The Vendor Snapshots Category

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

For many industries and regions, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability are de rigueur. In several cases, there is also legislation to back them up, and there are no signs the resulting regulations are going away anytime soon.

Despite this, may companies pay CSR little more than lip service. There are numerous reasons for this. For one, CSR often has a hard time competing for budget and investments relative to other “hot” projects focused on short-term cost savings. This is a shame, because when CSR is extended to the supply base, it can actually be used to demonstrate not just regulatory/customer compliance but also to tap supplier innovation, lower costs, reduce supply risk and increase brand leverage.

The bigger tactical issue, however, is that extending CSR out to suppliers is simply hard to do cost effectively — especially if you want to do it properly. Getting hundreds (or thousands) of suppliers to adhere to basic contract terms and a vague supplier code of conduct document is one thing, but getting them to comply with more impactful and enforceable clauses for CSR/sustainability is even more challenging. If you’re a buying organization that’s truly concerned with de-risking your supply chain and looking beyond “check the box” compliance, you need to have a way to engage your suppliers in a more compelling way. Suppliers have many demands on their time and investments, too, so offering them something more than an edict is necessary.

But perhaps the most vexing question begins with measuring success. When you get down to it, how do you even define sustainability and responsibility? How do you measure it? And how do you know whether your performance against those measurements is good or bad for your industry or overall, especially when core requirements for CSR and sustainability differ across dozens of industries and hundreds of categories?

It takes expertise, and not just software. EcoVadis knows this, and that's why it has more than 150 CSR experts on staff to evaluate supplier profiles, documents and third-party audits to objectively gauge the corporate social responsibility of a company against a benchmarked numeric scale. It integrates this expertise into a unique combination of automated supplier surveys, certifications (gathering, analysis, validation, and publishing), benchmarking and training across 21 major CSR factors (with potentially hundreds of atomic level questions) derived from a combination of major global CSR standards — and augmented by best practice. It’s pretty cool when you see it in action.

In this Spend Matters PRO analysis, we’ll dive into EcoVadis’ company background, its solution offering and some recommendations on how the firm is best used to maximize value. Part 2 of this analysis will focus on strengths, weaknesses and production selection guidance. Part 3 will then wrap up with SWOT Analysis, competitive analysis, shortlist guidance and final commentary and recommendations.

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

spend analytics

AnyData Solutions competes in a fragmented market for spend analytics. Yet unlike many of its peers, it is not a common procurement vendor name. But with better awareness, it could be a strong analytics competitor globally, especially considering how the solution packs a powerful one-two functional and pricing punch.

From a functional standpoint, AnyData’s rapid visual development framework can enable customers to go beyond spend analysis use cases to create custom, domain-specific analytics solutions (e.g., analytics centric contract lifecycle management and supplier performance management reporting and capability). Combined with AnyData’s low-cost pricing models (a fraction of the cost of other solutions under most scenarios), it should make the solution a shortlist candidate for just about any size organization needing a spend analytics platform that wants the option to move beyond the basics.

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering AnyData Solutions provides an objective SWOT analysis of AnyData and offers a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as alternative vendors to AnyData, and offers provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides summary analysis and recommendations for companies considering AnyData. Previous installments provide an in-depth look at AnyData as a firm and its specific solution capability (Part 1) and a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses and a review of the product’s user experience (Part 2).

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

Analytics

AnyData Solutions is not just a standalone spend analytics toolset that includes “the basics.” Rather, it is a standalone platform for capturing, managing, sharing and collaborating on structured datasets of any type.

As an end-to-end analytics platform, AnyData is quite different from other approaches to spend analytics on the market today. On many levels, AnyData is closer to the data-centric heritage of BIQ, as it is fundamentally a self-service analytics solution, compared with the vast majority of spend analytics providers, which prefer to handle cleansing and classification activities “as a service,” even if they offer to sell the classification engine separately (which rarely happens).

