Market Intelligence Content

Comparing Coupa to Exari: Piecing Together a Top Tier Jigsaw Puzzle for CLM (SolutionMap Analysis)

With its announced intent to purchase Exari, Coupa has completed a full circle of acquisitions to bring best-of-breed applications to each area of the Strategic Procurement Technology (SPT) category of Spend Matters’ SolutionMap as Coupa expands beyond its original P2P roots.

Earlier acquisitions of Trade Extensions, Spend360 and Hiperos helped Coupa assemble an SPT jigsaw puzzle for sourcing, spend analytics and supplier management, and Exari, with its AI-based approach to deep contract modeling and analytics, represents yet another piece of an emerging tableau. And a critical one at that: In many ways, CLM forms the critical link within Coupa’s source-to-pay suite between upstream sourcing activities and downstream P2P, meaning there are significant opportunities to mine here for Coupa users in areas such as risk management, strategic supplier relationship management and, of course, savings generation.

Yet in addition to the question of how Exari fits into the larger Coupa strategy puzzle, there is also a relevant one about how the vendor fits into Coupa’s current CLM product strategy (and current contracts application), from a feature-function angle as well as a technical (integration) perspective.

As the Spend Matters Contract Lifecycle Management scoring in SolutionMap illustrates, Coupa’s current CLM capabilities are stronger in some areas than others, whereas Exari’s help set the benchmark in many areas.

When brought into Coupa, Exari would theoretically help close some of the gaps in Coupa’s offering relative to best-of-breed pacesetters, as well as suite competitors that have made investments in strong CLM capability.

The technical reality, however, is not quite as simple. Exari itself is a vendor built somewhat from acquired solutions, and while its CLM capabilities are best-in-class, its three main components (contract parsing, template creation and core CLM features) are all built on different technology stacks.

So where do Coupa and Exari fit together, and what are their areas of comparative strengths and weaknesses at the time of the acquisition?

This Spend Matters SolutionMap analysis provides an overview of the two providers’ capabilities, their comparative rankings in the CLM category and what combining the solutions into one offering could look like. It uses as the basis of comparison the Q1 2019 SolutionMap for Contract Lifecycle Management, which analyzes 13 vendors across dozens of functional categories, including contract creation and authoring, core contract modeling, analytics, expiry and renewal management, and compliance.

Procurement Technology, Digitization Can Blunt Economic Headwinds, GEP Report Says

Although global GDP grew a healthy 3.1% in 2018, the year finished with a rocky fourth quarter. Against this backdrop, GEP has released its 2019 Procurement and Supply Chain Management Outlook, which predicts a tough business climate ahead, but one that can be addressed with advances in procurement technology.

Third-Party Market Intelligence Can Supercharge Procurement

Global Risk Management Solutions (GRMS)

Timely, accurate data has become more important than ever across every part of the business, and purchasing departments are no different.

When making procurement decisions, however, it can be especially difficult to source data that is often heavily related to factors external to the business, including the state and quality of suppliers and sub-suppliers and prices for materials that can change in response to competitors negotiating new contracts, geopolitical factors, and even natural or manmade disasters. But what’s the best way for your department to get in front of these challenges and opportunities while increasing credibility and buy-in from internal and external stakeholders alike?

A recent report from ProcurementIQ offers some insights on third-party market intelligence.

Jason Busch Turns His Analyst’s Eye on Starting Spend Matters, SolutionMap: ‘We Were Talkers for Too Long’

As Spend Matters is set to turn 15, we asked Founder Jason Busch to reflect on how Spend Matters began and how it has grown over the years.

One development he sheds light on is what sparked the creation of our benchmarking tool, SolutionMap, which was just updated for this quarter with rankings of 58 procurement software providers across 12 categories, like P2P, CLM and Contingent Workforce & Services. The idea stemmed from our analysts always talking about doing more meaningful reviews of procurement solutions than what the market provided — and then they stopped talking and did it.

“Believe me,” Busch said, “we were talkers for too long.”

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.

Is Direct Materials Procurement a Separate Technology Market in North America? (Part 1: Introducing a Decision Framework)

Germany, Austria and some adjacent markets have something North America doesn’t — a distinct technology market for direct materials procurement. In Europe, Pool4Tool (now Jaggaer Direct), Allocation Network, SynerTrade, SupplyOn and a range of other solution providers succeeded in creating a distinctive European direct materials procurement solutions market that exists outside the generic source-to-pay realm.

But in North America, as these providers — also joined by Ivalua and SAP Ariba, and specialists like SourceDay and Supply Dynamics, as well as the offspring of the original MFG.com, LiveSource — attempt to reach customers, I question if all of these providers are selling to individual buyers rather than a clear market segment in which procurement organizations know they need a specialized solution set.

