The Strategic Sourcing Category

The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insider’s Hot List: January 2019 (Special Focus Edition on Services) [Plus+]

Welcome to the January 2019 edition of Spend Matters’ monthly feature “The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insider’s Hot List,” available to PLUS and PRO subscribers. For those new to the Hot List, each edition covers the prior month’s important or interesting technology and innovation developments within the CW/S space, where change may be accelerating or at least becoming more pervasive.

This edition also marks the first 12 months of Hot List coverage, launched in the February 2018 inaugural edition (and covering January 2018). Our goal was to show that under the surface of the obtuse, clinical label of “contingent workforce and services” (CW/S) was a hotbed of technologically driven innovation. We sought to set the record straight, perhaps turn a few heads (maybe even provoke a double-take) and possibly prevent some unwary practitioners from getting burned. Hopefully we have fulfilled our promise.

To mark the first anniversary of the Hot List series, this month we will leave the usual format behind and seek a glimpse of the CW/S elephant in the room: complex services spend.

The real features of this spend category have (strangely enough) been obscured in the shadow cast by contingent workforce. And while there has been lots of talk about SOW spend in the CW/S world, in reality, that’s been a little bit like lighting a match in the dark to survey the full enormity of the elephant (possibly only seeing a foot or a tusk).

With that, we will now begin our safari, turn our searchlight toward the relatively unexplored territory of services spend and wrestle with questions like: What is it? How is it being addressed in different sectors? Is there a pattern emerging that may mean more and more effective ways for businesses to source and manage complex services?

Strategic Sourcing’s Evolution: A Roadmap For Improvement (Part 2) [Plus+]

SciQuest

Editor's note: This is a refresh of our 2012 series on strategic sourcing's evolution over the last and next decade, which originally ran on Spend Matters PRO. Click here for Part 1 in this analysis.

In providing a more complete picture and set of working hypotheses in terms of where strategic sourcing is headed in the coming decade, we should first look at the practitioner view of where adoption and usage is headed. We’ve tracked well over 100 companies that are using advanced scenario building and/or optimization features today, for example in their strategic sourcing tool arsenal (monthly or more frequently) outside of just the transportation area for identifying optimal lane award scenarios.

AI In Procurement Tomorrow (Part 2): Ninjabots and Augmented Intelligence [PRO]

In this series we are discussing artificial intelligence, with AI touted by many a salesperson. Virtually every vendor is claiming AI, even though it’s a stretch to promote having a fully functioning model. However, if you are willing to settle for “assisted intelligence,” that AI exists today (as per our precursor series that you can read here: AI in Procurement Today, Part 1 and Part 2), and it won't be long before we have the “augmented intelligence” that we are discussing in this series, as some vendors already have limited beta capabilities (that are typically restricted to a subset of categories) in many of these areas. In our last article, we discussed how tomorrow's systems are going to help considerably with overspend protection. In today's article, we'll consider “ninjabots” and dive into invisible buying, automatic buying and automatic opportunity identification.

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

In Part 1, we introduced you to Wax Digital, a source-to-pay provider from the UK that you may not be familiar with, especially since it has not yet participated in Solution Map (although that changes this quarter). Wax Digital is a provider of note as it is one of the few providers that has a relatively complete, integrated, source-to-pay offering on one code base that is already used globally in over 100 countries. In our last article, we overviewed some of the key parts of Wax Digital’s platform. In this post, we dive into its strengths and weaknesses.

Zycus Sourcing: What Makes It Great (Analysis)

Zycus got its start in spend analytics. But over the past decade, it has quietly become one of the largest independent source-to-pay providers. Within its broader suite, Zycus sourcing is a stand-out capability, where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark average score for the majority of capabilities.

Zycus has taken a modular approach to how it sells and positions its sourcing capabilities on top of its underlying architecture. And it’s gaining traction in the procurement technology suite market not only due to its functional breadth and depth — but also because it offers some of the most attractive pricing in the market today (despite that it delivers materially greater functionality than the majority of its peers).

