Author Archives: Spend Matters Analyst Team



Aravo: What Makes It Great (Supplier Management SolutionMap Analysis)

Aravo is both a pioneer and a survivor. Not only was Aravo the first specialized supplier management software provider to deliver unique capabilities outside of previously established procurement and GRC solution areas, it also emerged, over a decade, as a leader in the new space it carved out itself.

Today Aravo has a strong focus on targeted supplier management technology areas, including third-party risk management, anti-bribery and corruption, data security and privacy, and responsible sourcing. As the Spend Matters Q2 2018 Supplier Management SolutionMap illustrates, Aravo delivers above-the-benchmark functional capability across these and dozens of other key supplier management requirements. Its SolutionMap performance provides compelling evidence that the provider is a must-shortlist candidate for the majority of supplier management buying scenarios.

“What Makes It Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider Subscribers. Based on both our rigorous evaluation process and customer reference reviews, each brief offers quick facts on the provider, describes where it excels, provides hard data on where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark and concludes with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider it.

SpendHQ: What Makes It Great (Spend Analytics SolutionMap Analysis)

Analytics

On its own, SpendHQ’s performance in the Q2 2018 SolutionMap for spend analytics technology and solutions is noteworthy (not only because it beats the functional benchmark for all five buying organization personas). But SpendHQ stands out even more from competitive spend analytics providers – and the broader procurement technology vendor crowd – because it has close linkages to its parent organization, Insight Sourcing Group.

This affiliation brings related capabilities, which expand on the value proposition of spend analysis to deliver rapid savings and continuous value creation opportunities (e.g., leveraged/GPO contracts and category specific solutions for energy), not to mention deep procurement transformation, strategic sourcing and category enablement services. As important, this relationship led to the design of a spend analysis solution which, on its own outside of ISG, is purpose-built to drive sourcing results and savings capture on a category-specific basis to clients.

In terms of targeted spend analytics technology and enabling services, as the Q2 2018 Spend Analytics SolutionMap benchmark provides evidence of, SpendHQ more than holds its own in a highly competitive market as a stand-alone provider. Its SolutionMap performance provides compelling evidence, based on both analyst ratings and customer reference scoring, that the provider is a “must” shortlist candidate for nearly all spend analytics buying scenarios. Join us in exploring what makes SpendHQ great, based on the latest functional and customer SolutionMap benchmarks from Q2 2018.

“What Makes It Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider Subscribers. Based on both our rigorous evaluation process and customer reference reviews, each brief explains how the provider excels and where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark, concluding with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider the vendor.

Sievo: What Makes It Great (Spend Analytics SolutionMap Analysis)

For many years, best-in-class spend analytics providers would get their technologies and businesses to a certain point and then, on a clockwork basis, decide to sell themselves to broader procurement technology or business intelligence vendors. Sievo was, perhaps, the first provider we know to break the pattern of this trend, building an over $10MM business (and growing) specifically in the spend analytics market. We have the founders of Sievo to thank for staying the course – since they have given us an independent spend analytics solution that is one of the top ranked by both Spend Matters analysts and customers in the latest SolutionMap benchmark.

But Sievo is not like other spend analysis providers that beat the functional and customer satisfaction benchmark – at least not entirely. It has a unique set of capabilities, both functionally and from a broader services perspective, that enable it to serve multiple masters, including finance and supply chain organizations, addressing not only savings tracking that finance is willing to “sign-off” on, but also commodity management and volatility as well (the topic du jour in manufacturing these days, owing to tariffs, trade wars and general market volatility).

Perhaps it is no surprise, then, that Sievo outperforms most other spend analytics providers in the Q2 2018 Spend Analytics SolutionMap benchmark. Sievo’s Q2 2018 SolutionMap performance provides compelling evidence, based on both analyst ratings and customer reference scoring, that the provider is a “must” shortlist candidate for nearly all spend analytics buying scenarios. Join us in exploring what makes Sievo great, based on the latest functional and customer SolutionMap benchmarks from Q2 2018.

“What Makes It Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider Subscribers. Based on both our rigorous evaluation process and customer reference reviews, each brief explains how the provider excels and where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark, concluding with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider the vendor.

