E-Sourcing Content

Sourceit: Vendor Introduction, Analysis and SWOT [PRO]

Marketing procurement can be a touchy subject for businesses. This critical category can make or break a company’s ability to attract new customers, yet it is rarely managed in an efficient, effective manner — at least as a procurement professional would define it.

Within most businesses, marketing procurement is plagued by poor corporate governance, uncompetitive sourcing practices and unfocused project management, frequently leading to cost overruns and delivery delays. This in turn leads to a strained relationship between marketing departments and their peers in procurement, who find it difficult to overcome their seemingly incompatible goals. The problem is so bad and so distinct to this particular category that it practically begs for a niche technology solution to address it.

This is precisely the inspiration behind Sourceit, a four-year-old provider of sourcing and e-procurement tools for marketing services. Born out of a homegrown print sourcing solution at Finsbury Green, an Australian printer and managed services provider, Sourceit market and catalog offers a targeted set of capabilities that illustrate a deep understanding of the common hurdles of marketing procurement as it applies to print technology. The technology was spun out of Finsbury Green in 2015 as a standalone SaaS platform, then over the past four years has expanded from Australia into the UK, Canada, Brazil and, as of 2017, the U.S., under a reseller model in each market.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on Sourceit's capabilities. The brief includes an overview of “sourceit market” and “sourceit catalog” applications, 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.

Easier-to-Use Sourcing Optimization Can Put the Power in the Hands of Everyone, Scout RFP Says

Sourcing optimization holds much promise for crunching the vast amount of data that procurement organizations increasingly face — as well as cutting costs, saving time and guiding buyers and suppliers to better decisions. But to date, the tools used for optimization have been too complex for most professionals to easily examine and understand the wide range of sourcing events presented.

That’s starting to change as procurement technology modernizes and customer-experience expectations rise.

To understand how the barriers to using sourcing optimization are dropping and to see the wider adoption of dynamic negotiation and sourcing optimization tools, we asked Scout RFP Co-Founder and President Stan Garber to shed some light on the latest developments.

“Today, we can optimize the entire sourcing process with a click of a button. We’re going from the days of manual Excel modeling and email juggling to a collaborative application that is as simple to use as an iPhone,” Garber said for this Q&A about the future of the procurement and sourcing technology.

Simplify Workforce: Vendor Introduction, Analysis and SWOT [PRO]

Because of recent M&A consolidation and multiple external drivers, the market for vendor management system (VMS) solutions has become fairly complex. Competing vendors have been absorbed or combined, draining the field of vendor choices that can be applied in a wide number of scenarios. Concurrently, businesses have shifted away from their focus on temporary staffing labor to a rising emphasis on statement of work (SOW) spend, while also exploring new talent engagement models that increase program complexity, to include the exploratory enterprise adoption of the “gig economy” in the form of independent contractors. Add in the typical challenges of effectively operating a temporary staffing program — from cost control issues to quality maintenance and the management of intermediaries like MSPs — and it’s easy to see why procurement organizations are finding the old paradigm for VMS solutions is no longer holding up.

Going against the grain of complexity is a newer VMS provider that incorporates simplicity (i.e., ease of use) into its name — and its solution. Founded in 2016, Simplify Workforce provides an end-to-end SaaS solution for managing the extended workforce.

The Jersey City, New Jersey-based provider enables this through separate modules for contingent workforce (or in our SolutionMap classification, Temp Staffing) and statement of work (Contracted Services/SOW), with an emphasis on configurability, adaptability and ease of use that has typically eluded past VMS solutions. In doing so, Simplify Workforce aims to address the long-underserved middle market — specifically, businesses with annual contingent workforce spend of $1 million to $100 million — with the ability to scale up or down on spend easily, with a VMS and SOW solution that can solve the majority of daily contingent workforce challenges without overwhelming users, implementation teams and budgets with unnecessary complexity.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on Simplify Workforce and its capabilities. The brief includes an overview of Simplify Workforce’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.

SAP Ariba Sourcing: How It Compares Today and What’s Coming Tomorrow (Part 1: Benchmark Performance, Product Roadmap) [PRO]

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The strategic sourcing or e-sourcing technology market — we simply call it “Sourcing” in SolutionMap — has undergone significant transformation and bifurcation in recent years. On the one hand, disruption has come from simplicity and ease of use (e.g., Bonfire, Keelvar, Market Dojo, Scout RFP, etc.). And on the other hand, it has come from significant advances in functional capabilities in various areas (e.g., Coupa, GEP, Ivalua, Jaggaer, SynerTrade and Wax Digital, among others).

