The Sourcing Category

Cobalt and the Sustainability of Electric Vehicles

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Nick Peksa, opportunities director at Mintec.

Recently I have been reading a number of case studies based on some of the world’s leading sustainable and socially responsible firms, ranging from Unilever’s work in Brazil and Danone’s work in India to Vodafone and their mobile payment systems in Kenya. One of the other favorite firms for academic research is Tesla, with its “greener than thou” philosophy. Delving a little deeper into the mechanics of batteries, however, the word “cobalt” rang a number of alarm bells.

Leveling Up to E-Sourcing Mastery: A Collaborative Approach

With many procurement organizations using their solutions on only a quarter of applicable events, it’s clear that e-sourcing solutions have a ways to go to reach full adoption. From overwhelming practitioners with functionality to overemphasizing the prescriptions of industry analysts and consultants, e-sourcing providers have failed to help procurement realize the full benefits their solutions can offer. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Supplier Rationalization — Revisited

category management

Rationalizing a supply base is typically defined as picking the right suppliers and the right number of them, but in common practice, it has too often come to mean shrinking or consolidating a supply base in the name of securing more strategic relationships. We tend to forget that supplier rationalization can also mean increasing the number of suppliers used, routinely changing your mix of suppliers or expanding and then reducing the number and types of suppliers you select in support of changing organizational objectives, tests, hunches and the desire to accelerate the transfer of innovation.

Vendor Summary Report: Strategic Procurement Technology Suites SolutionMap℠ Q4 2017 [PRO]

category management

This SolutionMapSM analyzes a select group of strategic procurement technology suite providers (inclusive of spend analytics, sourcing, supplier management and contract lifecycle management). It is part of our Q4 2017 SolutionMap report series, individually featuring spend analytics, sourcing, contract management, supplier relationship management and risk (SRM), e-procurement and invoice-to-pay providers. SolutionMap also features procure-to-pay technology suites. Spend Matters tracks more than 100 individual strategic procurement technology providers today. This analysis features many of the largest suite providers, including BravoSolution, Determine, GEP, Ivalua, Jaggaer, SAP Ariba and Zycus. Among these providers, the Strategic Procurement Technology SolutionMap features select industry/specialty capability of providers, although it does not highlight them in a specific persona, a change from our last SolutionMap release.

Behind the Scenes: Interpreting Q4 2017 SolutionMap Results With Jason Busch — BravoSolution and Zycus [PRO]

Today I continue to offer my observations on technology providers that participated in the Q4 2017 SolutionMaps by turning to two suite providers: BravoSolution and Zycus. During the course of our analysis, I was struck by how different both providers are overall in what they actually serve up to customers and how they fit into the market, despite having similar product footprints. Comparing the two is like comparing apples to oranges, which actually sums up quite well the odd, diverse and certainly complex category we today call procurement solutions. So sit back, relax and enjoy. And do drop me a line or post a comment if you want to add anything else to the discussion.

What is Your Strategic Procurement Technology (Suite) Persona? Understand Your Requirements to Find the Best Technology Provider [PRO]

tech

No two procurement or supply chain organizations are alike. Each has its own persona that reflects not only its own unique requirements but also the stakeholders it serves when providing timely and accurate spend, procurement, supply and broader analytics.

The same principle holds true when analyzing strategic procurement technology suites. Each provider has a persona — or set of personas — that reflects its value proposition, solution strategy and targeted customer segments. Therefore, procurement organizations should seek providers whose personas best align to theirs. In other words, there is no “magic” solution provider, and finding the right fit is essential, because supplier management applications are critical for not only identifying savings opportunities but also the effective management of the procurement function.  

SolutionMap depicts vendor rankings based on specific buyer personas to reflect the unique value proposition, solution strategy and customer segments served by a vendor. Participating vendors are scored both on their Solution capability as well as on Customer Value, based on in-depth tech reviews (including live demos) by the Spend Matters analyst team and aggregated direct customer input from surveys. Each SolutionMap is updated quarterly rather than in 12-month (or longer) cycles, to accurately reflect the pace of market developments.

As part of our Spend Matters SolutionMap vendor comparison ranking for strategic procurement technology suites, the Spend Matters analyst team has dedicated considerable time to developing the unique organizational personas that we’ve most often seen in our decades of experience working with procurement organizations.

We have used these personas to weight the requirements used in solution scoring, which includes customer satisfaction scoring by solution customers. Having collected feedback from hundreds of procurement organizations in recent months as part of our SolutionMap research, we see these personas as useful starting points for procurement organizations to classify themselves before looking at solution rankings of providers in the market.

This Spend Matters PRO analysis shares five of the most common customer personas for strategic procurement technology suites buying requirements. Aimed at practitioners as well as vendors and the consultants advising them, this research brief will be helpful to drive the type of mass customization of strategic procurement technology solutions needed to meet specific organizational needs.

Below, we present our five personas for strategic procurement technology suites. For each, we include full definitions, typical organizational priorities (based on each persona), modular component weightings (and links to other PRO reports for detailed Solution and Customer value weightings) and recommended selection processes.

LevaData Brings Cognitive Sourcing Closer to Reality with Release of AI Advisor Leva

Next-generation sourcing upstart LevaData debuted at its customer event Thursday an artificial intelligence (AI) advisor for procurement, positioning itself as one of the first providers to offer live technology that enables cognitive sourcing. Called Leva, the new solution ingests both historical business data and external market intelligence to provide real-time recommendations to procurement users ranging from optimal times to resource a category to personalized supplier negotiation strategies.

