The future of the Ariba Network is arguably the future of SAP Ariba. As more content, intelligence and capability shifts into not just the cloud but the space between companies, network and platform-based connectivity will become increasingly important for procurement and suppliers alike. Connectivity is even now forming the basis of competition in the procure-to-pay market, with SAP Ariba competitors like Tradeshift making the argument to potential customers that the platform matters as much — or more — than application capability alone. In a series of posts this week, we’ll tackle the past, present and future of the Ariba Network, as well as the SAP Ariba platform.
The Suppliers Category
SAP Ariba and ConnXus announced a new partnership Tuesday at SAP Ariba LIVE. ConnXus is one of the last remaining independent supplier diversity vendors with any scale, although still a small firm itself. There are only a few hundred people in the procurement industry who have tracked the market for supplier diversity databases and software solutions over the years and know it well. Those familiar with this area know that the road to tapping supplier innovation and managing diversity spend through these tools has been paved with the great intentions of vendors that somehow got sidetracked along the way.
Matchmaking is an age-old practice. And as Tzeitel, Hodel and Chava will tell you, it’s a tough world out there when it comes to traditional matchmaking. The same goes for buyers and suppliers in the marketplace. Just as matchmakers once met with mothers and fathers to match their daughters to prospective husbands, businesses used to pound the pavement trying to find prospective clients, buyers, suppliers and anyone who would take a business card and put it in their pocket full of loose change and car keys.
Companies putting time and money into supplier diversity programs experience no loss in efficiency, according to new research from The Hackett Group. Hackett’s 2017 Supplier Diversity Study found that nearly all diverse suppliers meet or exceed expectations and in fact bring additional benefits such as new revenue opportunities. These new findings dispute executive assumptions that pursuing supplier diversity initiatives will divert attention from other strategic activities.
ClientLoyalty competes in what we could most accurately describe as a “sub-sub” segment of the supplier management market. Usually such niches relegate solution providers to a small corner of market obscurity, often to build profitable businesses that go unnoticed by most. But there is actually a real potential market in what ClientLoyalty is attempting to create alongside a select number of other technology providers also focused on the management of strategic supplier relationships: a market for a true supplier relationship management solution.
While there are many solutions today that address supplier information management (SIM) and also supplier performance management (SPM), only a handful actually focus on supplier relationship management — which we are hesitant to call SRM, because the term was usurped by ERP years ago and given an entirely different meaning. ClientLoyalty is one of the few, avenging the “SAP SRM” and “Peoplesoft SRM” product names that did such an original disservice to what SRM is really about. (Hint: It’s not e-procurement!)
This final installment of our Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering ClientLoyalty offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other supplier management providers for shortlist consideration. It also includes a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provided a company and deep dive solution overview, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider ClientLoyalty.
When it comes to the intersection of social media and procurement, we’re all interested in how to use it effectively, whether it’s to improve our relationships, our jobs or both. Yet at times, the magic of its use can seem elusive. More and more public-facing platforms (the Facebooks, Twitters, Snapchats) and private/collaborative ones (the Procuriouses...Procurii?) seem to crop up every day, but where to start?
In the beginning of this Rapid Ratings Vendor Snapshot, the initial framework we incorporated showed how a supplier’s financial health was the keystone of broader risks in the supply chain. In other words, assurance of a supplier’s ability to deliver with consistency and quality requires assurance of a healthy supplier. To ascertain the financial health of the supplier, you can monitor its public financial data from Bloomberg or other external sources. This can be valuable if you know how to operationalize the information and can do it in a scalable and replicable way for many suppliers, over time.
But this doesn’t account for financial data from privately held companies that, for most corporations, account for 70%–80% of their strategic/critical suppliers. Such data on this group of suppliers is generally sparse, sometimes difficult to interpret, often unreliable for prediction and challenging to benchmark against peer firms. This is why Rapid Ratings’ approach to assessing supplier financial health (especially for this group) is attractive and unique. RapidRating’s FHR® (Financial Health Rating) is a focused and cost-effective supply risk monitoring solution that creates a forward-looking assessment of financial viability for the dozens or hundreds of key suppliers an organization may have — privately held or otherwise.
This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Rapid Ratings’ strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the provider. The first installment of our analysis provided a company and solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering it. Part 3 will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.
This may seem like a ridiculously simple question whose answer comes embedded in the term itself (“Managing suppliers!”), but it can be tricky. Supplier management is a broad term, and it has become ever broader in its evolution from a post-contract area to include also strategy and planning and other pre-contract activities. In other words, supplier management has become supplier lifecycle management. But to nail down a pithy definition for supplier management, it is “simply the management of supplier-facing business processes throughout the lifecycle of a supplier,” as Spend Matters analysts Michael Lamoureux and Pierre Mitchell put it in their Supplier Management 101 series.
As we have seen in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, e-invoicing has produced great benefits for governments in terms of tax collection and streamlining its own control processes, for which they have implemented mechanisms that companies must comply with, ranging from the simple to the complex. For both buyers and suppliers, this represents a new technological challenge — especially for companies with operations in multiple Latin American countries.
Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Martyn Davies, director of product management at Rocket Software.
The biggest manufacturing brands in the world demand rigorous data workflow processes between them and their suppliers — and it’s easy to see why. There is no doubt that supply chains will only continue to become more complex, and increase the level of risk, especially when they are geographically dispersed. Global companies need to implement robust processes to ensure that data is managed, processed and protected to the highest standard when it is exchanged and shared with others.
Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Anthony Ryan, head of procurement operations at eir.
We have a pretty excellent P2P system at eir. It’s in the cloud, easy to use and delivers one of our primary objectives as a procurement team: spend under management. Our study of how best to address the needs of the SRM and CLM programs led us to consider the pros and cons of best-of-breed point solutions versus fully integrated end-to-end solutions that service all things procurement.
Jason Busch, founder and head of strategy at Spend Matters, will be joined by Marco H. de Vries, senior director, product marketing at OpenText Business Network, on Tuesday, Dec. 13, at 10 a.m. CST, for an illuminating discussion around the digitial economy, IoT and how they relate to P2P, the sharing economy, artificial intelligence, platform business models, social collaboration, blockchain and more. Inform you and your team on the future of supplier enablement, connectivity, supply chain visbility, sourcing and total cost optimization. Sign up here!