The Solution Providers Category

Bunker: A New Platform Innovates Business Insurance for Self-Employed/Gig Workers

The emergence and expansion of the so-called gig-economy (the non-employee, project and task-based segment of the labor market) has opened up challenges for both businesses and workers.

Businesses previously vigilant about the classification and other compliance risks that come with self-employed, 1099s/independent contractors (ICs) are now faced with the dilemma of how to work with the growing population of much-needed talent that prefers self-employment and independence. And self-employed workers and micro-businesses are also facing the challenge of how to “make independence work” without the “support services” that employees never have to think about.

Coupa: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Commentary and Summary Analysis [PRO]

At its current rate of expansion, Coupa will cross the 500-customer threshold in the first half of 2017. There are numerous areas to which to credit its continued ascent, including a spend under management growth rate that is nearly mirroring revenue growth — a metric that shows the rapid manner in which customers are implementing and scaling Coupa implementations relative to first generation procure-to-pay (P2P) solutions. Coupa’s metrics-centric approach to measurable business value is an extension of its own culture, including an emphasis on rapid solution development based on listening to customers and creating accountability for results.

While Coupa is not an ideal fit for all procurement technology requirements, it has become the new benchmark by which other e-procurement and spend management technology suite vendors must measure themselves, or at least in comparison and differentiation. In many ways, Coupa’s recent initial public offering (IPO) represents the first of a new generation of providers assuming a leadership position in the market. From a competitive perspective, this suggests Coupa has moved from the hunter to the hunted, although its competition remains fragmented, with the exception of SAP Ariba, which it encounters most in shortlist and evaluation considerations.

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering Coupa provides an objective SWOT analysis of Coupa and offers a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as alternative vendors to Coupa and offers provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides summary analysis and recommendations for companies considering Coupa. Part 1 provided an in-depth look at Coupa as a firm and its specific solutions, and Part 2 gave a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses and a review of the product’s user experience.

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

Coupa is gaining traction among spend management technology suite customers who want a streamlined deployment effort, a simplified user experience and the ability to capture, manage and influence indirect spend as a primary consideration as well as those businesses looking to augment purchasing with additional capabilities (e.g., invoicing) that are easy for end users. Compared with peers, intercepting users when they need to purchase something and processing spend of all types is where Coupa excels as a buying front-end for companies, which is different than just offering an e-procurement application — a key point we explore in this vendor snapshot series.

P2P is still very much a part of the Coupa experience. When it comes to corporate purchasing, Coupa focuses on delivering an “Amazon-like” experience for users. (Spend Matters would actually suggest that it delivers a better corporate buying experience than Amazon as a buying front-end, at least Amazon Business.) But as with other e-procurement providers, it brings a hidden back office component that provides procurement and finance organizations with significant compliance controls, oversight and related capabilities to manage and even guide buyers down specific paths (e.g., procuring a given item from a preferred supplier, and within budget) while making the overall buying experience almost as painless as shopping on a consumer site.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Coupa’s product strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide if they should shortlist the vendor. It also offers a critique (pros/cons) of the user interface. Later in this multi-part series we will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

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

There are many perspectives on Coupa. These range from those who believe that the vendor has single-handedly transformed the world of spend management through building a truly unified suite that is 100% cloud-native, atoning for the over-customization, product and user interface sins of those that came before, to those who think that Coupa has expanded too quickly and is doomed to repeat mistakes others have made in the past. This vendor snapshot on Coupa is not about perspectives. It aims to be the first to review Coupa’s technology and modules in the context of what they actually do today and how they are differentiated — or not — from others.

