Supplier Management Content

AI in Supplier Management: Today (Part 1) [PRO]

suppliers

With this brief we begin the next installment of our series on the application of artificial intelligence (AI) to various source-to-pay technologies. Previous entries focused on AI in procurement (Today, Part 1 and Part 2; Tomorrow, Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3; and The Day After Tomorrow), AI in sourcing (Today; Tomorrow, Part 1 and Part 2; and The Day After Tomorrow), AI in sourcing optimization (Today; Tomorrow; and The Day After Tomorrow, Part 1 and Part 2) and AI in supplier discovery (Today, Tomorrow and The Day After Tomorrow).

Following the path from supplier discovery and selection is the topic of our current series, supplier management. As with each preceding entry, the aim is to define what is available with AI(-like) technology and what will be possible tomorrow. And just as the best platforms for supplier discovery are starting to use machine learning and RPA, so too are the best supplier management platforms — but we're getting ahead of ourselves.

From Watch to Know in 2019: How APEX Analytix is Helping Transform Supplier Management

supplier management

Each year, some companies on the Spend Matters 50 Providers to Know and 50 Providers to Watch lists push themselves beyond simply a standout performance. They earn the recognition that they are not only bringing innovation into procurement organizations but also leading the charge to change the way we do business for the better. These are the providers who shifted from Watch to Know in 2019.

To learn more about these providers, we reached out to a few such cases in our 2019 50/50 lists, asking how they’ve changed over the years and what differentiates them from the competition. Today’s Q&A features Danny Thompson, SVP, Market & Product Strategy at APEX Analytix.

SolutionMap: 58 Procurement Software Companies Ranked (Q1 2019 Update)

Q1 2019 Spend Matters SolutionMap procurement software company rankings

Spend Matters today released its Q1 2019 SolutionMap, ranking 58 procurement software companies across 12 solution categories, including E-Procurement, Sourcing, Spend Analytics, Supplier Relationship Management, Contract Lifecycle Management and Contingent Workforce & Services. Click on this article to see how to access rankings for free!

Q1 2019 SolutionMap Sourcing, Spend and Procurement Analytics, Supplier Relationship Management & Risk, Contract Lifecycle Management and Strategic Procurement Technology Suite Release Notes

Q1 2019 Spend Matters SolutionMap procurement software company rankings

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider release note provides insight into the Q1 2019 SolutionMap release for Sourcing, Spend and Procurement Analytics, Supplier Relationship Management & Risk, Contract Lifecycle Management, and Strategic Procurement Technologies Suite SolutionMaps, reviewing the process we follow and highlighting what has changed since the last release. Mainly, 56 new or refreshed customer references were added in the Strategic Procurement Technology areas for Q1. No new providers were added for Q1, but will be added for the Q2 2019 cycle. This SolutionMap Insider release note explores these and additional changes in the Q1 2019 SolutionMap release.

After EcoVadis’ Sustain 2019: Company Update, Solution Overview and Technology Enhancements (Part 1) [PRO]

sustainable

This week, Spend Matters founder and analyst team member Jason Busch represented the Spend Matters team at the EcoVadis Sustain 2019 customer conference in Paris, where about 500 attendees gathered.

EcoVadis, a sustainability/CSR solutions provider that combines ratings content (CSR focused) and a technology platform, is not so dissimilar from providers such as Avetta and ISNetworld, albeit that it focuses on vendor sustainability practices and metrics rather than general compliance/credentialing (e.g., insurance validation) or “pre-qualification” for health and safety.

But like these related firms, EcoVadis is able to take advantage of platform economics (network-based economics) in its business model by qualifying and rating suppliers a single time — with yearly updates — and then leveraging this information across the procurement community. What is special about all of these models is that unlike pure-play technology solutions (e.g., supplier information management) or even general risk management offerings, they tend more toward “winner take all” markets because suppliers carry their credentials with them from customer to customer.

This approaches provides value for all parties and makes switching potential solution providers such as EcoVadis more painful (when alternatives even exist), creating an incentive for buyers and suppliers to remain using the system on a permanent basis. But unlike Avetta (which is growing but still must compete with Achilles and ISNetworld), the only material competition that EcoVadis faces — in a single industry/vertical only — is via the highly specialized, not-for-profit Sedex.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO update provides an overview of what is new at EcoVadis. Today, we provide an update on EcoVadis (overall) and explore its recent solution update and overall platform. An introduction to EcoVadis can be found in our PRO Vendor Snapshot coverage: Background & Solution Overview, Product Strengths & Weaknesses, and Competitive & Summary Analysis.

SAP Ariba: A Comparative Analysis of the S2P Suite (Source-to-Pay SolutionMap Analysis)

procurement software

SAP Ariba was arguably the first true source-to-pay (S2P) suite vendor. Back when Emptoris was going strong (pre-IBM) and Coupa was an open-source e-procurement application, SAP Ariba had already assembled various source-to-pay pieces from organic development and acquisition. This suggests it was the first vendor (at least with any scale and depth) to lay claim to having full coverage across sourcing, spend analysis, supplier management, contract lifecycle management, e-procurement and invoice-to-pay — even if all of the components were not perfectly integrated at the time.

