The Sourcing Category

bidmode: Vendor Introduction (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview [PRO]

Those who think the sourcing optimization market is wrapped up by incumbent technology would be wrong. For at least the last few months, procurement organizations interested in sourcing optimization have had their choice of five different providers: SAP Ariba, Coupa, Jaggaer, Keelvar and SynerTrade. To this list, we can now add a sixth option: bidmode.

Among the first five on the list, currently available choices and capability vary significantly. SAP Ariba, the newest entrant, has big ambitions but limited capability. SynerTrade, which has not invested much in optimization since a few customers demanded the capability a decade ago, is in the same boat. The remaining three all offer differing degrees of more advanced capability.

But now to the sixth option. Without even a single mention in the media yet, bidmode, which launched this year, already has a few customers and a pipeline of about a dozen prospects for its new, low-risk entry model called "bidmode Inside," in which it serves as an extension to third-party sourcing capabilities.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction provides a candid take on bidmode and its solutions. Part 1 provides an overview of bidmode and its capabilities, as well as a checklist for those that might consider working with the company. Part 2 offers a perspective on what is comparatively good (and not so good) about bidmode’s solution, including a SWOT analysis.

Insight Sourcing Group (ISG): Provider Introduction, Summary and SWOT [PRO]

consultant

Insight Sourcing Group (ISG) is likely the largest North American boutique management consulting firm providing strategic and operational solutions for procurement. But unlike similar firms, ISG offers more than just consulting services. Beyond its core business, ISG has three additional business units that form the nucleus of its offering: SpendHQ, a spend analytics platform; InsightGPO, a group purchasing organization (GPO); and ISG Energy, an energy supply and demand cost optimization practice.

This Spend Matters PRO Provider Introduction offers an overview of ISG, including quick facts on the provider. The brief includes an introduction to each of ISG’s four business lines, an overall SWOT analysis comparing it to other procurement consultancies and a selection checklist for companies that may consider the provider.

I’m Afraid I Can’t Source That, Dave: Artificial Intelligence in Strategic Sourcing

Last week marked the 50th anniversary of Stanley Kubrik’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.” One of the great scenes in this landmark movie is when astronauts Dave Bowman and Frank Poole chat “in private” about shutting down HAL 9000, the omnipresent, artificial intelligence-based control system. Unfortunately, HAL’s vision system is able to read Dave’s lips through a small window and learns the crew’s intentions. To protect itself and thereby its mission directive, HAL sets out to kill the astronauts. Although the complex automated reasoning that HAL uses in its attempt to snuff out Bowman and Poole is a bit beyond current AI implementations, the procurement process-specific applications of machine learning are becoming quite real.

SolutionMap Subscriptions and Practitioner Selection Programs: A Primer and Sneak Peek at Q1 2018 SolutionMap [PRO]

Earlier today Spend Matters released its Q1 2018 SolutionMap. The release now comprises six technology areas with individual vendor rankings (spend and procurement analytics, sourcing, supplier management, contract lifecycle management, e-procurement and invoice-to-pay) and three composite suite views (strategic procurement technologies, procure-to-pay and source-to-pay).

Our goal with SolutionMap is very different from what other analyst firms seek to achieve with their ranking systems. This is apparent even at our “free” level. The SolutionMap approach starts by releasing the ranking charts in the public domain, providing multiple persona-based views of vendor capability (45 comparative 2/2 matrices in total for the Q1 2018 release). We take a truly data-driven approach to plotting vendors, where an “average” score positions a provider in the dead center of a chart. SolutionMap ranking charts also make it easy to distinguish analyst scoring from customer scoring, plotting the data on separate analyst and customer axes. Finally, the Q1 2018 release actually reflects the time frame of its publication: We update the underlying data set and charts for SolutionMap on a quarterly basis.

Admittedly, the “free” stuff is designed to pique your interest. Unlike some of our peers in the analyst world, we have not made SolutionMap “reprint friendly” for the maximum number of vendors through grade inflation. Why? Because in the world of procurement technology, not everyone is “above average” like the children of Lake Wobegon. There’s an average, and there’s a deviation from average — positive and negative. Obfuscating these deviations might produce charts that make people feel good about buying decisions up front, but other than a near-term CYA, how useful will these be in the long run for those relying on them for, well, anything?

At the new SolutionMap subscriber level — separate from Spend Matters PRO — the tangible value of SolutionMap becomes even clearer. At this level, we unpack the underlying data we show for the analyst scoring by rated sub-category. For example, in the Supplier Management SolutionMap, you can see individual, tiered-based scoring for capabilities such as master data management (MDM), supplier onboarding support, core supplier information management (SIM) and supplier performance management, among other areas. Customer ratings (e.g., level of value perceived, quick deployment, ROI) are also visible.

To see the full level of data available to SolutionMap subscribers, check out the currently available reports from the Q1 2018 release:

There are views of the data beyond those provided in these reports (e.g., tiered-based scoring and ranked scoring for all sub-components that comprise an area, such as master data management within the Supplier Management report). Per our competitive intelligence policy, however, we reserve this view for practitioners going through a selection process (or the consultancies advising them), with strict licensing. This prevents comparative information from falling into the hands of competing vendors participating in SolutionMap. We take intellectual property protection and data privacy, for providers and practitioners, very seriously here at Spend Matters; otherwise, we’d find ourselves out of business quickly.

So, how exactly does all of this work? Read on as we unpack a SolutionMap Insider-level example within Supplier Management from the Q1 2018 SolutionMap. Specifically, we compare Jaggaer with Jaggaer Advantage (formerly BravoSolution) to showcase how it all works.

