Author Archives: Spend Matters Analyst Team



SolutionMap Subscriptions and Practitioner Selection Programs: A Primer and Sneak Peek at Q1 2018 SolutionMap

Earlier today Spend Matters released its Q1 2018 SolutionMap. The release now comprises six technology areas with individual vendor rankings (spend and procurement analytics, sourcing, supplier management, contract lifecycle management, e-procurement and invoice-to-pay) and three composite suite views (strategic procurement technologies, procure-to-pay and source-to-pay).

Our goal with SolutionMap is very different from what other analyst firms seek to achieve with their ranking systems. This is apparent even at our “free” level. The SolutionMap approach starts by releasing the ranking charts in the public domain, providing multiple persona-based views of vendor capability (45 comparative 2/2 matrices in total for the Q1 2018 release). We take a truly data-driven approach to plotting vendors, where an “average” score positions a provider in the dead center of a chart. SolutionMap ranking charts also make it easy to distinguish analyst scoring from customer scoring, plotting the data on separate analyst and customer axes. Finally, the Q1 2018 release actually reflects the time frame of its publication: We update the underlying data set and charts for SolutionMap on a quarterly basis.

Admittedly, the “free” stuff is designed to pique your interest. Unlike some of our peers in the analyst world, we have not made SolutionMap “reprint friendly” for the maximum number of vendors through grade inflation. Why? Because in the world of procurement technology, not everyone is “above average” like the children of Lake Wobegon. There’s an average, and there’s a deviation from average — positive and negative. Obfuscating these deviations might produce charts that make people feel good about buying decisions up front, but other than a near-term CYA, how useful will these be in the long run for those relying on them for, well, anything?

At the new SolutionMap subscriber level — separate from Spend Matters PRO — the tangible value of SolutionMap becomes even clearer. At this level, we unpack the underlying data we show for the analyst scoring by rated sub-category. For example, in the Supplier Management SolutionMap, you can see individual, tiered-based scoring for capabilities such as master data management (MDM), supplier onboarding support, core supplier information management (SIM) and supplier performance management, among other areas. Customer ratings (e.g., level of value perceived, quick deployment, ROI) are also visible.

To see the full level of data available to SolutionMap subscribers, check out the currently available reports from the Q1 2018 release:

There are views of the data beyond those provided in these reports (e.g., tiered-based scoring and ranked scoring for all sub-components that comprise an area, such as master data management within the Supplier Management report). Per our competitive intelligence policy, however, we reserve this view for practitioners going through a selection process (or the consultancies advising them), with strict licensing. This prevents comparative information from falling into the hands of competing vendors participating in SolutionMap. We take intellectual property protection and data privacy, for providers and practitioners, very seriously here at Spend Matters; otherwise, we’d find ourselves out of business quickly.

So, how exactly does all of this work? Read on as we unpack a SolutionMap Insider-level example within Supplier Management from the Q1 2018 SolutionMap. Specifically, we compare Jaggaer with Jaggaer Advantage (formerly BravoSolution) to showcase how it all works.

Q1 2018 SolutionMap Release Notes: Source-to-Pay (S2P)

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider Release Note provides insight into the Q1 2018 SolutionMap release for Source-to-Pay, reviewing the process that we followed for this inaugural release.

The providers in the Q1 2018 Source-to-Pay SolutionMap include Determine, GEP, Ivalua, SAP Ariba and Zycus. All of these providers were required to participate in SolutionMap for each underlying module, as well. These individual areas include Sourcing, Spend and Procurement Analytics, Supplier Relationship Management & Risk, Contract Lifecycle Management, E-Procurement and Invoice-to-Pay. All of these providers are also included in the individual Strategic Procurement Technologies (SPT) and Procure-to-Pay (P2P) suite views.

This SolutionMap Insider research note provides insight into these and additional considerations in the Q1 2018 SolutionMap release. The Source-to-Pay customer data set comprises more than 250 individual survey responses among the more than 500 different organization references included in the overall SolutionMap scoring as of Q1 2018 (and 1,000-plus individual survey responses* by module).

