The Vendor Snapshots Category

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

data analytics

What is your spend analysis buying persona? If it looks like the Spend Matters SolutionMap “Nimble” persona — by definition an organization looking for speed, efficiency, low price and quick value from cloud-based procurement technologies — then Spendency, a Sweden-based spend analytics provider that provides a do-it-yourself toolset, should be on your shortlist. And if you need some hand-holding or want a third party to help on data loading, cleansing, classification or related procurement and IT services, Spendency is still an option, as its investors are also its partners and bring particular expertise in their respective areas.

In two years since launching, Spendency has already amassed a respectable 60 customers, primarily in the Nordic markets. As it looks to expand globally, Spendency’s combination of ease of use and comparatively low cost make it an attractive option for organizations looking for a highly usable analytics solution they can take in-house with limited or no training.

This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering Spendency offers a SWOT analysis, a competitive assessment and a comparison with other providers in the spend analysis 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 Spendency.

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

Analytics

Like other areas that fall into what we describe as the strategic procurement technology segment (which includes strategic sourcing, supplier management and contract management), the spend analytics sector remain a high-growth yet fragmented market. Spend Matters market sizing models suggest a healthy double-digit CAGR for spend analytics in 2017 and 2018, although not one solution provider has been able to create a leadership position overall. Within this market segment, Spendency, a relatively new Nordic-based provider, has quietly built significant traction with a self-service spend analytics offering, supported by enabling services via its partners and investors for those customers who do not want a DIY tool alone.

Since releasing the first version of its cloud-based application in 2015, Spendency has proven a fit with several dozen middle market customers and some larger organizations, as well. Originally focused on signing up Scandinavian organizations, Spendency is now making a play for the global spend analysis market. The solution is quick to get up and running, easy to use, and satisfies the 80/20 rule for organizations that just need a basic spend analysis solution to get started on their analytics journey.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Spendency’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, as well as a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering Spendency. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

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

You can count on the timing like procurement technology clockwork. Every time a spend analytics vendor is acquired, a new one pops up, always with a slightly different take on previous-generation solutions. One of these relatively new spend analytics providers is Spendency, a cloud-based provider spun out of a procurement consultancy that focuses on the Nordic market (although it is not limiting its geographic focus and reach).

Spendency is attempting to fill a niche as one of only a few low-cost spend analytics solutions that is fast to stand up and comparatively inexpensive to deploy. The idea behind the toolset is to put spend analytics in the hand of every buyer and analyst that needs it with a low-cost entry point. Specifically, the solution starts at about €10,000 per year for a small or mid-size organization, a sum that is less than 5% of the annual costs that many organizations pay for other spend analysis solutions today. At this price, Spendency provides significant value for money for an end-to-end spend analytics solution.

So far, Spendency’s niche is proving itself to be significant in the market, as the provider has acquired more than 60 clients in 24 months since launch. But will it succeed on the global stage with diverse competition ranging from ERP vendors to procurement suite providers to AI-led specialists to numerous other low-cost, do-it-yourself spend analytics platforms? This Spend Matters PRO analysis provides an overview of Spendency, letting our subscribers form their own opinions (while sharing more than a few of our own).

The three-part Vendor Snapshot series provides facts and expert opinion to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Spendency 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 Spendency for procurement and spend analysis. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Opera Solutions (BIQ/Signalytics): Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary & Competitive Analysis [PRO]

analytics

Opera Solutions takes a unique approach to the process of managing spending data today. Its solution is a hybrid desktop and SaaS application that lets a user manage analytics in the cloud through a highly customized QlikView “front end” or on the desktop, through a new and much improved Windows desktop application with a more modern look and feel than the aged Windows XP interface that BIQ came with for most of its existence. Or, they can leverage both, doing “local” analysis, uploading downloads for sharing, downloading for experimenting and so on. On top of this, they can build their own customized analysis in Python and run it in the in-memory Opera Solutions engine, as well as do custom analytics as fast as out-of-the-box analytics, at industry leading speeds.

This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering Opera Solutions’ Signalytics offers a SWOT analysis, competitive assessment, and comparison with other similar and “crossover” providers in the supplier management and supplier diversity 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 Opera Solutions for procurement and spend analytics.

