The Commentary Category

Coupa and Hiperos: Customer Recommendations [PRO]

This Spend Matters PRO research brief provides analysis in support of Hiperos and Coupa customers following this week’s news that Coupa is acquiring Hiperos.

We’ve examined the implications of the deal on the supplier management landscape and done a head-to-head comparison of the providers.

Now this brief includes recommendations for immediate steps and longer-term considerations that are generic to procurement technology M&A transactions in general — such as change of control clause implications — and specific to this acquisition.

We encourage Spend Matters PRO practitioner clients who are using or considering Hiperos to contact us for more information on how the acquisition could affect them.

Now read on to get the customer/prospect recommendations for Hiperos and Coupa.

Should We Forget or Reinvent the Meaning of Labor Day?

By now, many of you will have already started your Labor Day weekend. Plenty of folks will have plans for the weekend, but I wonder how many of us will be thinking about the meaning of Labor Day? Very few, I suspect, even the workforce management or procurement professionals among us. I’m not trying to guilt anyone here. I’m just asking the question: Should we be thinking about it?

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6 Questions to Help Optimize Your Next Microsoft EA Renewal

Microsoft EA renewals have always been high-spend, high-stakes. But a number of factors have upped the ante. They include a greater number of software license audits (and higher penalties), changing product terms and the inherent complexity of migrating to Microsoft’s cloud offerings. For IT Sourcing pros tasked with negotiating a renewal, the implications are serious. Their next Microsoft EA renewal shouldn’t be treated as business as usual as it will present greater opportunity for overspending and compliance missteps. On the flipside, it’s also an opportunity to level-set and fine tune the EA for more value, more flexibility and best-match licensing that cuts cost and risk.

Want to Buy a Contract Management System? Here Are a Few Questions You Need to Ask [PRO]

Buying a Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) application can seem daunting. There are so many stakeholders who touch contracts. We can’t imagine any more foundational commercial business application than contract management that affects so many stakeholders. And at the same time, there are so many market choices.

Trust us, we live these every day. We have over 50 functional requirements within our CLM SolutionMap evaluation database, and there are many requirements that are simply table stakes: version control, role-based access, contract renewal alerts, contract templates, and even basic clause libraries are becoming commodity functionality.

However, there are only a handful of decision points in the decision tree to get down to the few providers that will meet your needs.

First, you have to decide whether you need just pure buy-side capabilities or whether you also need sell-side capabilities and support for employee contracts as well (i.e., whether you really need truly enterprise-wide CLM). If you need strong sell-side functionality, then you’ll immediately be able to knock out some buy-side players, even some of the main procurement suite players.

Next, you’ll need to decide on whether to go with a broader suite or a “mini-suite” provider, or whether you only need just core CLM capabilities. A “mini-suite” can take many forms. Some providers combine CLM plus some sourcing functionality, and others combine CLM with supplier management capabilities (and some have even broader risk/compliance functionality). For practitioners that want to look at some custom combinations of providers, we now support custom SolutionMaps that cross multiple areas so that you can create a true custom SolutionMap rather than just our persona-based maps for various solution types. Contact me if you’d like to discuss this.

And there’s always the issue of whether your IT department prefers the solution to run on existing application infrastructure, whether it’s your ERP system or a SharePoint platform. Hopefully these aren’t hard constraints because there’s only so far that you’ll get with a document-centric approach! You can get to a certain level of capability by adding metadata to contract documents, but until you can model the contract data itself, you’re only going to get so far.

Finally, there’s a handful of unique detailed functionality that really separates the various players. Some of these areas will become more commoditized in the next few years, but others are not so easily solved by marching through the “Feature 500” list. Although the rest of this analysis is for Spend Matters PRO level members only, we welcome our Spend Matters Plus practitioner subscribers to contact us and we’ll send you a copy of this full analysis.

Jaggaer Again Leads with its Chin in BravoSolution Acquisition

While terms and conditions of the transaction are not public, this is a bigger deal than U.S.-centric market followers may think. Regardless of how much Jaggaer paid, the most important feature of this deal is that the U.S. procurement market’s most prolific hunter-gatherer just bought itself a global footprint. Yes, the solution pieces are all there now. And, as Jaggaer's CEO argues, they’re all best of breed. But what he doesn’t mention, nor does Jim Wetekamp, BravoSolution’s CEO, is the word “integration.”

