Author Archives: Xavier Olivera



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

tech

Thanks to Spend Matters SolutionMaps, readers are likely familiar with six of the larger source-to-pay providers: SAP Ariba, Determine, GEP, Ivalua, Jaggaer and Zycus. (Coupa, we should note, competes only selectively as an end-to-end suite provider.) But they might not be familiar with SynerTrade, an S2P provider we most recently reviewed in 2016.

Two years ago, SynerTrade offered a sprawling set of platform-based procurement applications, not so dissimilar in approach from what Pool4Tool (now Jaggaer Direct) offered at the time. But since then, SynerTrade has developed a globally competitive set of capabilities, creating an integrated suite model built on a common platform — with 34 individual apps available on top of it.

How SynerTrade compares with other providers will become clearer when we release our Q1 2018 SolutionMaps in March. For now, this Spend Matters PRO series offers an updated primer on SynerTrade, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should include it on their shortlists.

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. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

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

Oracle

For many years, Zycus’ self-proclaimed corporate objective was to become a “top three” procurement technology solutions provider. The irony of this goal was that it would ultimately — at least until Q2 2018 — prove elusive, not because of a failure to execute on objectives but rather how the market (e.g., Jaggaer’s strategy of combining multiple larger vendors and niche specialists under a single roof) moved against Zycus through unexpected actions. But more important than this is what Zycus’ initiatives actually mean for customers, based on the underlying current capabilities of the provider’s modules, suite and ecosystem today — and its planned enhancements for tomorrow. In these areas, fortunately, Zycus’ approach to meeting its business goals proved more important than the initial objective itself.

The third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot series covering Zycus offers a SWOT analysis of the provider and a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as alternative vendors to Zycus and offers provider selection guidance. Previous installments provided an in-depth look at Zycus as a firm and its specific solutions (Part 1) and a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses, as well as a review of the product’s user experience (Part 2).

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

Zycus is one of roughly half-a-dozen true source-to-pay (S2P) platform providers that offer more than lip service across all of the elements that comprise this solution area. In some modular areas, however, its technology is deeper than others.

For example, while Zycus has the RFX and auction functionality found in just about every sourcing platform, it also brings sourcing project management, spend analysis, a supplier network with supplier relationship management functionality and contract lifecycle management. Zycus also brings significant support for downstream procurement with its own native catalog management, requisition management, purchase order management, e-invoicing, payment support and dynamic discounting capability. And threaded throughout the platform is S2P project management support, organizational “ask procurement” support, integrated search and suggest functionality, and the capability to run end-to-end performance metrics.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot continues our exploration of Zycus’ source-to-pay offering by diving into the platform’s strengths, weaknesses and user interface. In Part 1 of this series, we provided an overview of Zycus as an organization, its primary platform modules and key considerations that will help an organization decide whether or not it should be investigating Zycus to meet its source-to-pay needs. In Part 3, we will conclude our coverage with a SWOT assessment, a detailed user selection guide, competition overview and our expert analysis.

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

Aatish Dedhia, Zycus’s founder, has long preached the benefits of technology provider self-sufficiency, including management-driven investment, profitable growth and organic, suite-based product development. It is based on these principles that Zycus “grew up” from a razor-focused pioneer in the spend classification sector nearly 20 years ago into a strategic procurement technologies suite and, eventually, a full end-to-end source-to-pay (S2P) suite provider. While Zycus has strong comparative solutions depth and capability in certain areas, part of its broader market appeal has been often comparatively low pricing, which we view as a value-based feather in its cap.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement and finance organizations make informed decisions about whether a provider like Zycus, either on a modular or source-to-pay suite basis, is likely to be a strong shortlist candidate 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 Zycus for their S2P needs. The remainder of this multipart research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, user selection guides, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Oracle Emphasizes Cloud Procurement at Modern Supply Chain Experience 2018

Two members of the Spend Matters analyst team attended Oracle’s Modern Supply Chain Experience 2018 event in San Jose this week. Procurement received its own track at the event, and various Oracle procurement solutions — with an emphasis on the source-to-pay cloud offerings — were on display in the solution pavilion. We also had a chance to speak both informally and formally with different members of the Oracle procurement product, marketing and development teams.

E-Procurement 2018 Trends and Forecast (Part 3: Provider Analysis and Market Sizing)

AnyData Solutions

So far in this Spend Matters PRO series exploring 2018 e-procurement trends, we have covered both procurement organization (demand) and technology provider (supply) trends we are seeing in the market. Today we kick off the third and final installment of this series by examining three additional provider trends: the new, resurgent role of B2B e-marketplaces such as Amazon Business; new and varying approaches to chasing tail spend, including e-marketplace models; and the early rise of embedded artificial intelligence (AI) in an e-procurement context. Finally, we conclude this three-part brief with our 2018 market sizing for e-procurement and a list of trends we see driving demand in the market. Don’t forget to read Part 1 (2018 customer e-procurement trends) and Part 2 (2018 provider trends — M&A and B2B/P2P intersections), as well.