*Customers using more than one module that a vendor provides can opt to fill out a single survey within each individual suite area (e.g., a customer using two modules for P2P and four modules for SPT would only need to fill out two surveys).

Q1 2018 SolutionMap Release Notes: Sourcing, Spend Analytics, SRM, CLM and Strategic Procurement Technology Suites

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This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider release note provides insight into the Q1 2018 SolutionMap release for Sourcing, Spend and Procurement Analytics, Supplier Relationship Management & Risk, Contract Lifecycle Management, and Strategic Procurement Technologies Suite Solution Maps, reviewing the process we follow and highlighting what has changed since the last release.

Within the individual areas covered in this brief, the following providers have been added to the Q1 2018 release: Agiloft, Aravo, ConnXus, HICX, Opera BIQ, Simfoni and SynerTrade. Additionally, providers such as SAP Ariba have received updated scoring following the submission and demonstration of new capabilities based on production releases of individual modules. (Non-GA capabilities are not considered in SolutionMap scoring.) This SolutionMap Insider release note explores these and additional changes in the Q1 2018 SolutionMap release.

Q1 2018 SolutionMap Release Notes: E-Procurement, Invoice-to-Pay and Procure-to-Pay

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider Release Note provides insight into the Q1 2018 SolutionMap release for E-Procurement, Invoice-to-Pay (I2P) and Procure-to-Pay (P2P), reviewing the process that we follow and highlighting what has changed since the last release.

The Q1 2018 SolutionMap release saw a number of changes from the Q4 2017 release. This includes the addition of the following new providers: OpusCapita, Oracle and Yooz. Additionally, a number of providers have received updated scoring based on the submission and demonstration of new production technology release capabilities. The SolutionMap analyst team also updated weights for select buying personas, to create clearer differentiation between personas. The Procure-to-Pay customer reference set now comprises nearly 200 different procurement organizations.

This SolutionMap Insider research note provides insight into these and additional changes in the Q1 2018 SolutionMap release.

Beeline and SAP Fieldglass: The VMS Gets a Second (and Third) Act

Is it time to shine a new type of spotlight on the contingent workforce and vendor management system (VMS) stage? Perhaps. But if so, we’ve got to treat the two main actors, Beeline and SAP Fieldglass, differently from the rest, given the duopoly position that the two find themselves in within the traditional VMS market. Yet, if you excuse the musical analogy, the traditions might not be as important as, say, those in Fiddler on the Roof. And that’s because the stage itself is changing.

E-Sourcing and Spend Analytics 2018 Trends and Forecast (Part 3: Provider Analysis)

After years of relative stability in the e-sourcing and spend analytics market, 2018 appears to be ushering in a period of disruption and innovation for solution providers. From the early rise of artificial intelligence to greater adoption and innovation around sourcing optimization to the rapid emergence of contract-based analytics as a complement to traditional spend analysis, 2018 promises to be the year where change is just about the only constant in these markets. And, of course, we expect M&A activity to continue in 2018, as well, fueled by private equity interest in the sector and a general trend toward consolidation — which may or may not be good for customers, depending on the circumstances.

This is the third installment of our 2018 procurement technology trend and forecast series, focusing on solution provider trends and priorities within e-sourcing and spend analytics. Part 1 and Part 2 of this series provide an analysis and exploration of customer trends. In today’s PRO research brief, we turn our attention to the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and the continued trend toward M&A and consolidation within the procurement technology suite, sourcing and spend analytics markets. We also include a chart showing Jason Busch’s top five vendors most likely to be acquired in the next 12–18 months in the sourcing and spend analytics markets, along with a quick rationale as to “why” and “who”.

Following today’s analysis, the final installments in this series will feature additional trends (e.g., the rise of contract-based analytics) and conclude with our 2018 e-sourcing and spend analytics market sizing, forecast and adoption outlook.

