The Spend Analysis Category

How AI Will Help Procurement Overcome the Historical Flaws of Spend Analytics

spend analytics

Spend analytics technology is not new to procurement. Yet a significant number of practitioners report feeling overwhelmed by the amount of data they have to handle, let alone knowing how to make sense of it all in a meaningful way. How can this be when the technology to solve such problems has existed for several decades? The answer lies in the historical flaws of the spend analytics market. Up until now, the dirty secret is that analytics technology has actually performed worse than humans at classifying spend data. But with advances in machine learning, particularly the power of deep learning, the gaps in analytics offerings are beginning to narrow.

Comparing Jaggaer and BravoSolution: Spend Analytics [PRO]

While the dust has not yet settled on the Jaggaer-BravoSolution transaction, customers and prospective customers have already sent us multiple inquiries about how both organizations’ suites and modules stack up against each other. In the coming weeks on Spend Matters PRO, we will examine the capabilities of both providers on a module-by-module basis. Starting first with spend analytics, we will also explore both providers (and Jaggaer Direct, where applicable) in the sourcing, supplier management and contract management areas.



In this research brief, we answer the following questions:
  • Comparatively, how does each respective spend analytics module stack up on a capability basis?
  • What are the functional strengths of each spend analytics module under the surface?
  • What are the “best fit” SolutionMap personas for each analytics module?
  • Who are alternative analytics providers?
  • What are disruptive forces in the spend analytics market (e.g., artificial intelligence, low-cost solutions) that could affect both providers?
  • Is there a disadvantage to “going non-suite” in the spend analytics area?

This Spend Matters PRO brief derives insights from our Q4 2017 SolutionMap datasets (analyst scoring) based on our SolutionMap methodology, demonstration notes and Spend Matters PRO research on alternative suppliers (Vendor Snapshots).

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.

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

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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.

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

Analytics

No two procurement, finance, supply chain or IT 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 spend analytics solutions. 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 spend analytics 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 spend analytics 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 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 spend analytics 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 spend analytics. For each, we include full definitions, typical organizational priorities (based on each persona), functional/solution and customer value emphasis, and recommended selection processes.

Vendor Summary Report: Spend Analytics SolutionMap℠ Q4 2017 [PRO]

This SolutionMapSM analyzes a select group of spend analytics providers. It includes coverage of spend analytics capabilities that encourages subscribers to “peel the onion” beyond cleansing, classification, enrichment and reporting capabilities alone. It is part of our Q4 2017 SolutionMap report series, also featuring sourcing, supplier management contract management, e-procurement and invoice-to-pay providers. Our Q4 2017 release also features SolutionMaps for procure-to-pay and strategic procurement technology suites.

Spend Matters tracks more than 50 analytics providers with offerings targeting the procurement market today. This analysis features many of the largest spend analytics providers including AnyData Solutions, BravoSolution, Determine, GEP, Ivalua, Jaggaer, SAP Ariba, Sievo, Spendency, SpendHQ and Zycus. Among these providers it features select category, functional and industry capability of providers, although it does not highlight them in a specific persona.

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.

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

data analytics

What is your spend analysis buying persona? If it looks like the Spend Matters SolutionMap “Nimble” persona — by definition an organization looking for speed, efficiency, low price and quick value from cloud-based procurement technologies — then Spendency, a Sweden-based spend analytics provider that provides a do-it-yourself toolset, should be on your shortlist. And if you need some hand-holding or want a third party to help on data loading, cleansing, classification or related procurement and IT services, Spendency is still an option, as its investors are also its partners and bring particular expertise in their respective areas.

In two years since launching, Spendency has already amassed a respectable 60 customers, primarily in the Nordic markets. As it looks to expand globally, Spendency’s combination of ease of use and comparatively low cost make it an attractive option for organizations looking for a highly usable analytics solution they can take in-house with limited or no training.

This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering Spendency offers a SWOT analysis, a competitive assessment and a comparison with other providers in the spend analysis market. It also includes a user selection guide and summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provide a company and deep-dive solution overview, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider Spendency.

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

Analytics

Like other areas that fall into what we describe as the strategic procurement technology segment (which includes strategic sourcing, supplier management and contract management), the spend analytics sector remain a high-growth yet fragmented market. Spend Matters market sizing models suggest a healthy double-digit CAGR for spend analytics in 2017 and 2018, although not one solution provider has been able to create a leadership position overall. Within this market segment, Spendency, a relatively new Nordic-based provider, has quietly built significant traction with a self-service spend analytics offering, supported by enabling services via its partners and investors for those customers who do not want a DIY tool alone.

Since releasing the first version of its cloud-based application in 2015, Spendency has proven a fit with several dozen middle market customers and some larger organizations, as well. Originally focused on signing up Scandinavian organizations, Spendency is now making a play for the global spend analysis market. The solution is quick to get up and running, easy to use, and satisfies the 80/20 rule for organizations that just need a basic spend analysis solution to get started on their analytics journey.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Spendency’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the provider. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview, as well as a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering Spendency. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

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

You can count on the timing like procurement technology clockwork. Every time a spend analytics vendor is acquired, a new one pops up, always with a slightly different take on previous-generation solutions. One of these relatively new spend analytics providers is Spendency, a cloud-based provider spun out of a procurement consultancy that focuses on the Nordic market (although it is not limiting its geographic focus and reach).

