The Solution Providers Category

Decideware: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview [PRO]

Torchlite

Trying to apply a generic source-to-pay technology solution to marketing spend at the agency level would be the same as using a mountain bike to compete in the Alp stages of the Tour de France. Both less favored approaches could certainly work, but the pack would leave you far behind on the first hill. Moreover, the strategic sourcing processes for marketing spend can look materially different than for other categories.

Granted, when it comes to procuring and managing agencies, sourcing best practices apply at a meta-level, but their implementation is drastically different from the identification of vendors through the award of a contract. For example, in agency sourcing, the goal, of course, is to enable optimal resourcing, project outcomes and key deliverables based on specialized knowledge and skills brought together to arrive at a targeted objective. It is also important to ensure these elements come together and do not deviate from the methodology and underlying creative components that drove the selection of a particular agency in the first place, although the ultimate campaign may in fact change from an original pitch as an agency learns more about the project, client and situation later in the process.

It is within this unique category, with truly unique requirements, that Decideware, a global provider of an agency lifecycle management solutions, presents a compelling case for a category-specific strategic procurement solution that is fundamentally different than standard procurement suites. This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Decideware’s specialized procurement technology capabilities — and showcases one approach to agency sourcing and management based on Decideware’s methodology.

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 Decideware in the procurement technology area. It also explores the strategic sourcing process for the procurement of agency services. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

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

contract

Spend Matters has often noted that the market for strategic sourcing solutions is highly fragmented, with no clear leader or collection of leaders. This stands in contrast to the e-procurement and invoice-to-pay markets, where best-of-breed vendors are still thriving but consolidation among larger providers is influencing industry dynamics and many selection processes. Yet within the strategic sourcing market, it is difficult to point to any single vendor or set of vendors, look at any metric and say anything but vendor fragmentation is the rule.

This is both a positive and negative for providers like eBid Systems, given the challenge of competing against so many providers rather than aiming at a single target. Within this competitive environment, this final installment of our Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering eBid Systems offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other strategic sourcing providers for shortlist consideration. It also includes a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provided a company and deep dive solution overview, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider eBid Systems.

eBid Systems: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses [PRO]

RFP

eBid Systems is one of more than 30 technology providers that Spend Matters tracks that provide strategic sourcing solutions to private firms and public sector organizations around the globe. eBid Systems recently re-platformed its solution, an effort which included enhancing a range of modular and functional areas — as well as the user interface — making it more competitive with other solutions in the global market. Over 50% of eBid System’s 300-plus customers are public sector organizations, almost entirely at the smaller state and municipal level, but private sector companies may also value the combination of low-cost licensing, core e-sourcing, full audit trails, rules-driven compliance, vendor management and associated capabilities provider offers.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores eBid System’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider it for their needs. The first installment of our analysis provided a company and solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering eBid Systems. Part 3 will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

eBid Systems: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview [PRO]

Oracle

There is no shortage of strategic sourcing technology vendors in the market today. Customers have choices ranging from per-event pricing with smaller providers to integrated solutions that combine rich supplier management, contract management and transactional procurement capability — not to mention specialty solutions that bring generalized technology differentiation, category-specific or other unique capabilities.

Within this smorgasbord of choice — and yes, there are even vendors that started in the Scandinavian market to chose from globally now — one provider from the Pacific Northwest, eBid Systems, has carved out a distinct customer niche in state/local publication sector and higher education sourcing. Nearly 20 years since its founding, it counts 200 public sector customers and 100 private sector organizations using its technology.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about eBid Systems strategic sourcing technology capabilities. 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 eBid Systems in the procurement technology area. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Coupa’s Release 17: Features and Approach

Coupa’s first update of the year, Release 17, offers a new application called “Perfect Fit Insights” for cross-customer B2B insights and more than 50 features across the platform including new collaboration mechanisms to work with suppliers and additional e-invoicing compliance templates.

We published an in-depth analysis of Release 17 on Spend Matters PRO, but here is a quick recap on what you can expect from the solution update.

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

ClientLoyalty competes in what we could most accurately describe as a “sub-sub” segment of the supplier management market. Usually such niches relegate solution providers to a small corner of market obscurity, often to build profitable businesses that go unnoticed by most. But there is actually a real potential market in what ClientLoyalty is attempting to create alongside a select number of other technology providers also focused on the management of strategic supplier relationships: a market for a true supplier relationship management solution.

While there are many solutions today that address supplier information management (SIM) and also supplier performance management (SPM), only a handful actually focus on supplier relationship management — which we are hesitant to call SRM, because the term was usurped by ERP years ago and given an entirely different meaning. ClientLoyalty is one of the few, avenging the “SAP SRM” and “Peoplesoft SRM” product names that did such an original disservice to what SRM is really about. (Hint: It’s not e-procurement!)

This final installment of our Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering ClientLoyalty offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other supplier management providers for shortlist consideration. It also includes a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provided a company and deep dive solution overview, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider ClientLoyalty.

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

ClientLoyalty, a specialized supplier management technology provider, would argue that true supplier relationship management is not just about gathering and managing supplier information, performance metrics and action plans. Rather, it is a class of solution that addresses the fundamental aspects of strategic relationships including tracking, measuring and managing feedback (from the organization and the supplier). But it must also serve to monitor the evolution of the relationship — not just performance — and allow for the collaborative creation of action plans to improve the relationship. In other words, from a procurement perspective, ClientLoyalty is closer to serving as a data-driven co-therapist chair for buyers and suppliers in strategic relationships than anything else.