E-Sourcing and Spend Analytics 2018 Trends and Forecast: Customer Adoption and Priorities (Part 2)

The Spend Matters 2018 Trends and Predictions series is in full swing this quarter. In January, we published our complete e-procurement market commentary and forecast series (see Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3). Then in February, we continued the series with our first installment covering the e-sourcing and spend analytics markets, starting with two of five trends driving customer adoption and priorities. Today, we conclude our look at predictions and trends for these markets by exploring three additional developments: valuing suite optionality, expanding sourcing and spend analytics use cases, and the streamlining of RFI and deployment processes.

E-Sourcing and Spend Analytics 2018 Trends and Forecast (Part 1): Customer Adoption and Priorities

Earlier this year we began our 2018 trends and predictions series, starting first with the e-procurement market. This earlier series is a useful primer for this one, and readers may find it worthwhile to read Part 1 (Customer Adoption and Priorities), as well as Part 2 and Part 3 (Provider Analysis and Market Sizing). Today, we continue our procurement technology trend and forecast series by diving into customer adoption trends and priorities within the e-sourcing and spend analytics markets.

We begin this exploration by analyzing what customers are valuing most from a selection and deployment perspective in 2018, as well as trends, such as IBM Emptoris migration, driving these activities. Then, in later installments in this series, we’ll offer insight into e-sourcing and spend analytics technology provider trends and strategies of note. Finally, we will share our comparative 2018 market growth and sizing estimates for both the e-sourcing and spend analytics.

From a customer adoption perspective, we see five distinctive trends, each of which we will cover in Parts 1 and 2 of the series: 

  1. Functionality Be Dammed! The Rise of the Nimble Buying Persona
  2. IBM Emptoris Migrations Accelerate
  3. Suite Optionality
  4. Expanding Sourcing and Spend Analytics Use Cases
  5. The Streamlining of RFI and Deployment Processes 

Sourcing Provider Head-to-Head Comparison: Scout RFP vs. EC Sourcing

The boom of the “Nimble” buying persona first started in e-procurement and coincided with the momentum that gave rise to Coupa’s leadership position as a “must shortlist” candidate for procure-to-pay (P2P). Spend Matters describes the Nimble buying persona as typifying companies with often early formalization of process, limited technology investment to date and potentially decentralized operations. Middle-market companies are also quite often Nimble buyers. But regardless of size, procurement organizations that fit the Nimble persona look to cloud-based technologies that can deliver on speed, efficiency, low price and quick value.

Anecdotally, Nimble is the most common buying persona Spend Matters sees today.(We will have data to corroborate this in later in 2018.) Even highly complex procurement organizations are often willing to trade off unique requirements to conform to the Nimble norm. And Nimble is not just a top buying persona for e-procurement. Nimble-minded procurement organizations are increasingly looking at solutions that meet similar criteria in other technology domains, including sourcing solutions. Based on Spend Matters Q4 2017 SolutionMap for North America customers, two of the top performing sourcing technology providers for the Nimble persona are Scout RFP and EC Sourcing.

But these providers could not be more different when it comes to outlook, motivations, management style and, most important, technology and solution strengths and weaknesses. Join us as we take off the gloves and based on Q4 2017 SolutionMap data, put Scout and EC Sourcing “head to head” into the Spend Matters evaluation ring. We’ll start by providing a technology summary comparative rating of each provider and then explore business requirements and scenarios, calling out the winner in each circumstance. PRO customers with advisory can reach out for us to comment on non-functional/technical considerations.

Granted, there’s not a bad choice among the two for the Nimble buyer. But let’s put them to the Spend Matters test and see which is the best fit for different requirements. If you’re considering either vendor or sourcing competitors, including other ranked SolutionMap providers Coupa, Determine, GEP, Ivalua, Jaggaer, Jaggaer Direct, Keelvar, Market Dojo, SAP Ariba, Scanmarket or Zycus, look no further for a head-to-head evaluation and comparison that you can’t get anywhere else.

