The Sourcing Category

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.

Consumer Buying Power: A New Meaning in the Age of Trump?

retail

A report by Trade Extensions titled “Consumers’ Attitudes Toward Manufacturers, Retailers and Suppliers” has implications for many facets of the CSR trend — from brand reputation, to ethical sourcing, to the classic “what does it mean for the bottom line?” One finding from the report indicates that the retailer is the most important entity (above manufacturers and suppliers) that U.S. and U.K. consumers think about when buying something — which is perhaps related to why the recent Nordstrom firestorm was more about Nordstrom, not who makes Ivanka Trump's clothing line or how it sells. But the survey’s more interesting findings touch on fair treatment of suppliers.

Top 10 Ways to Radically Expand Category Management Value Creation [Plus+]

category management

In the never-ending quest to deliver more value, procurement organizations are trying to squeeze more savings and innovation out of spend categories. But, eventually the well starts to run dry, and when that happens, you need to either get more out of that well (fracking for spend savings, perhaps?), dig a deeper well, find another place to dig, or find another way to get the water.

My point? To improve category management, which we sometimes affectionately refer to as CatMan, you sometimes have to expand it or blow it up completely. Here are some ideas that I’ve seen work elsewhere that can hopefully give you some inspiration and raise your category management game.

ERP or Best-of-Breed? (Part 2): Look to Sourcing Best Practices for Best Software

In our opening salvo on the latest and greatest edition of the “ERP vs. Best-of-Breed?” issue, I mentioned that baseline definitions are critical to understanding the deeper problems inherent in the debate. Defining “best-of-breed” (What does best mean? What breed are we talking about? Must the breed be apps-only?) and “app suites” (Single app? Or a ‘sweet suite’?) is the first step of the process. That’s because there are multiple options between these two ends of the spectrum. And, it’s really important to understand that a single ERP provider (or even BoB suite provider) doesn’t equate to an integrated solution set, a single architecture or a common support model, among other things. So let’s start with how to optimally source this technology (and/or broader XaaS services) — by looking to strategic sourcing.

What is Supplier Management? Here’s a Primer

suppliers

This may seem like a ridiculously simple question whose answer comes embedded in the term itself (“Managing suppliers!”), but it can be tricky. Supplier management is a broad term, and it has become ever broader in its evolution from a post-contract area to include also strategy and planning and other pre-contract activities. In other words, supplier management has become supplier lifecycle management. But to nail down a pithy definition for supplier management, it is “simply the management of supplier-facing business processes throughout the lifecycle of a supplier,” as Spend Matters analysts Michael Lamoureux and Pierre Mitchell put it in their Supplier Management 101 series.

Sustainable Nutella: A New Report on Palm Oil Supply Chain Transparency

supply chain visibility

It’s been a difficult few years for Nutella, that delicious chocolate hazelnut spread made by Ferrero. First, it was linked to the loss of critical natural habitat for orangutans, due to one controversial ingredient: palm oil. Then, more recently, dramatic headlines claimed Nutella consumption have bigger health implications than ingesting all that sugar. “Could Nutella give you CANCER?” screamed the Daily Mail. And that was also due to one controversial ingredient: palm oil.

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

Today’s landscape for e-sourcing (RFX, auction, category management, sourcing optimization, etc.) is highly fragmented. There is not a single market-share leader or “dual” leadership in this sector (as is the case with Coupa and Ariba for procure-to-pay). However, there has been one trend when it comes to consolidation, and that is providers focused on the “upstream” areas inclusive not only of sourcing, but also supplier management, contract management and analytics, either building or buying their way into the procure-to-pay sector — or merging their capabilities with other solution providers in this market.

Yet one nearly full “upstream” provider focused on this market remains independent: Scanmarket. (We say “nearly full” because it remains dependent on a partner for spend classification, and it has some functional gaps in the supplier management and contract management areas.) Of course Scanmarket faces competition from different segments of providers with either more targeted or overlapping functional footprints. But its commitment and focus on strategic sourcing technology and adjacent capabilities at a global scale remains singular today, at least as independent vendors go.

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering Scanmarket provides an objective SWOT analysis of the provider and offers a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as alternative vendors to Scanmarket and offers provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides summary analysis and recommendations for companies considering the vendor. Part 1 provided an in-depth look at Scanmarket 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.