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores AnyData’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations and other customers decide whether AnyData is the right fit for their need. The first installment provided a company and solution overview and a recommended fit list of criteria for firms considering AnyData. Part 3 will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

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

There must be something in the procurement climate in the United Kingdom that encourages procurement technology entrepreneurs to start spend analytics businesses. Coming on the heels of Spikes Cavell (acquired by Xchanging), Spend360 (acquired by Coupa), Simfoni and Rosslyn Analytics is the newest upstart, AnyData Solutions, which was founded in May of 2013. AnyData is yet another spend analytics vendor with strong capabilities, even some unique ones. But like many of its peers, it has been undercapitalized from the start and as a result has not invested in the type of sales and marketing efforts necessary to make it a household name. It has also lacked the channel and business development prowess of Spikes and Spend360, which helped drive significant, yet behind the scenes, growth.

Perhaps most important, as chronicled by Spend Matters previously (see: Exploring the Customer Experience of a Spend Analytics Provider that Should be On Your Shortlist), AnyData’s broad claim around the delivery of broad, powerful analytics is not the typical smoke and mirrors marketing that many vendors put forth. Our analysis suggests it delivers a true end-to-end analytics platform (unlike just about every other spend analysis solution) that is extensible across functions, industries and different use cases both inside and outside of procurement.

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

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

ZeroChaos is a provider of global, vendor-neutral contingent workforce management services/solutions. Going beyond traditional MSP, VMS, payrolling and agent of record categories, ZeroChaos provides clients with a range of services, which can be assembled into a client-specific solution supported by the company’s own technology platform and analytics. As such, ZeroChaos represents a quintessential integrated solutions provider in a converging procurement world, in which services providers are codifying IP and extending their reach and capability through applications while software providers are embedding additional content and intellectual property in their applications.

Having started over a decade ago in the contractor employer of record and agent of record space and later distinguishing itself as a disruptor in the staffing supply chain, ZeroChaos competes today in a field of evolving solutions providers offering outsourced contingent workforce management solutions to enterprises.

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 ZeroChaos as an alternative for or complement to their organizations’ incumbent solutions for organizing/managing and assigning work to their own “affiliated” workers or to help control and drive savings across broader services procurement categories. 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 ZeroChaos. 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.

A Look Back at IvaluaNow: Balancing Complexity with UI [Plus+]

Last Friday, I found myself in a wood-paneled, classy meeting room at NYC’s prestigious Princeton Club. It had been a slow commute into the city that morning, so I got there just in time for the speakers to blast an energetic opening video and to loudly announce our host — Ivalua CEO David Khuat-Duy.

Khuat-Duy founded Ivalua 17 years ago in France, and the company has realized rapid year-on-year growth since its inception. For example, in 2016 the firm experienced 45% growth over the previous year and a 100% customer retention rate (which has been 98% since inception). Ivalua now serves more than 250 customers globally, and the U.S. accounts for 50% of the company’s business.

Named a Provider to Know for three consecutive years in the Spend Matters Almanac, the company “has built an end-to-end solution on a single technology stack (from the ground up) with sufficient breadth and depth across all key functional areas to enable it to serve as a single technology suite for procurement organizations. Its entire suite was built in-house on a single platform over the last 16 years.”

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

purchasing

There are those who believe the market for targeted (i.e., “point”) solutions in the broader source-to-pay area is becoming less important than an integrated suite approach. This observation is becoming even more important in typical customer buying decisions in cases of strategic procurement technology, such as analytics, supplier management and strategic sourcing, where more and more customers at least want the “option” to purchase an integrated suite. Yet for transactional procurement (e-procurement and invoice-to-pay) solutions today, the notion of selecting a vendor with a broader suite may or may not matter depending on what a procurement organization values most.

BuyerQuest is an upstart procurement software and solutions provider without a broader suite offering (outside of an expanding invoice-to-pay capability), albeit one that is building worldwide adoption and reach in the core areas on which it focuses. Its entire focus is on developing specialized technology that it believes delivers a best-in-class procure-to-pay (P2P) experience for users and procurement organizations, based on a unique underlying architecture built entirely with supporting a B2C user experience in mind.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about BuyerQuest and whether its capabilities are a fit for their needs. 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 BuyerQuest in the procurement technology and solutions area. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

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

While not as well known in the spend analytics and supplier management markets as most of its peers, PRGX has built up a small arsenal of solutions through acquisition and organic development that are likely to surprise potential customers — including those that are PRGX audit recovery clients but that may not be aware of PRGX’s emerging technology and solutions outside its traditional services business. In particular, with its OPTIX and Lavante product lines, PRGX brings a particular competency in delivering a “data as a service” model and supplier information management (SIM) solution capability.

