — including Simeno, Wallmedien, jCatalog (now OpusCapita), IBX/Capgemini — that have quietly emerged with little or no marketing is a result of a confluence of different inputs, giving “life” to a sector that otherwise would not have been created or grown. These inputs include the following: the ubiquity of SAP as a core ERP/MRP provider in manufacturing-centric European markets; gaps within SAP MM, ECC and SRM (prior to Ariba) from a procurement and an invoice-to-pay (inclusive of e-invoicing) perspective; and a market that prides itself on being educated on the vendors to shortlist for consideration and that takes an RFI-driven approach in which procurement/IT already know the available supply market, alleviating the need for vendors to “market” their brand and solutions as they would in other works.

Simeno is “proof of life” based on this somewhat unique set of inputs of a technology supply market that is still thriving, especially in the German and Nordic markets, despite the broadening out of SAP with Ariba and the emergence and early success of North American providers such as Coupa in these geographies.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help buying organizations, suppliers and partners make informed decisions on Simeno’s procure-to-pay capabilities as a complement and “surround” approach to company ERP systems, especially SAP. 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 Simeno in the procurement technology area. The rest of this multi-part research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analysis, user selection guides, insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Scanmarket: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Commentary and Summary Analysis

Today’s landscape for e-sourcing (RFX, auction, category management, sourcing optimization, etc.) is highly fragmented. There is not a single market-share leader or “dual” leadership in this sector (as is the case with Coupa and Ariba for procure-to-pay). However, there has been one trend when it comes to consolidation, and that is providers focused on the “upstream” areas inclusive not only of sourcing, but also supplier management, contract management and analytics, either building or buying their way into the procure-to-pay sector — or merging their capabilities with other solution providers in this market.

Yet one nearly full “upstream” provider focused on this market remains independent: Scanmarket. (We say “nearly full” because it remains dependent on a partner for spend classification, and it has some functional gaps in the supplier management and contract management areas.) Of course Scanmarket faces competition from different segments of providers with either more targeted or overlapping functional footprints. But its commitment and focus on strategic sourcing technology and adjacent capabilities at a global scale remains singular today, at least as independent vendors go.

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering Scanmarket 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 Scanmarket 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 Scanmarket as a firm and its specific solutions, and Part 2 gave a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses and a review of the product’s user experience.

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

Scanmarket is one of the last remaining independent “upstream” procurement technology suite providers. While it brings particular capability and expertise in running both simple and complex RFX and auction processes (and formats), it also offers a range of adjacent capabilities in project management, supplier management and contract management. On many levels, Scanmarket is one of the heirs apparent to the specialized e-sourcing capability pioneered by firms like FreeMarkets and Procuri — and it also represents a targeted and cost-effective alternative to full-suite providers (as well as deeper sourcing capability than procure-to-pay specialists in the market today).

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Scanmarket’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 (pros/cons) 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 Scanmarket in the procurement technology area. The final installment in this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

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

The sourcing and supplier management suite market (inclusive of spend analytics, e-sourcing, supplier management and contract management) was a crowded sector for many years. But as more providers with capabilities focused on this area have expanded their product offering to transactional procurement and as vendors in the procure-to-pay (P2P) sector expanded through acquisition into sourcing and supplier management, the number of targeted suite providers focused solely on what we describe as the “source-to-contract” market has declined. Yet Scanmarket is one of those that remain (and it is the vendor with the most traction and the largest customer base). And it is a solution provider that is more than standing its ground in a market where consolidation and the march to both strategic and transactional suites is becoming the norm.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help buying organizations, suppliers and partners make informed decisions on Scanmarket’s source-to-contract capabilities. 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 Scanmarket in the procurement technology area. The rest of this multi-part research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analysis, user selection guides, insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Agiloft: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Commentary and Summary Analysis

The contract lifecycle management (CLM) technology market is highly fragmented today, with customers having significant choice between broad-based suite and independent vendors. Within this mix of full lifecycle solutions — from analytics to authoring to compliance — there are also specialized providers that stand out for unique capabilities, specialization or unique technology approaches to CLM. One CLM provider that is differentiated from other options — owing both to its business rules and business process management (BPM) foundation and to its adjacent capability in asset management and related areas — is Agiloft.

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering Agiloft provides an objective SWOT analysis of the provider and offers a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as substitute providers to Agiloft and provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides summary analysis and recommendations for companies that can best take advantage of Agiloft’s capabilities. Part 1 of this series provided an in-depth look at Agiloft as a company and its specific solutions, and Part 2 gave a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses and a review of the user experience.

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

Most procurement organizations have only started to explore the full set of capabilities that integrated contract lifecycle management (CLM) capabilities can bring. Yet in most cases today – outside of procurement organizations deploying integrated suite-based contract management technologies, many of which offer limited capabilities relative to independent CLM vendors – CLM remains loosely coupled from overall procurement processes, including sourcing, supplier management, transactional buying, contract compliance and risk management. Agiloft, one of dozens of independent CLM providers out there, offers a means of creating a synthetic process- and data-driven “hub” beyond providing core contract management capabilities alone.

Agiloft’s history, which we trace in this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series, includes over a decade spent developing and refining its core business rules and business process management (BPM) engine. While these two capabilities now come standard with other procurement and CLM technologies, to say they are all created equal would be as incorrect as labeling all source-to-pay platforms equal. While sounding technical on the surface, these two areas are the defining elements that help differentiate the vendor today in terms of what they can enable procurement to achieve (beyond the expected CLM basics). In addition, they enable Agiloft to serve as a new type of project and process orchestration platform to unite other technologies and data sets.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Agiloft’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 (pros/cons) 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 Agiloft in the CLM area. Next up, this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Coupa and Spend360: Spend Analysis Background and Product Analysis

Tradeshift Baiwang

Coupa’s acquisition of Spend360 brings an immediate set of capabilities to Coupa customers — and the basis of a broader, disruptive and embedded offering integrally linked to Coupa’s cloud solution. But what is spend analytics (and spend classification, specifically) and why should customers care? What types of reports should you be able to run? And more narrowly, what specific capabilities does Spend360 bring and how are these different than alternative approaches (e.g., AI/machine learning vs. rules-based classification).

There’s also the question of what Spend360 will ultimately enable Coupa to achieve by applying an AI-driven approach to the firm’s broader source-to-pay platform, including guiding users to better decisions based on insights their own data can provide, a broader topic Coupa’s CEO, Rob Bernshteyn, hinted at during a talk earlier this year. But we’ll leave this specific topic to a longer exploration after we’ve had the chance to delve into the “so what” for customers from the acquisition.

This Spend Matters PRO research brief provides a product-centric analysis that will help Coupa customers and prospects get beyond the headlines of the announcement and understand, on a comparative basis, what spend analytics really is, how spend classification works and how Spend360 stacks up to others.