As of Q3 2018, Spend Matters SolutionMap contains functional and customer satisfaction benchmarks on more than 50 providers within procurement technology and related markets. At present, Spend Matters maintains a solution benchmark on 17 sourcing providers, spanning some 125+ requirements. The Sourcing SolutionMap has some of the toughest requirements in any SolutionMap area — putting this highly competitive technology “supply” market to the test.

But how does Zycus sourcing comparatively stack up in the functional and capability weeds? It turns out Zycus performs strongly and is a recommend fit for all core sourcing SolutionMap personas. To understand where Zycus stands out — and why this matters for sourcing and category teams — let’s dive into the fields that comprise the sourcing benchmark and explore exactly what makes Zycus great.

“What Makes It Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider subscribers. Based on both our rigorous evaluation process and customer reference reviews, each brief offers quick facts on the provider, describes where it excels, provides hard data on where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark and concludes with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider it.

Coupa-Aquiire Deal Highlights Key Change: Marketplace E-Procurement Models Aren’t One-Size-Fits-All Anymore

marketing

Spend Matters’ recent coverage of Coupa’s purchase of Aquiire details Coupa’s acquisition rationale and the general wisdom of its decision — but the deal also calls attention to a useful context that evaluators of “Amazon-like” e-procurement systems would be well served to understand. As these systems are tailored for different industries, they should be evaluated for how they differ, not how they're the same. Let's look at three types of marketplaces spawned by the Amazon model.

What Makes It Great: The Scout RFP Customer Experience (Sourcing SolutionMap Analysis)

What if a procurement technology provider could build an entire market around usability and adoption rather than absolute feature/function capability alone, creating true evangelists within its customer base? Such an act has been done within e-procurement and procure-to-pay. Just ask Coupa. And it redefined an entire market, at least initially. Such was Coupa’s first act, before it focused on investing in functional leadership to complement best-in-class usability.

Scout RFP is following a similar path in the sourcing market. Its customer references and candid feedback from Spend Matters’ Q3 2018 Sourcing SolutionMap suggest it is not a typical provider but rather one that is redefining an entire market by focusing on customer adoption and the user experience. Like Coupa, it is creating a movement among procurement organizations. But where and how does Scout stand out in this competitive technology market with customers? Let’s dive into Spend Matters’ SolutionMap to find out what customers had to say.

“What Makes It Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider subscribers. Based on both our rigorous evaluation process and customer reference reviews, each brief describes where it excels and concludes with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement organizations should consider it.

The Road to Cognitive Procurement: LevaData Models a New Standard for Sourcing Maturity

Most procurement groups are coming around to the idea that they need digital transformation. Yet even with a convincing case for taking an AI-based “cognitive” procurement approach to processes like sourcing, excuses about bad data and poor backing from management inevitably stop organizations from taking the first step. LevaData, like other solution providers, is increasingly trying to help procurement not just take on technology but create the roadmap for organizational maturity that leads to better business outcomes.

An Introduction to Sourcing Business Intelligence (Part 2): The Leap from Sourcing Analytics to Supply Intelligence [PRO]

data analytics

In Part 1 of this Spend Matters PRO research series, we defined and explored the concept of sourcing business intelligence (BI), an emerging focus area for an increasing number of procurement organizations. Sourcing BI is not a “tool” like a spend analysis application module or a general purpose BI tool — like the visualization tools Qlik, Tableau or Sisense. Rather it is an enabling approach to sourcing, supplier management, total cost modeling/should cost analysis and related initiatives like clean sheeting that focus on the ability to incorporate increasingly rich external market, commodity, category and supplier intelligence with existing internal data sets, process flows and activities to enhance savings, compliance and organizational resilience.

Much of this activity is occurring within category management where managers are trying to move from historical descriptive analytics to “outside-in” predictive/prescriptive analytics that yield true intelligence rather than just subscribing to tribal best-practices sharing and generic data-as-a-service (DaaS) offerings in the marketplace.