EC Sourcing: What Makes It Great (Sourcing SolutionMap Analysis)

The sourcing technology market would seem to be won more on two of the three “M”s  (marketing and momentum) than the third (merit), which we usually lump together in the same list of characteristics that separate fast growing tech companies from the rest. This is a shame, because sometimes the best vendors for the task don’t get invited to bid.

EC Sourcing is one such example. The vendor functionally outperforms many other sourcing providers in the Q2 2018 Sourcing SolutionMap benchmark, yet it is seen in fewer deals than direct peers, creating an information asymmetry in the market that is limiting customer choice — a triumph of marketing and momentum without balancing merit.

EC Sourcing’s Q2 2018 SolutionMap performance provides compelling evidence, based on both analyst ratings and customer reference scoring, that the provider is a must-shortlist candidate for most standalone sourcing scenarios, especially those situations in which a Nimble provider is desired. Join us in exploring what make EC Sourcing great, based on the latest functional and customer SolutionMap benchmarks from Q2 2018.

“What Makes It Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider Subscribers. Based on both our rigorous evaluation process and customer reference reviews, each brief explains how the provider excels and where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark, concluding with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider the vendor.

ConnXus: What Makes It Great (Supplier Management SolutionMap Analysis)

Editor’s note: This “What Makes it Great” column is normally reserved for SolutionMap Insider Subscribers, but ConnXus has generously agreed to support access for readers who are not yet members.  

Supplier management technology has traditionally been a bit like Beaujolais nouveau: developed quickly (in certain cases on an ad hoc basis to meet specific needs) but not necessarily prone to aging well. ConnXus, a relatively recent entrant on the supplier management and supplier diversity scene (see our three-part Vendor Snapshot on the provider here, here and here), is a case in point, rapidly eclipsing previous generation solutions.

ConnXus’ recent Q2 2018 SolutionMap performance provides compelling evidence that it sets the standard not only for what to expect in a modern supplier diversity solution but also what organizations should look for overall when searching for a Nimble supplier management technology provider. Join us in exploring what make ConnXus great, based on the latest functional and customer SolutionMap benchmarks from Q2 2018.

“What Makes it Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider Subscribers. Based on both our rigorous evaluation process and customer reference reviews, each brief explains how the provider excels and where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark, concluding with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider the vendor.

SynerTrade: What Makes It Great (Supplier Management SolutionMap Analysis)

SynerTrade is actively driving awareness of its brand beyond continental Europe, where it has a base of hundreds of customers. Yet the source-to-pay suite provider is already equipped to compete on the world procurement technology stage.

Out of the 45 participants in Spend Matters SolutionMaps for Q2 2018, SynerTrade is one of only five providers that make all 10 recommended personas for strategic procurement technologies and source-to-pay suites. One area in particular where SynerTrade differentiates itself is in the increasingly critical supplier management area, which the provider uses to unite each component of its suite.

“What Makes it Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider Subscribers. Based on both our rigorous evaluation process and customer reference reviews, each brief explains how the provider excels and where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark, concluding with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider the vendor.

Aquiire: What Makes it Great (E-Procurement SolutionMap Analysis)

We admit it. Despite the cleverness of the brand, Aquiire is a name that none of Spend Matters team members can spell right on the first try (nor on the second or third). But the e-procurement vendor stands out for more than having the only pun within its name and reminding us about how badly we are at spelling. It’s one of the only tech providers in the procurement sector that comes to mind which has successfully graduated from product/process enabler to a core solution in and of itself — one built off the plumbing of a unique, patented extended catalog management capability that addresses many of the real world limitations of managing spend beyond what’s contained within buyer or supplier hosted catalogs.

But this is only one of the things that makes Aquiire stand out from the procure-to-pay pack. Join us in this SolutionMap Insider analysis as we explore and unpack the nuances of what makes Aquiire great.

Nearly all technology providers participating in SolutionMap aren’t perfect (i.e., in analyst speak, “up and to the right”) for every business scenario. Even if a vendor has outstanding capability in certain areas — functionality, services or something else that helps it win business — to perform consistently above the functional and customer benchmark is a rarity. But there are reasons that specialist providers in different markets beat the big names in how they support specific organizational needs.

