The Vendor Snapshots Category

Oracle Procurement Cloud: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview [PRO]

You can almost set your watch on it. When ERP vendors decide to enter a particular solution market, impassioned arguments debating the tradeoffs of their approach versus the perceived benefits of those taken by specialized application vendors turn up the volume on a regular basis. “To ERP or not ERP,” that is the question. And while Oracle’s Procurement Cloud has not yet settled this debate, the offering will continue to draw the attention of many companies as well as Oracle’s installed base during their respective source-to-pay (S2P) technology evaluation processes, especially as Oracle’s solutions continue to improve and mature in the area and take their place as cloud-native solutions, turning entirely away from the ERP installed software legacy.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Oracle Procurement Cloud and whether its capabilities are a fit for their needs. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and a detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Oracle Procurement Cloud. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Supply Dynamics: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary & Competitive Analysis [PRO]

Spend analysis providers that tackled the “hard stuff” originally offered line-level visibility into buying activity based on invoice data. Such capability has now become standard. But what if you could go beyond line-level visibility when it comes to understanding spend data? And what if you could do this for supplier spending, as well?

For the majority of direct materials spend in manufacturing, nearly all approaches to analytics come up short when it comes to gaining insight into the underlying materials, spend and suppliers used for semifinished materials, parts, components, assemblies and finished products, either directly by the buying organization or passed-through based on supplier purchases. This lack of visibility not only increases both supply and commodity price risk but also stands in the way of driving innovative sourcing strategies that can drive hard dollar savings.

Yet one provider thinks they have the answer to this challenge: Supply Dynamics. Supply Dynamics combines its own form of spend classification, enrichment and front-end analytics based not just on information contained in ERP/MRP data but also on engineering drawing and bill of material information, using both data and metadata it extracts from design drawings. It also provides out-of-the-box capabilities to create material demand aggregation programs for metals, plastics, electronics and other sub-components (but that’s only one “savings” lever it brings, as we explore in this review).

This third and final installment of our Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering Supply Dynamics provides an objective SWOT analysis of the provider and offers a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as alternative vendors to Supply Dynamics, and offers provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides summary analysis and recommendations for companies considering Supply Dynamics. Previous installments provide an in-depth look at Supply Dynamics as a firm and its specific solution capability and a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses, as well as a review of the product’s user experience.

Supply Dynamics: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses [PRO]

manufacturing

One of the major gaps today between supply chain planning and collaboration solutions and direct materials procurement technologies is the lack of spend/supply visibility for raw and semifinished materials used at different stages in the supply chain. These materials include commodities such as metals, resins, electronic components, chemicals and standard parts purchased by suppliers such as fasteners.

Granted, manufacturers are getting better at SKU-level demand planning and forecasting on both and inbound and outbound levels, not to mention managing all of the logistics associated with moving goods and materials. This is the basic “feeds and speeds” of the supply chain. Manufacturers also more frequently gaining visibility and orchestrating controls and processes around overall “spend” at the line item and supplier level, but this is only historical “spent analysis” of material consumption within their own four walls. Few companies have a true bill of material- and design drawing-level understanding of what upstream materials they’re buying vis-a-vie their suppliers. In other words, the lack of visibility into their suppliers’ spend and underlying costs prevents them from uncovering cost savings opportunities that are hidden upstream in their supply chains.

This is precisely where Supply Dynamics, a provider that specializes in multitier direct materials procurement, proposes to fill an important analytics and solutions gap through its SDX platform. It’s an area that even direct materials procurement technology specialists such as Jaggaer/Pool4Tool and SAP Ariba, with their new solution releases, do not begin to address effectively.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Supply Dynamics’ strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the firm. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview, as well as a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering Supply Dynamics. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Supply Dynamics: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview [PRO]

manufacturing

Direct materials procurement is similar in some respects to indirect procurement: you want to see your spend, aggregate demand and find opportunities to reshape your value chain to unlock value. But that’s where the similarities end. Analyzing direct spend (especially across multiple tiers of supply) is sometimes like seeing a cloud of smoke coming out of your tailpipe — you know there’s something wrong but don’t know the cause. For indirect spend, you basically change the oil, replace the air filter and hope for the best. But for direct spend, you need specific engine diagnostics to figure out what’s driving performance and how much you could potentially improve. And unfortunately, in many cases, the manufacturers of those engines parts don’t want you poking around under the hood.

