Author Archives: Michael Lamoureux



Procurement with Purpose: Easy to Say, Hard to Do

hidden workers

One of the big themes at last week's SAP Ariba Live was “procurement with purpose” — the idea that procurement organizations, with their collective spending power, can use their clout to do good. When you consider that the annual transaction volume through the Ariba Network exceeds the combined annual commerce of Alibaba, Amazon and eBay — and dwarfs that of many nations— it seems quite feasible that procurement can drive change, especially since money talks. But just as only the squeaky wheel gets the grease, only the loudest money is heard above the din.

BidMode: Vendor Introduction (Part 2) — Solution Strengths, Weaknesses and SWOT

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction continues our initial coverage of BidMode, a recent entrant in the sourcing optimization sector. If you’re curious about how BidMode stacks up on a comparative basis to Coupa, Jaggaer, Keelvar and others in the Sourcing Optimizer persona, you’ll need to wait until our Q2 2018 SolutionMap release, in which EC Sourcing — with BidMode pre-integrated — features its optimization capability.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction provides a candid take on BidMode and its solutions. This second installment analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of BidMode’s solution, as well as offers an overall SWOT analysis and summary perspective on the provider. Part 1 of this brief includes an overview of the BidMode, describes its capabilities and provides a checklist for those that might consider the provider.

bidmode: Vendor Introduction (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview

Those who think the sourcing optimization market is wrapped up by incumbent technology would be wrong. For at least the last few months, procurement organizations interested in sourcing optimization have had their choice of five different providers: SAP Ariba, Coupa, Jaggaer, Keelvar and SynerTrade. To this list, we can now add a sixth option: bidmode.

Among the first five on the list, currently available choices and capability vary significantly. SAP Ariba, the newest entrant, has big ambitions but limited capability. SynerTrade, which has not invested much in optimization since a few customers demanded the capability a decade ago, is in the same boat. The remaining three all offer differing degrees of more advanced capability.

But now to the sixth option. Without even a single mention in the media yet, bidmode, which launched this year, already has a few customers and a pipeline of about a dozen prospects for its new, low-risk entry model called "bidmode Inside," in which it serves as an extension to third-party sourcing capabilities.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction provides a candid take on bidmode and its solutions. Part 1 provides an overview of bidmode and its capabilities, as well as a checklist for those that might consider working with the company. Part 2 offers a perspective on what is comparatively good (and not so good) about bidmode’s solution, including a SWOT analysis.

Vroozi: Vendor Snapshot Update (Part 2) — Strengths, Weaknesses, Customer Perspective, Competition and Summary

Vroozi typifies the speed of innovation happening within the broader source-to-pay market in recent quarters. While much of our original Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot from early 2017 on Vroozi remains descriptive of the provider (see Part 1Part 2 and Part 3), Vroozi has picked up its pace of innovation.

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

Vroozi: Vendor Snapshot Update (Part 1) — Updated Facts, Footprint and Enhancements

The e-procurement and invoice-to-pay technology markets, which we collectively describe as procure-to-pay (P2P), provide incredible choice to software customers today. Not only are these sectors not yet consolidated, there also are a range of smaller technology providers that are seldom invited to the shortlist and selection dance as often as they should be. Within e-procurement especially, Vroozi is one provider that fits this description perfectly.

Spend Matters originally published a Vendor Snapshot on Vroozi in early 2017 (see Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3). A little over a year since then, Vroozi has made a considerable effort to update its solution, making improvements across its suite, including significant enhancements to its invoice-to-pay capabilities and additional investments in its core e-procurement offering. Most recently, in Q1 2018, Vroozi was among the top performers in the Nimble persona for the Spend Matters E-Procurement and Procure-to-Pay SolutionMaps — highlighting the comparative progress the provider has made in this period.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot Update provides a refresh to our previous analysis of Vroozi. Part 1 provides updated key facts on Vroozi and a solution overview, including both a recap of the previous coverage and an update on new capabilities. Part 2 provides updated strengths and weaknesses, customer reference insight, competitive landscape observations and summary recommendations on when to consider Vroozi as a shortlist candidate.

Use Cases of E-Signatures and Digital Signatures in Procurement and the Supply Chain

digital signatures

E-signatures and digital signatures are a rapidly growing sub-segment of the procurement and broader enterprise technology market. The numbers are truly off the charts. According to industry research, for example, the segment experienced 48% growth in 2011, and an average of 53% annual growth in 2012 and 2013. But where do e-signatures and digital signatures fit into e-procurement, beyond simply replacing handwritten signatures on the contract paper? This Spend Matters Plus research brief provides examples and use cases where these solutions can play a critical role supporting end-to-end source-to-pay (S2P) and related procurement processes.

LegalSifter: Vendor Introduction, Analysis and SWOT

forced labor

Contract lifecycle management is becoming a priority in many procurement organizations for several reasons. First, sourcing activity is increasingly driven by contract renewals on various types of managed services agreements. Second, sourcing results (e.g., savings) only matter when executed against a contract that gets matched against. Third, outside-in supply risks are ever-present and must be monitored, but a lot of risk is buried within historical contracts in the portfolio. 

