The eProcurement / Procurement Category

Amazon Business Prime Updated: Analysis and Procurement Recommendations (October 2018 Update) [PRO]

AnyData Solutions

Earlier today, Amazon announced a host of enhancements to its Amazon Business Prime offering. To help procurement organizations understand the implications of these added capabilities, this Spend Matters PRO research brief provides an overview and analysis of the new solution components and offers recommendations to procurement organizations already using or considering Amazon Business.

The emphasis of this PRO analysis centers on the spend visibility/analytics, e-procurement (guided buying) and working capital/payment capabilities of the October 2018 Amazon Business release. While some of these areas are likely to be less interesting for organizations that already use a third-party e-procurement solution that integrates with Amazon Business (either via punch-out or API), Amazon’s enhanced invoicing, working capital and payment components can be applied to all potential users.

But perhaps most important, these enhancement offer some signals of how Amazon may continue to build out the capabilities of its Prime business solution. Let’s delve in.

Amazon Business Prime Is Updated to Improve Its E-Procurement Solution

Amazon Business

Amazon announced Tuesday a range of new capabilities added to Amazon Business Prime. The additions blur the line between extending the marketplace distribution aspects of the solution (e.g., same day, next day or two day fulfillment) and driving enhanced e-procurement, payment and marketplace technology components. Spend Matters believes that this release represents the most important set of enhancements to Amazon Business since the launch of the offering. Amazon Business is (still) not a replacement for the likes of Coupa or SAP Ariba in the upper-middle market or large enterprise customer segment for procure-to-pay. But the solution is increasingly morphing into what could become a primary procurement portal for small- and middle-market customers while still offering targeted value for larger organizations — in addition to serving in its role as a business-to-business marketplace and business products distributor.

E-Procurement Catalog Management and Search: Introduction and Tradeshift Analysis (Part 1)   [PRO]

Most of the leading solution providers featured in the E-Procurement and Procure-to-Pay SolutionMaps can handle many of the nuances required of search and catalog management. For all of the gory details of what comprises catalog management and why it matters as part of an e-procurement system, we encourage PRO subscribers to start here:

Now that you know what catalog management comprises — and assuming you’ve read the “Just Coupa It” analysis of Coupa’s approach to search and catalog management with Aquiire and Simeno — we can explore how other solution providers approach this complex and nuanced area.

Based on insights gained from SolutionMap analysis, this series will explore how other leading providers approach search and catalog management. Today, we introduce the topic and share how Tradeshift, the first of Coupa’s peers that we’ll investigate in this series, tackles catalog management and business user search.

If you are currently using an e-procurement solution or considering purchasing a new technology, this is a critical series that will help you understand one of the most important functional “plumbing” elements within transactional purchasing and procure-to-pay, as well as what other capabilities top performers offer as part of their broader P2P environments. Read on!

With Coupa Taking Aquiire, Only 2 Specialists Left Standing (Updated 2018 E-Procurement Market Forecast and Competitive Sector Implications) [PRO]

Coupa (cleverly) has been snapping up specialized technology in the e-procurement market to further enhance its capabilities (re: Simeno and Aquiire). In doing so, it has also acted as consolidator, reducing the available e-procurement supply market for both customers and competitors. In North America today (and globally, as far as we are aware), there are only two specialist independent e-procurement specialists remaining in the market: BuyerQuest and Vroozi.

Of course to this list you need to add a few folks in Europe — Wescale (which has not expressed interest in pursuing North American sales opportunities, at least with our clients), OpusCapita and Proactis. And lest we not forget larger providers such as Basware, Ivalua, Jaggaer, etc. (in addition to Oracle and SAP Ariba). But the non-suite, best-of-breed supply market for e-procurement, at least in North America, is getting very thin.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO analysis provides Spend Matters commentary on what Coupa’s acquisitive tendencies, in particular the purchase of Aquiire this week, might suggest for competitors and future competitors. Not to pat ourselves on the back, but continued sector M&A was a top prediction we suggested earlier in 2018.

The research brief begins by sharing our updated 2018 market forecast (CAGR, size, etc.) for e-procurement based on 1H 2018 activity. Then we provide commentary and analysis focusing on the implications of continued market consolidation for three segments of the competitive market: ERP providers that have not yet placed their best foot forward when it comes to e-procurement and procure-to-pay (including NetSuite/Oracle, Sage and Workday), Coupa suite competitors (e.g., Basware, Ivalua, Jaggaer, Oracle, SAP Ariba, etc.) and specialist providers (e.g., BuyerQuest, Vroozi, Wescale, etc.).

Part 2 of this analysis will provide a closer analysis of what Coupa’s increasing “post punch-out” product / IP arsenal (inclusive of Aquiire) might have on top e-procurement competitors when it comes to how customers actually look at and use these technologies — both during a software selection and when deploying/scaling e-procurement programs.

‘Just Coupa It’: By Buying Aquiire, Coupa Targets Google-like Search and the End of Punch-Outs [PRO]

Coupa announced its latest acquisition Monday with its purchase of Aquiire, a provider of e-procurement and procure-to-pay software. The deal brings to Coupa’s business spend management suite — which now includes support for e-procurement, P2P, source-to-pay, travel and expense management, and services procurement — many of the latest features for front-end shopping and catalog management, particularly several patents related to real-time search and third-party-hosted catalog integration capabilities. Viewed as part of Coupa’s larger strategy, however, Aquiire is just one piece of a larger puzzle that Coupa has been trying to assemble for the last decade.

