The Technology Category

Coupa’s DCR Acquisition: Analyzing the Move (Part 2) — Strategic Context and Differences Between Labor and Goods Ecosystems [PRO]

Even discounting the technological capabilities DCR Workforce brings customers, Coupa’s recent acquisition of the VMS provider is a watershed event for the procurement software market. Specifically, it signals to the market a coming together of technology offerings for services procurement and indirect source-to-pay solutions.

As we observed in our previous brief in this series, SAP Ariba and SAP Fieldglass did not have a compelling reason in the immediate years following SAP’s acquisition of both companies to “work as one” in developing, positioning and selling the joint value proposition of one source-to-pay portal for buyers and suppliers that spanned indirect and services spend in a single go-to-market effort. In contrast, Coupa is on a different track — one that SAP is now starting to follow, as well — in uniting these two disparate solution areas and business functions inside companies.

But humans are not SKUs, which is one topic among many that we’ll discuss as we explore the context of Coupa’s strategic acquisition in this research brief. We’ll also explain the key sector differences between the services procurement/VMS market and indirect-centric procure-to-pay and source-to-pay solutions.

Just coming up to speed? In the first two components of this series covering Coupa’s recent acquisition of DCR Workforce, we provided an overview of the acquisition itself and a review of the DCR solution set.

We also shared our view on some of the strengths and weaknesses of the DCR solution prior to the acquisition, along with an overview of the broader competitive landscape that will be relevant as DCR now becomes “Coupa Contingent Workforce.”

In this section of the series, Part 1 explored the history and context of services procurement and indirect procurement from the perspective of both Coupa and the broader market. It also provided context based on the differences between how SAP pursued the market initially with Ariba and Fieldglass following its acquisition of both vendors.

What’s Up with Contingent Workforce Programs and MSPs: A Chat with EverHive’s Brandon Moreno

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The old way of sourcing and managing contingent workforce and services is on its way out, that much is certain. Compared with the first MSP offerings from the 1990s, the number of options for engaging external workers and their work outputs has expanded considerably, making the task of choosing the right kind of program or solution partner for a business all the more difficult. To get a sense of where the industry has been and where it might be going, we sat down with Brandon Moreno, president of EverHive, for a quick Q&A on the state of contingent workforce programs and MSPs.

Has Blockchain Reached an ‘Inflection Point’? New Deloitte Research Measures Executive Attitudes

Now that the early hype around blockchain has died down, what do executives around the world really think about the distributed ledger technology that promises to transform everything from ingredient tracking to banking? To find out, researchers from Deloitte recently surveyed 1,053 senior executives in seven countries (Canada, China, France, Germany, Mexico, the U.K. and the U.S.) who are familiar with blockchain and with their companies’ blockchain investment plans. All respondents represent companies with at least $500 million in annual revenue.

Coupa’s Acquisition of DCR Workforce: Analyzing the Move (Part 1) — History, Context and SAP [PRO]

In the first two briefs in this ongoing series covering Coupa’s recent acquisition of DCR Workforce, we provided an overview of the acquisition itself along with a review of the DCR solution set. We also shared our view on some of the strengths and weaknesses of the DCR solution prior to the acquisition, as well as an overview of the broader competitive landscape that will be relevant as DCR now becomes “Coupa Contingent Workforce.”

As our analysis continues, we turn our attention to what the DCR Workforce acquisition could mean for Coupa as a developer of technology solutions and as a business in the indirect procurement software sector. Spend Matters believes the deal is the most significant strategic bet Coupa has made since the vendor shifted its strategy from providing open source e-procurement to what it is today. But is Coupa (and the market) ready for such a shift?

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One (Direct Procurement) Tool Fit for All

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When considering indirect procurement departments, I often distinguish several tools used in parallel. But while this may be perfectly acceptable for the software providers, it is much less so for the users and company. Imagine the amount of effort for the administration of four separate tools, each different from the next — with their own supplier database and knowledge spread over multiple departments. The worst component of having four separate tools is there is no centralized flow, no process integration and different upgrades and training are required for each.

Fintech or House Bank for Early Payment Solutions: Key Differences

There are three buyer-centric solutions to facilitate early payment for suppliers: supply chain finance, dynamic discounting and commercial cards (p-cards, v-cards). Bank-developed solutions in this space rely heavily on companies using credit lines. The focal point tends to be on p-card solutions, not dynamic discounting. Why? P-cards generate much more in fee revenue than dynamic discounting, particularly if a client uses its own funds to facilitate early payment instead of a bank credit line. 

Program Management: The Missing Link in Procurement Technology Modules and Suites (Part 10: E-Procurement Components, Continued) [PRO]

In this series, we have been discussing the glue that binds together different areas of procurement workflow: the overall program management of both individual tasks and collective activities across the source-to-pay continuum, along with the technology components that support this end-to-end perspective. As a whole, this Spend Matters PRO series provides deep insight into what effective program management technology capabilities encapsulate from a design, platform and functional perspective.

We started this series by exploring design principles on which effective program management technology is based across the source-to-pay continuum. We then provided insights into the building blocks of effective program management technology components including best-of-breed project management, performance management, program compliance, program collaboration and other areas. We then highlighted specific examples of category management requirements and supplier management requirements before our series wrap-up with e-procurement and broader P2P.

In our last article (Part 9 — E-Procurement Components), we defined the P2P program counterparts to the sourcing-centric programs and began a deep dive into the platform components required to support the programs covered in our last entry. In this final installment on P2P, we conclude the platform components required to support modern procurement programs.

