The E-Sourcing Category

Thomas CEO Tony Uphoff on Sourcing Alternatives to Plastic Drinking Straws, Regulations and Consumer Sentiment

The year 2018 seems to be the beginning of the end of the plastic straw, and sourcing data from Thomasnet.com indicate that procurement professionals are scrambling to identify alternatives. One of the top marine polluters, plastic straws have been banned in various countries, cities and royal estates around the world, including Scotland, Taiwan, Vancouver and Buckingham Palace. Data from supplier discovery platform Thomasnet.com shows that sourcing activity for drinking straws and paper bags has increased significantly compared with the historical average. Spend Matters recently spoke with Tony Uphoff, president and chief executive at Thomas, to learn more about the industries behind this spike, the roles played by regulations and consumer sentiment, and those iconic red-and-yellow straws.

Program Management: The Missing Link in Procurement Technology Modules and Suites (Part 4 — Sourcing Components) [PRO]

If there is a glue that binds together different areas of procurement workflow, it is the overall program management of both individual tasks and collective activities across the source-to-pay continuum. This Spend Matters PRO series is designed to provide insight into what effective program management technology capabilities encapsulate from a design, platform and functional perspective.

In the last part of the series, we focused on sourcing and the types of sourcing programs that must be enabled by a modern sourcing or source-to-pay platform a modern user experience. In this fourth installment, we explore specific program management solution components that are required to enable the sourcing programs discussed in Part 3. In particular, we describe the specific overlay capabilities on top of sourcing technology to enable category strategy and realignment, re-sourcing, tail spend management, supply base rationalization and supply base expansion.

Program Management: The Missing Link in Procurement Technology Modules and Suites (Part 3 — Sourcing Programs) [PRO]

If there is a glue that binds together different areas of procurement workflow it is the overall program management of both individual tasks and collective activities across the source-to-pay (S2P) continuum. And nowhere in S2P is this more pronounced than in strategic sourcing.

This Spend Matters PRO series provides insight into what effective program management technology capabilities encapsulate from a design, platform and functional perspective. We explore both what represents best-in-class program management components today and what users might expect tomorrow.

Part 1 of the series explored effective program management overall from a strategy and process standpoint — and then from a technology standpoint. Part 2 provided a framework and insights into some of the functional (technology product) building blocks of effective program management, with a focus on project and portfolio management.

Today in Part 3 of this series, we examine sourcing and the types of sourcing programs that must be enabled by a modern sourcing or source to pay platform, with a focus on how they fit into broader program management.

Are Reverse Auctions a Threat to Good Supplier Relationships?

auction

Can reverse auctions — and e-procurement in general — sour a good supplier relationship? One of our readers wrote in with this question, worrying that reverse auctions may put pressure on supplier margins to such an extent that it is detrimental to the buyer-supplier relationship. In a reverse auction, suppliers compete for the buyer’s business by underbidding one another. This increased competition among the supply base ought to lead to lower prices for buyers, although it also runs the risk of undermining a supplier relationship that has taken time and effort to build. What’s the point of developing a strategic supplier relationship if you’re going to use an automated auctioning process anyway?

SAP Ariba Launches A New Sourcing Front — Decision Optimization (Part 2: Solution Analysis) [PRO]

In a perfectly logical world, sourcing optimization would become the default means of the majority of strategic negotiations with suppliers. At Spend Matters, we believe its superiority to other sourcing techniques — especially in its ability to extend procurement’s influence to supply chain, finance and other areas of the business by incorporating multiple elements of data collection and analysis — is unmatched. But even though the benefits of sourcing optimization are real and core sourcing optimization technology requirements are well established, the capability today is more of an outlier than standard practice.

Might SAP Ariba be able with its recently enhanced sourcing optimization capability to bring optimization to the masses, and accomplish, at this point, what other more established solutions have not yet been able to achieve? Perhaps. But it will take more than the right capabilities to drive universal sourcing optimization adoption, as SAP Ariba’s competitors in the area have found. For the purposes of this Spend Matters PRO research brief, we’ll “constrain” our dataset to a much easier scenario to solve for: providing a perspective on how SAP Ariba’s current sourcing optimization capability stacks up against our core SolutionMap requirements for the area.

SAP Ariba Launches A New Sourcing Front — Decision Optimization (Part 1: Solution Components) [PRO]

SAP Ariba has opened a new front on the strategic sourcing optimization software battlefield. We recently received a detailed product demonstration of the next evolution of SAP Ariba’s decision optimization capability, as well as a glimpse of what’s on the roadmap. Our take is positive. SAP Ariba’s foundation and future plans represent a solid start in this area. And while other established providers of sourcing optimization tools have a decade-long head start, we expect SAP Ariba to progress faster in its optimization journey than many of its peers.

In this two-part Spend Matters PRO analysis, we begin with an introduction to the required solution components of sourcing decision optimization and an explanation of the benefits they can bring to procurement organizations. In Part 2, we offer an overview of SAP Ariba’s new decision optimization capability, exploring its strengths and weaknesses. 

EC Sourcing: What Makes It Great (Sourcing SolutionMap Analysis)

The sourcing technology market would seem to be won more on two of the three “M”s  (marketing and momentum) than the third (merit), which we usually lump together in the same list of characteristics that separate fast growing tech companies from the rest. This is a shame, because sometimes the best vendors for the task don’t get invited to bid.

