The Technology Category

E-Procurement 2018 Trends for Practitioners and Providers: An Overview

For a consumer of information, there’s something magical in coming across “predictions,” whether they’re about the weather, which team is going to win Super Bowl or something even more exciting (to us) — trends in the e-procurement market. But that’s the thing about magic: it often has no substance. That’s why the Spend Matters analyst team focuses less on predicting the future and more on sharing analysis gained from research and engagement with practitioners and providers.

The State of Procurement (Part 3): Solutions and Procurement Technology

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Jim Wetekamp is the former CEO of BravoSolution. In Part 1 of this series, he addressed the state of people in procurement, starting with the CPO, and in Part 2, he examined the state of the technology selection process.

“How is the technology space in procurement evolving?” A few months ago, I delivered a presentation and related article entitled, “What Procurement Needs.”  This overview focused on the key demands that procurement is seeking to fill to best serve their organizations and drive sustained value. Those needs for strategic, intelligent, integrated and holistic solutions are what are largely shaping the evolution of the procurement landscape today.

Sourcing Provider Head-to-Head Comparison: Scout RFP vs. EC Sourcing [PRO]

The boom of the “Nimble” buying persona first started in e-procurement and coincided with the momentum that gave rise to Coupa’s leadership position as a “must shortlist” candidate for procure-to-pay (P2P). Spend Matters describes the Nimble buying persona as typifying companies with often early formalization of process, limited technology investment to date and potentially decentralized operations. Middle-market companies are also quite often Nimble buyers. But regardless of size, procurement organizations that fit the Nimble persona look to cloud-based technologies that can deliver on speed, efficiency, low price and quick value.

Anecdotally, Nimble is the most common buying persona Spend Matters sees today.(We will have data to corroborate this in later in 2018.) Even highly complex procurement organizations are often willing to trade off unique requirements to conform to the Nimble norm. And Nimble is not just a top buying persona for e-procurement. Nimble-minded procurement organizations are increasingly looking at solutions that meet similar criteria in other technology domains, including sourcing solutions. Based on Spend Matters Q4 2017 SolutionMap for North America customers, two of the top performing sourcing technology providers for the Nimble persona are Scout RFP and EC Sourcing.

But these providers could not be more different when it comes to outlook, motivations, management style and, most important, technology and solution strengths and weaknesses. Join us as we take off the gloves and based on Q4 2017 SolutionMap data, put Scout and EC Sourcing “head to head” into the Spend Matters evaluation ring. We’ll start by providing a technology summary comparative rating of each provider and then explore business requirements and scenarios, calling out the winner in each circumstance. PRO customers with advisory can reach out for us to comment on non-functional/technical considerations.

Granted, there’s not a bad choice among the two for the Nimble buyer. But let’s put them to the Spend Matters test and see which is the best fit for different requirements. If you’re considering either vendor or sourcing competitors, including other ranked SolutionMap providers Coupa, Determine, GEP, Ivalua, Jaggaer, Jaggaer Direct, Keelvar, Market Dojo, SAP Ariba, Scanmarket or Zycus, look no further for a head-to-head evaluation and comparison that you can’t get anywhere else.

Beyond Logistics: 6 Non-Traditional Categories Where Companies Should Apply Sourcing Optimization

What exactly is sourcing optimization, and where can it be applied, besides the obvious areas? Earlier this month, Spend Matters analysts Michael Lamoureux and Tom Finn teamed up with Garry Mansell, sourcing optimization general manager at Coupa, on a webinar on this very topic, “Sourcing Optimization in New Categories: A ‘How-To’ Guide.” As the webinar title suggests, this isn’t about logistics or MRO, but rather some more non-traditional categories — six to be exact — where sourcing optimization can bring significant savings.

Catalant: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) – Competitive and Summary Analysis [PRO]

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In the previous two installments of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series (Parts 1 and Part 2), we provided an overview of Catalant and its solution offering(s) as well an analysis and evaluation of solution strengths and weaknesses. In Part 3, we provide a SWOT assessment and competitive analysis of Catalant in the context of an evolving contingent workforce and services intermediation industry made up of long-established providers and innovative new entrants.

The State of Procurement (Part 2): The Process of Selling into Procurement

“How did you like selling to procurement?” Another dimension to this question, which I discussed in Part 1 of this series, is related to the unique situation that the end customer is also the anointed steward of the best practice for purchasing technology. Don’t get me wrong: all the traditional sales and relationship development approaches and strategies still matter. Have you built trust? Do you understand their decision criteria? Have you mapped the competitive, stakeholder and points of influence? Despite all of those points of insight, however, more often than not you will end up on a scored, side-by-side evaluation matrix that removes emotion, influence and trust from the equation. And that’s just fine.

