The Solution Providers 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.

Upwork Post-IPO Rising: A Next-Gen Staffing Industry Analysis [PRO]

On Oct. 3, 2018, Upwork became a public company listed on the Nasdaq exchange. Its stock was offered at $15 per share and has since been trading in the $19 to $21 range, giving it a market valuation on the order of $2 billion. This was a company that emerged from a new segment of innovative, online platform intermediaries, and just six years ago, was widely considered to be a non-starter, even dismissed as a “flash-in-the-pan,” by practitioners in the staffing industry. Now, based on gross revenue/gross services volume, it would rank among some of the world’s largest staffing companies. The Upwork IPO was not only an important milestone in the evolving and increasingly digitized contingent workforce space, it also presented an opportunity to look more clearly into the company and assess where it stands (and might eventually stand) in the space. In this Spend Matters PRO brief we take a look at both. We provide a snapshot of key Upwork information to highlight what the company actually is and what it represents in the industry vs. common industry perceptions.

WorkMarket (ADP): What Makes It Great (Independent Contract Workers SolutionMap Analysis)

Upwork Enterprise

WorkMarket, acquired by ADP in January 2018, offers an enterprise technology solution that companies can use to organize, manage and pay their freelance (independent) workforce. The provider competes in the enterprise solution category that Spend Matters SolutionMap calls Independent Contract Workers (ICW), the most dynamic segment of the contingent workforce and services (CW/S) procurement software market, which also includes SolutionMap’s Temp Staffing (Vendor Management Systems/VMS) and Contract Services/Statement of Work solution segments.

Today’s ICW solutions have their roots in the so-called gig, freelance and peer-to-peer economies — the new world of Uber and Airbnb versus the established world of enterprise software applications inhabited for decades by the likes of SAP and Oracle. WorkMarket originated as a vertically focused online marketplace that enabled the matching and spot engagement of field tech contractors. Over the past eight years, however, WorkMarket has significantly invested in technology development so it could evolve its business model from that of an online marketplace to a full-fledged enterprise software provider.

Where does that offering fit into the burgeoning ICW market? As of September 2018, Spend Matters SolutionMap contains functional and customer satisfaction benchmarks on more than 50 vendors within the procurement software market, including six providers within the ICW segment. To understand where WorkMarket stands out most and helps set the bar for the ICW segment — and why should this matter for procurement and HR organizations — let’s delve into the SolutionMap benchmark and explore what makes WorkMarket 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.

ADP and the Future of Work (Part 3) — Strategy Assessment [PRO]

In Part 1 of this Spend Matters PRO series, we summarized ADP’s business characteristics, its market and financial strength, and its increased investment in innovation R&D as a backdrop and foundation for the pursuit of its future-of-work strategy. In Part 2, we examined the significant technology developments and recent strategic acquisitions that make up key execution components of the strategy. In this third installment of this series, we will step back and provide our perspective on ADP’s future-of-work strategy, both our view of what it is and what it may mean in a broader industry context.

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.

Healthcare’s Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) Has Security Challenges, Forum Warns

“Healthcare” and “cybersecurity” don’t seem like they go together, but a security forum this week highlighted how the move to electronic health records and the growing use of connected medical devices — the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) — makes hospitals and patients vulnerable. After attending the forum, it’s clear that hospitals know they’re targets, but they may not understand the scope of the danger. The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) held its security forum in Boston this week, and it attracted a diverse audience. IT, finance and supply chain executives mingled with network security professionals. So hospitals are viewing security in a cross-functional way, and that’s a positive development.

‘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.

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.

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.