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

Scanmarket is one of the last remaining independent “upstream” procurement technology suite providers. While it brings particular capability and expertise in running both simple and complex RFX and auction processes (and formats), it also offers a range of adjacent capabilities in project management, supplier management and contract management. On many levels, Scanmarket is one of the heirs apparent to the specialized e-sourcing capability pioneered by firms like FreeMarkets and Procuri — and it also represents a targeted and cost-effective alternative to full-suite providers (as well as deeper sourcing capability than procure-to-pay specialists in the market today).

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Scanmarket’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 Scanmarket in the procurement technology area. The final installment in this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

SciQuest: Solution Review & Analysis [Plus+]

SciQuest is arguably the most challenging procurement technology suite vendor to compare directly to the competition. This perhaps explains why it has tended to surface less in competitive procure-to-pay (P2P) or source-to-pay (S2P) suite opportunities outside of its traditional key vertical sectors for transactional procurement (e.g., higher education, laboratory/research, life sciences, public sector) in the past. While it is possible to label SciQuest as a procurement technology suite vendor (source-to-pay, source-to-contract and procure-to-pay), the reality is that to date, the provider has competed in multiple, infrequently overlapping segments of the procurement technology market.

Historically, SciQuest has generally had different sets of customers, prospects and competitors for its core P2P product and its sourcing optimization, spend/supply analytics and contract lifecycle management solutions. This stands in contrast to many of its peers, which have generally chosen to focus on fewer market segments (e.g, eProcurement, invoice-to-pay, etc.) rather than more as primary entry points to customers.

Yet after being acquired by Accel-KKR last year, SciQuest has started an accelerated strategic and marketing transformation process that is uniting its disparate suite elements. Today’s Spend Matters Plus analysis provides an introduction to SciQuest for procurement organizations looking to understand whether they should consider adding the provider to their shortlists for consideration, as well as competitive alternatives.

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

The sourcing and supplier management suite market (inclusive of spend analytics, e-sourcing, supplier management and contract management) was a crowded sector for many years. But as more providers with capabilities focused on this area have expanded their product offering to transactional procurement and as vendors in the procure-to-pay (P2P) sector expanded through acquisition into sourcing and supplier management, the number of targeted suite providers focused solely on what we describe as the “source-to-contract” market has declined. Yet Scanmarket is one of those that remain (and it is the vendor with the most traction and the largest customer base). And it is a solution provider that is more than standing its ground in a market where consolidation and the march to both strategic and transactional suites is becoming the norm.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help buying organizations, suppliers and partners make informed decisions on Scanmarket’s source-to-contract 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 Scanmarket in the procurement technology area. The rest of this multi-part research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analysis, user selection guides, insider evaluation and selection considerations.

WNS Acquires Denali: Acquisition Summary and Market Analysis [PRO]

Tradeshift Baiwang

Earlier today, WNS announced it had acquired Denali Sourcing Services, a procurement solutions provider. Denali was one of the pioneers in procurement managed services. But more recently, the firm has expanded its broader practice in such areas as spend analytics, market intelligence and training. Not all of these capabilities will transition over to WNS — some will remain with the original Denali group, which will be rebranded in the coming months.

Denali brings a number of capabilities to WNS, including a center of excellence (COE)-driven managed services capability for spend analytics, strategic sourcing, category management and supplier management. In short: It adds many “baited hooks” to chum the waters for the broader business process outsourcing (BPO) and outsourcing nets WNS is casting in the market.

But perhaps most important from a market perspective, the transaction will put pressure on other offshore BPO firms, including Genpact, Infosys, HCL and Tech Mahindra, looking to accelerate penetration in North America and Europe through the addition of onshore expertise and capability. For this reason — among others — Spend Matters believes this deal is likely a harbinger of more acquisition activity to come in 2017. In the near term, however, Spend Matters believes the acquisition will do little to blunt the leadership positions of Accenture and GEP for procurement BPO and managed services.

This Spend Matters PRO First Take Analysis provides an overview of the capabilities Denali brings to WNS, key takeaways, an overview of procurement managed services and insight into select additional acquisition candidates that could contribute to further consolidation in this market.

Ethical, Critical, Strategic: All Sorts of Sourcing and Supplier Management in Best Posts of 2016

In many ways, the Sourcing & Supplier Management space is the broadest- and farthest-reaching of all the categories Spend Matters covers. There are a ton of aspects to consider when defining “sourcing” (of the “e-” variety or otherwise), while supplier management is a catch-all description for a set of activities and technologies that are often carried out in silos across an organization. Using this admittedly loose rubric, we’ll take a quick spin through some of the top posts on Spend Matters in 2016 that dealt with the challenges of — and best practices behind — sourcing and supplier management.