In Part 2 of exploring sourcing business intelligence, we first will set some context about how to make the leap from sourcing analytics to broader supply intelligence. “Supply management” is bigger than “sourcing management” — and similarly — “intelligence” is bigger than “analytics.” By understanding this evolution, it helps us set up a deeper discussion into how artificial intelligence relates to analytics — with an immediate focus on sourcing, but a longer-term focus on broader spend/supply.

Creative Supplier Governance: Key Points From a Sourcing Leaders’ Lunch & Learn

SciQuest

At a recent Chicago Sourcing Leaders Lunch & Learn, one theme was clear: The sourcing department includes the “cool kids” of the enterprise. Hosted by solutions provider Scout RFP and Zebra Technologies, pioneers of barcode scanning technology, the Lunch & Learn featured a sampling of the Zebra product line and a practical presentation from Dawn Tiura, president and CEO of the Sourcing Industry Group, or SIG. She described the qualities of the “cool kids” and shared her insight on the importance of having a formal supplier governance program.

Sponsored Article

Enabling Supply Chain Mobility: The myConnXion Revolution

Having officially launched myConnXion yesterday, our team is thrilled to invite buyers and suppliers to connect. A key factor behind our innovative technology lies in the ability to integrate the process into your current sourcing strategy. We mobilize supply chains to compete faster and better in today’s global economy. Many procurement teams are deeply entrenched in legacy enterprise software and business processes, which are often not enough to manage today’s data type and quality, supplier relationships and business risks. Having a supply chain capable of movement and adaptability has become vital to the success of an organization’s business operation. Adding velocity to your supply chain starts with sustainable sourcing.

Ivalua vs. SAP Ariba: A Supplier Management ‘Battle of the Best’ for Q3 2018 SolutionMap

Our ongoing Head-to-Head comparison series has been immensely popular with members of our new SolutionMap Insider subscription service. But for Q3 2018 SolutionMap results, which have not yet published, we thought it would be fun to shake things up a bit. With functional scoring for supplier management solutions now finalized for the quarter (and due out in September), the Spend Matters analyst team thought we’d tweak the Head-to-Head format to create a “Battle of the Best,” pitting the two highest-ranked vendors in a given procurement software category against each other.

This week, using the latest SolutionMap data, we pit the two top-ranked supplier management solutions for Q3 2018 against each other: Ivalua and SAP Ariba. That’s right — two suite vendors are now officially eating the feature/function lunch of best-of-breed solutions for supplier management, at least on an aggregate scoring basis. (Aggregate is the operative term here. In specific functional areas, best-of-breed providers may still be stronger and, for specific buying personas, may be a better fit.)

To be sure, several best-of-breed solutions still come out on top for groupings of scored fields when it comes to targeted ratings in support of such areas as third-party management, supplier diversity and master data management. But even the third-ranked provider for Q3 supplier management functional scoring, Jaggaer Advantage, which is just a hair under Ivalua and SAP Ariba in terms of overall scoring, is also a suite provider.

When it comes to the Supplier Management SolutionMap overall — which includes both aggregate and atomic scoring for supplier enablement, performance management, risk management, collaboration, innovation, diversity, technology, configurability and services, among other areas — the suites are convincingly winning the Spend Matters analyst ratings battle for broad-based supplier management enablement.

Still, SolutionMap data suggest that the right solution will vary based on different initiative and organizational requirements — and how much “heavy lifting” a procurement, supply chain or finance organization wants to take on to enable different supplier management scenarios compared with choosing a partner that is expert in a single or handful of areas. But there’s no debate that supplier management processes will reward procurement organizations that tailor provider selection to their specific needs, even specific supplier management initiative requirements in cases where supplier management will not be at the core of a suite-based selection.

Not yet an Insider member? Contact Spend Matters to gain access to SolutionMap reports, ratings and associated content. Organizations in the midst of software selection that can’t wait for broader Q3 2018 data to be published can access the full Q2 2018 Supplier Management SolutionMap on demand or contact Spend Matters to access the Q3 2018 data in advance of release.