The Supplier Information Management Category

What is Your Supplier Management (SXM) Persona? Understand Your Requirements to Find the Best Technology Provider [PRO]

suppliers

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.

The same principle holds true when analyzing supplier management 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 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 supplier management 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 supplier management 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 supplier management. For each, we include full definitions, typical organizational priorities (based on each persona), functional/solution and customer value emphasis, and recommended selection processes.

Supplier Onboarding: Defining and Setting a Strategy (Part 1) [Plus+]

online talent platforms

The sourcing exercise is over, and you've found a great new supplier. You've vetted, scrubbed and polished throughout your diligent sourcing process. The contracting has just concluded, and the new contract still smells of fresh ink. The savings look great, so you toss everything over the fence to the vendor management team and accounts payable to get it sorted out so users can start saving money. A month later, you meet the new supplier and find out that no new business has been awarded to them, and that they are still being held up in the onboarding process. So, what is this onboarding process, and how can it be improved? That is the topic of this three-part Spend Matters Plus series.

Vendor Summary Report: Supplier Management SolutionMap℠ Q4 2017 [PRO]

supplier network

This SolutionMapSM analyzes a select group of supplier management (SXM) providers. It includes coverage of supplier information management (SIM), supplier master data management (MDM), supplier performance management and broader initiative management (e.g., risk, third-party management) capabilities. It is part of our Q4 2017 SolutionMap report series, also featuring spend analytics, sourcing, contract management, e-procurement and invoice-to-pay providers. Our Q4 2017 also features SolutionMaps for procure-to-pay and strategic procurement technology suites.

Spend Matters tracks more than 50 supplier management solution providers today. This analysis features many of the largest supplier management providers, including BravoSolution, Determine, GEP, Ivalua, Lavante (PRGX), Hiperos 3PM (Opus Global), Jaggaer, Jaggaer Direct (formerly Pool4Tool), SAP Ariba, State of Flux and Zycus. Among these providers it 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.

Supplier Diversity Meets Supply Management: A Roadmap for Success (Part 4) [Plus+]

As we conclude our initial series on creating a roadmap for success with supplier diversity initiatives (see Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3), we come to a handful of final, in many cases tactical, recommendations that can make or break program success. These are the “school of hard knocks” lessons focused on supplier diversity data management that we encourage our readers to take to heart, learning from the mistakes of others (including us) as we’ve helped to rollout and manage these programs over the years for dozens of organizations.

Supplier Diversity Meets Supply Management: A Roadmap for Success (Part 3) [Plus+]

Perhaps the most important element that supplier diversity professionals should incorporate into their program management efforts is how to constantly incorporate general procurement efforts within their own. Working with general procurement should be the top priority for diversity teams. All too often, the trap for supplier diversity professionals is to lead a silo-based activity with few touch-points with general procurement.

Nothing New Under the Sun: Taking an Advanced Approach to Supplier Diversity

supplier diversity

Growing up I remember hearing two phrases constantly: “There is nothing new under the sun” and “Numbers never lie.” Both statements I have found to be half-truths. Try telling dinosaurs, phone booths or the former milkman that nothing ever changes. People, things, ideas — all evolve. The time has come for supplier diversity to evolve, as well.

Supplier Diversity Meets Supply Management: A Roadmap for Success (Part 1) [Plus+]

suppliers

There are few areas within the walls of corporate America that stir up emotions and opinions like supplier diversity. Regardless of where you stand regarding supplier diversity programs and how supplier diversity can be done right — because it can definitely be done poorly, even catastrophically so — this research brief is meant to serve as a general primer for procurement professionals needing to bring supplier diversity into their daily activities across the supply management function. We also hope it will prove useful for newly appointed supplier diversity managers and for senior procurement managers and corporate directors wanting to understand how supplier diversity fits in with their business, day to day and strategically. Our intention is to help you make the business case not just for greater investment in diversity programs but for the right programs to begin with. 

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

supplier diversity

The market for supplier diversity and supplier management solutions has clearly entered its “2.0” phase. While the DNA of firms competing in this market segment has not changed considerably from the first wave of specialists, the level of capability and overall user experience has evolved considerably since the previous generation of solutions — and what one can do with the solutions has matured, as well.

Users of these solutions can still expect a combination of diversity data enrichment, supplier on-boarding and basic supplier information management capability. But this is now just the ante for a newer generation of providers like ConnXus, a supplier (information) management solution designed to simplify the complexity associated with identifying, qualifying and introducing the right suppliers, including the right diversity suppliers, into global supply chains in a manner that achieves organizational goals of responsible and sustainable sourcing.

