Author Archives: Xavier Olivera



Transforming the Buying Experience by Using Real-Time Data

The transactional process of buying and selling goods and services will always be the essence of the procurement function within an organization. However, the form and substance by which procurement departments fulfill this role is in the process of major transformation. Form is changing in terms of the point of view of processes, roles and tools, and substance is changing in terms of procurement’s impact on the broader organization.

How Real-Time Data Helps Employees Purchase Better

Data has always been of vital importance for how companies measure, control and make decisions. Accurate, relevant and timely data provides powerful information for users of enterprise software — or, in its absence, exposes a significant blind spot. Many organizations struggle to consistently access useful information, and continue to operate with limited, imprecise and outdated data. Current business trends, however, demand agile and resilient procurement processes supported by accurate, timely data.

The Growth of E-Invoicing Compliance: Exploring Vendor Capabilities and Approaches (Part 2)

MBO Partners

In recent years, invoice-to-pay service providers have grown significantly, and there are now hundreds of them around the world. Some are truly local on an in-country basis. Others have a regional focus. And the largest tend to serve customers globally (albeit with partner support on a localized basis). We can even find service providers who handle just inbound invoices and others who can handle both inbound and outbound invoices.

This Spend Matters PRO research brief explores the solution scope and reach of e-invoicing providers today, including Coupa, Invocus (Zycus), GEP, SAP Ariba, Taulia and Tradeshift. Our approach is to cut through the noise to help companies to assess providers to determine the degree to which they fully support VAT, regulatory, statutory, data privacy and related compliance areas on a localized basis — beyond just partnering with TrustWeaver, alone. Provider insight is in part based on the information collected and analyzed as part of the Spend Matters Q2 2017 Invoice-to-Pay SolutionMap.

PRO Subscribers can also access the first installment of this series: E-Invoicing Compliance, Globally: Beyond TrustWeaver’s “Seal of Approval”

The Challenges of Supplier Financing Adoption within P2P

finance

Our colleague David Gustin recently published a post detailing the results of a study on supply chain financing over at Trade Financing Matters, and I thought it would be worthwhile to expand the insights gained related to procure-to-pay (P2P) processes and solutions. In his article "5 Hypotheses Tested on Supplier Use of Supply Chain Finance", Gustin explores some conclusions from a study developed by Prof. David Wuttke of EBS Business School together with Prof. Eve Rosenzweig of Emory and Prof. H. Sebastian Heese of North Carolina State University where they observed patterns of conduct on the subject of supply chain financing.

E-Invoicing Compliance, Globally: Beyond TrustWeaver’s “Seal of Approval”

invoice

Just about every solution provider with an e-invoicing or procure-to-pay (P2P) solution talks about compliance in the invoice-to-pay — and sometimes order-to-cash — area. Many often use language that would suggest their “unique” approach is a source of competitive advantage when it comes to complying with local government regulations. But all too often providers are referring to just having a digital signature or signing capability (often in part or in whole outsourced or certified by a third party) for the purposes of proving authenticity and certification of origin. Beyond this, there are other forms of e-invoicing compliance, such as complying with local VAT requirements and the archiving of invoices for audit purposes (e.g., the number of years varies depending on the country).

But compliance is even more nuanced than just simply checking the box on one or more of these areas for a particular country, and just having an agreement with TrustWeaver does not mean it is fully compliant for a specific transaction scenario. Depending on how tightly one wants to define compliance, it is also necessary to meet not only inter-country requirements but also intra-country (and intra-regional) requirements. This includes scenarios in countries where a submitted e-invoice requires a previous clearance by tax administrations and where part of the regulation requires that additional attachments be added to transactional documents in the invoice-to-pay process, as is the case in some Latin American and Asian countries.

This Spend Matters PRO brief explores components of what true e-invoicing compliance is — or should be. It starts by taking a look at the basics, including what TrustWeaver certification provides vendors (and their customers) with. Yet our approach is not just to address the basics, even though they are important. Rather, we take aim at the myth of vendor e-invoicing compliance that permeates the market today and what a broader definition and approach to compliance should encompass. The second installment in this brief will explore what specific steps vendors such as SAP Ariba, Coupa, Taulia, Tradeshift and others are doing beyond the norm to provide compliant solutions for trading partners.

Taking Inventory of Proactis and Perfect Commerce: Products, Strengths and Integration

Proactis and Perfect Commerce share a number of commonalities, perhaps the three most important being that they have built out similar product footprints, have been able to grow “under the radar” in recent years and have leveraged M&A as a core growth strategy. We covered the news of the announced merger between the two firms last Friday on Spend Matters, and Proactis shareholders initially responded positively to the news.

As background, Proactis’ core source-to-pay (S2P) business has centered primarily on serving U.K. customers, with a concentration in public sector. In the U.K. market, Proactis has made a number of acquisitions in recent years to round out its suite and to acquire market share. These transactions include EGS (2014), Due North (2016) and Millstream (2016). Within the U.S., it acquired Intesource (2014), to strengthen its e-sourcing and related managed services capability, and Intelligent Capture (also 2014), a provider of electronic invoicing and scan/capture services.

Perfect has served customers in the S2P area on a global basis since its founding, in 1994, but with a greater emphasis, until recently, on North America. It has made a number of smaller acquisitions over the years, in addition to its foundational acquisition of Commerce One (2006), including those that leveraged IP enforcement of Commerce One code as a bargaining chip in various transactions. But more recently, Perfect made its largest acquisition to date purchasing supplier network and P2P provider Hubwoo, to help expand its market presence and enhance its capabilities in the catalog management, marketplace and supplier network areas.

This Spend Matters PRO research brief provides an introduction and an overview to both providers, exploring the value proposition and strengths each vendor brings to the combination, including overlap and potential synergies from a customer perspective. It also touches on the subject of integration, as well as the approach we would encourage customers to look for when determining whether the acquisition will primarily benefit them or investors.

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

Procurement organizations have an increasing number of choices when it comes to selecting an e-procurement solution. With both full suite and smaller independent providers — not to mention ERP vendors — improving and expanding their capabilities in this area, it has never been a better time to purchase a new technology or make the switch from an older platform.

Within this market, BuyerQuest delivers a number of nuanced capabilities that differentiate it from peers. This third and final installment of our Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering BuyerQuest provides a SWOT analysis of the provider, as well as a segmentation and comparison of competitors. It also includes a recommended shortlist of candidates that could serve as alternative vendors to BuyerQuest for e-procurement and procure-to-pay (P2P). Finally, we conclude with a summary analysis and recommendations for organizations considering BuyerQuest.

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

The barriers to entry for any provider wanting to create an e-procurement or procure-to-pay (P2P) solution are perhaps the highest of any technology area in the procurement sector. Not only must solutions combine a world-class experience for all frontline users from a shopping and buying experience to be competitive, they also must feature entirely different sets of capabilities to enable both procurement organizations (and suppliers) to collectively manage dozens of elements to ensure that all purchases are in compliance with company policies, contracts and supplier agreements. Ideally, these two elements combine to guide users to an optimal buying experience both for their own requirements and the company, steering them in ways they may not even be aware of.

BuyerQuest is one of only a select number of new entrants to gain traction in the e-procurement — and more recently, the P2P — market in recent years by meeting these requirements, often in differentiated ways. This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores BuyerQuest’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 BuyerQuest. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Vendor Summary Report: E-Procurement SolutionMap℠ Q2 2017

This SolutionMap analyzes a select group of e-procurement solution providers. It is part of our Q2 2017 SolutionMap report series, also featuring Invoice-to-Pay solution providers and Procure-to-Pay suites. Spend Matters tracks over 50 procure-to-pay solution providers. This analysis features many of the largest e-procurement providers, including BuyerQuest, Claritum, Coupa, Determine, GEP, IBX, Ivalua, Nimbi, Pool4Tool, SAP Ariba, Vroozi and Zycus. It also features industry specialists BirchStreet (hospitality) and Prodigo (healthcare), which were analyzed with respect to their vertical sector focus. SolutionMap ratings provide comparative rankings and insight into how each provider scored from a solution and customer value perspective. It provides a breakdown of solution scoring for each vendor on the category level (e.g. catalog management, shopping/requisitioning, ordering/order management, receiving, supplier network, configurability, technology/architecture and services). It also provides insight into how customers scored each e-procurement vendor (e.g. likelihood of recommending the provider, level of value perceived, business value, ability to meet expectations, deployment speed, ROI, TCO and innovation). Solution scoring is based on analysis of individual vendor capability, including in-depth tech reviews, a highly detailed Spend Matters RFI and live demonstrations and Q&A by the Spend Matters team. The Customer Value score stems from aggregated direct customer input (survey-based). While Spend Matters does not recommend that existing and potential customers of providers use technology and customer scoring alone to shortlist and/or evaluate technology providers, the insight, along with SolutionMap persona-based ratings, provides a point-in-time perspective which may be useful as either a starting point in an evaluation or a contributing factor to a formal software selection process. In this Spend Matters PRO research report, we provide an analysis of how all 14 participants in our Q2 2017 e-procurement SolutionMap scored on a comparative basis against solution/technology and customer value criteria.

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.