Q1 SolutionMap℠: 40 Procurement Technology Solution Providers, Ranked

Spend Matters released its Q1 2018 SolutionMap, ranking 40 procurement technology providers across nine different solution categories — including an end-to-end view of Source-to-Pay (S2P) providers and their capabilities for the very first time.

Q1 2018 SolutionMap Release Notes: Source-to-Pay (S2P)

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider Release Note provides insight into the Q1 2018 SolutionMap release for Source-to-Pay, reviewing the process that we followed for this inaugural release.

The providers in the Q1 2018 Source-to-Pay SolutionMap include Determine, GEP, Ivalua, SAP Ariba and Zycus. All of these providers were required to participate in SolutionMap for each underlying module, as well. These individual areas include Sourcing, Spend and Procurement Analytics, Supplier Relationship Management & Risk, Contract Lifecycle Management, E-Procurement and Invoice-to-Pay. All of these providers are also included in the individual Strategic Procurement Technologies (SPT) and Procure-to-Pay (P2P) suite views.

This SolutionMap Insider research note provides insight into these and additional considerations in the Q1 2018 SolutionMap release. The Source-to-Pay customer data set comprises more than 250 individual survey responses among the more than 500 different organization references included in the overall SolutionMap scoring as of Q1 2018 (and 1,000-plus individual survey responses* by module).

*Customers using more than one module that a vendor provides can opt to fill out a single survey within each individual suite area (e.g., a customer using two modules for P2P and four modules for SPT would only need to fill out two surveys).

Q1 2018 SolutionMap Release Notes: Sourcing, Spend Analytics, SRM, CLM and Strategic Procurement Technology Suites

tech

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider release note provides insight into the Q1 2018 SolutionMap release for Sourcing, Spend and Procurement Analytics, Supplier Relationship Management & Risk, Contract Lifecycle Management, and Strategic Procurement Technologies Suite Solution Maps, reviewing the process we follow and highlighting what has changed since the last release.

Within the individual areas covered in this brief, the following providers have been added to the Q1 2018 release: Agiloft, Aravo, ConnXus, HICX, Opera BIQ, Simfoni and SynerTrade. Additionally, providers such as SAP Ariba have received updated scoring following the submission and demonstration of new capabilities based on production releases of individual modules. (Non-GA capabilities are not considered in SolutionMap scoring.) This SolutionMap Insider release note explores these and additional changes in the Q1 2018 SolutionMap release.

Vendorful: Vendor Introduction, Analysis and SWOT [PRO]

Just after suite providers claimed victory in the sourcing software arena for the value and optionality of combining integrated source-to-contract and source-to-pay capabilities, a backlash occurred. Many upstart sourcing provides, including ScoutRFP, Keelvar, Market Dojo and EC Sourcing, saw new customer acquisition growth that is at least on par with, if not increasing faster than, suites themselves.

Within this mix, we can add a “new” software firm to the mix. This sourcing provider is Vendorful, which now offers an RFX and reverse auction solution for middle-market companies that want to embark on — or accelerate — their RFX and reverse auction strategic sourcing journey. Vendorful rounds out these capabilities with basic supplier information management and contract tracking. Primary competitors include EC Sourcing, Keelvar, Market Dojo and ScoutRFP, although Vendorful differentiates itself from the market through its ease-of-use and user design.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on Vendorful and its capabilities. It includes an overview of Vendorful’s solution set, a perspective on what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a SWOT analysis and a selection requirements checklist for organizations that might consider the provider.

Apple Expands Supplier Audit, Publishes Results in Latest Annual Progress Report

hidden workers

For 12 years, Apple has published reports on its supplier audits, and the 2018 Progress Report was released earlier this month. In 2017, Apple conducted audits of 756 suppliers in 30 countries, including 197 suppliers that were audited for the first time. The expanded audit unearthed 48 “core” violations of Apple’s supplier code of conduct, double the number from the year before. However, the good news is that the overall trend is toward greater compliance.

Product Quality Top Concern Among Europe’s Sourcing Professionals in Recent Survey

Global Risk Management Solutions (GRMS)

Concerns over product quality are top of mind for European companies that source abroad, according to Amber Road’s recently released 2018 E.U. Sourcing Survey Report. The complexity of international trade compliance is a close second. This insight comes from a survey Amber Road conducted of more than 150 respondents from companies based in the European Union. Sixty-four percent of the respondents represent companies that source from more than 10 countries, and 54% have at least 100 suppliers across their sourcing regions.

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E-Sourcing is Dead, Long Live Intelligent Sourcing Systems

People familiar with e-sourcing often lament its lack of adoption and how others don’t understand the value it drives. This is missing the point: There’s a reason why adoption of e-sourcing is lower than expected and why sourcing managers often try to avoid e-sourcing. The main problem is that people see it as a crude implement, a sledgehammer that harms supplier relationships when they needed a surgical knife to be more precise and nuanced in their negotiations. But a new era is about to begin.

Applying Strategic Sourcing to Talent Management: What You Need to Know

interview

By 2020, more than half of the U.S. workforce will be involved in contingent work. Companies are rethinking their talent management strategies accordingly, and those that are familiar with strategic sourcing may already be a couple steps ahead. How strategic sourcing can be applied to talent management was the topic of a webinar that Spend Matters analysts Jason Busch and Andrew Karpie presented last month with NextSource’s chief executive, Catherine Candland, and senior program director, Jim Gallagher. NextSource has been in the contingent workforce business for the past two decades.