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

Oracle

For many years, Zycus’ self-proclaimed corporate objective was to become a “top three” procurement technology solutions provider. The irony of this goal was that it would ultimately — at least until Q2 2018 — prove elusive, not because of a failure to execute on objectives but rather how the market (e.g., Jaggaer’s strategy of combining multiple larger vendors and niche specialists under a single roof) moved against Zycus through unexpected actions. But more important than this is what Zycus’ initiatives actually mean for customers, based on the underlying current capabilities of the provider’s modules, suite and ecosystem today — and its planned enhancements for tomorrow. In these areas, fortunately, Zycus’ approach to meeting its business goals proved more important than the initial objective itself.

The third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot series covering Zycus offers a SWOT analysis of the provider and a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as alternative vendors to Zycus and offers provider selection guidance. Previous installments provided an in-depth look at Zycus as a firm and its specific solutions (Part 1) and a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses, as well as a review of the product’s user experience (Part 2).

Payables Automation Provider Tipalti Raises $30 Million in Series C Round

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Tipalti raised $30 million in its Series C financing round last week, bringing the global payables automation solution provider’s total funding to more than $50 million, according to the press release. Zeev Ventures, which focuses on investments on small businesses, led the round. This is the venture capital firm’s first investment in the P2P market, notes David Gustin, lead analyst and founder of Trade Financing Matters. Oren Zeev, the founding partner of Zeev Ventures, is also the co-founder of Tipalti, playing what Forbes has called a hybrid founder-investor role.

The State of Procurement (Part 1): People First, Starting with the CPO

“How did you like selling to procurement?” This has been one of the most frequently asked questions I have received since stepping away from BravoSolution, following our acquisition by Jaggaer in November 2017. People usually ask in a tongue-in-cheek way, expecting the response will be negative — comments about outdated and non-business-focused processes, burdensome and often overlapping or conflicting checklists, constant demands for discounts and the like. To be honest, there is some of that. But there is also so much more. Selling to procurement is to know procurement today. And it’s a complex being.

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

Zycus is one of roughly half-a-dozen true source-to-pay (S2P) platform providers that offer more than lip service across all of the elements that comprise this solution area. In some modular areas, however, its technology is deeper than others.

For example, while Zycus has the RFX and auction functionality found in just about every sourcing platform, it also brings sourcing project management, spend analysis, a supplier network with supplier relationship management functionality and contract lifecycle management. Zycus also brings significant support for downstream procurement with its own native catalog management, requisition management, purchase order management, e-invoicing, payment support and dynamic discounting capability. And threaded throughout the platform is S2P project management support, organizational “ask procurement” support, integrated search and suggest functionality, and the capability to run end-to-end performance metrics.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot continues our exploration of Zycus’ source-to-pay offering by diving into the platform’s strengths, weaknesses and user interface. In Part 1 of this series, we provided an overview of Zycus as an organization, its primary platform modules and key considerations that will help an organization decide whether or not it should be investigating Zycus to meet its source-to-pay needs. In Part 3, we will conclude our coverage with a SWOT assessment, a detailed user selection guide, competition overview and our expert analysis.

Sponsored Article

Why Mid-Size Companies Need On-Demand Solutions to Conquer Tail Spend

Procurement has firmly entered the tail spend era, and with necessary tools now available to tackle this persistent purchasing problem, supply organizations are finally consolidating costs, cracking down on unauthorized spend and clawing back lost time to deliver real value to their businesses. At least, that’s what the picture is starting to look like at large manufacturers and corporates. Within the typical mid-size firm, however, addressing tail spend still eludes many procurement organizations. The issue is less a challenge of capability than finding a solution that fits their unique business needs.

Coupa R20: Incremental Disruption in Action [PRO]

The Spend Matters analyst team recently spent some time going through a deep dive demo on Coupa R20 and found it to be a solid incremental product release. But in this brief, we wanted to discuss the “revolution through evolution” we saw in addition to the new product details that we cover. Coupa’s product releases are now running about three times per year, and it’s refreshing to see more than 500 clients quickly moving through these releases. Such is the promise of SaaS, right?

R20’s main improvements are focused on services procurement and community-based intelligence, which allows users to extract insights from the B2B data generated within the Coupa buyer and supplier base. The disruptive aspect of R20 is twofold: its attempt to tackle the big nut of services procurement with Services Maestro and its efforts to derive intelligence from its installed base through what it calls "community intelligence."

This last trend is really the most disruptive aspect of what’s happening in digital value chains. It changes the provider value proposition from serving up “empty apps” that process the data of a single customer enterprise to one that provides a collective intelligence derived and captured from mass adoption of cloud-based tools that generate the data used to drive key insights.

There are some potential risks that companies face, however, when platform providers attempt to monetize (directly or indirectly) proprietary commercial information between buyers and sellers. Just as Facebook is not really free to the users who themselves are the “product” sold to advertisers, there’s a similar effect happening with suppliers who can use business networks for free but whose data is aggregated and repackaged in ways they aren’t necessarily aware of.

In this Spend Matters PRO analysis, we explore these topics and more, as well as share our initial thoughts on some of the more interesting features in R20.