Behind the Scenes: Interpreting Q4 2017 SolutionMap Results With Jason Busch — Determine, GEP and Ivalua [PRO]

We recently published the Q4 2017 SolutionMaps across six different product categories and two integrated suite areas: spend analytics, sourcing (e-sourcing), contract lifecycle management (CLM), supplier management (SxM), e-procurement and invoice-to-pay (plus “strategic procurement technology suites” and “procure-to-pay” suites). Three of the providers that participated in all six core categories and both suites were Determine, GEP and Ivalua (in fact, the only other provider that participated in both suites was SAP Ariba). The full results of each tell three very different stories, but even their individual solution (and customer) narratives do not begin to get at the “whole vendor” — and what’s really happening in the market.

What is Your Sourcing Persona? Understand Your Requirements to Find the Best Technology Provider [PRO]

No two procurement or supply chain organizations are alike. Each has its own persona that reflects not only its own value proposition and engagement approach but also the stakeholders it serves — and its supply base.

The same principle holds true of sourcing application providers. Each has a persona — or set of personas — that reflects its value proposition, solution strategy and targeted customer segments. Therefore, procurement organizations should seek providers whose personas best align to theirs. In other words, there is no “magic” solution provider, and finding the right fit is critical, because sourcing applications are critical to create value through savings, cost avoidance, risk management and value contribution to the business.

To that end, we are excited to preview our approach to Spend Matters SolutionMapSM, a comparative analytical framework for practitioners to evaluate relevant solutions to meet their procurement needs.

Our SolutionMap initiative depicts vendor rankings based on specific buyer personas to reflect the unique value proposition, solution strategy and customer segments served by a vendor. Participating vendors are scored both on their Solution capability as well as on Customer Value, based on in-depth tech reviews (including live demos) by the Spend Matters analyst team and aggregated direct customer input from surveys. Each SolutionMap is updated quarterly rather than in 12-month (or longer) cycles, to accurately reflect the pace of market developments.

As part of our second Spend Matters SolutionMap vendor comparison ranking for sourcing and other strategic procurement technologies, the Spend Matters analyst team has dedicated considerable time to developing the unique organizational “personas” that we’ve most often seen in our decades of experience working with practitioner organizations. We have used these personas to weight the requirements that we used in solution scoring, which includes customer satisfaction scoring by solution customers.

Having collected feedback from hundreds of sourcing users in recent months as part of our SolutionMap research, we see these personas as useful starting points for procurement organizations to classify themselves before looking at solution rankings of providers in the market. This Spend Matters PRO analysis shares six of the most common customer personas for sourcing buying requirements. Aimed at practitioners as well as vendors and the consultants advising them, this research brief will be helpful to drive the type of “mass customization” of strategic procurement technology solutions needed to meet specific organizational needs.

Below, we present our six personas for sourcing. For each, we include full definitions, typical organizational priorities (based on each persona), functional/solution and customer value emphasis and recommended selection processes. Comparative vendor rankings are published for each persona separately on Spend Matters (and updated quarterly).

Q4 SolutionMap℠: 32 Procurement Technology Solution Providers, Ranked

With Major League Baseball playoffs in full swing, we're reminded of the fitted ballcaps some of us used to wear when we were kids, just like the pros wore. Then at one point, companies introduced some fitted caps that were incongruously labeled “One Size Fits All.” That promise didn’t hold up. One size never really fits all (some of us have bigger noggins than others, for example), so ballcaps promoting themselves as such miss the mark. The same can be said for traditional analyst rankings of procurement technology solutions. Behold, Spend Matters Q4 SolutionMap℠ — where we leave the “one fits all” approach behind.

Vendor Summary Report: Sourcing SolutionMap℠ Q4 2017 [PRO]

This SolutionMapSM analyzes a select group of sourcing providers. It is part of our Q4 2017 SolutionMap report series, also featuring spend analytics, contract management, supplier relationship management and risk (SRM), e-procurement and invoice-to-pay providers. SolutionMap also features procure-to-pay and strategic procurement technology suites.

Spend Matters tracks more than 40 sourcing solution providers today. This analysis features many of the largest sourcing providers, including BravoSolution, Coupa, Determine, EC Sourcing, GEP, Ivalua, Jaggaer, Jaggaer Direct (formerly Pool4Tool), Keelvar, SAP Ariba, Scout RFP and Zycus. Among these providers, the Sourcing SolutionMap features select industry/specialty capability of providers, although it does not highlight them in a specific persona, a change from our last SolutionMap release.

SolutionMap ratings provide comparative rankings and insight into how each provider scored from a Solution perspective and Customer Value perspective.

Dive deeper with our full analysis.

Zycus Horizon 2017 Dispatch: Exploring Zycus’ Products and Modules Across Source-to-Pay

Earlier in the week on the mainstage at Zycus Horizon, Aatish Dedhia, Zycus’ founder and CEO, provided an overview of his firm’s current and emerging product footprint. The suite is “comprehensive,” to use a word Dedhia favors in describing it. To his credit, Zycus arguably offers one of the broadest suites available today, albeit with varying degrees of depth and comparative functionality. While our definition of what falls into a particular module or another may differ from how various providers define it, here’s how Zycus explains its footprint today.