Whether it’s for plastics, resins, hydrocarbon feedstocks, agricultural commodities, standard catalogue parts, electronic components or metals, you must translate your demand for parts into the raw materials that go into them. And you must understand the demand volumes, supply chain capacities and processing capabilities that drive that pricing — especially if you want to tap into aggregated buying channels beyond the stuff you buy to support your own internal factory requirements.

This intersection of supply chain modeling, demand forecasting, demand-supply reconciliation, demand aggregation and commodity price forecasting is where Supply Dynamics plays. The idea originated with one of North America’s largest privately owned metals distributors where the opportunity to roll up demand information across OEM customers and their outside contract manufacturers gave it a unique opportunity to build out specific analytics that would help it size up opportunities for its customers and itself. But last year that technology was liberated from its previous owners and is now a commercial offering for any manufacturer or distributor that wants to optimize its own extended supply chain.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help buying organizations make informed decisions about whether they need a solution like Supply Dynamics to expand their analytics initiatives into previously unchartered materials and supply chain components. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Supply Dynamics. The rest of this multipart research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, user selection guides and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Beeline: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview [PRO]

Beeline is a global “external workforce management solutions” provider and, alongside SAP Fieldglass, one of the top two providers of VMS solutions globally, based on volume and revenue. After years occupying the traditional VMS software category, the company has begun to expand its solution in a number of different directions to address the changing needs of enterprise clients at a time when external workforce utilization is increasing and new technology solutions for sourcing and managing contingent workforce and services (CW/S) are required.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help buying organizations make informed decisions about whether they need a solution like Beeline as provider of VMS software or a provider of technology-based CW/S solutions beyond traditional VMS. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Beeline. Parts 2 and 3 of this multipart research brief cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, user selection guides and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Note: Since Beeline merged with IQNavigator in 2016, there have been two VMS technology platforms operating under the Beeline brand. (A process to “converge” the two platforms on a new, state-of-the-art technology architecture is underway.) In this particular Vendor Snapshot, the section Beeline Solution Overview — Offerings and Functionality (below) focuses only on the Beeline VMS technology platform, pending separate treatment of the IQN platform. The order of treatment is in no way intended to suggest a ranking of one platform over the other.

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

Procurement organizations have an increasing number of choices when it comes to selecting an e-procurement solution. With both full suite and smaller independent providers — not to mention ERP vendors — improving and expanding their capabilities in this area, it has never been a better time to purchase a new technology or make the switch from an older platform.

Within this market, BuyerQuest delivers a number of nuanced capabilities that differentiate it from peers. This third and final installment of our Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering BuyerQuest provides a SWOT analysis of the provider, as well as a segmentation and comparison of competitors. It also includes a recommended shortlist of candidates that could serve as alternative vendors to BuyerQuest for e-procurement and procure-to-pay (P2P). Finally, we conclude with a summary analysis and recommendations for organizations considering BuyerQuest.

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

The barriers to entry for any provider wanting to create an e-procurement or procure-to-pay (P2P) solution are perhaps the highest of any technology area in the procurement sector. Not only must solutions combine a world-class experience for all frontline users from a shopping and buying experience to be competitive, they also must feature entirely different sets of capabilities to enable both procurement organizations (and suppliers) to collectively manage dozens of elements to ensure that all purchases are in compliance with company policies, contracts and supplier agreements. Ideally, these two elements combine to guide users to an optimal buying experience both for their own requirements and the company, steering them in ways they may not even be aware of.

BuyerQuest is one of only a select number of new entrants to gain traction in the e-procurement — and more recently, the P2P — market in recent years by meeting these requirements, often in differentiated ways. This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores BuyerQuest’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the provider. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering BuyerQuest. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

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

spend analytics

Not only is the market for spend analysis solutions highly fragmented from a vendor “choice” perspective today, it is also characterized by solutions that are difficult to compare on an apples-to-apples basis between providers. Sievo is one such provider that makes cross-comparisons of vendors challenging because of some of the unique approaches it takes both to spend classification and, more important, to savings reporting and tracking. In fact, this latter element makes it one of the few spend analytics solutions that is as relevant for finance (and CFOs) as it is for procurement organizations.

