BravoSolution is one of dozens of providers that offer spend analysis today. But where it stands out from everyone else is on the front end (i.e., the analytics), not the back end (data classification and management) — and this is actually where procurement organizations usually get the most excited. Following the provider's customer event Friday, I sat down with two members of the BravoSolution analytics team to learn more about where they were headed — and also where they’ve been — in their analytics journey. They shared that BravoAdvantage 17 was really the “starting point” in BravoSolution’s latest analytics journey.
The Spend Analysis Category
AnyData Solutions competes in a fragmented market for spend analytics. Yet unlike many of its peers, it is not a common procurement vendor name. But with better awareness, it could be a strong analytics competitor globally, especially considering how the solution packs a powerful one-two functional and pricing punch.
From a functional standpoint, AnyData’s rapid visual development framework can enable customers to go beyond spend analysis use cases to create custom, domain-specific analytics solutions (e.g., analytics centric contract lifecycle management and supplier performance management reporting and capability). Combined with AnyData’s low-cost pricing models (a fraction of the cost of other solutions under most scenarios), it should make the solution a shortlist candidate for just about any size organization needing a spend analytics platform that wants the option to move beyond the basics.
This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering AnyData Solutions provides an objective SWOT analysis of AnyData and offers a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as alternative vendors to AnyData, and offers provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides summary analysis and recommendations for companies considering AnyData. Previous installments provide an in-depth look at AnyData as a firm and its specific solution capability (Part 1) and a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses and a review of the product’s user experience (Part 2).
AnyData Solutions is not just a standalone spend analytics toolset that includes “the basics.” Rather, it is a standalone platform for capturing, managing, sharing and collaborating on structured datasets of any type.
As an end-to-end analytics platform, AnyData is quite different from other approaches to spend analytics on the market today. On many levels, AnyData is closer to the data-centric heritage of BIQ, as it is fundamentally a self-service analytics solution, compared with the vast majority of spend analytics providers, which prefer to handle cleansing and classification activities “as a service,” even if they offer to sell the classification engine separately (which rarely happens).
This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores AnyData’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations and other customers decide whether AnyData is the right fit for their need. The first installment provided a company and solution overview and a recommended fit list of criteria for firms considering AnyData. Part 3 will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives and additional evaluation and selection considerations.
There must be something in the procurement climate in the United Kingdom that encourages procurement technology entrepreneurs to start spend analytics businesses. Coming on the heels of Spikes Cavell (acquired by Xchanging), Spend360 (acquired by Coupa), Simfoni and Rosslyn Analytics is the newest upstart, AnyData Solutions, which was founded in May of 2013. AnyData is yet another spend analytics vendor with strong capabilities, even some unique ones. But like many of its peers, it has been undercapitalized from the start and as a result has not invested in the type of sales and marketing efforts necessary to make it a household name. It has also lacked the channel and business development prowess of Spikes and Spend360, which helped drive significant, yet behind the scenes, growth.
Perhaps most important, as chronicled by Spend Matters previously (see: Exploring the Customer Experience of a Spend Analytics Provider that Should be On Your Shortlist), AnyData’s broad claim around the delivery of broad, powerful analytics is not the typical smoke and mirrors marketing that many vendors put forth. Our analysis suggests it delivers a true end-to-end analytics platform (unlike just about every other spend analysis solution) that is extensible across functions, industries and different use cases both inside and outside of procurement.
This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about AnyData 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 AnyData in the procurement technology and solutions area. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.
The Spend Matters team has learned the situation of the Emptoris business unit within IBM appears to be in flux, according to several sources. Spend Matters received a briefing from IBM in Q4 2016, during which time the company shared a number of 2016 enhancements Emptoris had made to its product suite focused on usability. Yet recent events suggest the overall future of Emptoris within the IBM portfolio remains uncertain. Spend Matters has spoken to numerous customers, partners and others close to the organization in recent days and has learned about significant changes that appear to be taking shape.
Last Friday, I found myself in a wood-paneled, classy meeting room at NYC’s prestigious Princeton Club. It had been a slow commute into the city that morning, so I got there just in time for the speakers to blast an energetic opening video and to loudly announce our host — Ivalua CEO David Khuat-Duy.
Khuat-Duy founded Ivalua 17 years ago in France, and the company has realized rapid year-on-year growth since its inception. For example, in 2016 the firm experienced 45% growth over the previous year and a 100% customer retention rate (which has been 98% since inception). Ivalua now serves more than 250 customers globally, and the U.S. accounts for 50% of the company’s business.
Named a Provider to Know for three consecutive years in the Spend Matters Almanac, the company “has built an end-to-end solution on a single technology stack (from the ground up) with sufficient breadth and depth across all key functional areas to enable it to serve as a single technology suite for procurement organizations. Its entire suite was built in-house on a single platform over the last 16 years.”