Opera Solutions (BIQ/Signalytics): Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses [PRO]

data analytics

In most cases, spend analysis solutions do not age like fine wine. The speed with which technology innovation is happening can make a product that was state of the art five years ago taste like the equivalent of plonk today — or worse. But Opera Solutions’ Signaltyics, which still leverages much of the code in the original BIQ spend analysis product that it acquired in 2012, is proof that with the right continued investment, even previous-generation core technologies can outdo modern platforms in certain areas. The recent enhancements to the product that we have seen surprised us in positive ways.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Signalytics’ 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 Opera Solutions’ Signalytics. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations. The focus of this review is not on Opera Solutions’ overall Signal Hub enterprise analytics platform but rather its specific solution targeting indirect procurement.

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

supplier diversity

The market for supplier diversity and supplier management solutions has clearly entered its “2.0” phase. While the DNA of firms competing in this market segment has not changed considerably from the first wave of specialists, the level of capability and overall user experience has evolved considerably since the previous generation of solutions — and what one can do with the solutions has matured, as well.

Users of these solutions can still expect a combination of diversity data enrichment, supplier on-boarding and basic supplier information management capability. But this is now just the ante for a newer generation of providers like ConnXus, a supplier (information) management solution designed to simplify the complexity associated with identifying, qualifying and introducing the right suppliers, including the right diversity suppliers, into global supply chains in a manner that achieves organizational goals of responsible and sustainable sourcing.

This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering ConnXus offers a SWOT analysis, competitive assessment and comparison with other similar and “crossover” providers in the supplier management and supplier diversity 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 ConnXus.

Opera Solutions (BIQ/Signalytics): Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview [PRO]

This PRO series is specifically focused on Opera Solutions for Procurement and not Opera Solutions as a whole. If you are considering Opera Solutions for other enterprise analytics needs, this series may not address all of the relevant points.

Fourteen years ago, in the sleepy little town of Southborough, Massachusetts, a tiny startup set out to give procurement (and business) analysts a self-service yet powerful transactional data analysis tool. This would enable them to do their own analysis and get their own insights rather than having to “outsource” much of the process — including creating rules for classification, reports and different cube views — to a third party. Less than two years later, it released that tool, called BIQ, and it totally changed the spend analysis market for both procurement organizations and consultants alike. For the first time, power analysts could do everything themselves in a market where spend analysis was primarily offered as a service, and they could do it at a price point that was significantly less than what larger vendors were charging them (often 5X–10X less). While it did require a lot of knowledge, aesthetic blindness and elbow grease, over time it could be done. BIQ was raw but powerful.

This quickly made the solution a favorite tool among not just mid-market companies that couldn't afford specialized solutions but also niche consultancies that could now do power-house analytics projects on their own, including firms like Lexington Analytics and Power Advocate. This, along with some really smart marketing, pushed BIQ into the mainstream of spend analytics providers, making it an essential shortlist candidate for any company wanting do-it-yourself spend analysis. This got the attention of many providers, who were afraid of the threat, in awe of the technology, or both.

One distributor of BIQ was Opera Solutions, which acquired the solution in 2012, as well as Lexington Analytics shortly thereafter. Once the two providers were merged, Opera Solutions instantly had a complete spend analysis software and services solution for the indirect space. But just as it achieved this combination, technical innovation on the core platform became inconsistent and market awareness was all but nonexistent. Yet in more recent years things have changed. BIQ is back. The new version (fall 2017) comes packed with some big enhancements, including one capability that is not only market leading but also unique among the spend analysis providers we have covered to date.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Opera Solutions 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 Opera Solutions for procurement and spend analysis. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

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

From a technology and content perspective, the market for supplier diversity-specific supplier management solutions has remained somewhat of a cottage industry for over a decade. Larger vendors, including both software and risk-centric providers, have not been able to take advantage of scale or reach. Further, over the years, even those organizations which have acquired diversity-centric vendors (e.g., Kroll, Jaggaer) have not been able to consolidate the market.