This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering Sievo offers a SWOT analysis, competitive assessment and comparison with other providers in the spend analytics market. It also includes a user selection guide and summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provide a company and deep dive solution overview, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider Sievo.

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

This vendor snapshot series focuses on WorkMarket, an online (cloud-based) work intermediary that allows organizations to organize/manage their own “affiliated” (on-location, geographically-distributed) workforce across a range of labor categories, including independent workers, contractors, freelancers, alumni and employees as well as various service providers.

Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and solution overview. We noted that WorkMarket goes to market today with a broad, comprehensive platform that is undergoing continuing development and evolution. Rather than present the market with a clearly labeled, delineated set of modules, WorkMarket provides a platform, which organizations can choose to leverage in different ways, in accordance with their unique workforce management requirements and goals. Accordingly, in Part 1, we also identified basic fit criteria for firms considering WorkMarket.

Part 2 of this PRO Vendor Snapshot explores WorkMarket’s product strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide if they should shortlist the vendor to enable their services procurement technology requirements. It also offers a critique of the user interface. Part 3 of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Sievo: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses [PRO]

data analytics

To get the full benefits of Sievo, a novel analytics and savings management/tracking provider that delivers value to both procurement and finance organizations, customers need to get their hands dirty in their data — which can be a good thing. In engaging Sievo, it is the involved customer that becomes intimate at a deeper level with their data to drive true spending intelligence, in contrast to working with many other spend analytics providers that take ownership, on an outsourced basis, of data stewardship to drive cleansing, enrichment and classification perspectives.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Sievo’s strengths and weaknesses as a managed services provider, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the firm to support the procurement of contingent workforce spend and broader services procurement categories. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering Sievo. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Sievo: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview [PRO]

The market for spend analytics reminds us of the evolution of the coffee market. It was not so long ago that we largely had a maximum of four choices: drip, percolator and then regular or decaf (this was when no one cared about the provenance of “the beans”). Today, this choice has exploded, and coffee is, well, not just coffee anymore.

Spend analytics has evolved in just about as many directions as a barista can provide in terms of java choice at the local coffee shop. But not all approaches are created equal. In fact everything from underlying data acquisition, classification, enrichment and analytics can vary dramatically from solution to solution.

Sievo is one of the longest running, still independent spend analytics providers in the market today. Founded in 2003, Sievo long ago moved beyond basic spend analytics and centers much of its value proposition today on driving savings program measurement and management. How they do this is complex, requiring all of the basics of spend classification, analytics and more. In this research brief, we get into the weeds on the “what” and the “how” of Sievo. We promise: Sievo is unlikely any other provider you have seen in terms of both methodology and solution.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help buying organizations make informed decisions about whether they need a solution like Sievo to drive spend analytics programs or in addition to their current efforts. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Sievo. The rest of this multipart research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analysis, user selection guides, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

ZeroChaos: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Competitive & Summary Analysis [PRO]

In the contingent workforce and services procurement market, the role of managed services providers (MSPs) is evolving. What used to be a binary decision between “in-source” or “outsource” the management of contingent spending is now a much more complex one. Within the MSP universe in 2017, there is now a slowly increasing emphasis on embracing the services procurement need outside of contingent workforce management and enablement alone (i.e., moving beyond the comfort zone and typical biases towards staffing-based models).

This includes the full consideration of curated talent pools, independent contractors/freelancers, broader services spend/category enablement (MSA/SOW sourcing/management, category management, etc.) and the evolving role of technology to support different requirements.

Given the variance of capability of MSPs to address these broader areas — without even factoring into account whether they have proprietary technology or not — the decision on which firm(s) to work with should be given more consideration than in the past. Specialized MSPs like ZeroChaos may stand to benefit from these shifts, especially as decision criteria against an often expanded set of requirements becomes more granular and moves beyond contingent labor alone.

This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering ZeroChaos offers a SWOT analysis, competitive assessment and comparison with other procurement technology providers in the MSP and services procurement market. It also includes a user selection guide and summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provide a company and deep-dive solution overview, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider ZeroChaos.