This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering PRGX offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other procurement technology providers in the spend analytics and supplier management areas. It also includes a user selection guide, user interface and user experience (UI/UX) analysis and summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provide a company and deep-dive solution overview, a SWOT analysis, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider PRGX.

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

PRGX, a recovery audit specialist and a firm in the broader procurement services market, is the midst of transforming itself from a services orientation to a solution one, embedding both technology and expertise in productized capabilities. Although it has yet to invest in externalizing its core technology and data capabilities for recovery audit in retail and other industries, it continues to expand its data-centric capability in spend analytics and, more recently, supplier information management through its acquisition of Lavante.

Whether these or related technologies ultimately automate and digitize core aspects of recovery audit for PRGX in retail (the recovery audit sector where it has dominant market position) is a question for the future. Today, PRGX sells core technology and solutions — including “data as a service” to fuel the back-end of spend analytics — in addition to its auditing service. It is these technologies and related solutions that are the focus of this analysis.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores PRGX’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations and other customers decide whether PRGX is the right fit for their need. The first installment of our analysis provided a company and solution overview and a recommended fit list of criteria for firms considering PRGX. Part 3 will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

PRGX: Vendor Snapshot Part 1 — Background & Solution Overview [PRO]

For those that do not know it, PRGX would appear to be one of a select number of dominant services provider in the niche market for recovery audit services — a market that unlike other procurement services faces tremendous price pressure for its core recovery, statement and related auditing and profit recovery services. But PRGX has started to remake itself quietly from within — out of necessity, given these broader market trends — building and acquiring technology capabilities in the spend analytics and supplier management areas, both to expand its relevance and to start driving automation and scale in its core business.

Its recent acquisition of Lavante, a supplier management provider with best-in-class supplier information management (SIM) and master data management (MDM) capabilities, showcases the direction PRGX is taking as it migrates from an audit-driven services firm to a new type of savings and recovery “as-a-service” solutions provider. It brings particular competence in extending core spend analytics to payment and product (SKU) analyses, the latter of which is particularly relevant to its core retail client base (from its recovery audit business).

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about PRGX and whether its technology and solution capabilities are a fit for their needs (it does not provide a review of PRGX’s core recovery audit services capability). 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 PRGX in the procurement technology and solutions area. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

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

Analytics

A great “mash-up” is happening within the procurement solution provider market. SaaS companies are increasingly delivering content such as benchmarks, KPIs, templates and more within their applications. Consulting firms are developing their own technologies and pre-configured instances of third-party solutions, such as vertically configured systems, in addition to deploying and implementing standard products and tools. And managed services providers and business process outsourcing (BPO) firms are increasingly blurring the line with their own proprietary solutions that extend beyond just the billable hour and “outcomes as a service.”

Simfoni, an upstart global solutions provider with both technology and services offerings primarily targeting the analytics and tail spend areas today, fits perfectly into this converging world. This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering Simfoni offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other vendors in the spend analytics and tail spend market that companies may wish to shortlist. 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, a SWOT analysis, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider Simfoni.

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

spend analytics

Simfoni represents a new type of solution provider in the procurement technology and services market. While it brings significant out-of-the-box capability in analytics and tail spend management, it is also a solutions integrator, of sorts. In deploying solutions to customers, Simfoni leverages both its own organically developed capabilities and third-party technology to deliver customized solutions to each customer.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Simfoni’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations and other customers decide whether Simfoni is the right fit for their need. The first instalment of our analysis provided a company and solution overview and a recommended fit list of criteria for firms considering Simfoni. Part 3 will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives and additional evaluation and selection considerations.