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L’Oreal Finds the Beauty of Bonfire’s Solution: Stakeholder Buy-in and Better Supplier Relations

Every growing company reaches a point when transaction volumes overwhelm misapplied IT systems and manual business processes. When that happens and the risks rise, businesses have to begin the necessary task of identifying a better way forward. For many organizations, that means automating and optimizing the sourcing process with dedicated e-sourcing software — ideally a setup that’s easy to use and gives your company a competitive edge.

As a division of the beauty products maker L’Oreal found out, the strategic sourcing platform from Bonfire could resolve many of these issues.

Coupa: A Comparative Analysis of the S2P Suite (Source-to-Pay SolutionMap Analysis)

It is impossible today to discuss procurement and finance software solutions without mentioning Coupa. Since its founding in 2006, Coupa has grown into one of the best-known providers of technology for corporate purchasing as well as invoicing and payments, sourcing, and spend analysis. And its philosophy of business spend management (BSM) resurrected — and improved upon — the original premise that gave rise to Spend Matters back in 2004 (spend does matter).

The awareness of Coupa in the market is due in no small part to its 2016 IPO, which brought the provider into the wider public eye while also providing it with the balance sheet to support an aggressive M&A program. The result is that Coupa can now claim some of the most advanced procurement-specific capabilities in multiple technology areas, as it has acquired several market-leading vendors and integrated their functionality into its own platform.

But where does Coupa excel the most, and where do its comparatively few weaknesses lie, measured against both best-of-breed vendors for standalone technology areas (e.g., contract lifecycle management) and competing suite providers (e.g., procure-to-pay, source-to-pay)?

 This Spend Matters SolutionMap analysis examines Coupa’s solutions by modular and suite view to help interested parties understand the best components that make up the vendor’s end-to-end offering. It provides insight into which areas Coupa is strong in (and where it lags), how competitive individual modules are compared with best-in-class alternatives, and how combinations in the form of procure-to-pay (P2P), strategic procurement technology (SPT) and source-to-pay (S2P) suites stack up in comparison to Coupa’s broader peer group, including Jaggaer, SAP Ariba, Ivalua, Oracle, SynerTrade and Zycus.

For this analysis, our report uses the aggregate results of nine SolutionMaps from Q4 2018 (the most recent in our quarterly update cycle), comparing a total of 58 solution providers across more than 600 granular functional benchmarks, which are aggregated into more manageable, tiered buckets for the purpose of this analysis. (Those procurement organizations leveraging SolutionMap for a software selection process gain insight into comparative performance at a significantly more granular level of detail that maps business requirements to functional performance.) The SolutionMap analyst ratings used in this analysis are based on more than 3,000 hours of live product demonstrations and validated vendor RFI responses.

In subsequent briefs exploring SynerTrade, Zycus and others, we will take a similar approach to analyzing source-to-pay providers, breaking down where end-to-end platforms excel (or fall below the functional benchmark) on module and suite bases. Previously, we covered the suite performances of Jaggaer, SAP Ariba and Ivalua.

Icertis Blockchain Framework: A Glimpse of CLM’s Expanding Footprint into the Supply Chain

blockchain

Icertis recently announced it has developed, in partnership with client Mercedes-Benz, a blockchain framework to address multi-tier supply chain visibility challenges. Called the Icertis Blockchain Framework, the new offering allows companies to deploy a permissioned, standards-based blockchain (using one of the ecosystem standards through Hyperledger) within the core ICM platform on Microsoft Azure, as well as record specific transactions based on rules and metadata. Icertis developed the framework as an initiative within Mercedes-Benz Cars to better enforce requirements for CSR and compliance obligations without compromising contract confidentiality.

Enabling the Living Contract: A Q&A with Icertis’ Co-Founder, CTO Monish Darda

Will procurement settle for merely a digital upgrade to contract management, or will it seize the opportunity to reimagine what contracts can be altogether? As Spend Matters framed it in our previous article in this series, the question comes down to a distinction between “smart” contracts and “live” contracts. To help organizations see the possibilities, we sat down with enterprise CLM provider Icertis’ co-founder and CTO, Monish Darda, for a Q&A exploring the live contracting concept, along with active use cases and a projection of what the future holds for contract management technology.

SAP Ariba: A Comparative Analysis of the S2P Suite (Source-to-Pay SolutionMap Analysis)

procurement software

SAP Ariba was arguably the first true source-to-pay (S2P) suite vendor. Back when Emptoris was going strong (pre-IBM) and Coupa was an open-source e-procurement application, SAP Ariba had already assembled various source-to-pay pieces from organic development and acquisition. This suggests it was the first vendor (at least with any scale and depth) to lay claim to having full coverage across sourcing, spend analysis, supplier management, contract lifecycle management, e-procurement and invoice-to-pay — even if all of the components were not perfectly integrated at the time.