The majority of technology analysts no longer prioritize reviewing procurement technology (product demonstrations, production sites, etc.) due to methodology or time constraints in evaluating vendors. The Spend Matters research team has collectively spent hundreds of hours looking at Coupa’s products and talking to partners and customers in the past 12 months. We have also comparatively analyzed Coupa and its competitors for a range of constituents including procurement and finance organizations, for suppliers participating in supplier network ecosystems, and for consultants and systems integrators.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help buying organizations, suppliers and partners make informed decisions on Coupa’s procure-to-pay (P2P) and broader source-to-contract capabilities, inclusive of inventory management and travel and expense (T&E). 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 Coupa in the procurement technology area. The rest of this multi-part research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analysis, user selection guides, insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Agiloft: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Commentary and Summary Analysis [PRO]

The contract lifecycle management (CLM) technology market is highly fragmented today, with customers having significant choice between broad-based suite and independent vendors. Within this mix of full lifecycle solutions — from analytics to authoring to compliance — there are also specialized providers that stand out for unique capabilities, specialization or unique technology approaches to CLM. One CLM provider that is differentiated from other options — owing both to its business rules and business process management (BPM) foundation and to its adjacent capability in asset management and related areas — is Agiloft.

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering Agiloft provides an objective SWOT analysis of the provider and offers a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as substitute providers to Agiloft and provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides summary analysis and recommendations for companies that can best take advantage of Agiloft’s capabilities. Part 1 of this series provided an in-depth look at Agiloft as a company and its specific solutions, and Part 2 gave a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses and a review of the user experience.

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

Most procurement organizations have only started to explore the full set of capabilities that integrated contract lifecycle management (CLM) capabilities can bring. Yet in most cases today – outside of procurement organizations deploying integrated suite-based contract management technologies, many of which offer limited capabilities relative to independent CLM vendors – CLM remains loosely coupled from overall procurement processes, including sourcing, supplier management, transactional buying, contract compliance and risk management. Agiloft, one of dozens of independent CLM providers out there, offers a means of creating a synthetic process- and data-driven “hub” beyond providing core contract management capabilities alone.

Agiloft’s history, which we trace in this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series, includes over a decade spent developing and refining its core business rules and business process management (BPM) engine. While these two capabilities now come standard with other procurement and CLM technologies, to say they are all created equal would be as incorrect as labeling all source-to-pay platforms equal. While sounding technical on the surface, these two areas are the defining elements that help differentiate the vendor today in terms of what they can enable procurement to achieve (beyond the expected CLM basics). In addition, they enable Agiloft to serve as a new type of project and process orchestration platform to unite other technologies and data sets.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Agiloft’s product strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should shortlist the vendor. It also offers a critique (pros/cons) of the user interface. 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 Agiloft in the CLM area. Next up, this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

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

contract

The contract lifecycle management (CLM) technology market includes dozens of different technology providers, many of which provide additional buy-side (e.g., strategic sourcing, transactional procurement, etc.) or sell-side (quote-to-cash) capabilities. Some of these vendors are well known in the market, having invested heavily in sales and marketing for many years. Others are not. One provider in the latter camp that recently caught our attention after a round of briefings and demonstrations is Agiloft. Today, Agiloft covers all the standard contract lifecycle management components (which we’ll explore in this series in detail). These enabling capabilities include core contract authoring, repository and lifecycle management capabilities. But how Agiloft stands out within the highly crowded CLM market actually owes more to its core technology underpinnings and adjacent capabilities than the CLM features alone that sit on top of its architectural stack. This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help buying organizations, suppliers and partners make informed decisions about Agiloft’s contract lifecycle management (CLM) and related 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 Agiloft in the CLM area. The rest of this multipart research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analysis, user selection guides and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Dow Jones, London FTSE Stocks Leap in December—But Not Our Procurement Portfolio! [Plus+]

procurement stocks

As we leap into the great unknown of 2017, this is our final review of the stocks portfolio we put together for 2016. It featured 21 firms with an interest in procurement and a quote on a major stock market, mainly London or New York. The final month of the year was actually not very dramatic for our firms generally, but it was more so for the wider markets. At the end of November, our overall portfolio was just ahead of the London FTSE All Share Index for the year to date and just behind the Dow Jones. But in December, while our portfolio rose by just 1% or so, London jumped by no less than 5% and New York by 4%, meaning at year-end we trailed those wider indices – although we were still a couple of percentage points ahead of the Dow Jones Global Index. Read on to find out the Biggest Winners and Biggest Losers — and tell us if you'd like us to keep doing these into 2017, would you?