“What Makes it Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider Subscribers, exploring what makes these specialized (and in certain cases not-so-specialized) technology providers great for reasons that a simple graphic would fail to capture. Based on the rigorous SolutionMap evaluation process, customer reference reviews and expert eye from looking at products comparatively during demonstrations, the “What Makes it Great” series takes a fact-based approach to surfacing what makes individual vendors great.

In each research brief we translate each provider’s geek-level secret sauce into plain English and show precisely where the provider excels and where it convincingly “beats the benchmark” in SolutionMap. And we offer up a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider the vendor, along with basic facts to size ‘em up quickly.

OpusCapita: What Makes it Great (E-Procurement SolutionMap Analysis)

OpusCapita is somewhat of a novelty in North America — and is only selectively known at the level of SAP Ariba, Coupa or Basware in parts of Europe. That’s a shame, as OpusCapita could very well be the perfect technology fit for many procurement and finance organizations that do not even know about it. Spend Matters comparatively tore into OpusCapita’s e-procurement and procure-to-pay capability as part of our Q2 2018 SolutionMap benchmark and discovered what makes the provider great.

Nearly all technology providers participating in SolutionMap aren’t perfect (i.e., in analyst speak, “up and to the right”) for every business scenario. Even if a vendor has outstanding capability in certain areas — functionality, services or something else that helps it win business — to perform consistently above the functional and customer benchmark is a rarity. But there are reasons that specialist providers in different markets beat the big names in how they support specific organizational needs. 

“What Makes it Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider Subscribers, exploring what makes these specialized (and in certain cases not-so-specialized) technology providers great for reasons that a simple graphic would fail to capture. Based on the rigorous SolutionMap evaluation process, customer reference reviews and expert eye from looking at products comparatively during demonstrations, the “What Makes it Great” series takes a fact-based approach to surfacing what makes individual vendors great.

In each research brief we translate each provider’s geek-level secret sauce into plain English and show precisely where the provider excels and where it convincingly “beats the benchmark” in SolutionMap. And we offer up a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider the vendor, along with basic facts to size ‘em up quickly.

Q2 2018 SolutionMap E-Procurement, Invoice-to-Pay and Procure-to-Pay Release Notes

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider Release Note provides insight into the Q2 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 Q2 2018 SolutionMap release saw a number of changes from the Q1 2018 release. This includes the addition of the following new providers: SynerTrade and Jaggaer Indirect. Additionally, a number of providers have received updated scoring based on the submission and demonstration of new production technology release capabilities. In addition, the Procure-to-Pay customer reference set grew by over 50 individual customer references in Q2.

This SolutionMap Insider research note provides insight into these and additional changes in the Q2 2018 SolutionMap release.

Q2 2018 SolutionMap Release Notes: Source-to-Pay (S2P)

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider Release Note provides insight into the Q2 2018 SolutionMap release for Source-to-Pay, reviewing the process that we followed for this inaugural release.

The providers in the Q2 2018 Source-to-Pay SolutionMap include Determine, GEP, Ivalua, SAP Ariba, SynerTrade 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 Q2 2018 SolutionMap release. The Source-to-Pay customer data set is composed of a subset of the 700+ individual organization references included in the overall SolutionMap scoring as of Q2 2018*.

*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).

Q2 2018 SolutionMap Release Notes: Sourcing, Spend Analytics, SRM, CLM and Strategic Procurement Technology Suites

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider release note provides insight into the Q2 2018 SolutionMap release for Sourcing, Spend and Procurement Analytics, Supplier Relationship Management & Risk, Contract Lifecycle Management, and Strategic Procurement Technologies Suite SolutionMaps, reviewing the process we follow and highlighting what has changed since the last release.

Within the individual areas covered in this brief, the following provider has been added to the Q2 2018 release: Bonfire. Additionally, providers such as EC Sourcing, Ivalua, and SynerTrade 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.) Perhaps most important, over 100 new customer references were added in the Strategic Procurement Technology areas for Q2.

This SolutionMap Insider release note explores these and additional changes in the Q2 2018 SolutionMap release.

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.