Author Archives: Xavier Olivera



Basware Connect 2018 Dispatch: By the Numbers and New Developments

Global Procurement Tech Summit

Spend Matters is on the ground in Austin, Texas, to cover the Basware Connect 2018 customer conference. The event kicked off Wednesday with an analyst-focused discussion on where the procure-to-pay (P2P) provider grew in 2017 and where it is adding to its value proposition in the coming year.

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.

Tech Enabling Procurement Shared Services: SAP Ariba Begins the Journey

Procurement shared services organizations and centers of excellence (CoEs) are sometimes tasked with the operational management of source-to-pay technologies on behalf of the organizations they serve. But up until now, they have not utilized purpose-built solutions to improve their own operations. While many use core analytics, sourcing, contract management, supplier management, e-procurement and invoice-to-pay solutions in some capacity in the delivery of their services, the actual operational management of shared services organizations and CoEs themselves has been loosely integrated with underlying procurement technology at best.

In other words, there has not been an operational solutions layer specifically designed for procurement shared services and CoE groups that provides a single workbench to manage activities. This is true even though legacy SharePoint, business process management and workflow solutions often loosely hold some knitting together for these teams. SAP Ariba is hoping to change this with introduction of its Procurement Desk product, which Spend Matters PRO recently profiled, covering the solution’s current capabilities in its initial release and planned roadmap for the coming quarters.

This Spend Matters PRO brief explores how different procurement technologies enable the various roles that shared services organizations and CoEs assume — and the opportunity for an operational overlay on top of underlying procurement technology modules. As part of this analysis, we also consider how Procurement Desk may help meet the broader needs of shared services and CoEs, as well as opportunities for SAP Ariba and others to close the gaps that remain in developing purpose-built operational management solutions for these organizations.

SAP Ariba Procurement Desk: Shared Services and Center of Excellence (CoE) Enablement

category management

Procurement shared services groups can take different shapes and can add different sources of value. Shared services tend to focus on procure-to-pay (P2P) and accounts payable support, including supplier enablement, supplier master data maintenance, transactional purchasing, transaction processing, invoice automation and exception management. CoEs focus on both a classic shared services model (i.e., supporting processes on behalf of the business units) or a more transformational CoE model (i.e., giving business units tools, training and focused resources like third-party services). 

The former tends to focus on tactical buying like spot buying and tail spend management, and the latter tends to focus on strategic procurement areas such as analytics, sourcing, category and supply market intelligence, and contract management support. Increasingly, a number of CoEs are focused on both areas, whether run and administered internally or in an outsourced manner — sometimes only in part — by a business process outsourcing (BPO) partner such as Accenture or GEP.

Yet even with the help of these outsourced partners, procurement shared services teams and CoEs have not had up to this point a purpose-built technology solution to manage their own operations. SAP Ariba is hoping to change this with its new Procurement Desk product. Available in March to limited release customers and in the summer months to all SAP Ariba customers, Procurement Desk has big plans to improve the capability of shared services teams and CoEs to deliver value and drive continuous improvement.

Based on demonstration sessions, presentations and analyst discussions at SAP Ariba Live in March 2018, this Spend Matters PRO research brief introduces the initial release of Procurement Desk, explores some of SAP Ariba’s ambitions for future releases based on the product roadmap and offers our initial analysis of the new offering, along with recommendations for SAP Ariba customers. A subsequent PRO research brief will provide a generalized CoE operating framework spanning all areas that procurement shared services groups can address with SAP Ariba’s current and planned capabilities for targeting this market.

Oracle’s P2P Strengths and Weaknesses for Procurement Cloud

As we noted in an earlier research brief, Oracle has leapfrogged ahead of competitors in the cloud procurement area. Its latest offering took us by surprise and will no doubt surprise others, as well. But what are Oracle’s most apparent strengths and weaknesses within Procurement Cloud relative to Coupa, SAP Ariba and other top-performing providers?

This Spend Matters PRO analysis, based on our latest SolutionMap review of Oracle’s capability in Q1 2018 and the vendor's recent Modern Supply Chain Experience event, explores Oracle Procurement Cloud’s comparative strengths and weaknesses within the e-procurement and invoice-to-pay areas.

Spend Matters also recently published a Vendor Snapshot series on Oracle’s overall Procurement Cloud suite (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). The review provides an end-to-end perspective, including a listing of modules, competitive alternatives, suite strengths and weaknesses, best fit recommendations and a SWOT analysis.