BravoSolution: Solution Review & Analysis [Plus+]

The procurement technology and solutions market, inclusive of source-to-contract (S2C) and procure-to-pay (P2P) technology segments, is one with a wide degree of choice for customers. Procurement organizations that want to prioritize absolute capability in specific functional areas (modules) or technology innovation (e.g., platform as a service) can have their pick of providers. Organizations that want integrated suite capabilities also have an array of choices, and those that want to prioritize usability and adoption in targeted or broader areas can also select from an increasingly healthy list of options.

But if you want a broader combination of these capabilities in a single provider, the choices narrow significantly, especially at the suite level. At the intersection of these requirements is where BravoSolution comes in. This source-to-contract provider that historically has partnered for procure-to-pay capabilities — and will soon have its own P2P solution based on initially integrating and enhancing and ultimately re-platforming Puridiom, a recently acquired asset — excels compared with its peers at meeting the intersection of these requirements. This Spend Matters Plus analysis provides an introduction to BravoSolution for procurement organizations looking to understand whether they should consider adding the provider to their shortlists for consideration and competitive alternatives.

Seal Software: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Commentary and Summary Analysis [PRO]

Spend Matters research suggests 2017 is likely to be the year that advanced procurement organizations generally start to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capability into targeted business processes. There are a number of reasons for this, primarily involving the maturity of different sets of technology and the increasing embedded nature of these underlying tools in broader solutions, ranging from real-time translation and chat to spend classification to guided buying to contract search, discovery and analytics.

Systems that learn and constantly get smarter are here to stay in procurement – and they can make us smarter as well. Such is the case of Seal Software when it comes to its ability to create a virtuous cycle in identifying, analyzing and ultimately influencing contract obligations and performance based on an underlying discovery and analytics foundation that complements contract lifecycle management (CLM) and other procurement technology investments.

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering Seal Software provides an objective SWOT analysis of the provider and offers a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as substitute providers to Seal Software and provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides summary analysis and recommendations for companies that can best take advantage of Seal’s capabilities.

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

What is a contract? Distilled to its essence, a contract is an agreement that defines one or multiple obligations between parties. A contract could be as simple as a standard mutual non-disclosure agreement or a relatively short agreement to purchase goods in exchange for a payment. In more complex cases, a contract could be a complex swap agreement in which cash (or credit) does not change hands but various good, obligations, raw materials, finished products, derivative products or other commitments do (trading companies are especially familiar with these types of scenarios).

All of these examples have one thing in common: they represent binding agreements between parties. Yet in most procurement organizations today, we are typically not aware of the majority of the contracts that we directly — or those in the business — have created.

Contract lifecycle management (CLM) solutions can help bring certain contracts under management –– much as we bring “spend” under management from a purchasing perspective. Yet just as e-procurement solutions do not address the full continuum of spend, so too do CLM solutions fail to address all the procurement and third-party obligations that our companies have already created in the past, or may create in the future, outside a CLM tool. And this is why Seal Software, the pioneer of the contract discovery, search and analytics sector, presents a compelling case that all organizations, regardless of where they are in their digital procurement transformation journey, should invest separately in a contract intelligence strategy, alongside procurement technology suites and CLM.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Seal Software’s product strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider this class of solution alongside other CLM, P2P and other procurement technology investments. It also offers a critique (pros/cons) of the user interface.

Seal Software: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) –– Background & Solution Overview [PRO]

Spend analytics tools generally stand alone from other areas of procurement systems. And so do contract analytics solutions from both procurement and contract lifecycle management (CLM) technologies. Yet contract analytics, when looked at from search, discovery, reporting and guidance angles, is arguably a much more menacing beast to tackle compared with structured procurement transactional data coming from ERP/AP, e-procurement, invoicing and card sources. And there are far fewer providers specializing in the market for contract discovery and analytics compared to spend analytics, which is no surprise given the complexity in the challenge. Seal Software is one of them and offers capability that is a complement to standard contract lifecycle management (CLM) solutions in the market today.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Seal Software’s contract discovery and analytic capability, its suitability for specific contract lifecycle management (CLM) requirements, and other offerings that an organization may want to consider as an alternative (or alongside). 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 Seal in the procurement technology area. Part 2 and Part 3 of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analysis, user selection guides, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.