Author Archives: Xavier Olivera



BuyerQuest: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview

purchasing

There are those who believe the market for targeted (i.e., “point”) solutions in the broader source-to-pay area is becoming less important than an integrated suite approach. This observation is becoming even more important in typical customer buying decisions in cases of strategic procurement technology, such as analytics, supplier management and strategic sourcing, where more and more customers at least want the “option” to purchase an integrated suite. Yet for transactional procurement (e-procurement and invoice-to-pay) solutions today, the notion of selecting a vendor with a broader suite may or may not matter depending on what a procurement organization values most.

BuyerQuest is an upstart procurement software and solutions provider without a broader suite offering (outside of an expanding invoice-to-pay capability), albeit one that is building worldwide adoption and reach in the core areas on which it focuses. Its entire focus is on developing specialized technology that it believes delivers a best-in-class procure-to-pay (P2P) experience for users and procurement organizations, based on a unique underlying architecture built entirely with supporting a B2C user experience in mind.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about BuyerQuest and whether its capabilities are a fit for their needs. 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 BuyerQuest in the procurement technology and solutions area. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Coupa’s Release 17: Features and Approach

Coupa’s first update of the year, Release 17, offers a new application called “Perfect Fit Insights” for cross-customer B2B insights and more than 50 features across the platform including new collaboration mechanisms to work with suppliers and additional e-invoicing compliance templates.

We published an in-depth analysis of Release 17 on Spend Matters PRO, but here is a quick recap on what you can expect from the solution update.

Coupa Release 17 Analysis — And a General “How To” Lesson for Upgrading Products

On Jan. 27, Spend Matters published a quick post on first update of the year, Release 17. It offers a new application called “Perfect Fit Insights” for cross-customer B2B insights and more than 50 features across the platform, including new collaboration mechanisms to work with suppliers (SMS messaging and extended sourcing communication windows), additional e-invoicing compliance templates, and additional system configurations options such as extended customer branding. Recently, Donna Wilczek (VP of Strategy and Product Marketing at Coupa) and Gabe Perez (General Manager of Power Applications at Coupa) gave us a demonstration of Release 17 and talked to us about their innovation process and other analyses they do to continually improve the user experience, usability and value of their platform.

Coupa has a long history of out-innovating the competition, and this is not an accident. The company uses a rigorous process to identify, prioritize and implement ideas — putting the customer front and center in helping drive innovations that have the highest probability of actually being adopted.

In this Spend Matters PRO analysis, we’ll share what we’ve learned about Release 17 including expanding more on its new features and our key takeaways from them. We’ll also discuss Coupa’s general release planning, development and roll-out methodology to capture ideas that drive practical (and usable!) innovation for customers.

These are critical lessons that should not be lost on organizations evaluating Coupa in comparison to other vendors (which generally innovate more slowly), let alone any other provider developing technology to bring to market.

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

Vroozi stands out in the crowded source-to-pay technology landscape by providing a specialized e-procurement capability that can leverage the underlying components of existing ERP, financial and purchasing systems. It also takes a mobile-first orientation to enabling both business and procurement users. Powering this approach is a robust catalog management engine that creates a single, searchable repository of internally hosted catalog, externally hosted catalog, punch-out and supplier web storefronts. This provides a user-friendly layer on top of the entire procurement experience for buyers, even if ERP and other purchasing components are used on the back-end.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Vroozi’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider Vroozi on a standalone e-procurement basis or as a component of a broader transactional procurement and buying environment. The first installment of our analysis provided a company and solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering Vroozi. Part 3 will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Vroozi: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview

on-demand workforce

The source-to-pay market is one of the most diverse and fragmented of all enterprise technology areas. Only a select group of vendors have solutions that cover the broad set of functional areas than span procurement technology with any degree of depth in all key areas. These individual segments include spend/supply analytics, strategic sourcing, supplier management, contract management, e-procurement, invoice-to-pay, trade financing and supplier networks/connectivity. But in practice, most procurement and finance organizations end up initially selecting only a subset of these capabilities from a single provider even if they value the concept of an integrated suite when deciding on what vendor(s) to work with.