A P2P Cloud Surprise: Oracle Leapfrogs Ahead in E-Procurement and Invoice-to-Pay

While it may surprise many procurement organizations, systems integrators and competitive vendors in the market today, Spend Matters’ Q1 2018 SolutionMap findings suggest that Oracle’s e-procurement capability is a top feature/capability contender alongside rivals SAP Ariba, Coupa, Ivalua and others. (Our latest SolutionMap is based on an analysis of 19 e-procurement vendors.) But where specifically has Oracle made investments to come up to par in this multifaceted and disciplined segment of procurement technology, and how does its capability stack up today?

In a series of two Spend Matters PRO research briefs, both based on SolutionMap analysis and time spent at Oracle’s 2018 Modern Supply Chain Experience event, we will explore Oracle’s latest e-procurement and invoice-to-pay capabilities. Today’s analysis provides an introduction to Oracle’s core capabilities in these areas and offers a perspective on where Oracle will likely surprise potential customers. The second analysis explores specific Oracle Cloud P2P strengths and weaknesses and provides comparative insight for those considering Oracle’s e-procurement and invoice-to-pay capabilities.

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

Better known in Europe than in North America, SynerTrade is ramping up its U.S. presence in 2018. We see a bright future for the provider on a global basis, provided it makes adequate sales, marketing and channel investments that call attention to what it is capable of enabling through its broad, cloud-based procurement platform.

SynerTrade is one of the few vendors capable of delivering a comprehensive, fully integrated and rapidly deployable source-to-pay suite that also provides organizations the ability to rapidly configure heavy internationalization and systems integration requirements. This makes it a particularly interesting shortlist candidate for procurement organizations with global requirements and complex systems environments. Although not without weaknesses, it is nevertheless unique in its approach and is likely to appeal to many organizations that today have no idea who it is, owing to its previous regional focus in Europe.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about SynerTrade’s source-to-pay 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 SynerTrade in the procurement and finance technology areas. Part 2 of this research brief covered product strengths and weaknesses, and this final installment offers competitor and SWOT analyses, as well as evaluation and selection considerations.

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

Even though the procurement technology suite market is less than two decades old, we're still in an era where there are only a handful of end-to-end source-to-pay providers that are well established and reasonably mature. These providers are not equal by a long shot, each bringing different strengths and weaknesses. And there are some gaps that have not yet been filled (e.g., a “Nimble” buying persona suite).

SynerTrade, a procurement technology suite provider, is an example of a firm contributing to the breakneck pace of recent innovation in the source-to-pay suite market — and one that may yet fill the “Nimble” suite need. Providers in this formerly slow-moving technology market are now developing solutions more quickly than ever before, introducing and fully fleshing out new capabilities and technologies over quarters, not multiple years or decades.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores SynerTrade’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the provider. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview, as well as a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering SynerTrade. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

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

digital

The market for cloud-based procure-to-pay technologies continues to get busier. Differentiating between all of the options available can become a full-time job for a P2P process lead. Within this mix, OpusCapita, a Nordics-based firm that includes the acquired and integrated JCatalog solution set, offerings a compelling set of capabilities that, while not widely known outside of Northern Europe, are worthy of shortlist contention in a variety of scenarios, especially when complex indirect procurement, including advanced catalog and product information management, is required.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about OpusCapita’s solution offering in the supplier management and supplier diversity markets. 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 OpusCapita in the procurement and finance technology areas. Part 2 covered product strengths and weaknesses, and this final installment offers a competitor and SWOT analysis, along with evaluation and selection considerations.

OpusCapita: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Platform Strengths and Weaknesses

The procure-to-pay (P2P) solution market continues to heat up in North America. Choices abound for new customers, as well as for those looking to upgrade or take legacy solutions into the cloud. The same is true in Europe, too, as both the same set and an additional group of providers battle it out for e-procurement, invoice-to-pay and trade financing solution dominance, giving procurement and finance organizations an unprecedented amount of choice. Within this mix, OpusCapita, which includes the acquired and now integrated jCatalog solution, offers a compelling mix of capabilities whose strengths are actually quite different from many of the better-known names in the sector.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores OpusCapita’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the provider. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering OpusCapita. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

OpusCapita: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview

digital

When most procurement and AP organizations think of the Nordics and procurement and accounts payable technology, they think of Basware. But there’s a new, re-emerging provider out of Finland (and the broader Nordics) with surprising scale behind it. This provider, OpusCapita, combined organically developed technology assets with the e-procurement and invoice-to-pay capabilities of jCatalog, which it acquired in 2016, and Itella. Today, OpusCapita’s solutions span the gamut of source-to-pay, order-to-cash, cash management, supplier network connectivity and product information management. As a component of its solutions, regulatory and payment integration and compliance is a strength.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot offers an introduction to OpusCapita, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement and finance organizations make informed decisions about whether they should explore this lesser-known solution provider. 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 OpusCapita as a complement to other procurement and finance solutions. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.