This has opened the door for more recent entrants, such as ConnXus, to not only develop technology, solutions and content for supplier diversity professionals but also to integrate these capabilities with broader offerings across the supplier management spectrum, as well as set a new standard for what should be included in a supplier diversity solution in the first place.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores ConnXus’ strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the provider. The first installment our analysis provided a company and solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering the provider. Part 3 will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

ConnXus: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview [PRO]

suppliers

The supplier management technology market is a microcosm of the procurement technology market generally, as it has many subsegments and is fragmented from a provider perspective. Procurement organizations need to do their full homework when evaluating potential suppliers, including newer technology vendors and a host of incumbents that have been competing for a decade (and sometimes more) in this market segment. Consider that two components within the supplier management, supplier information management (SIM) and supplier discovery management (SDM), have been around since the early 2000s, when Aravo pioneered capabilities in this area and signed progressive companies like Google.

But when it comes to supplier management, SIM and SDM are not the whole story. Within this segment, specialized supplier performance management (SPM), supplier relationship management (SRM), supply/supplier risk management, supplier network management (SNM), and other takes on supplier management that haven't even hit mainstream yet are helping drive specific buying decisions for technology. That probably accounts for the recent explosion in supplier management technology providers over the past few years, with a new one either hitting the market or becoming mainstream seemingly every quarter.

One of the companies that is now becoming mainstream in this broader sector is ConnXus. Founded in 2010 out of the founders’ frustration in their inability to quickly and easily identify, and qualify, new diverse suppliers as a result of incomplete databases, fragmented resources and expensive software, ConnXus is on some levels a next-generation version of previous diversity specialists including CVM Solutions and AECSoft. The founders also observed that small business owners and diverse suppliers found it difficult to share diversity qualifications or develop relationships with procurement executives directly.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about ConnXus’ solution offering in the supplier management and supplier diversity markets. 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 ConnXus in the procurement technology area. The rest of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analysis, and evaluation and selection considerations.

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

SciQuest

LevaData is a provider that challenges the traditional notion of “modules” in the procurement technology sector. In combining supply chain visibility, market data and benchmarks, community analytics, optimization, forecasting, AI techniques and strategic sourcing capability, LevaData is positioning itself as the first “cognitive sourcing” provider. While focused primarily today on select industries and categories, its goal is to become both a single source of truth and core enablement technology for broader direct materials sourcing. Today, LevaData’s solution blends integrated market intelligence, analytics and sourcing components in a single platform, primarily serving customers in the electronics/high tech manufacturing sector. While more mature in certain areas and less in others, the combined product set is not like anything else we have seen or analyzed in the market.

This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering LevaData offers a SWOT analysis, competitive assessment and comparison with other related vendors targeting direct materials procurement. 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 LevaData.

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

Quick, what would a mashup of an analytics, market intelligence and an optimization-backed advanced sourcing platform look like for direct materials procurement? It would need to feature at least the basics of line-level spend analytics and reporting, and, for manufacturers, ideally offer deeper bill of materials insight into sub-tier materials, parts and component data. It would have to provide market-based insights into relative total cost, as well as integrated access to external market data feeds to enable benchmarking. And it would need to feature sourcing capability that factors into account both internal and supply chain costs, constraints and business requirements in recommendations and decision-making.

In other words, it would look something like LevaData, a manufacturing-centric procurement technology vendor that offers an integrated set of capabilities that is different from anything else we have reviewed in the market. This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores LevaData’s 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 the provider. Part 3 will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

LevaData: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview [PRO]

Outside of core ERP and supply chain planning systems, the technology market for direct materials procurement and sourcing is almost too nascent to even be considered fragmented. While many software firms claim they power direct materials procurement solutions needs, the reality is that most end up “kludging” off-the-shelf solutions based on existing, distinct modules for manufacturing. Yet new direct materials solutions are emerging that blur the line of modules, product classification and underlying technology in a not so dissimilar way that the adoption of their solutions also blurs the line from a user perspective between design engineering, procurement, quality and operations and supply chain.  

LevaData is one such emerging technology provider that has capability spanning direct materials procurement and cost analytics, bill of materials-level spend visibility, market/commodity intelligence and sourcing (optimization). It is one of the first entrants into the “cognitive sourcing” space, offering a platform that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) capability to make both part- and component-level sourcing recommendations, especially in the electronics industry, where LevaData has a statistically relevant number of customers and products in its database. Having recently raised $5 million in Series A funding in August 2017, LevaData appears ready to move beyond its initial 20 customers.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about LevaData’s solution offering. 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 LevaData in the procurement technology area. The rest of this research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and evaluation and selection considerations.