The purchase of Cincinnati, Ohio-based Aquiire, along with Coupa’s own innovations in the guided buying area and the company’s 2017 acquisition of Simeno, forms the basis of a shift away from one-to-one, proprietary “punch-out”-based B2B e-commerce models and toward a streamlined, almost touchless approach to finding and buying goods and services. This entails far more than creating a friendly user experience that’s “Amazon-like.” Coupa wants to go one step further, making the search for a corporate purchase as easy as answering a question with Google: one question (sometimes auto-suggested) into the box, numerous answers delivered within the next screen, in real time, prioritized by relevance, price and desired procurement controls.

Coupa’s goal is to make B2B purchasing as easy and reflexive as everyday information retrieval on the broader web. Said another way, when you need to know something, you Google it; when you need to buy something at work, you would Coupa it. Obviously, Coupa is not going to become a verb anytime soon on the scale of Google. The key is to provide a B2B buyer-relevant search that is tuned to the “persona” of the individual buyer to quickly get him or her the needed goods and services from the preferred supply sources and buying channels.

This Spend Matters PRO research brief explores the feasibility of the “Google-like” search concept, as well as how Coupa’s acquisition of Aquiire enables it. It also touches on how Coupa’s approach to front-end shopping enablement compares with the broader e-procurement market, as well as what this means for competitors.

The Road to Cognitive Procurement: LevaData Models a New Standard for Sourcing Maturity

Most procurement groups are coming around to the idea that they need digital transformation. Yet even with a convincing case for taking an AI-based “cognitive” procurement approach to processes like sourcing, excuses about bad data and poor backing from management inevitably stop organizations from taking the first step. LevaData, like other solution providers, is increasingly trying to help procurement not just take on technology but create the roadmap for organizational maturity that leads to better business outcomes.

Coupa Buys Aquiire, Adding to Its Lead in Catalog Search and Front-End Shopping Usability

Coupa is buying Aquiire, a provider of e-procurement software that brings notable capabilities in real-time search and catalog management, for an undisclosed sum, the company announced Monday. In purchasing Aquiire, Coupa gains not only additional modern front-end shopping capabilities (some might argue among the most advanced) but also a complement to the industry-leading catalog management technology it gained from acquiring Simeno in December 2017.

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

Tradeshift is a cloud platform that connects buyers and suppliers with the goal of digitizing supply chain relationships, processes and information, while also enabling everyday procure-to-pay activities. Its capabilities span the buying of goods and services through to financing and payment — and significant capability in between, especially in the invoice-to-pay area.

In addition to providing its own procure-to-pay modules, Tradeshift offers an open integration framework that allows other technology firms (and customers) to integrate and/or development third-party “apps,” primarily centered on supplier connectivity, transaction enablement and collaboration. Tradeshift can even integrate alternative procure-to-pay providers in cases where specific enabling capability is desired.

This Spend Matters PRO analysis provides an introduction to Tradeshift, both as a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) provider and also as an e-procurement and invoice-to-pay technology vendor. It is designed to provide facts and expert analysis to help procurement and finance organizations make informed decisions about whether they should consider Tradeshift for both traditional “in-the-box” procure-to-pay requirements as well as unique marketplace/platform type digital initiatives.

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 Tradeshift as a complement to other procurement and finance solutions. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

7 Tips: A Guide to Mastering Procurement Transformation

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Alex Saric, Ivalua's chief marketing officer.

As the role of procurement continues to evolve, a new approach is required. Leaders are transforming their organizations with a new mindset, new processes and new technology. Having worked with hundreds of leading organizations as they transform procurement, I’d like to share these seven tips for procurement managers that should serve them well.

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5 Essential E-Procurement Operations Capabilities

A wealth of information exists for companies contemplating the launch of an e-procurement platform. Yet learning about the capabilities needed to support ongoing operations has been extremely difficult — until now. Our latest eBook, E-Procurement Operations: Post-launch Capabilities to Ensure Your Success, provides insights on the capabilities needed for successful e-procurement operations.

Direct Material Sourcing and Supplier Management Platforms (Part 1) [Plus+]

In enabling basic strategic sourcing capability for indirect, services and basic direct materials spend, there are now a lot — and we mean it — of solid choices in the market. And it’s a space that’s getting more crowded everyday. Yet in comparison to the broader sourcing marketplace, the direct materials market is, unfortunately, given short shrift. There are potentially many reasons for this. First, it’s complex — there is not one category of solution. Second, the user for these tools is not always the same as one who might use a more generic sourcing toolset (at least not alone). And third, the processes that direct materials sourcing toolsets support are complicated because they are used not only across numerous internal functions (materials management, plant management, operations, supply chain, design/engineering, procurement, sales and operations planning, etc.), but span multiple tiers of suppliers.

In a three-part Spend Matters Plus series that will deliver a cursory attempt to segment this market, we’ll attempt to overcome the current lack of research in this area by providing a concrete segmentation of different technology categories and the capabilities within each. Today we’ll consider additional context and provide a high-level segmentation and explanation of tools (which we’ll flesh out and provide vendor short-lists for later in the analysis).

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

BuyerQuest

The competitive landscape for e-procurement software still counts dozens of vendors globally that offer varying degrees of solution breadth, depth and focus. One provider that drives to the core of e-procurement requirements (search, shopping, catalog management, compliance, requisitioning and approvals) with a set of deep and differentiated capabilities is Aquiire.

This third and final installment of our Vendor Snapshot covering Aquiire provides an objective SWOT analysis of the vendor and offers a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates that could serve as alternatives to Aquiire and offers provider selection guidance. Part 1 provided an in-depth look at Aquiire as a technology provider and its specific solutions. Part 2 gave a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses.