The E-Sourcing Category

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.

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

The market for best-of-breed sourcing solutions continues to take off. Bonfire, which was founded two years before Scout RFP, is the newest provider in the sector to build significant momentum in North America, leveraging a similar playbook as its better-known competitor, emphasizing ease-of-use, adoption and the user experience. With more than 230 customers in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean, including market penetration in the public sector that rivals larger providers, Bonfire is becoming a more frequent shortlist candidate in an increasing number of sourcing buying scenarios in which suite capability is not a prerequisite.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Bonfire’s product strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should shortlist the vendor. It also offers a critique of the user interface. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Bonfire in the sourcing technology area. The final installment in this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

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

Just when you thought the sourcing technology market was mature and the competitive field had narrowed down to fewer choices, along comes a new contender. And not just any provider, but one that could prove a real thorn in the side of competitors, especially for those focusing on public sector, those targeting the “Nimble” SolutionMap buying persona or those targeting the middle market. This new rose — or thorn, depending on your vantage point — is Bonfire. Scout RFP customers and prospective customers, in particular, should pay particularly close attention to Bonfire, as should those considering Market Dojo, EC Sourcing, Scanmarket, SynerTrade and similar providers.

Larger procurement teams that desire Nimble providers, as well as smaller organizations, often need point-based solutions that can be implemented quickly, at an upfront cost they can afford and with a quick ROI to justify their selection. Bonfire fits this description closely. However, your organization won't know if Bonfire should be on your shortlist without some deep insight into what the platform does, where its strengths and weaknesses are, and what its customer base looks like (to understand if they are used to serving your industry). That's what this PRO series is designed to help you understand.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about whether Bonfire, as a standalone sourcing solution, is a better fit than both alternative best-of-breed and suite-based tools. 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 Bonfire. The remainder of this multipart research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analysis, user selection guides, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

BidMode: Vendor Introduction (Part 2) — Solution Strengths, Weaknesses and SWOT [PRO]

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction continues our initial coverage of BidMode, a recent entrant in the sourcing optimization sector. If you’re curious about how BidMode stacks up on a comparative basis to Coupa, Jaggaer, Keelvar and others in the Sourcing Optimizer persona, you’ll need to wait until our Q2 2018 SolutionMap release, in which EC Sourcing — with BidMode pre-integrated — features its optimization capability.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction provides a candid take on BidMode and its solutions. This second installment analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of BidMode’s solution, as well as offers an overall SWOT analysis and summary perspective on the provider. Part 1 of this brief includes an overview of the BidMode, describes its capabilities and provides a checklist for those that might consider the provider.

bidmode: Vendor Introduction (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview [PRO]

Those who think the sourcing optimization market is wrapped up by incumbent technology would be wrong. For at least the last few months, procurement organizations interested in sourcing optimization have had their choice of five different providers: SAP Ariba, Coupa, Jaggaer, Keelvar and SynerTrade. To this list, we can now add a sixth option: bidmode.

Among the first five on the list, currently available choices and capability vary significantly. SAP Ariba, the newest entrant, has big ambitions but limited capability. SynerTrade, which has not invested much in optimization since a few customers demanded the capability a decade ago, is in the same boat. The remaining three all offer differing degrees of more advanced capability.

But now to the sixth option. Without even a single mention in the media yet, bidmode, which launched this year, already has a few customers and a pipeline of about a dozen prospects for its new, low-risk entry model called "bidmode Inside," in which it serves as an extension to third-party sourcing capabilities.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction provides a candid take on bidmode and its solutions. Part 1 provides an overview of bidmode and its capabilities, as well as a checklist for those that might consider working with the company. Part 2 offers a perspective on what is comparatively good (and not so good) about bidmode’s solution, including a SWOT analysis.

SolutionMap Subscriptions and Practitioner Selection Programs: A Primer and Sneak Peek at Q1 2018 SolutionMap [PRO]

Earlier today Spend Matters released its Q1 2018 SolutionMap. The release now comprises six technology areas with individual vendor rankings (spend and procurement analytics, sourcing, supplier management, contract lifecycle management, e-procurement and invoice-to-pay) and three composite suite views (strategic procurement technologies, procure-to-pay and source-to-pay).

Our goal with SolutionMap is very different from what other analyst firms seek to achieve with their ranking systems. This is apparent even at our “free” level. The SolutionMap approach starts by releasing the ranking charts in the public domain, providing multiple persona-based views of vendor capability (45 comparative 2/2 matrices in total for the Q1 2018 release). We take a truly data-driven approach to plotting vendors, where an “average” score positions a provider in the dead center of a chart. SolutionMap ranking charts also make it easy to distinguish analyst scoring from customer scoring, plotting the data on separate analyst and customer axes. Finally, the Q1 2018 release actually reflects the time frame of its publication: We update the underlying data set and charts for SolutionMap on a quarterly basis.