A great “mash-up” is happening within the procurement solution provider market. SaaS companies are increasingly delivering content such as benchmarks, KPIs, templates and more within their applications. Consulting firms are developing their own technologies and pre-configured instances of third-party solutions, such as vertically configured systems, in addition to deploying and implementing standard products and tools. And managed services providers and business process outsourcing (BPO) firms are increasingly blurring the line with their own proprietary solutions that extend beyond just the billable hour and “outcomes as a service.”
Simfoni, an upstart global solutions provider with both technology and services offerings primarily targeting the analytics and tail spend areas today, fits perfectly into this converging world. This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering Simfoni offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other vendors in the spend analytics and tail spend market that companies may wish to shortlist. 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, a SWOT analysis, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider Simfoni.
Simfoni represents a new type of solution provider in the procurement technology and services market. While it brings significant out-of-the-box capability in analytics and tail spend management, it is also a solutions integrator, of sorts. In deploying solutions to customers, Simfoni leverages both its own organically developed capabilities and third-party technology to deliver customized solutions to each customer.
This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Simfoni’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations and other customers decide whether Simfoni is the right fit for their need. The first instalment of our analysis provided a company and solution overview and a recommended fit list of criteria for firms considering Simfoni. Part 3 will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives and additional evaluation and selection considerations.
If experienced procurement consultants and product developers had a third chance to create a firm, what would they decide to emphasize, especially when taking a global perspective to creating solutions that are appropriate for customers at different levels of maturity in both established and developing markets? The answer to this question is enlightening, because Simfoni, a London-based provider of procurement solutions, represents a unique melding of experienced perspectives based on needs that, in many cases, are not being directly met today in the area of procurement, sourcing strategy and tail spend management.
This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Simfoni and whether its capabilities are a fit for their needs. 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 Simfoni in the procurement technology and solutions area. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.
The idea of “tail spend” doesn’t seem very complicated at first.
Run a Pareto analysis on your spend categories and suppliers to make a cutoff at, say, the 80% that represent only 20% of your spend. Your numbers will, of course, vary, but the idea is to find a way to better manage such “nuisance” low-dollar spend that doesn’t detract from your efficiency, or worse yet, from spending time managing the truly strategic spend categories more deeply.
You might think of this as the spend in the lower-left quadrant of the famous Kraljic 2x2 matrix, which describes a strategy of “purchasing management” to manage non-critical, abundant supply that can be sourced locally in a de-centralized manner for maximum efficiency. And, maybe, if you manage this nuisance spend properly, you can even extract some value from it (e.g., a “quick source” process to gain some speedy spend savings).
Sounds straightforward, right?
Well, it’s not, and I have purposefully led you astray to prove a point.
The problem is that I never really defined tail spend in the first place – and if you can’t define it or see/measure it, you can’t manage it. And herein lies the rub (and the opportunity):
Tail spend could better be described as “nuisance spend” or “tactical spend,” and is comprised of many sub-segments — not just one or two.
Let’s return to our examples above. Segmenting on a spend-per-supplier basis, like in our Pareto diagram, is by no means perfect. What about low-spend, sole-source suppliers tied to large revenue or profit? OK, well, you might then refer to the Krajlic matrix as the solution. It’s better, because it helps profile the categories into complexity vs. impact (or risk vs. reward if you view it as such), but again, these are only two variables, and do not factor in any others.
Which ones? Let’s list six of them and ask whether you’d consider the resulting spend segments as ‘tail spend,’ or at least ‘nuisance spend.'
Coupa’s acquisition of Spend360 brings an immediate set of capabilities to Coupa customers — and the basis of a broader, disruptive and embedded offering integrally linked to Coupa’s cloud solution. But what is spend analytics (and spend classification, specifically) and why should customers care? What types of reports should you be able to run? And more narrowly, what specific capabilities does Spend360 bring and how are these different than alternative approaches (e.g., AI/machine learning vs. rules-based classification).
There’s also the question of what Spend360 will ultimately enable Coupa to achieve by applying an AI-driven approach to the firm’s broader source-to-pay platform, including guiding users to better decisions based on insights their own data can provide, a broader topic Coupa’s CEO, Rob Bernshteyn, hinted at during a talk earlier this year. But we’ll leave this specific topic to a longer exploration after we’ve had the chance to delve into the “so what” for customers from the acquisition.
This Spend Matters PRO research brief provides a product-centric analysis that will help Coupa customers and prospects get beyond the headlines of the announcement and understand, on a comparative basis, what spend analytics really is, how spend classification works and how Spend360 stacks up to others.
Coupa announced early Tuesday it had acquired Spend360 International Ltd., a best-in-class spend classification vendor. Coupa “has acquired substantially all of the assets of Spend360 International Ltd. to help companies digitize antiquated processes for data classification,” the company said in the acquisition announcement. Coupa noted the acquisition closed in December 2016 and that financial terms were not disclosed. Further, “Coupa expects the capabilities from Spend360 to be made available to select Coupa customers later this year. As part of the acquisition, the Spend360 team has joined Coupa to continue developing forward-thinking approaches for data classification and predictive insights.”