The Invoicing Category

Basware vs. Tradeshift: Accounts Payable, Invoicing and Supplier Network Head-to-Head Comparison

On the surface, Basware and Tradeshift appear to deliver similar invoice-to-pay technology capabilities as two of the top-ranked SolutionMap analyst picks for this area. (Note: We include e-invoicing, accounts payable automation, supplier network and related capabilities as components of invoice-to-pay.) After all, both beat the average functional benchmark score in the Spend Matters Q4 2018 Invoice-to-Pay SolutionMap, which publishes Dec. 4, by a material percentage.

But when you unpack how Basware and Tradeshift compare in the two “best” and core areas in which they compete, comparative strengths and weaknesses begin to emerge. Such nuances could prove all the more important when analyzing how customers and potential customers should think about each provider given the potential for them to join forces as a single, merged entity.

Join us in this unfiltered SolutionMap results analysis from our Q4 2018 dataset, along with the commentary of the Spend Matters analyst team. These “Head-to-Head” columns share the insights of each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider Subscribers, providing unique comparative cuts of SolutionMap benchmark data along with the trademark quips that Spend Matters was better known for in its early years. So buckle your seat belt, prepare for some real data and expect a few sparks to fly as we pit Basware and Tradeshift against each other in the invoice-to-pay evaluation ring.

Not yet an Insider member? Here’s a preview: In certain invoice-to-pay categories — which include supplier network, configurability, technology (overall), general services, invoicing, payment/financing and overall invoice-to-pay scoring — Basware gets the nod. But in many others, Tradeshift takes the prize. Overall, the results suggest that the right solution will vary based on different organizational requirements. There’s no debate that invoice-to-pay selection processes will reward procurement organizations that tailor provider selection to their specific needs.

The Blurring of Supply Chain Finance Definitions

I often get this question about how factoring and supply chain finance differ from traditional invoice finance. And the real answer is its very murky. There is certainly a blurring between invoice finance, invoice discounting, factoring, supply chain finance and asset-based lending.

By whatever name you want to call it, what really matters is what usury laws are governed by the lending technique and how bankruptcy court will interpret the structure (loan, asset purchase) and what the state or legal jurisdiction laws are in relation to the technique. Definitions are fine to help educate and illustrate, but they are meaningless when it comes to judges and investors.

Five Reasons Why Tradeshift Would Acquire Basware [PRO]

Monday afternoon, Bloomberg reported that Tradeshift, a procure-to-pay provider and marketplace enabler, was behind the unsolicited offer to acquire Basware, a Europe-based procure-to-pay provider. The offer raises the obvious question: How would two similar companies — in terms of product overlap — benefit from joining forces? And more specifically, what’s in it for Tradeshift?

This Spend Matters PRO research brief attempts to answer these questions, exploring five reasons why a vendor with what first appears to be a near identical product footprint to Basware would consider such a move to bring the two together. Hint: There’s likely more to the proposed transaction than what appears on the surface (i.e., market consolidation, valuation arbitrage).

Note: A subsequent SolutionMap Insider subscriber analysis will provide insight into how both providers stack up based on the latest Q3 SolutionMap benchmark for Invoice-to-Pay.

A Potential Basware Takeover: Speculation Abounds

Earlier today, Basware, a Europe-based procure-to-pay provider that, through integrated partner capabilities, also offers broader source-to-pay solutions, responded to “media speculation” that it had received a takeover offer, resulting in a material run up in its share price. In a press announcement published Friday, Nov. 16, the vendor said it had been "approached with a non-binding and highly conditional indicative proposal for a possible tender offer for the entire share capital of Basware." The wording of the full release may provide some hints as to what kind of firm is considering an offer. But who the potential acquirer is perhaps matters less than what a Basware takeover could mean more broadly for the procurement technology market, in which Basware has made considerable gains within recent years.

Zycus Sourcing: What Makes It Great (Analysis)

Zycus got its start in spend analytics. But over the past decade, it has quietly become one of the largest independent source-to-pay providers. Within its broader suite, Zycus sourcing is a stand-out capability, where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark average score for the majority of capabilities.

Zycus has taken a modular approach to how it sells and positions its sourcing capabilities on top of its underlying architecture. And it’s gaining traction in the procurement technology suite market not only due to its functional breadth and depth — but also because it offers some of the most attractive pricing in the market today (despite that it delivers materially greater functionality than the majority of its peers).