E-Procurement 2018 Trends and Forecast (Part 2: Provider Analysis)

The pace of change in the e-procurement market is moving faster than a speeding cXML document flying across the internet. Software vendors are innovating more quickly than ever before; solutions are no longer are just “software” but come preloaded with a dizzying array of additional items that are difficult to compare on an apples-to-apples basis; and customers are coming in smarter both in “new” and “replacement” deals, with greater expectations from provider solutions than ever before, especially the rate at which they’ll begin to realize benefits.

Today we publish the second installment of our 2108 procurement technology trend and forecast series, focusing on solution provider trends and priorities within e-procurement market. Part 2 of this series provides an analysis and exploration of two provider trend areas: continued M&A consolidation expectations in the e-procurement market (fasten your seat belt on this one) and rising procure-to-pay (P2P) and business-to-business (B2B) intersections, including a quantitative look at the rise, definition and size of B2B e-commerce today. Following today’s analysis, the final installment in this series will feature three additional trends and conclude with our 2018 e-procurement market forecast.

So without further adieu, let’s introduce some controversy, data, practitioner recommendations and (hopefully) insight on the first and arguably the most important near-term provider trends Spend Matters is already seeing evidence of early in 2018.

E-Procurement 2018 Trends and Forecast (Part 1: Customers Adoption and Priorities)

e-procurement market outlook

You know what they say about predictions? They’re about as common as opinions: everyone has one. This Spend Matters PRO series walks through the trends we are seeing unfold in the market today based on our technology analysis and practitioner research and engagement. So let’s not predict; let’s share and analyze.

Today, we start our 2018 procurement technology trend and forecast series, beginning with customer adoption trends and priorities within the e-procurement market. We’ll explore what customers are valuing most from a selection and deployment perspective in 2018, as well as early trends that are sprouting.

In the second installment of this series, we’ll offer insight into e-procurement technology provider trends and strategies of note, and ask whether these are a good thing for customers (and if not, our recommendations for customers to mitigate risks). We’ll also share our comparative market growth (and sizing) estimates for 2018 compared with last year.

The Procure-to-Pay User Experience (Part 4)

Amazon Business

In Part 1 of this series, we addressed why the user experience (UX) is important in a procure-to-pay (P2P) solution, and why we have` dedicated so much time to the topic. The reality is that if users do not use the solution to do their job, the solution does not generate value. And the ultimate key to adoption is the user experience. That’s why many IT companies are beginning to invest significantly in providing a user interface that provides the optimal user experience to do their job.

That’s also why we are providing you with this information to help you identify who those companies are. This started in Part 2, where we noted that there is not just one optimal user interface for an optimal user experience. There are multiple user interfaces, one per role. We then described the key aspects of these for the more casual roles — the casual buyer, the admin or IT supporter and the supplier. In Part 3, we began to address the professional procurement buyer role, starting with the core functionality required across the P2P platform. Now we need to address the core functionality required by the professional buyer in each phase of the P2P cycle.

The Procure-to-Pay User Experience (Part 3)

In Part 1 of this series, we addressed why the user experience (UX) of a procure-to-pay (P2P) solution is important, and why we have dedicated so much time to the topic. The reality is that if a user does not use a solution to do their job, the solution does not generate value. And the ultimate key to adoption is the user experience. That’s why many IT companies are beginning to invest significantly in providing a user interface that provides users the optimal experience to do their job.

That’s also why we are providing you with the information to help you identify who those companies are. This started in Part 2, where we noted that there is not just one optimal user interface for an optimal user experience. There are multiple user interfaces, one per role. In our last article, we described the key aspects of these for the more casual roles — the casual buyer, the admin or IT supporter, and the supplier. Today, we tackle the requirements for the professional, full-time procurement buyer, which are predictably much more extensive.

The Procure-to-Pay User Experience (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this series, we addressed why the user experience (UX) is important, and why we have dedicated so much time to this topic. The reality is that if users do not use a solution to do their job, the solution does not generate value. And the ultimate key to adoption is often the user experience. That's why many IT companies are beginning to invest in providing a user interface that provides the user with an optimal experience, and why we are providing the information organizations will need to identify which companies those are.

The Procure-to-Pay User Experience (Part 1)

The history of enterprise software systems is fraught with implementation failures. This is especially true in the ERP and MRP space, which have contributed to some of the biggest supply chain failures in history (including Hershey Foods, Adidas and Foxmeyer). But not all failures are catastrophic. The majority are just the result of (significant) project overruns in terms of time and money or the inability to deliver critical features or functions in the original system specification. And this is more common than one may think. Some estimates put the rate of project overruns in IT as high as 85%. That's problematic.

Why are there so many failures? The reasons are many. Some are the result of poor change management; others are the result of the selection of inappropriate process automation for the company; and still more are the result of limited or low-quality information. If one goes through the list of possible reasons, we see there is one commonality across the majority of failures: the user experience. Poor change management leaves users confused. Inappropriate process selection frustrates users as it increases time and effort (rather than decreasing it), and low-quality information makes users question why they are migrating to a new system at all. (And when significant system features or functions fail to be implemented at all, that's the worst user experience.)

That's why the user experience (UX) is important, and why Spend Matters has dedicated so much time to this topic (first on sourcing, and now on procurement). The reality is that if users does not use a solution to do their jobs, the solution does not generate value. And the ultimate key to adoption is often the user experience.