But how does SAP Ariba stack up today from a source-to-pay perspective?

This Spend Matters SolutionMap analysis examines SAP Ariba’s solutions by modular and suite view to help interested parties understand the best components that make up the vendor’s end-to-end offering. It provides insight into which areas SAP Ariba is strong in (and where it lags), and how competitive individual modules compare with best-in-class alternatives. It also explores how SAP Ariba competes in three “suite” markets — procure-to-pay (P2P), strategic procurement technology (SPT) and source-to-pay (S2P) — in comparison to SAP Ariba’s broader peer group, including Jaggaer, Coupa, Ivalua, Oracle, SynerTrade and Zycus.

Overall, SAP Ariba performed admirably across several categories within the Q4 2018 SolutionMap and on an overall basis, with particularly strong scoring for the P2P areas and supplier management. Its long history in the space, comprehensive offering, recent enhancements and close SAP linkages make it a “must-shortlist” vendor in a range of technology selection scenarios, and its status as one of the providers “to beat” is indeed supported by its frequently above-the-benchmark functional capabilities and notable UX/UI improvements. Moreover, its targeted investments in technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning illustrate that it is not resting on its accomplishments to date.

For this analysis, our report uses the aggregate results of nine SolutionMaps from Q4 2018 (the most recent in our quarterly update cycle), comparing a total of 58 solution providers across more than 600 granular functional benchmarks, which are aggregated into more manageable, tiered buckets for the purpose of this analysis. (Those procurement organizations leveraging SolutionMap for a software selection process gain insight into comparative performance at a significantly more granular level of detail that maps business requirements to functional performance.) The SolutionMap analyst ratings used in this analysis are based on more than 3,000 hours of live product demonstrations and validated vendor RFI responses.

In subsequent briefs exploring Coupa, Ivalua, Oracle and others, we will take a similar approach to analyzing source-to-pay providers, breaking down where end-to-end platforms excel (or fall below the functional benchmark) on module and suite bases. Previously, we covered Jaggaer’s suite performance: Jaggaer ONE: A Comparative Analysis of the S2P Suite (Source-to-Pay SolutionMap Analysis).

Avetta and Browz to Merge: Facts, Figures, Solution & Market Overview (Part 1)  [PRO]

Avetta announced earlier today that it and Browz are merging. Together under the Avetta name, the two providers of supplier management and supply chain risk management will become one of the clear leaders in perhaps the most “under the radar” procurement solutions market. The general focus of these two providers is on supplier and contractor on-boarding, pre-qualification and virtual auditing in support of vendor compliance, environmental, health and safety, risk management and related initiatives. SaaS-based enablement is a component of what Avetta and Browz do, but the real value they bring is based on the network impact and scale economics focused on supplier/contractor intelligence they provide to buyers and suppliers alike on a many-to-many basis.

Avetta, Browz, ISNetworld, Achilles and other similar solution providers compete in this somewhat niche — though quite sizeable and rapidly growing — area of the supplier management and supply chain risk management worlds. While not as well-known as providers like Coupa, Jaggaer and Ivalua (let alone SAP Ariba and Oracle), these four providers — along with a handful of other vertical and geographic specific providers — represent one of the fastest growing $500 million+ procurement solutions markets (2018 revenue), one that the vast majority of procurement and supply chain organizations know quite little about the inner workings of.

For many Spend Matters readers, this really is the largest procurement solutions market you’ve never heard of.

Over the course of the coming weeks, this Spend Matters PRO series will explore the combination of Avetta and Browz and what it means for the market. It will also unpack this market segment and explain how it fits alongside supply chain risk management, supplier information management (SIM), supplier performance management, master data management and adjacent sub-components of the supplier management market. We’ll also provide an outlook for customers of these solutions and for the broader growth of this sector as well (which Avetta pegs at a $14 billion market potential based on a referenced study to McKinsey in a briefing with Spend Matters prior to the deal announcement).

Today, we will start with a quick overview of the Avetta and Browz deal itself (facts/figures, estimated revenues, rationale, analysis, etc.) based on a variety of sources. Part 1 also includes a brief history of both providers and an overview of the current state of this market. For this series, our reference inputs include an interview earlier this week with the CEO of Avetta, John Herr, and over a dozen of other interviews conducted in recent years, as well as existing Spend Matters research (see previous Spend Matters PRO coverage on Avetta: Introduction/Background, Strengths / Weaknesses and Competitive Analysis/Customer Recommendations).

HICX: What Makes It Great (Supplier Relationship Management and Risk SolutionMap Analysis)

The market for supplier relationship management (SRM) and risk solutions comprises many segments. HICX, a specialist provider in this sector, stands out as a commendable generalist for supplier management that delivers best-in-class capability in targeted areas, especially the subcomponents of master data management (MDM). In practice, few companies ever decide to purchase a single solution to address their broad-based needs for supplier management, highlighting the individual importance of solutions that target MDM and adjacent supplier management areas.