But how does SAP Ariba stack up today from a source-to-pay perspective?

This Spend Matters SolutionMap analysis examines SAP Ariba’s solutions by modular and suite view to help interested parties understand the best components that make up the vendor’s end-to-end offering. It provides insight into which areas SAP Ariba is strong in (and where it lags), and how competitive individual modules compare with best-in-class alternatives. It also explores how SAP Ariba competes in three “suite” markets — procure-to-pay (P2P), strategic procurement technology (SPT) and source-to-pay (S2P) — in comparison to SAP Ariba’s broader peer group, including Jaggaer, Coupa, Ivalua, Oracle, SynerTrade and Zycus.

Overall, SAP Ariba performed admirably across several categories within the Q4 2018 SolutionMap and on an overall basis, with particularly strong scoring for the P2P areas and supplier management. Its long history in the space, comprehensive offering, recent enhancements and close SAP linkages make it a “must-shortlist” vendor in a range of technology selection scenarios, and its status as one of the providers “to beat” is indeed supported by its frequently above-the-benchmark functional capabilities and notable UX/UI improvements. Moreover, its targeted investments in technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning illustrate that it is not resting on its accomplishments to date.

For this analysis, our report uses the aggregate results of nine SolutionMaps from Q4 2018 (the most recent in our quarterly update cycle), comparing a total of 58 solution providers across more than 600 granular functional benchmarks, which are aggregated into more manageable, tiered buckets for the purpose of this analysis. (Those procurement organizations leveraging SolutionMap for a software selection process gain insight into comparative performance at a significantly more granular level of detail that maps business requirements to functional performance.) The SolutionMap analyst ratings used in this analysis are based on more than 3,000 hours of live product demonstrations and validated vendor RFI responses.

In subsequent briefs exploring Coupa, Ivalua, Oracle and others, we will take a similar approach to analyzing source-to-pay providers, breaking down where end-to-end platforms excel (or fall below the functional benchmark) on module and suite bases. Previously, we covered Jaggaer’s suite performance: Jaggaer ONE: A Comparative Analysis of the S2P Suite (Source-to-Pay SolutionMap Analysis).

Corcentric to Acquire Determine: Exploring Determine’s Strategic Procurement Technologies Strengths and Weaknesses (Part 4) [PRO]

Corcentric recently announced its pending acquisition of Determine (see previous Spend Matters PRO analysis: Transaction Overview and Customer Recommendations and Competitive Landscape Analysis and Determine’s P2P Strengths and Weaknesses — as well as our news coverage here).

But in buying Determine, what exactly is Corcentric gaining from a strategic procurement technologies (SPT) perspective (i.e., product, solution and platform strengths and weaknesses)? And how do Determine’s capabilities stack up in the market overall relative to peers on a granular basis?

This is an important question to analyze, but two of the three vendors that came together to form Determine were in the SPT area, not P2P. (Some background: Determine came about in 2015 when Selectica and two other brands, Iasta and b-pack, combined. Selectica and Iasta had the SPT heritage.)

To answer the question about how Determine compares against peers, you can turn to the latest Q4 2018 SolutionMaps Insider provider scoring summaries (See: Sourcing, Supplier Management, Contract Lifecycle Management and Spend + Procurement Analytics). For those interested in viewing Determine from a broader Source-to-Pay perspective, there is a SolutionMap for you as well. Each report provides comparative overall and “deep-dive” capability insight (e.g., catalog management, requisitioning, invoicing compliance, etc.) as well as detailed customer reference benchmarks. Determine is one of dozens of providers featured in these granular, comparative vendor ratings analyses designed to aid shortlisting and selection decisions. Other providers include Coupa, Exari, HICX, Icertis, Ivalua, Jaggaer, Oracle, SAP, Sievo, Ariba, Zycus.

But to provide insight into overall product strengths and weaknesses for strategic procurement technologies, let’s dive right in today as we offer a summary view of where Determine stands out from the pack — and where it trails its peers.

Corcentric to Acquire Determine: Exploring Determine’s Procure-to-Pay Strengths and Weaknesses (Part 3) [PRO]

Corcentric recently announced its pending acquisition of Determine (see previous Spend Matters PRO analysis: Transaction Overview and Customer Recommendations and Competitive Landscape Analysis — and news coverage here). But in buying Determine, what exactly is Corcentric gaining from a procure-to-pay perspective (i.e., product, solution and platform strengths and weaknesses)? And how do Determine’s capabilities stack up in the market overall relative to peers on a granular basis?