This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering ConnXus 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 ConnXus.

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

From a technology and content perspective, the market for supplier diversity-specific supplier management solutions has remained somewhat of a cottage industry for over a decade. Larger vendors, including both software and risk-centric providers, have not been able to take advantage of scale or reach. Further, over the years, even those organizations which have acquired diversity-centric vendors (e.g., Kroll, Jaggaer) have not been able to consolidate the market.

This has opened the door for more recent entrants, such as ConnXus, to not only develop technology, solutions and content for supplier diversity professionals but also to integrate these capabilities with broader offerings across the supplier management spectrum, as well as set a new standard for what should be included in a supplier diversity solution in the first place.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores ConnXus’ strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the provider. The first installment our analysis provided a company and solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering the provider. Part 3 will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

ConnXus: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview [PRO]

suppliers

The supplier management technology market is a microcosm of the procurement technology market generally, as it has many subsegments and is fragmented from a provider perspective. Procurement organizations need to do their full homework when evaluating potential suppliers, including newer technology vendors and a host of incumbents that have been competing for a decade (and sometimes more) in this market segment. Consider that two components within the supplier management, supplier information management (SIM) and supplier discovery management (SDM), have been around since the early 2000s, when Aravo pioneered capabilities in this area and signed progressive companies like Google.

But when it comes to supplier management, SIM and SDM are not the whole story. Within this segment, specialized supplier performance management (SPM), supplier relationship management (SRM), supply/supplier risk management, supplier network management (SNM), and other takes on supplier management that haven't even hit mainstream yet are helping drive specific buying decisions for technology. That probably accounts for the recent explosion in supplier management technology providers over the past few years, with a new one either hitting the market or becoming mainstream seemingly every quarter.

One of the companies that is now becoming mainstream in this broader sector is ConnXus. Founded in 2010 out of the founders’ frustration in their inability to quickly and easily identify, and qualify, new diverse suppliers as a result of incomplete databases, fragmented resources and expensive software, ConnXus is on some levels a next-generation version of previous diversity specialists including CVM Solutions and AECSoft. The founders also observed that small business owners and diverse suppliers found it difficult to share diversity qualifications or develop relationships with procurement executives directly.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about ConnXus’ solution offering in the supplier management and supplier diversity markets. 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 ConnXus in the procurement technology area. The rest of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analysis, and evaluation and selection considerations.

Everything Procurement Should Know About Payments (Part 4): Setting Up Suppliers for Payment — The Intersection of P2P and Supplier Management (Part 4) [PRO]

Historically, most procure-to-pay solutions have put advanced supplier management capability on the back burner from a strategic development perspective. At best, they have paid lip service when attempting to tie a powerful supplier information management (SIM) capability into P2P and supplier network offerings (i.e., one-to-many or many-to-many connectivity approaches). While this is beginning to change, in general the worlds of collecting, validating, managing and keeping supplier record information up to date to enable timely payment and accounts payable vendor outreach are rarely bridged fully.

This Spend Matters PRO brief, the fourth in our series providing a comprehensive primer on everything “payments” from a procurement perspective, provides a background briefing on why collecting supplier information is critical to enable payments and a checklist for setting suppliers up for payment, starting with initial on-boarding steps. (See Part 1: Procurement’s Role and P2P Case Examples; Part 2: Best-in-Class P2P Technology Capabilities and the Reconciliation Process; and Part 3: Payment Operations — Challenges and Opportunities.) It also provides a vendor data collection template for basic and advanced fields that companies should compare against their own for an accounts payable-centric on-boarding process spanning company, ownership, insurance and remit/banking details. Finally, Part 4 concludes with examples of technology enablement capability that advanced supplier information systems can bring for supplier on-boarding and data maintenance.

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

RapidRatings is a proven supplier risk management solution that specializes in financial risk management. Many large enterprises depend on it as a core component of their supplier risk management programs. It brings the ability — a critical one — to evaluate privately held suppliers, including a methodology to get even small and middle-market firms to submit financials with very high success levels.

Spend Matters analysis suggests that RapidRatings has a proven and comparatively superior methodology to alternative established models for developing accurate and predictive supplier financial risk ratings — especially for privately held companies — and gaining insight into overall supplier financial health. But it is important to note that the provider does not offer a comprehensive supplier or supply chain risk management solution and ideally should be considered as a component within a broader supply risk management capability.

This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering RapidRatings offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other procurement technology providers (suite and otherwise). It also includes a user selection guide, user interface and user experience (UI/UX) analysis 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 RapidRatings.