Spendency is attempting to fill a niche as one of only a few low-cost spend analytics solutions that is fast to stand up and comparatively inexpensive to deploy. The idea behind the toolset is to put spend analytics in the hand of every buyer and analyst that needs it with a low-cost entry point. Specifically, the solution starts at about €10,000 per year for a small or mid-size organization, a sum that is less than 5% of the annual costs that many organizations pay for other spend analysis solutions today. At this price, Spendency provides significant value for money for an end-to-end spend analytics solution.

So far, Spendency’s niche is proving itself to be significant in the market, as the provider has acquired more than 60 clients in 24 months since launch. But will it succeed on the global stage with diverse competition ranging from ERP vendors to procurement suite providers to AI-led specialists to numerous other low-cost, do-it-yourself spend analytics platforms? This Spend Matters PRO analysis provides an overview of Spendency, letting our subscribers form their own opinions (while sharing more than a few of our own).

The three-part Vendor Snapshot series provides facts and expert opinion to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Spendency and whether its capabilities are a fit for their needs. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and a detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Spendency for procurement and spend analysis. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Opera Solutions (BIQ/Signalytics): Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary & Competitive Analysis [PRO]

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Opera Solutions takes a unique approach to the process of managing spending data today. Its solution is a hybrid desktop and SaaS application that lets a user manage analytics in the cloud through a highly customized QlikView “front end” or on the desktop, through a new and much improved Windows desktop application with a more modern look and feel than the aged Windows XP interface that BIQ came with for most of its existence. Or, they can leverage both, doing “local” analysis, uploading downloads for sharing, downloading for experimenting and so on. On top of this, they can build their own customized analysis in Python and run it in the in-memory Opera Solutions engine, as well as do custom analytics as fast as out-of-the-box analytics, at industry leading speeds.

This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering Opera Solutions’ Signalytics offers a SWOT analysis, competitive assessment, and comparison with other similar and “crossover” providers in the supplier management and supplier diversity market. It also includes a user selection guide and summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provide a company and deep-dive solution overview, product strengths and weaknesses, and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider Opera Solutions for procurement and spend analytics.

Opera Solutions (BIQ/Signalytics): Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses [PRO]

data analytics

In most cases, spend analysis solutions do not age like fine wine. The speed with which technology innovation is happening can make a product that was state of the art five years ago taste like the equivalent of plonk today — or worse. But Opera Solutions’ Signaltyics, which still leverages much of the code in the original BIQ spend analysis product that it acquired in 2012, is proof that with the right continued investment, even previous-generation core technologies can outdo modern platforms in certain areas. The recent enhancements to the product that we have seen surprised us in positive ways.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Signalytics’ strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the provider. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering Opera Solutions’ Signalytics. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations. The focus of this review is not on Opera Solutions’ overall Signal Hub enterprise analytics platform but rather its specific solution targeting indirect procurement.

Opera Solutions (BIQ/Signalytics): Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview [PRO]

This PRO series is specifically focused on Opera Solutions for Procurement and not Opera Solutions as a whole. If you are considering Opera Solutions for other enterprise analytics needs, this series may not address all of the relevant points.

Fourteen years ago, in the sleepy little town of Southborough, Massachusetts, a tiny startup set out to give procurement (and business) analysts a self-service yet powerful transactional data analysis tool. This would enable them to do their own analysis and get their own insights rather than having to “outsource” much of the process — including creating rules for classification, reports and different cube views — to a third party. Less than two years later, it released that tool, called BIQ, and it totally changed the spend analysis market for both procurement organizations and consultants alike. For the first time, power analysts could do everything themselves in a market where spend analysis was primarily offered as a service, and they could do it at a price point that was significantly less than what larger vendors were charging them (often 5X–10X less). While it did require a lot of knowledge, aesthetic blindness and elbow grease, over time it could be done. BIQ was raw but powerful.

This quickly made the solution a favorite tool among not just mid-market companies that couldn't afford specialized solutions but also niche consultancies that could now do power-house analytics projects on their own, including firms like Lexington Analytics and Power Advocate. This, along with some really smart marketing, pushed BIQ into the mainstream of spend analytics providers, making it an essential shortlist candidate for any company wanting do-it-yourself spend analysis. This got the attention of many providers, who were afraid of the threat, in awe of the technology, or both.

One distributor of BIQ was Opera Solutions, which acquired the solution in 2012, as well as Lexington Analytics shortly thereafter. Once the two providers were merged, Opera Solutions instantly had a complete spend analysis software and services solution for the indirect space. But just as it achieved this combination, technical innovation on the core platform became inconsistent and market awareness was all but nonexistent. Yet in more recent years things have changed. BIQ is back. The new version (fall 2017) comes packed with some big enhancements, including one capability that is not only market leading but also unique among the spend analysis providers we have covered to date.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Opera Solutions and whether its capabilities are a fit for their needs. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and a detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Opera Solutions for procurement and spend analysis. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.