Admittedly, the “free” stuff is designed to pique your interest. Unlike some of our peers in the analyst world, we have not made SolutionMap “reprint friendly” for the maximum number of vendors through grade inflation. Why? Because in the world of procurement technology, not everyone is “above average” like the children of Lake Wobegon. There’s an average, and there’s a deviation from average — positive and negative. Obfuscating these deviations might produce charts that make people feel good about buying decisions up front, but other than a near-term CYA, how useful will these be in the long run for those relying on them for, well, anything?

At the new SolutionMap subscriber level — separate from Spend Matters PRO — the tangible value of SolutionMap becomes even clearer. At this level, we unpack the underlying data we show for the analyst scoring by rated sub-category. For example, in the Supplier Management SolutionMap, you can see individual, tiered-based scoring for capabilities such as master data management (MDM), supplier onboarding support, core supplier information management (SIM) and supplier performance management, among other areas. Customer ratings (e.g., level of value perceived, quick deployment, ROI) are also visible.

To see the full level of data available to SolutionMap subscribers, check out the currently available reports from the Q1 2018 release:

There are views of the data beyond those provided in these reports (e.g., tiered-based scoring and ranked scoring for all sub-components that comprise an area, such as master data management within the Supplier Management report). Per our competitive intelligence policy, however, we reserve this view for practitioners going through a selection process (or the consultancies advising them), with strict licensing. This prevents comparative information from falling into the hands of competing vendors participating in SolutionMap. We take intellectual property protection and data privacy, for providers and practitioners, very seriously here at Spend Matters; otherwise, we’d find ourselves out of business quickly.

So, how exactly does all of this work? Read on as we unpack a SolutionMap Insider-level example within Supplier Management from the Q1 2018 SolutionMap. Specifically, we compare Jaggaer with Jaggaer Advantage (formerly BravoSolution) to showcase how it all works.

Q1 2018 SolutionMap Release Notes: Source-to-Pay (S2P)

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider Release Note provides insight into the Q1 2018 SolutionMap release for Source-to-Pay, reviewing the process that we followed for this inaugural release.

The providers in the Q1 2018 Source-to-Pay SolutionMap include Determine, GEP, Ivalua, SAP Ariba 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 2018 SolutionMap release. The Source-to-Pay customer data set comprises more than 250 individual survey responses among the more than 500 different organization references included in the overall SolutionMap scoring as of Q1 2018 (and 1,000-plus individual survey responses* by module).

*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).

Q1 2018 SolutionMap Release Notes: Sourcing, Spend Analytics, SRM, CLM and Strategic Procurement Technology Suites

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This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider release note provides insight into the Q1 2018 SolutionMap release for Sourcing, Spend and Procurement Analytics, Supplier Relationship Management & Risk, Contract Lifecycle Management, and Strategic Procurement Technologies Suite Solution Maps, reviewing the process we follow and highlighting what has changed since the last release.

Within the individual areas covered in this brief, the following providers have been added to the Q1 2018 release: Agiloft, Aravo, ConnXus, HICX, Opera BIQ, Simfoni and SynerTrade. Additionally, providers such as SAP Ariba 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.) This SolutionMap Insider release note explores these and additional changes in the Q1 2018 SolutionMap release.

Vendorful: Vendor Introduction, Analysis and SWOT [PRO]

Just after suite providers claimed victory in the sourcing software arena for the value and optionality of combining integrated source-to-contract and source-to-pay capabilities, a backlash occurred. Many upstart sourcing provides, including ScoutRFP, Keelvar, Market Dojo and EC Sourcing, saw new customer acquisition growth that is at least on par with, if not increasing faster than, suites themselves.

Within this mix, we can add a “new” software firm to the mix. This sourcing provider is Vendorful, which now offers an RFX and reverse auction solution for middle-market companies that want to embark on — or accelerate — their RFX and reverse auction strategic sourcing journey. Vendorful rounds out these capabilities with basic supplier information management and contract tracking. Primary competitors include EC Sourcing, Keelvar, Market Dojo and ScoutRFP, although Vendorful differentiates itself from the market through its ease-of-use and user design.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on Vendorful and its capabilities. It includes an overview of Vendorful’s solution set, a perspective on what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a SWOT analysis and a selection requirements checklist for organizations that might consider the provider.

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E-Sourcing is Dead, Long Live Intelligent Sourcing Systems

People familiar with e-sourcing often lament its lack of adoption and how others don’t understand the value it drives. This is missing the point: There’s a reason why adoption of e-sourcing is lower than expected and why sourcing managers often try to avoid e-sourcing. The main problem is that people see it as a crude implement, a sledgehammer that harms supplier relationships when they needed a surgical knife to be more precise and nuanced in their negotiations. But a new era is about to begin.

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.