The Supplier Collaboration Category

Why Platforms Need to Monetize Their Supplier Ecosystem

Because P2P solutions started giving away supplier portals, cash flow optimizers, analytics, support, etc., they closed a revenue door. Trying to build a sustainable business model when half your ecosystem is not monetized is very challenging, even as P2P platforms add features and functionality. Sure, many platforms are trying to figure out payments, and that is something that scares the bejeebers out of them due to regulations and compliance rules. (Don’t pay that blacklisted vendor or person, or else.) But payments is not a profitable business for platforms, it’s a service.

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.

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

supplier network

As a standalone component of procurement, supplier management is not new. Nor is the technology to enable it. But most procurement organizations still only have sourcing or e-procurement technology (at best) with capabilities that offer targeted supplier support for larger vendors. From a supplier management standpoint, the majority of firms still pay little attention to the long tail of hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of suppliers that they do business with. One of the key promises of supplier management solutions is to tier engagement levels and manage these suppliers across the entire lifecycle of engagement.

Within this market, AdaptOne offers targeted capabilities that focus on supplier information management (SIM) and supplier diversity, which represent two sub-disciplines within supplier lifecycle management. Having started out as an enterprise business process management (BPM) and workflow management provider that customized solutions to client processes, AdaptOne evolved into a SIM provider that offers turn-key solutions inclusive of customized configuration.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores AdaptOne’s product strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide if they should shortlist the vendor. It also offers a critique of the user interface. Part 1 of our analysis offered a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider AdaptOne’s supplier management software. The final installment of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

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.

ConnXus’ Multitier Tracking Capability: Creating a Sustainable Picture of Supplier Spend

procurement software

Editor’s Note: This article is part of our series The Featured Feature, where we explore unique technology capabilities that differentiate procurement software companies. Read our introductory post to learn more.

Supply chain visibility is a major concern for today’s procurement organizations. In a 2017 Geodis survey of 623 companies, respondents named improving supply chain visibility as the third most important priority for their businesses, behind only full deliveries and product availability. Yet only 6% of those respondents said they had full visibility of their supply chains. Acknowledging this need for better visibility and information about their suppliers, businesses are increasingly turning their attention to the latest generation of supplier management solutions. ConnXus, a more recent entrant to this sector, is one such example, with a particular expertise in supplier diversity tracking and reporting.

Hiperos (Opus): What Makes it Great (Supplier Management SolutionMap Analysis)

Hiperos (an Opus Company) is one of the most widely used third-party management solutions in the market today, albeit with a focus primarily on services and indirect suppliers. It is also the highest-performing vendor on a functional basis for the Turn-Key persona in the Q2 2018 Supplier Management SolutionMap, as well as a customer favorite in all five personas.

But Hiperos is not just a third-party management compliance tool. It delivers a broad set of supplier management capabilities focused on the management of all types of vendor relationships, including strategic suppliers, across the broader lifecycle of engagement and is a top vendor in such speciality areas as supplier performance management and supplier information management. It’s also an integrated supply and contract risk management solution in its own right.

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.

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.  

Program Management: The Missing Link in Procurement Technology Modules and Suites (Part 7 — SRM Technology Components) [PRO]

LinkedIn ProFinder

This series has explored the various aspects of a modern strategic procurement system that enables both enterprise-level programs and procurement-led programs and processes. We’ve explored in gory detail the elements for strong analytics, user experiences and agile architectures. The series began with strategic sourcing to illustrate that properly supported category management can be a pretty tall order. Within category management, we went from basic program management requirements that were quite demanding to in-depth program management requirements that, on the surface, might seem impossible to the average procurement software company, as well as analytics requirements that, at the present time, excludes most of the current vendors from the market. 

These requirements from a business standpoint are not unreasonable, but although the ability for most providers to meet them is certainly a work-in-progress, the value in doing so is compelling. Strategic personnel can truly do strategic functions, not spend their days filling out virtual paper and transcribing data. The biggest cost in procurement is the opportunity cost of wasting a professional’s time on firefighting, pushing paper, wrangling bad spend data amd “googling” for new suppliers, rather than creating the 5X–10X ROI that goes along with strategic procurement. 

But turning the tables is not easy. Take the last example from the list above regarding supplier discovery. Today's supplier networks are generally “walled gardens” built to support suppliers within the network, not to help buyers find suppliers beyond the network. This would require new approaches to supplier networks — and new technology building blocks. That’s why, in this post, we are addressing what those critical building blocks are.