Coupa Acquires DCR Workforce (Part 2): DCR Product Strengths and Weaknesses [PRO]

The contingent workforce (CW/S) technology sector could benefit from daylight when it comes to visibility into how “good” solutions actually are. Within the vendor management system (VMS) market specifically, there are various market dynamics that have led to an opaque situation in the past, in which limited information transparency exists. And when it does, this information can be often “overlooked” for various reasons when organizations are making technology-buying decisions.

Pardon the baseball analogy, but we’re still on the first at-bat in the first inning in trying to create a degree of transparency ourselves with Spend Matters CW/S SolutionMap, which launched last week, albeit with only a subset of the market’s top vendors participating in the first round launch — something we suspect will change in the coming quarters. If you’re curious to take a look, you can skim the free ranking charts for Q3 2018 (Independent Contract Workers, Temporary Staffing and Contract Services/Statement of Work). And if you want to review the true, transparent details yourself, see our SolutionMap Insider reports and ratings, as well.

While in our view the CW/S technology market trends more to capability/technology obfuscation than enlightened cloud transparency among procurement and HR organizations, DCR Workforce stands out as one of the few providers driving innovation at multiple levels, including its embrace of artificial intelligence (AI).

But how good is it really? This Spend Matters PRO research brief (Part 2 in our series covering the Coupa acquisition of DCR; see Part 1: Acquisition Analysis and Competitive Landscape Segmentation) provides a primer for those that want to answer that question. It is based on prior Spend Matters PRO research content, with new updates and insights included. (Granted, we cover the strengths and weaknesses on what we would consider a summary level by our standards, given that we consider more than 400 individual CW/S functional requirements as part of our SolutionMap analysis. But you’ve got to start somewhere.)

Beeline: What Makes It Great (Temporary Staffing/VMS SolutionMap Analysis)

Editor’s note: This “What Makes It Great” column is normally reserved for SolutionMap Insider Subscribers, but Beeline has graciously agreed to unlock this piece for readers who are not yet members.

The contingent workforce and services technology market consists of three main segments: temporary staffing, which represents the classic vendor management system (VMS) market; independent contract workers (ICW), which includes technology for managing freelance resources; and contracted services/statement of work (SOW). Of the three, temporary staffing has historically attracted the majority of CW/S technology spend, and in these solution selections, Beeline has long been a familiar face whenever a VMS or VMS/MSP is up for consideration, both in North America and globally — especially in scenarios where technology is an essential consideration to the buyer.

As of Q3 2018, Spend Matters SolutionMap contains more than 1,250 functional and customer satisfaction benchmarks encompassing more than 50 procurement software companies. In our first SolutionMap release for contingent workforce and services procurement, nine providers participated in our rigorous evaluation and rating process. Among these nine, Beeline, aside from having significant critical mass, is also the last independent provider remaining in the sector that is not part of a larger source-to-pay (S2P) or ERP parent. So as the last independent solution standing, how does Beeline stack up to its peers? Where does it stand out most, how does it help “set the bar” and why should this matter for procurement and HR organizations?

Join us in exploring what makes Beeline great, based on the latest functional and customer SolutionMap benchmarks from Q3 2018.

“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 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.

Simfoni: What Makes It Great (Spend Analytics SolutionMap Analysis)

Spend analytics tools that stagnate age quickly. But solution providers that listen to customers, practice agile software development and bring a deep knowledge of procurement can flank a large cross section of incumbents — quickly.

Simfoni, one of the top-ranked spend analytics software providers by both Analyst and Customer scoring in the Spend and Procurement Analytics SolutionMap, is a case in point. Founded in 2015, Simfoni delivers above-the-benchmark performance in numerous functional areas and is convincingly a Value Leader across all spend analytics buying personas. Join us in exploring what make Simfoni great, based on the latest functional and customer SolutionMap benchmarks from Q2 2018.

“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 explains how the provider excels and where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark, concluding with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider the vendor.

Coupa Acquires DCR Workforce: First Take Analysis and Competitive Landscape Segmentation [PRO]

Coupa recently announced it had acquired the technology assets of DCR Workforce, a leading provider of contingent workforce/services (CW/S) procurement software. By so doing, Coupa has taken a giant leap forward in providing its clients a comprehensive platform that will now include the option of industrial-strength CW/S sourcing and management capabilities.

For many organizations, CW/S spend (including temporary staffing, independent contract workers and a broad range of categories of services provided by external suppliers) represents a considerable portion of external spend (including good and materials). And much of this spend — particularly outside of temporary staffing — is unmanaged today, in terms of procurement or HR’s ability to fully influence and orchestrate it.

In this Spend Matters PRO series, we take an in-depth look at what the acquisition of DCR means for Coupa and DCR, as well as to their customers. In Part 1 of this series, we look at what Coupa is getting by acquiring DCR, in terms of both business strategy and DCR’s specific capabilities. Based on DCR’s footprint, we also segment the competitive landscape into six primary competitor types.

Part 2 will consider DCR’s strengths and weaknesses within the competitive CW/S market. Subsequent PRO briefs will examine customer recommendations, competitive landscape implications and related considerations.

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E-Procurement Steering Committees: Gain Executive Support for Digitizing Procurement

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If you are getting ready to roll out an e-procurement platform and you don't have a steering committee in place, you could be in for a rockier road ahead than is necessary. If you have already celebrated your go-live launch, it’s not too late the pave the road ahead for subsequent phases of your procurement digitization program.