Spend Matters SolutionMap has hundreds of functional requirements for supplier management, of which only a subset will be critical for specific organizational needs (e.g., MDM, supplier diversity, supplier risk management, supplier performance management, supplier compliance management, supplier development). As of December 2018, SolutionMap contains functional and customer satisfaction benchmarks on more than 50 providers across the procurement technology landscape.

But where does HICX stand out most in the supplier management market from a functional perspective, and why should this matter for procurement organizations?

Let’s delve into the SolutionMap benchmark to find out where HICX is great.

“What Makes It Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider subscribers. Based on 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.

Streamlining Supplier Management to Scale Globally: A Case Study of Geosyntec Consultants and AdaptOne

MRO as a service

Geosyntec Consultants, an engineering and consulting firm, needed to upgrade its supplier management system so it could streamline and improve its business. The Florida company works with public and private sector clients across the U.S., Canada, Malaysia and the U.K. It employs more than 1,200 consultants (engineers, scientists, technical personnel) and manages more than 8,300 suppliers, many of which require stringent safety certifications and compliance requirements that come from their clients.

As Geosyntec expanded its practice, it looked for a supplier management solution that could streamline its manual and disjointed processes, all while maintaining needed organizational accountability. Find out what it learned in the process and how it made its choice: AdaptOne.

Beyond Supplier Risk Management: How Procurement Can Take a Leadership Role in Enterprise Risk Management (Part 2) — Aligning Enterprise Risk to Supply Risk [PRO]

risk

In Part 1 of this series, we described the process that most progressive procurement organizations use to relate enterprise risk to supply risk. Throughout such transformations, a single theme pervades: alignment. The premise here is that while value chains are, in fact, a chain of value that flows across multiple stakeholders, the “signal” often gets lost as the components of that value go across organizational and functional boundaries. We’ve written before about this concept of “supply performance management” (i.e., where the definition of supply and the supply scorecard gets translated from the customer-facing value chain all the way down to a supplier/contract level) in terms of measuring and managing supply value, but this same concept also inherently applies to risk management.

Risk management is about protecting those value streams, and therefore the commensurate investment in risk mitigation should align with the value streams themselves. Unfortunately, they often don’t, because stakeholders are not typically measured on risk management explicitly (although they can be measured on it implicitly).

Procurement itself faces this problem. Based on our research, only 8% of procurement organizations are formally measured on supply risk reduction. Instead, they’re measured on overt reward (vis a vis savings) but not on protecting those improved supply outcomes. So, if procurement wants to protect supply outcomes, it will need help and resources from the natural risk owners (i.e., those who are measured on the business outcomes affected by those risks) — and that help will not come unless there is visibility, commitment and action. As such, in this installment of this series, we’ll discuss two critical frameworks that organizations can use to gain alignment.

ConnXus Envisions a Next-Generation Supplier Network With myConnXion: Vendor Snapshot Update [PRO]

supplier management

ConnXus has grown in less than a decade from a specialized supplier diversity compliance tracking service to a notable provider of supplier relationship management solutions.

As Spend Matters’ Q4 2018 Supplier Relationship Management and Risk SolutionMap indicates, ConnXus offers mid- to top-tier functionality for capabilities including supplier performance management, risk management, configurability and services — making it a recommended fit for all five supplier management personas and a Value Leader in two personas: Nimble and Turn-Key. The Mason, Ohio-based solution provider has driven these results primarily by supporting procurement organizations in their efforts to identify, qualify and introduce the right suppliers, including the right diversity suppliers, into global supply chains.

Recently, however, ConnXus expanded the scope of its offering with the introduction of myConnXion, a platform that connects buyers and suppliers into a single network where both sides can create, edit and share their profiles with anyone (even users outside of the network). While myConnXion may appear to be an incremental evolution for ConnXus, filling in some of the core supplier information and master data management functional gaps that handicap it relative to other providers, the new platform is also more than that. Going forward, myConnXion will be the foundation for ConnXus to pursue all future innovations, including ambitions for a global e-sourcing capability and blockchain-based compliance tracking.

This Spend Matter Vendor Snapshot Update reviews ConnXus’ new myConnXion platform and explains why it’s more than just another supplier network concept for procurement organizations looking to tackle supplier diversity tracking. It is an addendum to our previous review and analysis of ConnXus.

2018 in Review: Top Strategic Procurement Technology Posts of the Year

As 2018 draws to a close, Spend Matters is looking back on the top stories of the year: leaps forward in technology, consequential acquisitions and more. As the main source of procurement solution intelligence for the market, we have our finger on the pulse on strategic procurement technology (SPT), which includes sourcing, supplier management, analytics and contract lifecycle management (CLM). Here are the biggest stories, according to reader interest, about strategic procurement tech in 2018, which demonstrate several trends about the state of the industry.