To answer the latter question, you can turn to the latest Q4 2018 SolutionMaps for e-procurement, invoice-to-pay and procure-to-pay SolutionMap Insider provider scoring summaries. For those interested in viewing Determine from a broader source-to-pay perspective, there is a SolutionMap for you as well. Each report provides comparative overall and “deep-dive” capability insight (e.g., catalog management, requisitioning, invoicing compliance, etc.) as well as detailed customer reference benchmarks. Determine is one of dozens of providers featured in these granular, comparative vendor ratings analyses — others include Basware, BuyerQuest, Coupa, Ivalua, Jaggaer, Oracle, SAP Ariba, Tradeshift, Taulia, Vroozi and Zycus — designed to aid shortlisting and selection decisions.

But to provide insight into overall product strengths and weaknesses for P2P, let’s dive right in today as we offer a summary view of where Determine stands out from the pack — and where it trails its peers. We’ll offer a similar analysis for sourcing, supplier management, contract lifecycle management (CLM) and spend/procurement analytics (collectively Strategic Procurement Technologies in SolutionMap) in a subsequent research brief in this series.

Contract AI: How Legal Departments Evaluated, Use Artificial Intelligence Tools

Staples

A new report for Seal Software sheds light on how companies’ legal departments are preparing for or using the latest tools associated with artificial intelligence to analyze contracts for hidden opportunities and risks, according to the white paper by Ari Kaplan Advisors. Seal uses machine learning and other technology to review contracts, extract data and do analytics, the California-based company said in a news release. It all adds up to a “Contract AI” solution. Some respondents pulled back the curtain on how they’re deploying the technology.

Corcentric to Acquire Determine: Valuation, Transaction Overview, Customer Recommendations and Competitive Landscape Analysis (Part 2) [PRO]

low commodity prices

Corcentric’s pending acquisition of Determine will create one of the more unique procurement and finance solutions providers in the market. In addition, the transaction, upon closing, will firmly establish Corcentric as a software (SaaS/cloud platform) provider in the source-to-pay sector. But what are the implications for Corcentric’s and Determine’s customers and the broader competitive market?

Part 1 of this Spend Matters PRO brief provided an overview of the combination (by the numbers), an analysis of the transaction/valuation and our “elephant in the room” observations.

Today, we turn our attention to customer recommendations for Corcentric and Determine users and offer a perspective on the competitive landscape implications of the transaction.

In later PRO briefs, we will offer our view of Determine’s functional strengths and weaknesses in both the procure-to-pay (i.e., e-procurement and invoice-to-pay) and strategic procurement technologies (e.g., sourcing, CLM, etc.) areas.

Contract Visibility & Analytics: The Next ‘Must Have’ Solution for Procurement?

global trade

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the evolution of specialized contract analytics and visibility solutions of late. Seal Software was arguably the first provider to bring contract and spend visibility (see our coverage from 2017 here) elements together. And others have followed on the contract analytics side alone (with varying degrees of capability). The vendor landscape aside, contract visibility is not just the counterpart to spend visibility — it’s something different entirely. Yes, it’s a complement, an extension, to spend visibility. But I’m beginning to sense it’s a standalone area of value to procurement, especially when contract visibility extends past the structured paper that is contained within a CLM system alone (i.e., to “all” or as many contracts as possible). So the question I’d like to raise today — and toss out to the Spend Matters audience to debate — is whether contract visibility is the next “must have” solution for procurement.

Jaggaer ONE Is Released, Giving the Spend Management Provider a Unified Platform

After 15 months of developing its unified spend management solution, Jaggaer on Tuesday announced the release of Jaggaer ONE, which it called the “cornerstone” of its suite. “Jaggaer ONE represents the next stage in the evolution of our company and is the most complete business-to-business spend management offering available globally,” said Jaggaer CEO Robert Bonavito, in a press release.

Outlaw: Vendor Introduction, Analysis and SWOT [PRO]

When people think contracts, they think lawyers. And when people think lawyers, they think semantics, tedium, inefficiency. It’s no surprise, then, that the contract management process at many businesses is perceived as lawyer-like: slow, plagued by error-prone review processes and more inclined to risk-aversion rather than to embracing the new or innovative. But these flaws are also the result of ill-suited tools to manage contracts.

The dominant preference among business users for applications like Microsoft Word and email for the facilitation of contract authoring, review and negotiation is in no small way a reason why contract management processes can feel so archaic.

These applications are general-purpose tools that fail to address the complexity and the importance of contracts to a business. Yet contract management processes have largely been designed to fit to these tools, rather than the other way around.

Reimagining what the contract management process should be is the approach that Outlaw, a nearly two-year-old vendor based in Brooklyn, New York, has taken to designing its software-as-a-service solution.

The founders, both former consultants, were all too familiar with the headaches of contract drafting and approval, which inspired them to design a new contract solution around how they would want to create, negotiate and sign agreements. In doing so, they hope to bring an outsider’s perspective to contract management, rebuilding the process from the ground up so that it can be easier, faster and more enjoyable.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on Outlaw and its capabilities. The brief includes an overview of Outlaw’s offering, a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a SWOT analysis and a selection requirements checklist for companies that might consider the provider.