Author Archives: Michael Lamoureux



Program Management: The Missing Link in Procurement Technology Modules and Suites (Part 4 — Sourcing Components)

If there is a glue that binds together different areas of procurement workflow, it is the overall program management of both individual tasks and collective activities across the source-to-pay continuum. This Spend Matters PRO series is designed to provide insight into what effective program management technology capabilities encapsulate from a design, platform and functional perspective.

In the last part of the series, we focused on sourcing and the types of sourcing programs that must be enabled by a modern sourcing or source-to-pay platform a modern user experience. In this fourth installment, we explore specific program management solution components that are required to enable the sourcing programs discussed in Part 3. In particular, we describe the specific overlay capabilities on top of sourcing technology to enable category strategy and realignment, re-sourcing, tail spend management, supply base rationalization and supply base expansion.

Program Management: The Missing Link in Procurement Technology Modules and Suites (Part 3 — Sourcing Programs)

If there is a glue that binds together different areas of procurement workflow it is the overall program management of both individual tasks and collective activities across the source-to-pay (S2P) continuum. And nowhere in S2P is this more pronounced than in strategic sourcing.

This Spend Matters PRO series provides insight into what effective program management technology capabilities encapsulate from a design, platform and functional perspective. We explore both what represents best-in-class program management components today and what users might expect tomorrow.

Part 1 of the series explored effective program management overall from a strategy and process standpoint — and then from a technology standpoint. Part 2 provided a framework and insights into some of the functional (technology product) building blocks of effective program management, with a focus on project and portfolio management.

Today in Part 3 of this series, we examine sourcing and the types of sourcing programs that must be enabled by a modern sourcing or source to pay platform, with a focus on how they fit into broader program management.

SAP Ariba Launches A New Sourcing Front — Decision Optimization (Part 2: Solution Analysis)

procurement software

In a perfectly logical world, sourcing optimization would become the default means of the majority of strategic negotiations with suppliers. At Spend Matters, we believe its superiority to other sourcing techniques — especially in its ability to extend procurement’s influence to supply chain, finance and other areas of the business by incorporating multiple elements of data collection and analysis — is unmatched. But even though the benefits of sourcing optimization are real and core sourcing optimization technology requirements are well established, the capability today is more of an outlier than standard practice.

Might SAP Ariba be able with its recently enhanced sourcing optimization capability to bring optimization to the masses, and accomplish, at this point, what other more established solutions have not yet been able to achieve? Perhaps. But it will take more than the right capabilities to drive universal sourcing optimization adoption, as SAP Ariba’s competitors in the area have found. For the purposes of this Spend Matters PRO research brief, we’ll “constrain” our dataset to a much easier scenario to solve for: providing a perspective on how SAP Ariba’s current sourcing optimization capability stacks up against our core SolutionMap requirements for the area.

SAP Ariba Launches A New Sourcing Front — Decision Optimization (Part 1: Solution Components)

SAP Ariba has opened a new front on the strategic sourcing optimization software battlefield. We recently received a detailed product demonstration of the next evolution of SAP Ariba’s decision optimization capability, as well as a glimpse of what’s on the roadmap. Our take is positive. SAP Ariba’s foundation and future plans represent a solid start in this area. And while other established providers of sourcing optimization tools have a decade-long head start, we expect SAP Ariba to progress faster in its optimization journey than many of its peers.

In this two-part Spend Matters PRO analysis, we begin with an introduction to the required solution components of sourcing decision optimization and an explanation of the benefits they can bring to procurement organizations. In Part 2, we offer an overview of SAP Ariba’s new decision optimization capability, exploring its strengths and weaknesses. 

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

procurement software

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

procurement software

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.