Supplier Performance 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.

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Putting the ‘Relationship’ Back in SRM

contingent workforce

At ConnXus, we’ve worked with countless buyers and suppliers — ranging from global fortune 500s to small and diverse businesses. One of the biggest opportunities we consistently see between buyers and suppliers in the B2B space is the ability to boost supplier relationship management (SRM). Successful SRM is a pivotal milestone in maximizing the value of your supply chain. Developing relationships with your suppliers can help foster collaboration, drive innovation and impact your bottom line.

EcoVadis to Add Risk Mapping Tool, On-Site Audit Feature to Its Core CSR Rating

wind power

EcoVadis, a provider that rates businesses on sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR), announced Tuesday that it is expanding its capabilities with the new Sustainability Intelligence Suite, which will include "predictive risk mapping, performance signals and audit management."

After EcoVadis’ Sustain 2019: How Its Offering Fits With Supplier Management, Risk Management Solutions (Part 2) [PRO]

supply risk

Last week, I represented the Spend Matters analyst team at EcoVadis’ Sustain 2019 customer event in Paris. In between lessons on sustainable supply chains, vendor CSR ratings and French labor unions I never knew existed — thank goodness for British Airways when the Eurostar shuts down because a handful of customs workers at Gare du Nord decided to protest Brexit by striking — I had the chance to learn about the latest enhancements to the EcoVadis platform.

In Part 1 of this Spend Matters PRO research series, we shared some of the most recent capabilities that EcoVadis has embedded in its sustainability and ratings supplier management platform. Today, we turn our attention to explaining how EcoVadis fits in the broader supplier management and risk solutions landscape. (Hint: It is a complement to other solutions, but not a replacement for them, at least not yet.)

We will conclude our series with a look at the EcoVadis solutions roadmap and landscape in the coming weeks with specific recommendations on what it means for current and future customers who are likely to also make investments in adjacent solution areas and need to think about the architectural “fit” of all these components together. But to answer that question, we first need to explore where EcoVadis sits today in the broader supplier management and supply/supply chain risk management technology and solutions universe?

This Spend Matters PRO research brief provides insight into all of the components that comprise the supplier management and supplier/supply chain risk management sectors. It then attempts to place EcoVadis, a sustainability and CSR specialist in vendor ratings and management, in the context of these two highly complex solutions markets. Our analysis includes detailed functional and requirements for each of these solution types.

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.

Pricing Power and Playing with Payment Terms

savings

For many large companies, extending terms is the easiest way to hold on to cash and make working capital your suppliers’ problem. There are countless examples of large public companies with terms that seem to go beyond common sense.

Will this stop? Is this morally right? I’m not here to pass judgment, but what I would like to better understand is how will inflation impact a supplier’s ability to pass along price increases.

Using Technology to Develop Strategic Supplier Relationships

In Efficio's recent survey — “Procurement 2025: Is digital transformation driving more effective procurement?” — around two-thirds (64%) of respondents agreed that strategic supplier relationships will become increasingly important as companies look to achieve their future objectives — yet only half (52%) have formally selected their strategic suppliers. This gap indicates that while there is consensus on the value of the strategic supplier relationship, many companies have yet to define what a strategic supplier truly looks like for their organization, much less how technology can help to develop these relationships.

Supplier Management: Dozens of Markets in One (Market Introduction) [PRO]

supplier management

The supplier management technology and services market is one of the broadest, most complex and mysterious to those who try to make sense of it — and take advantage of the many solutions that it offers. Spend Matters tracks well over 100 providers in this market, and they fall into more than a dozen individual areas. Some vendors and services firms offer solutions that address multiple components, but not a single provider comes close to offering a comprehensive solution.

This Spend Matters PRO Research brief explains and segments the supplier management market into five solution categories: core supplier process and data enablement; supplier and supply chain risk; community/network; supplier and worker/contractor; and disruptive enablement.

Sustainable SRM Is Focus of 10th Annual State of Flux Report on Supplier Relationships

gig economy

Many businesses have come around to the idea that sustainability is not just a hashtag or a marketing ploy but something that can help a company advance its business goals. But as organizations dive into all the ways they can save energy and use friendlier materials, they soon realize there are only so many they control. Truly leveraging sustainability requires close collaboration all the way down the supply chain to find mutual incentives for all, according to the latest report by State of Flux, a global procurement and supply chain consultancy.

Supplier Relationship Management Needs a Jolt of Technology, State of Flux’s SRM Summit Finds

Procurement has made significant strides in supporting supplier relationship management initiatives, but poor investment in technology could limit the potential benefits those programs can deliver in the years to come, according to State of Flux, a consulting firm that specializes in SRM and which held its annual SRM summit in Chicago on Oct. 23. Over the decade that State of Flux has monitored SRM maturity, procurement organizations have made considerable improvements in several areas — but not in adopting and using technology dedicated to SRM.

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.

Amazon Business Prime Updated: Analysis and Procurement Recommendations (October 2018 Update) [PRO]

AnyData Solutions

Earlier today, Amazon announced a host of enhancements to its Amazon Business Prime offering. To help procurement organizations understand the implications of these added capabilities, this Spend Matters PRO research brief provides an overview and analysis of the new solution components and offers recommendations to procurement organizations already using or considering Amazon Business.

The emphasis of this PRO analysis centers on the spend visibility/analytics, e-procurement (guided buying) and working capital/payment capabilities of the October 2018 Amazon Business release. While some of these areas are likely to be less interesting for organizations that already use a third-party e-procurement solution that integrates with Amazon Business (either via punch-out or API), Amazon’s enhanced invoicing, working capital and payment components can be applied to all potential users.

But perhaps most important, these enhancement offer some signals of how Amazon may continue to build out the capabilities of its Prime business solution. Let’s delve in.