But is this a niche market or something more? This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores ClientLoyalty’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider it for their needs. The first installment of our analysis provided a company and solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering ClientLoyalty. Part 3 will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

ClientLoyalty: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview [PRO]

Supplier performance management is quickly becoming a "hot topic" among procurement organizations that want to create step change improvement as part of their supply management journey. This technology segment is actually a sub-segment of the supplier management technology market, which is more broadly comprised of what we often describe as “strategic procurement technologies” (see Spend Matters’ Sourcing, Contracting and Supplier Management Landscape Definition and Overview report for more detail). But supplier performance management, while a hot topic among procurement people and among those marketing solutions on the vendor side, is unfortunately not a hot topic among developers, especially as it pertains to managing the relationship aspect of supplier collaboration. While many procurement suite technology providers offer supplier management solutions, the reality is that the majority of these emphasize collecting and managing supplier master data and limited supplier performance management requirements.

ClientLoyalty, a somewhat ironically-named technology provider based on its orientation to managing suppliers, is hoping to change this. ClientLoyalty was founded with the desire to bring strategic supplier relationship management to companies that realized the critical importance of relationship management in order to get the most value for their money from suppliers. This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about ClientLoyalty’s supplier management capabilities. 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 ClientLoyalty in the procurement technology area. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Coupa Release 17 Analysis — And a General “How To” Lesson for Upgrading Products [PRO]

On Jan. 27, Spend Matters published a quick post on first update of the year, Release 17. It offers a new application called “Perfect Fit Insights” for cross-customer B2B insights and more than 50 features across the platform, including new collaboration mechanisms to work with suppliers (SMS messaging and extended sourcing communication windows), additional e-invoicing compliance templates, and additional system configurations options such as extended customer branding. Recently, Donna Wilczek (VP of Strategy and Product Marketing at Coupa) and Gabe Perez (General Manager of Power Applications at Coupa) gave us a demonstration of Release 17 and talked to us about their innovation process and other analyses they do to continually improve the user experience, usability and value of their platform.

Coupa has a long history of out-innovating the competition, and this is not an accident. The company uses a rigorous process to identify, prioritize and implement ideas — putting the customer front and center in helping drive innovations that have the highest probability of actually being adopted.

In this Spend Matters PRO analysis, we’ll share what we’ve learned about Release 17 including expanding more on its new features and our key takeaways from them. We’ll also discuss Coupa’s general release planning, development and roll-out methodology to capture ideas that drive practical (and usable!) innovation for customers.

These are critical lessons that should not be lost on organizations evaluating Coupa in comparison to other vendors (which generally innovate more slowly), let alone any other provider developing technology to bring to market.

Rethinking Sourcing Suites and Their Sub Components — Gartner’s 2017 Magic Quadrant

Gartner recently came out with their 2017 Magic Quadrant for Strategic Sourcing Application Suite review. There was material movement from this year’s quadrant compared to the previous one that was published two years ago, and in this post we offer our commentary on it.

Without question, Gartner has some of the best minds in the technology research sector. But given the pace of technology providers’ innovation, our perspective is that the notion of publishing a report every two years is not terribly useful outside of the point-in-time snapshot — which may in fact be six months old by the time a report is published — that a comparative analysis provides. In the end, for better or worse, the Magic Quadrant becomes ubiquitous with IT professionals to shortlist vendors (and sometimes more) and often a CYA for procurement.

12 Ways E-Catalogs Can Enhance Your E-Procurement Mojo [Plus+]

E-catalogs (catalog management) are a key part of any e-procurement solution. For e-procurement, catalogs provide more than just a list of items. They enable the loading of prices, and they enable features of products and services to be approved and integrated into an e-marketplace in order to purchase against.

Catalogs are a living, often-changing and integrated source of information (within a single database) that enable all purchasing scenarios. Combined with the support of a robust e-marketplace — advanced search engine; advanced purchasing mechanisms such as e-forms, lists, kits, etc.; a powerful workflow engine and flexible system integration capability — they provide key support for buying requirements.

As I’ve been known to say, I consider e-catalogs the “fifth element” of procurement. “The fifth element” comes from the eponymous 1997 fiction action film starring Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich. In the movie, earth is considered "north," fire is "south," air is "east," water is "west" and the fifth element is the "spirit" or "soul” — the "spiritual force" that earth, air, fire and water descend from.

Although they may not be truly spiritual in nature, I think that e-catalogs are a sort of hidden force that breathes new power into broader e-procurement. In this Spend Matters Plus brief, we give procurement practitioners 12 ways e-catalogs can do just that.

Need an e-procurement and invoice-to-pay primer before reading or subscribing to Plus for the first time? Download this free report.

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

Despite the 100+ different vendors that can check the box on having various procure-to-pay (P2P) solution components, there is a surprisingly small number of “pure-play” e-procurement providers that remain today, especially those with a primary focus on serving the North American market.

Within this context, Vroozi competes as one of the last remaining e-procurement “pure-play” technology providers, although it is building out adjacent invoice-to-pay capabilities (albeit these are not competitive with specialists in the invoice-to-pay or broader P2P areas).

This final installment of our Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering Vroozi offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other e-procurement and P2P technology providers. It also includes a user selection guide, user interface and user experience (UI/UX) analysis, summary evaluation, and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provided a company and deep dive solution overview, SWOT analysis, product strengths and weaknesses, and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider Vroozi.