EC Sourcing is one such example. The vendor functionally outperforms many other sourcing providers in the Q2 2018 Sourcing SolutionMap benchmark, yet it is seen in fewer deals than direct peers, creating an information asymmetry in the market that is limiting customer choice — a triumph of marketing and momentum without balancing merit.

EC Sourcing’s Q2 2018 SolutionMap performance provides compelling evidence, based on both analyst ratings and customer reference scoring, that the provider is a must-shortlist candidate for most standalone sourcing scenarios, especially those situations in which a Nimble provider is desired. Join us in exploring what make EC Sourcing great, based on the latest functional and customer SolutionMap benchmarks from Q2 2018.

“What Makes It Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider Subscribers. Based on both our rigorous evaluation process and customer reference reviews, each brief explains how the provider excels and where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark, concluding with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider the vendor.

Q2 2018 SolutionMap Release Notes: Source-to-Pay (S2P)

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider Release Note provides insight into the Q2 2018 SolutionMap release for Source-to-Pay, reviewing the process that we followed for this inaugural release.

The providers in the Q2 2018 Source-to-Pay SolutionMap include 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 Q2 2018 SolutionMap release. The Source-to-Pay customer data set is composed of a subset of the 700+ individual organization references included in the overall SolutionMap scoring as of Q2 2018*.

*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 only need to fill out two surveys).

Q2 2018 SolutionMap Release Notes: Sourcing, Spend Analytics, SRM, CLM and Strategic Procurement Technology Suites

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider release note provides insight into the Q2 2018 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.

Within the individual areas covered in this brief, the following provider has been added to the Q2 2018 release: Bonfire. Additionally, providers such as EC Sourcing, Ivalua, and SynerTrade have received updated scoring following the submission and demonstration of new capabilities based on production releases of individual modules. (Non-GA capabilities are not considered in SolutionMap scoring.) Perhaps most important, over 100 new customer references were added in the Strategic Procurement Technology areas for Q2.

This SolutionMap Insider release note explores these and additional changes in the Q2 2018 SolutionMap release.

Cognitive Sourcing Provider LevaData Completes $12 Million Series B

funding

LevaData announced Tuesday it had completed a $12 million Series B financing round, led by Tola Capital. The sourcing technology provider plans to use the funding to deepen the capability of its platform, further innovations in engineering and data science, and expand into new industry verticals, according to a press release. Since 2014, LevaData has raised close to $20 million in venture capital, including $5 million in August of last year from its Series A round, also led by Tola Capital. 

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

Bonfire is one of our most anticipated new participants in Spend Matters Q2 2018 Sourcing SolutionMap. Based on what we have covered in this deep dive analysis of Bonfire thus far, we suspect that the provider will personify many of the requirements of the Nimble persona, providing a compelling functional alternative to top-ranked Value Leaders including Scout RFP, Coupa, EC Sourcing, Keelver and Market Dojo (not to mention Nimble Solution Leaders including Ivalua, Zycus, Scanmarket and SynerTrade, as well as Nimble Customer leader SAP Ariba).

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering Bonfire provides an objective SWOT analysis of the provider and offers a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as alternative vendors to Bonfire and offers provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides a summary analysis and recommendations for companies considering the vendor. Part 1 provided an in-depth look at Bonfire as a technology provider and its specific solutions. Part 2 gave a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses and a review of the product’s user experience.

Sourcing Technology Evaluation and Head-to-Head Comparison: Coupa vs. Jaggaer Advantage (Q2 2018 Preview)

With the acquisition of Trade Extensions, Coupa catapulted into the ranks of the sourcing elite almost overnight. Similarly, in acquiring BravoSolution, Jaggaer gained the prize for provider that balances depth and breadth across its sourcing capabilities most effectively. But how do the two providers stack up to each other in a head-to-head bout?

Join us in this unfiltered head-to-head SolutionMap results analysis from our Q2 2018 dataset, a preview of our not-yet-published SolutionMap, along with commentary from Spend Matters Founder Jason Busch. These recurring Head-to-Head columns share insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider Subscribers, providing unique comparative cuts of SolutionMap benchmark data, along with the trademark quips that have defined Spend Matters analysis since its inception.

If you need to know how these two top-ranked sourcing providers compare to each other, look no further. Here’s a preview, for those who have not yet subscribed to this new Spend Matters service: In certain sourcing capability requirements — including opportunity analysis, project management, supplier portal, spend analysis (lite), RFX, auctions, optimization, contract management (lite), post-event execution, technology, configurability, services and the summary sourcing average — Jaggaer Advantage puts a chokehold on its foe deep into the battle. But in at least one area, Coupa sneaks in a stealthy nunchuck blow in the first round. And at the final bell after multiple battles, we can declare a winner here — but only by the slimmest of margins.

The Q2 2018 Sourcing SolutionMap benchmark is now based on an underlying dataset featuring 16 separate providers, including nearly all of the must-shortlist sourcing technology providers procurement organizations can expect to consider in a typical selection process (as well as those they should consider but might overlook). Whether you’re in the market for a new sourcing product, want to augment current solutions with specialized capabilities or just want to know if you made the right decision for your organization, our SolutionMap analysis and benchmark data can tell you the answer. Curious to learn more? Don’t hesitate to get in touch.