The Solution Providers Category

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

Procurement organizations have an increasing number of choices when it comes to selecting an e-procurement solution. With both full suite and smaller independent providers — not to mention ERP vendors — improving and expanding their capabilities in this area, it has never been a better time to purchase a new technology or make the switch from an older platform.

Within this market, BuyerQuest delivers a number of nuanced capabilities that differentiate it from peers. This third and final installment of our Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering BuyerQuest provides a SWOT analysis of the provider, as well as a segmentation and comparison of competitors. It also includes a recommended shortlist of candidates that could serve as alternative vendors to BuyerQuest for e-procurement and procure-to-pay (P2P). Finally, we conclude with a summary analysis and recommendations for organizations considering BuyerQuest.

“What’s the Best Procurement System?” That’s the Wrong Question

Editor’s note: This is the second in a three-part series on digital disruption from a procurement professional’s perspectives. Read Part 1 here.

This morning I heard someone utter the question that elicits an almost primal response for anyone who works at the intersection of business process and technology: “What’s the best procurement system on the market?” Every time I hear it, my brain immediately flashes — That’s the wrong question. Someone who tries to tell you what solution to buy without first trying to understand your goals and certain factors about your environment deserves a solid side-eye.

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

The barriers to entry for any provider wanting to create an e-procurement or procure-to-pay (P2P) solution are perhaps the highest of any technology area in the procurement sector. Not only must solutions combine a world-class experience for all frontline users from a shopping and buying experience to be competitive, they also must feature entirely different sets of capabilities to enable both procurement organizations (and suppliers) to collectively manage dozens of elements to ensure that all purchases are in compliance with company policies, contracts and supplier agreements. Ideally, these two elements combine to guide users to an optimal buying experience both for their own requirements and the company, steering them in ways they may not even be aware of.

BuyerQuest is one of only a select number of new entrants to gain traction in the e-procurement — and more recently, the P2P — market in recent years by meeting these requirements, often in differentiated ways. This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores BuyerQuest’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the provider. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering BuyerQuest. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

WorkMarket: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Competitive & Summary Analysis [PRO]

The previous two installments of this PRO series provided an in-depth look at WorkMarket as a firm and its specific solution capability (Part 1) and a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses and a review of the product’s user experience (Part 2). WorkMarket is one of a growing set of providers in the market — and one of the few enterprise cloud platforms — with a solution that can complement a vendor management system (VMS) deployment to help procurement organizations manage and enable the expanding, external freelancer and independent contractor workforce.

The third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering WorkMarket provides a SWOT analysis of WorkMarket and offers a segmentation and comparison of the competition. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as alternative vendors to WorkMarket, as well as provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides summary analysis and recommendations for companies considering WorkMarket.

Merging Jaggaer and Pool4Tool: Strategy Analysis and Questions Customers Should Ask [PRO]

Jaggaer announced Monday it would merge with Pool4Tool. The combination raises a number of questions, primarily from a strategy perspective, beyond just providing expanded distribution to a niche provider and the validation of a new technology segment (manufacturing-centric procurement solutions) in North America. Rather, it raises the broader notion of whether a mutual fund-type holding company structure — regardless of capitalization structure — can help the fortunes of each “member” (and customers) beyond a certain point.

There's no question the two firms are better together than apart. Both “members” can immediately cross-sell and gain certain scale advantages. They can do this because of customer goodwill and the ability to get in the door and deliver. No doubt the professionalism that a private equity-held software firm brings, along with professional services know-how and reach to drive sales and implementations, will be key contributors to initial momentum as well. Jaggaer brings these two areas to Pool4Tool — and then some. But this only goes so far.

Longer term, real technology integration models, including a supplier network and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) strategy, need to be spelled out. While our colleague Tom Finn appreciated Jaggaer and Pool4Tool’s honesty around the topic of integration, strategically, to maximize customer (and likely shareholder) value, our esteemed colleague may not be right. Which brings us to the strategic technology questions Jaggaer and Pool4Tool should be asking as well as those which customers and prospective should zero in on as well.

Jaggaer-Pool4Tool Merger Analysis: Customer Recommendations [PRO]

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Jaggaer announced earlier Monday it would merge with Pool4Tool, a Europe-based provider of direct materials procurement solutions. This Spend Matters PRO research brief provides customer recommendations, primarily for organizations already using or considering using Pool4Tool, especially in North America. It also provides insight into commercial, technology and deployment and support considerations surrounding the combination of the two providers, as well as select alternative providers in some of the markets in which Pool4Tool competes.