APEX Analytix: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary and Competitive Analysis [PRO]

data analytics

APEX Analytix is far more than just a recovery audit and spend analysis software provider. It’s also a specialist in supplier management. This third and final installment of our Vendor Snapshot covering APEX Analytix’s supplier management solution provides a SWOT analysis of the company along with a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also offers recommended shortlist candidates that can serve as alternative vendors to APEX, complete with solution selection guidance. Finally, this research brief provides summary analysis and recommendations for organizations considering APEX for supplier management. 

For background on APEX, we encourage you to review Part 1 of the series, which provided an in-depth look at APEX and its supplier management solution, and Part 2, which gave a detailed analysis of product strengths and weaknesses, as well as a review of the its user experience.

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

spend analytics

Better known for its broader portfolio of recovery audit, overpayment and self-audit software, APEX Analytix also offers a specialized supplier management solution. APEX provides unique, out-of-the-box capabilities that support core supplier information management (SIM), validation and financial controls, as well as working capital optimization solutions. In addition, its supplier management solution delivers the broader configurability, workflow, rules, analytics, supplier portal and associated capabilities one would expect from supplier management software.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores APEX Analytix’s strengths and weaknesses in the supplier management area specifically, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement and finance 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 APEX Analytix. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

GEP vs. SAP Ariba: Supplier Management Head-to-Head Technology Evaluation and Comparison

A decade ago, supplier management solutions had not even established themselves as an independent category of procurement software. At the time, Aravo was fighting for credibility as the only focused solution in the space. But today, supplier management is more than established — it is one the core components of both procurement suites and specialist solutions, many of which tend to excel in specific functional areas.

Within the supplier management software market, GEP and SAP Ariba go head-to-head as two suite providers with functional capabilities at or above the benchmark for the Q2 2018 Supplier Management SolutionMap. While nearly all potential GEP and SAP Ariba customers will evaluate supplier management in the context of a suite selection — GEP is even adamant that it does not sell “modules” — supplier management is an important factor in an increasing number of source-to-pay suite selections. But how do the two companies stack up against each other in a head-to-head bout?

Join us in this unfiltered SolutionMap results analysis from our Q2 2018 dataset, along with the commentary of the Spend Matters analyst team. These “Head-to-Head” columns share the insights of each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider Subscribers, providing unique comparative cuts of SolutionMap benchmark data along with the trademark quips that Spend Matters was better known for in its early years. So buckle your seat belt, prepare for some real data and expect a few sparks to fly as we pit GEP and SAP Ariba against each other in the supplier management software evaluation ring.

Not yet an Insider member? Here’s a preview: In the majority of supplier management categories — which include master data management (MDM), supplier information management (SIM), supplier portal, supplier initiative management, technology, configurability and services — SAP Ariba comes out on top (sometimes convincingly so). But GEP shines in specific areas that could tip the scales in cases when a broader suite, managed services or BPO selection is involved.

Overall, the results suggest that the right solution will vary based on different initiative and organizational requirements — and how much “heavy lifting” procurement or AP organizations want to take on to enable supplier management versus working with a partner. There’s no debate that supplier management solutions will reward procurement organizations that tailor provider selection to their specific needs and even specific supplier management initiative requirements.

Program Management: The Missing Link in Procurement Technology Modules and Suites (Part 6 — An Introduction to SRM Programs) [PRO]

Global Risk Management Solutions

In our last set of posts, we addressed the basic requirements for any organization that wants to stand up a modern application to support sourcing programs that not only have a great user experience but are also backed by deep analytics. We went from basic program management requirements all the way to those that might seem near impossible to the average provider. We assure you they are not, although the chances of many providers meeting them are improbable, as we are requiring big leaps in typical back-office platform functionality.

But this is absolutely necessary. When people say that the creative process is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration, the corollary is that for the average procurement professional, business processes are 10% strategic and 90% tactical. Not a good use of a highly educated individual's time. The tables have to be flipped so that strategic personnel can truly do strategic functions, not spend their days wrangling spend data, searching for new suppliers, assembling supplier qualification documents or doing manual contract review.

Changing this is not easy, especially because of the wide variety of programs that an SRM manager needs to implement. To crystalize the need for such extensive capabilities, we discuss some typical projects and how the technology-enabled experience needs to change for each SRM program.