What Procurement’s Talking About at the Thanksgiving Table This Year

Spend Matters has very special powers.

We were able to travel into the future and become a fly on the dining room wall, joining several procurement practitioners gathered around the Thanksgiving table.

What is Procurement mad about this year? What are their concerns? What do they want to see changed? Here are some highlights of Procurement’s Thanksgiving 2017 discussion.

Trust No One: Is Independence a Solution to the X-Files?

Like the X-Files, the reality of a work environment can often defy explanation. Today’s procurement leaders talk about waging a “war” for talent. If the positions are out there and the inducements are so great, why are some of the best people opting out of corporate roles and into independent careers? I have cycled through both types of roles. For me, my choice to be independent comes down to one factor that happens over and over in corporate environments: people not keeping their word. Why is it so hard for leaders to say what they mean, then do what they say? With Fox Mulder-level skepticism, I don’t trust anyone when they tell me what I can expect in a job.

The truth is out there. But here are three areas where leaders frequently don’t walk the talk.

Behind the Scenes: Interpreting Q4 2017 SolutionMap Results With Jason Busch — Jaggaer (and Jaggaer Direct) [PRO]

Today I’m wrapping up my series of observations on Q4 2017 SolutionMap suite providers with perhaps the most fun vendor of all to opine on beyond the data alone: Jaggaer. (Be sure to check out the previous installments covering SAP Ariba, Basware and CoupaDetermine, GEP and Ivalua; and BravoSolution and Zycus, too.) When I think of potential — using the truest sense of the word — in the procurement technology market, there is no provider more underutilized than Jaggaer, especially in scenarios where it can serve industry segments and geographies that have not previously embraced solutions designed for them. Below I share my thoughts on this opportunity and how Jaggaer did in the Q4 2017 SolutionMaps, with maybe a few Jägerbomb(shells) tossed down the thirsty Friday throat for good measure. Whether your mixer is a Red Bull or Heineken, sit back and enjoy.

The Future of Work is the Gig of Disruption or: How I Learned to Stop Caring and Get Back to Work

You know how some things seem timeless, while others — no matter how annoying — just don’t seem to go away. Or are they both one and the same? That’s the problem: confusion. One of the biggest threats to humankind today may not be nuclear war or climate change — it may very well be confusion, on a scale larger than the world has ever known. The misplacement of a comma or an innocent misspelling could mean the difference between life or death (or at least the flawed delivery of your Zappos shoes to your undeserving, though outwardly affable, neighbor). In any case, confusion seems to have become the bane of our existence and an accepted feature of our everyday life. But not for me. I have chosen to resist. And my first target is buzzwords.

Behind the Scenes: Interpreting Q4 2017 SolutionMap Results With Jason Busch — Determine, GEP and Ivalua [PRO]

We recently published the Q4 2017 SolutionMaps across six different product categories and two integrated suite areas: spend analytics, sourcing (e-sourcing), contract lifecycle management (CLM), supplier management (SxM), e-procurement and invoice-to-pay (plus “strategic procurement technology suites” and “procure-to-pay” suites). Three of the providers that participated in all six core categories and both suites were Determine, GEP and Ivalua (in fact, the only other provider that participated in both suites was SAP Ariba). The full results of each tell three very different stories, but even their individual solution (and customer) narratives do not begin to get at the “whole vendor” — and what’s really happening in the market.

Take it From a Former Road Warrior: User Conferences Have Come of Age

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Having spent more than 30 years in the software game, I thought I had reached my fill of trade shows and all of the related logistical nightmares. For years, user conferences were saddled with similar baggage (sheep in wolves’ clothing). But not anymore — at least not based on my experience of the last few years. Done well, user conferences bring customers and qualified prospects together in increasingly engaging formats. They have become staged, anticipated events, if not exclusive, peer-to-peer gatherings.  

‘Come Over to the Dark Side, We Have Cookies’: On Blending Corporate and Freelance Work

After I wrote passionately about making the change from corporate employee to free agent, a friend asked how I could write that when I had just taken a corporate job. I was going back over to the “Dark Side.” Or was it the going back to the “Light Side”? It hadn’t occurred to me that my perspectives and actions might seem contradictory. Let me correct that. It occurred to me, but I didn’t care. And neither should you.