At its core, Vroozi, a specialized vendor in the procurement technology sector, supports what is arguably the most complex and challenging segment of this market: e-procurement. Its solution brings a range of capabilities to enable transactional purchasing and procurement spend controls, including catalog management, purchase requisitioning, purchase order processing, supplier portal, marketplace capability and procure-to-pay analytics. It can also augment and serve as a front-end to ERP and back-office purchasing system, creating a modern wrapper for both procurement and business users alike.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Vroozi’s P2P 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 Vroozi in the procurement technology area. The remaining parts of this research brief cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

SciQuest: Solution Review & Analysis

SciQuest is arguably the most challenging procurement technology suite vendor to compare directly to the competition. This perhaps explains why it has tended to surface less in competitive procure-to-pay (P2P) or source-to-pay (S2P) suite opportunities outside of its traditional key vertical sectors for transactional procurement (e.g., higher education, laboratory/research, life sciences, public sector) in the past. While it is possible to label SciQuest as a procurement technology suite vendor (source-to-pay, source-to-contract and procure-to-pay), the reality is that to date, the provider has competed in multiple, infrequently overlapping segments of the procurement technology market.

Historically, SciQuest has generally had different sets of customers, prospects and competitors for its core P2P product and its sourcing optimization, spend/supply analytics and contract lifecycle management solutions. This stands in contrast to many of its peers, which have generally chosen to focus on fewer market segments (e.g, eProcurement, invoice-to-pay, etc.) rather than more as primary entry points to customers.

Yet after being acquired by Accel-KKR last year, SciQuest has started an accelerated strategic and marketing transformation process that is uniting its disparate suite elements. Today’s Spend Matters Plus analysis provides an introduction to SciQuest for procurement organizations looking to understand whether they should consider adding the provider to their shortlists for consideration, as well as competitive alternatives.

Supplier Networks and P2P: The Benefits of Direct Connectivity for Suppliers

In this last installment, I will focus on the risks of insufficient connectivity, the benefits of doing it properly and why it is worthwhile for suppliers to invest time and resources to stay connected in the most automated means possible.

For organizations that still use their ERP as their only (or primary) system to process all procurement, invoicing and payments activities, typical document exchange and communication methods are done either by paper, fax or email (some firms may also have EDI technologies or web services in place — to interact with select suppliers). Although these forms of communication have been used for years, they are insufficient today, as they introduce significant risks to the buyer/supplier connectivity process.

Platforms, Networks and Suppliers: Concepts and Benefits

What is a network? What is a platform? Technology providers often confuse customers with these terms. But it is important that procurement and AP organizations become comfortable with the terminology.

A network concept centers on supplier connectivity that joins buyers with suppliers. It can provide value in areas such as supplier management, catalog management, e-invoicing automation, payment automation, financing options and sourcing effectiveness while also offering value-add services for enhancing or simplifying these processes.

SciQuest: Competing in Multiple Procurement Technology Market Segments — Year-End Tech Review

SciQuest

This post is part of our 2016 Year-End Procurement Tech Review, in which we offer procurement practitioners a bird’s-eye view of some key vendors and their solutions in select categories. This is the last week of this series, and today we’re highlighting a company in the procurement technology space.

While it is possible to label SciQuest as a procurement technology suite vendor (source-to-pay, source-to-contract and procure-to-pay), the reality is that SciQuest competes in multiple, infrequently overlapping segments of the procurement technology market. To date, SciQuest has generally had different sets of customers, prospects and different competitors for its core P2P product. This stands in contrast to many of its peers, which have generally chosen to focus on fewer market segments rather than more.

Basware: The Finnish Procure-to-Pay Giant — Year-End Tech Review

trade

This post is part of our 2016 Year-End Procurement Tech Review, in which we offer procurement practitioners a bird’s-eye view of some key vendors and their solutions in select categories. This is the last week of this series, and today we’re highlighting a company in the procure-to-pay (P2P) field.

Basware is one of the largest technology providers in the global procurement and accounts payable technology market. Its solutions span the entire procure-to-pay process, from requisition through payment and post-transaction analysis, and includes the Basware Commerce Network (BCN), which has over 100 million annualized transactions. The network is growing, and Basware expects to process 250 million transactions annually within three years.

Supplier Readiness and E-Invoicing in Latin America

e-invoicing

As we have seen in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, e-invoicing has produced great benefits for governments in terms of tax collection and streamlining its own control processes, for which they have implemented mechanisms that companies must comply with, ranging from the simple to the complex. For both buyers and suppliers, this represents a new technological challenge — especially for companies with operations in multiple Latin American countries.