For the sake of argument, let’s define the “bounds” of direct materials procurement solutions as encompassing any or all of the following technology areas:

The CPO’s Conundrum (Part 1B): How Outside-In Issues are Shaping the Course of Procurement [PRO]

As we noted in yesterday’s Spend Matters PRO article, if you were to ask a roomful of CPOs what was their top concern was, for this year or even the coming decade, chances are the majority would lead with cost management and supply assurance. And while this makes sense, supply assurance and cost reduction are just two of a host of broader issues that are being pushed to the front of mind for today’s CPOs. So we are dedicating a series to the broad scope of issues that the modern CPO must face, starting with an overview of how they break out in the common PESTLE framework. Yesterday we addressed the “PES” — Political, Economic and Social — and today we will address the “TLE” — Technological, Legal and Environmental.

The CPO’s Conundrum (Part 1A): How Outside-In Issues Are Shaping the Course of Procurement [PRO]

If you were to ask a roomful of CPOs what was their top concern was, for this year or even the coming decade, chances are the majority would lead with cost management and supply assurance.

This makes sense. Within the hierarchy of procurement value, providing the right goods and services at the right time and place, preferably at the right (or better) price, constitute a foundation without which organizations cannot function.

Because of this requirement to secure and manage supply markets, procurement’s value proposition to the business is ultimately defined by its ability to access and derive value from markets. This means procurement value, then, is driven heavily from an outside-in perspective. That value starts with assurance of supply, just as top-line growth and brand development are foundational to sales and marketing.

The problem, however, is that supply assurance and cost reduction are just two of a host of broader issues that are being pushed to the front of mind for today’s CPOs. Because the CPO must manage multiple changing supply markets, and because those supply markets are affected by numerous external forces over which the CPO — let alone the business or even some governments — has no ability to influence, the CPO’s agenda is in reality much broader than assuring supply and reducing costs.

This brings us to what we call the CPO’s conundrum: Procurement organizations are primarily measured by the C-suite on supply assurance and cost control, but the agenda that the outside world is setting for the CPO is far bigger than just that. How, then, can procurement leaders meet the agendas recognized and prioritized by management while also addressing the equally (or perhaps more) important agendas of the changing, external supply world?

This Spend Matters PRO series examines the roots and resulting challenges of the CPO’s conundrum. In this brief, the introduction to this series, we discuss the current items on the CPO agenda, as well as the outside-in forces that are most notably butting their way in.

In subsequent installments, we will analyze overarching issues on the new CPO agenda individually, including corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability, digital business strategy, political and economic instability, and regulatory risk.

Streamlining Supplier Management to Scale Globally: A Case Study of Geosyntec Consultants and AdaptOne

MRO as a service

Geosyntec Consultants, an engineering and consulting firm, needed to upgrade its supplier management system so it could streamline and improve its business. The Florida company works with public and private sector clients across the U.S., Canada, Malaysia and the U.K. It employs more than 1,200 consultants (engineers, scientists, technical personnel) and manages more than 8,300 suppliers, many of which require stringent safety certifications and compliance requirements that come from their clients.

As Geosyntec expanded its practice, it looked for a supplier management solution that could streamline its manual and disjointed processes, all while maintaining needed organizational accountability. Find out what it learned in the process and how it made its choice: AdaptOne.

B2C E-Commerce Has Some Lessons for B2B Platforms Being Built, Report Finds

As B2B e-commerce platforms try to match the level of maturity found in B2C systems, a recent report takes a snapshot of how CEOs, chief digital officers and innovation executives are investing in technology, which innovation they’re pursuing and how they’re making those decisions.

In addition to that benchmarking aspect, a trend emerges in how B2B customers want their online shopping experience to be — and they want many of the same bells and whistles that consumers get when using B2C marketplaces online.

The survey found that technology that can seem cold or off-putting — like artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML) — is actually playing a role in connecting people and the products or brands they want.

Supplier Management: Dozens of Markets in One (Market Introduction) [PRO]

supplier management

The supplier management technology and services market is one of the broadest, most complex and mysterious to those who try to make sense of it — and take advantage of the many solutions that it offers. Spend Matters tracks well over 100 providers in this market, and they fall into more than a dozen individual areas. Some vendors and services firms offer solutions that address multiple components, but not a single provider comes close to offering a comprehensive solution.

This Spend Matters PRO Research brief explains and segments the supplier management market into five solution categories: core supplier process and data enablement; supplier and supply chain risk; community/network; supplier and worker/contractor; and disruptive enablement.

Focusing on the Other Rich Vein of Procurement — Public Spend

Spend Matters plans to broaden its views on procurement in the new year with occasional forays into public spend issues — but let’s unwrap a present early to see what’s what.

There are numerous challenges that public sector procurement organizations face now and in the coming year. Mazes of emerging regulatory structures, high barriers to entry for suppliers and digital disruption, to name a few, all weigh on practitioners looking to better serve their governments and constituents.

To help navigate these and other issues, we’re diving into the Public Spend Forum archives to bring you some of the best public procurement-related news and research around. Our colleagues at PSF suggest we start by examining a story on the techniques for conducting efficient, effective government market research.