Jaggaer’s Merger with Pool4Tool: Taking the Contrarian Role Around Integration

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Jaggaer’s merger with Pool4Tool creates a combined entity approaching $100 million in annual revenues spread across nearly 1,000 customers. That would mean about $100,000 per customer per year, which clearly has a nice ring to it. After going public as SciQuest, then private and then public again before being acquired by Accel-KKR, in May 2016, for $509 million, Jaggaer’s capitalization history is unusual. Throughout that time, the company has made numerous acquisitions that nicely cover the breadth of the source-to-pay (S2P) application space. But it has never promoted itself as a soon-to-be-finished integrated platform — no such vapor.

Jaggaer and Pool4Tool to Merge: The Start of a Trend in Direct Materials Solutions

Jaggaer and Pool4Tool announced Monday the two providers would merge, revealing what was probably one of the better known procurement and supply chain industry secrets in recent memory. The combination creates the only technology provider in the market with end-to-end indirect and direct materials procurement coverage, the companies said in a press release.

Coupa’s Acquisition of Trade Extensions — Sometimes It’s Better to Be Lucky

Does Coupa understand what it just bought in the form of Trade Extensions, that little sourcing optimization company from a sleepy college town north of Stockholm?

Don’t bet on it. But don’t worry, they’ll figure it out soon enough.

Several of us ruminated on the possibilities over happy hour at Coupa Inspire, so I’d thought I’d share two of the highlights, the inside (and ever-so-slightly-inebriated) analyst view if you will.

A Guidebook to the Rise of Industry-Specific Procurement Technologies: Related Markets, the Why and the Where [PRO]

By Spend Matters estimates, over 80% of dollars spent on procurement technology in recent years has been for standard source-to-pay products (e.g., spend analytics, sourcing, contract management, supplier management, e-procurement and invoice-to-pay) that were not specifically designed or configured — prior to deployments — to support industry-specific requirements. Granted, there have been some notable deviations to the rule (which make up the 20%), such as healthcare-centric solutions, certain areas of public sector, supplier compliance in regulated industries, supporting specific collaboration requirements, manufacturing requirements and so forth. But these have been exceptions rather than the norm.

Something new is afoot, however. There are a number of signposts which point to the pending rise of industry-specific solutions more generally for procurement technology — i.e., those solutions which are either designed from the start or come pre-configured to meet the specific needs of a given market.

This Spend Matters PRO research series provides a guidebook for organizations that are interested in this change, the drivers behind it, and some trends and examples that we’re seeing in the field. It explores when industry specific procurement technologies are likely most appropriate (or not), what technologies are likely to be affected, lessons from related markets (e.g., finance/treasury, supply chain, supplier and third-party management) and provides a summary and analysis of recent news from Jaggaer, Ivalua and SAP Ariba detailing their emerging approaches to verticalization. It also provides recommendations to procurement organizations, solution providers and consultancies that are looking to take advantage of this shift (or not get left behind by it).

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

Upwork Pro

In this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot series, we have been analyzing EcoVadis, a provider of a cloud-based corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability rating and monitoring “Solution” (with a capital “S” to denote a solution that transcends software) for your critical supply chain suppliers. The supplier and buyer friendly platform allows suppliers to self-register, complete a profile customized to them based on their UN ISIC industry code (and country and size), upload all relevant documentation and get assessed/rated for a 12-month period. As we wrote in our last installment of this series: 

“The EcoVadis CSR rating is not a formal certification from a regulatory agency, but the criteria is interestingly built up as a "best of breed" superset of requirements from existing CSR standards such as Global Reporting Initiative, the United Nations Global Compact, and the ISO 26000. This relevance helps improve attractiveness and adoption by organizations who don't want to re-invent the wheel and can use a single rating to also help comply with the other certifications that are in force within their supply chain.”

This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering EcoVadis offers a SWOT analysis, competitive assessment and comparison with other similar and “crossover” providers in the supplier management market which also address ratings, CSR, risk and related initiatives. It also includes a user selection guide and summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provide a company and deep-dive solution overview, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider EcoVadis.

G2 Crowd’s Chicago Party: A $30 Million Funding and the ‘No Magic’ Man

I stopped by a party Wednesday that is all too uncommon in Chicago: a tech firm celebration. Specifically, I received an invitation from fellow Enterprise Irregular Michael Fauscette to attend a party celebrating G2 Crowd’s recently announced $30 million funding round, and I decided to take him up on it. G2 Crowd is Azul Partner’s (our parent company) downtown Chicago neighbor and one of the few research/analyst/tech shops in the Midwest. But unlike other tech analyst firms, G2 is taking an approach to tech research centered entirely on crowdsourcing reviews from users — and then analyzing, packaging and publishing the data in various formats.