The Analytics Category

E-Sourcing and Spend Analytics 2018 Trends and Forecast (Part 3: Provider Analysis) [PRO]

After years of relative stability in the e-sourcing and spend analytics market, 2018 appears to be ushering in a period of disruption and innovation for solution providers. From the early rise of artificial intelligence to greater adoption and innovation around sourcing optimization to the rapid emergence of contract-based analytics as a complement to traditional spend analysis, 2018 promises to be the year where change is just about the only constant in these markets. And, of course, we expect M&A activity to continue in 2018, as well, fueled by private equity interest in the sector and a general trend toward consolidation — which may or may not be good for customers, depending on the circumstances.

This is the third installment of our 2018 procurement technology trend and forecast series, focusing on solution provider trends and priorities within e-sourcing and spend analytics. Part 1 and Part 2 of this series provide an analysis and exploration of customer trends. In today’s PRO research brief, we turn our attention to the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and the continued trend toward M&A and consolidation within the procurement technology suite, sourcing and spend analytics markets. We also include a chart showing Jason Busch’s top five vendors most likely to be acquired in the next 12–18 months in the sourcing and spend analytics markets, along with a quick rationale as to “why” and “who”.

Following today’s analysis, the final installments in this series will feature additional trends (e.g., the rise of contract-based analytics) and conclude with our 2018 e-sourcing and spend analytics market sizing, forecast and adoption outlook.

E-Sourcing and Spend Analytics 2018 Trends and Forecast: Customer Adoption and Priorities (Part 2) [PRO]

The Spend Matters 2018 Trends and Predictions series is in full swing this quarter. In January, we published our complete e-procurement market commentary and forecast series (see Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3). Then in February, we continued the series with our first installment covering the e-sourcing and spend analytics markets, starting with two of five trends driving customer adoption and priorities. Today, we conclude our look at predictions and trends for these markets by exploring three additional developments: valuing suite optionality, expanding sourcing and spend analytics use cases, and the streamlining of RFI and deployment processes.

E-Sourcing and Spend Analytics 2018 Trends and Forecast (Part 1): Customer Adoption and Priorities [PRO]

Earlier this year we began our 2018 trends and predictions series, starting first with the e-procurement market. This earlier series is a useful primer for this one, and readers may find it worthwhile to read Part 1 (Customer Adoption and Priorities), as well as Part 2 and Part 3 (Provider Analysis and Market Sizing). Today, we continue our procurement technology trend and forecast series by diving into customer adoption trends and priorities within the e-sourcing and spend analytics markets.

We begin this exploration by analyzing what customers are valuing most from a selection and deployment perspective in 2018, as well as trends, such as IBM Emptoris migration, driving these activities. Then, in later installments in this series, we’ll offer insight into e-sourcing and spend analytics technology provider trends and strategies of note. Finally, we will share our comparative 2018 market growth and sizing estimates for both the e-sourcing and spend analytics.

From a customer adoption perspective, we see five distinctive trends, each of which we will cover in Parts 1 and 2 of the series: 

  1. Functionality Be Dammed! The Rise of the Nimble Buying Persona
  2. IBM Emptoris Migrations Accelerate
  3. Suite Optionality
  4. Expanding Sourcing and Spend Analytics Use Cases
  5. The Streamlining of RFI and Deployment Processes 

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


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 [PRO]


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 [PRO]

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.

Coupa R20: Incremental Disruption in Action [PRO]

The Spend Matters analyst team recently spent some time going through a deep dive demo on Coupa R20 and found it to be a solid incremental product release. But in this brief, we wanted to discuss the “revolution through evolution” we saw in addition to the new product details that we cover. Coupa’s product releases are now running about three times per year, and it’s refreshing to see more than 500 clients quickly moving through these releases. Such is the promise of SaaS, right?

R20’s main improvements are focused on services procurement and community-based intelligence, which allows users to extract insights from the B2B data generated within the Coupa buyer and supplier base. The disruptive aspect of R20 is twofold: its attempt to tackle the big nut of services procurement with Services Maestro and its efforts to derive intelligence from its installed base through what it calls "community intelligence."

This last trend is really the most disruptive aspect of what’s happening in digital value chains. It changes the provider value proposition from serving up “empty apps” that process the data of a single customer enterprise to one that provides a collective intelligence derived and captured from mass adoption of cloud-based tools that generate the data used to drive key insights.

There are some potential risks that companies face, however, when platform providers attempt to monetize (directly or indirectly) proprietary commercial information between buyers and sellers. Just as Facebook is not really free to the users who themselves are the “product” sold to advertisers, there’s a similar effect happening with suppliers who can use business networks for free but whose data is aggregated and repackaged in ways they aren’t necessarily aware of.

In this Spend Matters PRO analysis, we explore these topics and more, as well as share our initial thoughts on some of the more interesting features in R20.

Data to Dollars: How Data Monetization Drives Business Transformation

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Pedro Arellano, vice president, product strategy at Birst, an Infor company.

Your department, and entire company, produces vast amounts of data every day. Early on, you may have harnessed enterprise data to improve internal operations and achieve new efficiencies. Perhaps your company has embarked upon a digital transformation journey driven by data. But there is a new opportunity that will distinguish the leading companies from the laggards: monetizing your organization’s data by developing and delivering commercial data products.

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Infographic: How to Lead Your Procurement Organization to Analytics Mastery

spend analytics

The expert use of enterprise analytics is a key component of any modern business strategy. But while leading companies have adopted analytics systems across functions — from operations to sales and HR — many procurement organizations have had to wait their turn to start their own analytics journeys. As procurement climbs the ranks of strategic importance to the business, practitioners will need to begin to quickly find the data, insights and strategies that will take them from backroom processing to strategic advisor in the boardroom — and there’s no better place to start that journey than by getting a handle on your contracts. Check out the infographic within to learn how to start your journey!

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Private Equity Procurement Optimization: Spend Visibility is Foundational for Accelerated EBITDA Improvement

Procurement optimization has become one of the most important EBITDA improvement levers for private equity firms and their operating partners. With investment valuations on the rise, private equity firms are increasingly relying on implementing operational efficiencies to quickly accelerate savings and maximize profits — and focusing in on procurement is becoming the “go-to” strategy. In addition, extended hold times of portfolio companies and lower management fees due to less capital being deployed on a regular basis has led to PE firms to ask their operating partners to do more with less.

Counselytics: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary and Competitive Analysis [PRO]

Counselytics is one of a number of upstart providers specializing in the application of semantic artificial intelligence (AI) technology to contract data, including both internal and third-party paper. While limited in its ability to build out a broad-based suite of capabilities based on its size and the amount of capital it has raised to date, Counselytics has spent its limited R&D budget on its core algorithms and reporting capabilities to build a highly targeted solution that complements existing contract lifecycle management (CLM) and source-to-pay technologies.

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering Counselytics provides a SWOT analysis of the provider and offers a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as substitute providers to Counselytics and provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides summary analysis and recommendations for companies that can best take advantage of Counselytics’ capabilities. Part 1 of this series provided an in-depth look at Counselytics as a company and its specific solutions, and Part 2 gave a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses, as well as a review its user experience.

Counselytics: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses [PRO]

Within the procurement technology sector, early artificial intelligence (AI) techniques have primarily been applied against structured data needs. Yet the class of AI techniques that these providers have deployed is actually quite different from the semantic AI analysis that is starting to gain traction in the contract search and analysis area. Within this new market, Counselytics is one of more than half a dozen upstart competitors that are collectively targeting an opportunity that is fundamentally different from — yet complements — contract lifecycle management (CLM).

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Counselytics’ 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 Counselytics. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.