E-Sourcing Content

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

future

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).

Enterprises’ Use of Contingent Workforce Grows and Business Case is Strong, The Economist’s Research Arm Finds

talent management

Most procurement practitioners and contingent workforce managers won’t be surprised by the assertion that employing contingent workers can have a significant upside for companies despite some costs and a fair amount of preparation, which remains to be done, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit’s February 2019 report, “Sourcing and Managing Talent in a Gig Economy.” But it's interesting to see how the perception of this sector is developing and to gain a few more insights.

AI in Supplier Discovery: Tomorrow [PRO]

interest rates

In Spend Matters’ last PRO article for the AI in Supplier Discovery series, we overviewed some situations where you can find it today, or at least functionality that looked like it was enabled by artificial intelligence (even if it was not), and set ourselves up for a discussion of true AI that is going to creep into supplier discovery platforms tomorrow.

However, when we say true AI, we mean the definition of AI as “assisted intelligence,” because there is no true artificial intelligence out there and probably won't be for a very long time (with some futurists conjecturing it will be 2060 before machines are as smart as the dumbest of us). Note that we don't even mean “augmented intelligence,” as even though the platforms will augment your knowledge, it will still be up to you to make the right, intelligent, decisions tomorrow. (And maybe the day after that, but that is a subject for our next article.)

In our last article, we reviewed the capabilities of the leading discovery platforms today, which mainly revolved around:

  • Smart search
  • Community intelligence

...and the intersection of both.

We discussed how the improvements in computing power and web-usability made it possible for platforms to implement better and more powerful search algorithms that actually made searches useful across wide supplier directories and networks; how community intelligence allowed an organization to quickly narrow potential supplier pools down to reasonable sizes; and how the intersection allowed for the definition of "like" searches that could not be done before now.

But as of today, those "like" searches are still pretty high level. And they are best at finding suppliers that provide finished products and services that can be well-defined and compared to other suppliers that provide similar finished products and services. In fact, most systems with "like" searches are for the identification of suppliers for indirect. Not direct. (And not services either.)

But that is going to change tomorrow. Tomorrow, supplier discovery systems are going to support:

  • deep capability match that uses bill of materials, production requirements and other deep factors to support supplier search for direct suppliers
  • resource capability match that can identify needed skill sets, knowledge and related attributes for services suppliers

And we'll finally have smart supplier search for all. But how will it happen? And what will it look like? Let's explore.

After EcoVadis’ Sustain 2019: Product Strategy, Roadmap and Prospect/Customer Analysis (Part 3) [PRO]

EcoVadis, which provides vendor ratings and scorecarding for sustainability and broader CSR metrics as a component of an integrated “many-to-many” supplier network and platform, has an aggressive product roadmap to expand how users interact with and leverage the supplier intelligence, which is at the very core of its value proposition.

Today, in this final installment in this Spend Matters’ PRO series based on our analysis from the EcoVadis Sustain 2019 customer event, we turn our attention to the future direction of where EcoVadis is expanding its capabilities. We also include customer/prospect recommendations.

In previous Spend Matters PRO coverage on EcoVadis, we offered a recap and update on the provider’s most recent capabilities and solution footprint — and an analysis of where EcoVadis fits in the broader supplier management and supply chain risk management landscape.