As of Q3 2018, Spend Matters SolutionMap contains functional and customer satisfaction benchmarks on more than 50 providers within procurement technology and related markets. At present, Spend Matters maintains a solution benchmark on 17 sourcing providers, spanning some 125+ requirements. The Sourcing SolutionMap has some of the toughest requirements in any SolutionMap area — putting this highly competitive technology “supply” market to the test.

But how does Zycus sourcing comparatively stack up in the functional and capability weeds? It turns out Zycus performs strongly and is a recommend fit for all core sourcing SolutionMap personas. To understand where Zycus stands out — and why this matters for sourcing and category teams — let’s dive into the fields that comprise the sourcing benchmark and explore exactly what makes Zycus great.

“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 offers quick facts on the provider, describes where it excels, provides hard data on where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark and concludes with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider it.

Zycus Horizon Dispatch: Product Strategy Emphasizes 3 Key Areas

As the second day of Zycus’ Horizon customer event kicks off in Virginia (see day one coverage: Facts/Investment/New AI Direction and Building the Partner Ecosystem) we thought it would be useful to distill what we’ve learned so far as the global provider (now with about 1,000 employees) continues to build out its procurement technology suite. From the various main stage sessions and conversations we had with key Zycus personnel, we can segment Zycus’ product/solution strategy into three areas.

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

Unlike Salesforce, Tradeshift embarked on building both an applications and platform technology business at the same time, commingling the value proposition of each to create something that it hoped would prove larger than either could be individually. Flash forward less than a decade since the provider launched, and Tradeshift has remained true to this vision. But how does the provider stack up to others in the market given it can be difficult to compare it with traditional cloud applications providers without the platform element? And how should prospective customers know when to consider Tradeshift vs. others?

Part 3 of this Vendor Snapshot series explores these questions and others. This Spend Matters PRO report provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Tradeshift’s solutions and products. 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 Tradeshift in the procurement, supply chain and finance technology areas. Part 2 covered product strengths and weaknesses, and this final installment offers a competitor and SWOT analysis, along with evaluation and selection considerations.

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

Besides the likes of “mega” players like Amazon Business, is there a market for marketplaces? When Tradeshift embarked on its journey to create a platform between organizations in 2010, it had to believe such a need would eventually become mainstream, otherwise its vision and reality would fail to intersect. Fortunately for those that backed Tradeshift’s initial hypothesis, less than a decade since launching, more companies — not just early adopters — are becoming aware of what a platform concept can deliver beyond business applications.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Tradeshift’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement and finance organizations decide whether they should consider the provider from both an applications and marketplace/platform perspective. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview centered on Tradeshift’s business applications, as well as a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering the provider. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

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

Yooz is one of the dozens of providers that frequently compete in the accounts payable automation market. This specific market is a bit difficult to “bound” as it represents a narrower “cut” of the functional requirements in Spend Matters’ invoice-to-pay SolutionMap — yet with more granular requirements in support of specific AP-centric (and sometimes industry-specific) needs.  

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Yooz’s solution offering in payment automation and e-invoicing markets. 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 Yooz in the finance technology areas. Part 2 covered product strengths and weaknesses, and this final installment offers a competitor and SWOT analysis, along with evaluation and selection considerations.

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.

Why Platforms Need to Monetize Their Supplier Ecosystem

Because P2P solutions started giving away supplier portals, cash flow optimizers, analytics, support, etc., they closed a revenue door. Trying to build a sustainable business model when half your ecosystem is not monetized is very challenging, even as P2P platforms add features and functionality. Sure, many platforms are trying to figure out payments, and that is something that scares the bejeebers out of them due to regulations and compliance rules. (Don’t pay that blacklisted vendor or person, or else.) But payments is not a profitable business for platforms, it’s a service.

Post-Confirmation Dilution in an Uncertain Credit World

e-invoicing

How long has this benign credit cycle been going on? How about since 2008, when the Fed began dumping money into the economy to go way beyond its mandate as a last-stop liquidity gap. This has led to many distortions in the credit and capital markets, and one area where this is poorly understood is around “approved” invoices. Despite what many players in the space might believe, underwriting is necessary — even  critical. Even though the invoices that are on the platform are, by definition, approved for payment (i.e., highly de-risked), they are by no means risk-free.