SAP Ariba, one of the stalwarts of the Sourcing world for over two decades (if you count the acquisition of FreeMarkets), remains a frequent competitor on a global basis today. But how does SAP Ariba compare to others in the market on a functional basis based on its current offering? And what is coming for SAP Ariba Sourcing tomorrow?

Part 1 of this Spend Matters PRO analysis provides insight into SAP’s relative strengths and weaknesses today (based on our Q1 2019 SolutionMap release) and shares what we learned from the SAP Ariba Live event this month on an overall roadmap basis. Part 2 will provide additional insight into the new SAP Ariba Sourcing user experience as well as analysis, commentary and customer recommendations based on SAP Ariba’s Sourcing roadmap overall.

Ivalua NOW Paris event: A Dispatch on the Art and Science of Procurement

Spend Matters analyst Michael Lamoureux attended Ivalua’s customer event, Ivalua NOW Paris: The Art of Procurement, last week and found several advancements in the provider’s offerings, saw some improvements to its capabilities and learned about plans to upgrade its solution.

Shortlist: What Makes It Great (Independent Contract Workers Analysis)

Shortlist is a provider of an enterprise technology solution that enables organizations to source, on-board, manage, directly engage and pay their independent contract workers (ICWs).

Its offering was recently evaluated in Spend Matters’ SolutionMap framework with the Independent Contract Workers (ICW) enterprise solution category. That segment is the most dynamic part of the contingent and workforce and services (CW/S) procurement technology market, which also includes SolutionMap’s Temp Staffing (Vendor Management Systems/VMS) and Contract Services/Statement of Work solution segments.

Most ICW enterprise solutions have emerged over the past five years within the context of the so-called gig, freelance and peer-to-peer “economies” — a world of innovative platforms like Uber and Airbnb versus the establishment world of enterprise software applications inhabited for decades by providers like SAP and Oracle.

While some new providers have stood up external platforms like online marketplaces that function effectively as third-party suppliers of talent, others have stood up enterprise software solutions that organizations can use to source and manage talent in ways that VMS, ATS and HRIS systems cannot. Shortlist falls within this latter category.

Shortlist provides a comprehensive, fit-for-purpose software solution that can be used by organizations to manage their independent contract workers (ICWs) and small-scale service providers (SSPs). The solution provides support in almost every aspect of the ICW/SSP source-to-pay lifecycle.

AI in Supplier Discovery: The Day After Tomorrow [PRO]

In our initial entry of the series, AI in Supplier Discovery: Today, we discussed how the advancements in usability and computing power have made it possible for platforms to implement better and more powerful search algorithms that can actually make searches useful across wide supplier directories and networks. Then, in our last entry, AI in Supplier Discovery: Tomorrow, we discussed how the inclusion of advanced semantic processing, high dimensional (fingerprint) similarity clustering algorithms, range and "like" search algorithms, and machine learning that can improve the algorithms over time as humans identify "good" versus "bad" matches will allow even better, smarter, more useful searches to be performed in the days to come for the identification of the right suppliers for direct categories and services.

But is that the best we can hope for?

While that is all we can hope for tomorrow, we can hope for even more the day after that. More specifically, when we extend our event horizon out just a little bit further, we can predict that at some point in the future, supplier discovery systems are going to support innovative supplier discovery (based on performance, need and soft factors) and predictive smart search (based on upcoming projects, performance profiles and real-time community feedback).

ICYMI: Why the new Q1 SolutionMap rankings of procurement software firms matter

Q1 2019 Spend Matters SolutionMap procurement software company rankings

Nearly two years ago, the Spend Matters team birthed the inaugural set of SolutionMap rankings unto the world. This week, the latest quarterly update was released, showing how procurement software providers stack up against one another. So this is a good time to explore how SolutionMap came into being and to offer a Q&A on how it works.

Microsoft 365 Freelance Toolkit: Retooling How Enterprises Work (Part 2) [PRO]

In Part 2 of this three-part series, we shift our focus from the examination of what the Microsoft 365 freelance toolkit is and how it emerged with a broader work innovation initiative at Microsoft to the major role of Microsoft’s procurement organization in the process from the very beginning to the present.

In Part 1, we focused on the “customer zero” approach to the development of the Microsoft 365 freelance toolkit within Microsoft over the last 18 months. We also discussed the research, ideation and strategy process that started six to eight months earlier involving a number of key stakeholder groups/experts, including procurement, HR, legal and strategy in addition to the Microsoft 365 Product Content Group, led by Paul Estes.

We noted that this broader process was as much a cross-functional, organizational innovation journey into the future of work as it was a product journey motivated by the need to understand what the future of work would mean for Microsoft 365 products.

Over the past several years, Spend Matters has been researching to what extent — and how — larger enterprises have been adopting digital work platforms (such as freelancer marketplaces, crowd-based services platforms, etc.) as a way to source certain kinds of talent for suitable types of assignments.

We have also been focused on how services procurement/contingent workforce managers have been approaching (or could approach) these new sources on behalf of their organizations (see, for example, “How Procurement Can Participate in Platform Sourcing Initiatives: There Are More Ways Than One — Part 1 and Part 2”).

Based on our discussion with Chad Nesland, director of strategic sourcing at Microsoft, we now look at how procurement, starting two years ago, participated in Microsoft’s gig economy/work innovation initiative that, six months later, led to a supplier-partnership relationship with Upwork Enterprise and the subsequent development of the freelancer toolkit delivered to Microsoft 365 clients last December.

Q1 2019 SolutionMap E-Procurement, Invoice-to-Pay and Procure-to-Pay Release Notes

Q1 2019 Spend Matters SolutionMap procurement software company rankings

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider Release Note provides insight into the Q1 2019 SolutionMap release for E-Procurement, Invoice-to-Pay (I2P) and Procure-to-Pay (P2P), reviewing the process that we follow and highlighting what has changed since the last release. The Q1 2019 SolutionMap release sees very few changes from the Q4 2018 release. Mainly, the Procure-to-Pay customer reference set added 14 new individual customer references in Q1. No new providers were added for Q1, but will be added for the Q2 2019 cycle. This SolutionMap Insider research note provides insight into these and additional changes in the Q1 2019 SolutionMap release.

Q1 2019 SolutionMap Sourcing, Spend and Procurement Analytics, Supplier Relationship Management & Risk, Contract Lifecycle Management and Strategic Procurement Technology Suite Release Notes

Q1 2019 Spend Matters SolutionMap procurement software company rankings

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider release note provides insight into the Q1 2019 SolutionMap release for Sourcing, Spend and Procurement Analytics, Supplier Relationship Management & Risk, Contract Lifecycle Management, and Strategic Procurement Technologies Suite SolutionMaps, reviewing the process we follow and highlighting what has changed since the last release. Mainly, 56 new or refreshed customer references were added in the Strategic Procurement Technology areas for Q1. No new providers were added for Q1, but will be added for the Q2 2019 cycle. This SolutionMap Insider release note explores these and additional changes in the Q1 2019 SolutionMap release.

Q1 2019 SolutionMap Source-to-Pay Release Notes

Q1 2019 Spend Matters SolutionMap procurement software company rankings

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider release note provides insight into the Q1 2019 SolutionMap release for Source-to-Pay, reviewing the process that we followed for this quarter’s release.

The providers in the Q1 2019 Source-to-Pay SolutionMap include Coupa, Determine, GEP, Ivalua, SAP Ariba, SynerTrade and Zycus. All of these providers were required to participate in SolutionMap for each underlying module, as well. These individual areas include Sourcing, Spend and Procurement Analytics, Supplier Relationship Management & Risk, Contract Lifecycle Management, E-Procurement and Invoice-to-Pay. All of these providers are also included in the individual Strategic Procurement Technologies (SPT) and Procure-to-Pay (P2P) suite views.

This SolutionMap Insider research note provides insight into these and additional considerations in the Q1 2019 SolutionMap release. The Source-to-Pay customer data set is composed of a subset of the 600+ individual organization references included in the overall SolutionMap scoring as of Q1 2019*.

*Customers using more than one module that a vendor provides can opt to fill out a single survey within each individual suite area (e.g., a customer using two modules for P2P and four modules for SPT would need to fill out only two surveys).