As such, managing contracts intelligently is going to require a lot more than just the ability to draft new contracts efficiently and analyze simple header-level contract metadata. It's going to require the ability to analyze contracts efficiently and effectively (i.e., deeply) to determine if they contain specific clause language, address identified regulations or fall into certain categories based on specific business rules.

This is going to require a whole new class of contract analytics that until now was only offered by a few big players, like Seal Software (the clear leader in the buy-side contract analytics space who we’ve covered for years), Exari (CLM app with demonstrated AI capabilities) and, to a limited extent, Icertis. Due to the value such solutions would provide, however, a new breed of vendors, including Kira Systems, RAVN (iManage), LawGeex, Luminance, LegalRobot, Counselytics and LegalSifter, are rising up to offer this service. They are all focused on broader contract analytics (i.e., not just the buy side) and each offers a unique market focus and approach to the problem.

In this Vendor Snapshot, we’ll focus on LegalSifter and its technical approach to the problem.

Vendorful: Vendor Introduction, Analysis and SWOT

Just after suite providers claimed victory in the sourcing software arena for the value and optionality of combining integrated source-to-contract and source-to-pay capabilities, a backlash occurred. Many upstart sourcing provides, including ScoutRFP, Keelvar, Market Dojo and EC Sourcing, saw new customer acquisition growth that is at least on par with, if not increasing faster than, suites themselves.

Within this mix, we can add a “new” software firm to the mix. This sourcing provider is Vendorful, which now offers an RFX and reverse auction solution for middle-market companies that want to embark on — or accelerate — their RFX and reverse auction strategic sourcing journey. Vendorful rounds out these capabilities with basic supplier information management and contract tracking. Primary competitors include EC Sourcing, Keelvar, Market Dojo and ScoutRFP, although Vendorful differentiates itself from the market through its ease-of-use and user design.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on Vendorful and its capabilities. It includes an overview of Vendorful’s solution set, a perspective on what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a SWOT analysis and a selection requirements checklist for organizations that might consider the provider.

IntegrityNext: Vendor Introduction, Analysis and SWOT

For many procurement organizations, monitoring suppliers for regulatory compliance and sustainability initiatives is becoming increasingly important. This is true with both larger, tier-one suppliers and smaller vendors further down in the supply chain. From supply disruptions to infractions in the court of public opinion, even the most hidden suppliers today introduce product and operational risks that can cause irreparable harm to a business.

Monitoring suppliers to reduce risk, however, is no easy task, especially across the long tail of suppliers. Many procurement organizations still require a basic platform that can manage supplier, information, performance, relationship and lifecycle needs to drive basic automation, collection, aggregation and maintenance of this data. In order to get a grip on supplier compliance to meet these objectives, procurement organizations generally need four things: supplier self-assessments that capture details on policies and procedures; certificates of verification; third-party audit information; and up-to-the-minute insight and analysis on reported events that could be early indicators of issues that need to be investigated.

At the nexus of these areas is IntegrityNext, a new solution provider in the supplier risk and compliance sector. IntegrityNext is aiming to offer an affordable and easy way for procurement organizations to access compliance assessments, up-to-date certifications and real-time market sentiment on their supply chains.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on IntegrityNext and its capabilities. It includes an overview of IntegrityNext’s offering, a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a SWOT analysis and a selection requirements checklist for those that might consider the provider.

Procurement Business Drivers and Considerations For Digital and E-Signatures

Digital and electronic signatures can play a significant role in accelerating procurement and supplier management processes, reducing cycle times and eliminating latency across a range of activities. They can also help create value in other areas, from organizational and vendor compliance to saving money. This Spend Matters PRO series exploring e-signatures and digital signatures provides a foundation for procurement organizations to understand, evaluate and implement these solutions to enable a variety of use cases, including contract implementation and contract lifecycle management. In this research brief, we explore the business drivers for digital and electronic signature usage as well as selection considerations when evaluating potential solution providers.

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

Icertis is one of a select number of contract lifecycle management (CLM) solutions that can equally support the needs of both legal and procurement organizations. Its solution provides role-based dashboards and workbenches that enable diverse users across global organizations to interact with contracts, related information and documents not only within the context of core CLM but also within other processes such as source-to-pay (S2P), quote-to-cash and industry-specific workflows.

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering Icertis 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 Icertis 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 Icertis as a technology provider 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.

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

The contract lifecycle management (CLM) technology market is not one market. Rather, this technology comprises several subspecialties, each served by a diverse set of vendors with varying degrees of capability. Because of this, procurement, commercial, legal and other users have significant choice between broad-based suites and independent CLM vendors today.

Within this market, Icertis is one of the few providers delivering a robust enterprise-class CLM solution with significant depth across nearly all functional areas of CLM that Spend Matters tracks. Moreover, Icertis takes a truly platform-based approach rather offering just a set of fixed modules on a menu. It is also one of a handful of enterprise contract management solutions built on a modern technology stack, as well as one of the few that revolves entirely around the contract — even if its UI reminds us more of the end of the Obama era than Brexit.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Icertis’ 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 Icertis 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.