Comparing Jaggaer and BravoSolution: Contract Lifecycle Management

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Within the procurement technology suite market, acquired contract management solutions have a history of aging more like a Zinfandel or Beaujolais and less like a Cabernet or Merlot. But the greater problem is not how well the grape (or clause library) can stand the test of time; it’s that the best elements of CLM modules do not necessarily “blend” as well as other capabilities in a procurement suite that are easier to integrate or replatform.

One of the challenges is that the requirements to effectively tackle specialized CLM components from a development and innovation standpoint are specific to CLM. Said another way, the economies of scale in development are not the same as say delivering an integrated sourcing and supplier management capability. Another major challenge is that best-of-breed CLM vendors have innovated far more rapidly in recent years by introducing new capabilities.

Within this context, BravoSolution and Jaggaer both present somewhat average CLM capabilities, based on our Q4 2017 SolutionMap results. They are certainly not bad, but neither solution delivers the same capabilities as leading best-of-breed vendors, nor do they stir our enthusiasm the way other areas of each of the providers' suites do.

In this research brief, we answer the following questions:

  • Comparatively, how does each respective CLM module stack up on a capability basis?
  • What are the functional strengths of each supplier management module “under the surface”?
  • What are the “best fit” SolutionMap personas for each CLM module?
  • Who are alternative CLM providers?
  • What are disruptive forces in the CLM market that could affect both providers?
  • Is there a disadvantage to “going non-suite” in the CLM area?
This Spend Matters PRO brief is based on the following inputs: Q4 2017 SolutionMap datasets (analyst scoring) based on our SolutionMap methodology, demonstration notes and Spend Matters PRO research on alternative suppliers (Vendor Snapshots).

Predictive Contract Negotiations: Get Full Value From CLM Tools

Contract management is undergoing a transformation, moving from the back of the procurement kitchen to nearly taking center stage. A good part of the reason is the corporate transition from a more passive "risk viewed as lack of compliance" efforts toward a more dynamic and comprehensive approach to risk management. This approach doesn't just examine legal clauses as such. Nor does it merely ensure that agreed upon prices and SLA deliverables are met, although those reasons are obviously part of the equation. There’s more to it — much more. In this Spend Matters Plus research brief, we begin by reviewing the core components of CLM systems, and then we explore the path to predictive contract negotiations, delving into the intersections of big data, predictive analytics and contract management.

Comparing Jaggaer and BravoSolution: Supplier Management

As Spend Matters defines it in terms of SolutionMap functional requirements, supplier management is a catch-all for a range of underlying capabilities. Said another way, it is not “single” supply market. Supplier management solutions combine varying depths of underlying technical capabilities with single or multi-initiative functional support capabilities. No one vendor is great at all of it — not even close — even if there are significant advantages to coupling supplier management with other modules in an integrated suite.

BravoSolution, Jaggaer and Jaggaer Direct each bring different capabilities to the supplier management equation that can make the individual modules a better fit for certain organizations and industries than others. It can also make comparing them (either directly or with others) confusing for those who are somewhat new to all of the areas that supplier management technologies support and enable.

In this research brief, we will answer the following questions:

  • Comparatively, how does each respective supplier management module stack up on a capability basis?
  • What are the functional strengths of each supplier management module “under the surface”?
  • What are the “best fit” SolutionMap personas for each supplier management module?
  • Who are alternative supplier management providers?
  • What are disruptive forces in the supplier management market (e.g., artificial intelligence, low-cost solutions) that could affect both providers?
  • Is there a disadvantage to “going non-suite” in the supplier management area?
This Spend Matters PRO brief is based on the following inputs: Q4 2017 SolutionMap datasets (analyst scoring) based on our SolutionMap methodology, demonstration notes and Spend Matters PRO research on alternative suppliers (Vendor Snapshots).