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Procurement Technology

Exploring the IBM Emptoris and Coupa Partnership: Opportunities, Potential Challenges and Customer Recommendations [PRO]

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Earlier this week, IBM announced it is formalizing a deeper partnership with Coupa. As part of the relationship, IBM Procurement, aka Emptoris, is gaining access to Coupa’s procure-to-pay (P2P) capabilities including supplier network connectivity to be able to more effectively respond to RFPs that require a full source-to-pay suite capabilities. Through the partnership, Coupa is gaining access to a full-featured sourcing, contract management and supplier management capabilities from Emptoris IBM, but the reality is that Coupa is adding deeper suite capabilities in these and related product areas with every release cycle. This Spend Matters PRO analysis provides perspective and commentary on the opportunities and potential challenges the partnership between IBM Emptoris and Coupa will bring – as well as recommendations for prospects and customers considering an integrated solution from the two providers. But before delving into these areas, we will first explore the history and context behind the partnership, going back to the original Emptoris (pre-IBM) and Coupa partnership.

Exploring Apttus: A Next-Generation ‘Ariba’ and ‘Siebel’ Wrapped up in One for Procurement and Sales? [PRO]

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This is Part 2 of our PRO analysis of Apttus. It is easy to make the argument that what Coupa has done in building out a fully integrated source-to-pay (S2P) suite is to take a few cards from the Ariba playbook and simply improve on the overall user experience and value proposition for a cloud-native world vs. one ported from the initial web business applications era (the same could be said, albeit with different nuances for different, high-growth vendors in the S2P and P2P sectors including Ivalua, BuyerQuest and others). But are Coupa and other next generation Ariba competitors bringing something actually “new” to the table – a fundamentally different value proposition? Not yet, at least in our book. But Apttus, a high-growth provider that comes from the sell side, which we started to preview earlier this week, appears poised to do something truly radical for procurement suites. This Spend Matters PRO analysis marks the continuation and final installment of our initial coverage of Apttus and why procurement organizations (and others) should be paying very close attention to what is about to come.

Apttus: Beyond CLM – A P2P Provider About To Seriously Challenge Ariba, Coupa, Ivalua and Others [PRO]

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Apttus. We admit the name does not exactly roll off the procurement tongue – at least not yet – but the Spend Matters research team believes that the firm is the most important new procurement solution company you’ll be hearing about this year. This Spend Matters PRO brief, based on our recent attendance at the Apttus 3-day customer event in San Francisco, explores context and background on the entrance of the P2P provider into the procurement solutions market. Among other areas, we explore why practitioners, consultants and competitors should be paying close attention to Apttus, not the least reason of which is that the solution is built and architected on the Force.com platform, which is now referred to as the “Salesforce1 Platform,” and which provides instant compatibility out of the box into hundreds of other applications including CRM, marketing automation, customer support and other solutions. Buy side meets sell side? Yes, you got it (a dream that Ariba and SAP would love to achieve, but have only taken small steps to enabling, despite starting out light-years ahead of other vendors in the space).

Unimarket Moves Beyond Higher Education in the P2P Sector [PRO]

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In our previous installment of this PRO research brief, we looked at Unimarket, its core vertical focus and the first tier of its business model for suppliers, the free solution. The premium offering expands on these features and offers additional abilities. In Spend Matters opinion, this solution is good enough to pay attention to and has been recognized and put to use in several industries and markets, not just in higher education. It is well worthy of consideration in other verticals as you look for a source-to-settle solution.

Higher Education – Still A Niche “Procure-To-Pay” Area [PRO]

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Not all procure-to-pay (P2P) providers are active in the higher education space, even though business needs and practices aren't that different from the "regular" commercial sector. As competition increases, inevitably we will see new entrants coming into this vertical, and interestingly in case of this article, from across the globe. Although originally out of New Zealand, Unimarket has established itself as one of the leaders in P2P solutions for higher education in North America. This is Part 1 in our PRO series on Unimarket, stay tuned tomorrow for Part 2.

SciQuest 15.1: Contract Management + E-Procurement, E-Invoicing (Transcepta) and More [PRO]

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This is our fourth and final installment of our ongoing series on SciQuest. As our analysis of SciQuest’s 15.1 release continues, we turn our attention to the latest contract compliance and P2P capabilities in the product as well as its new partnership with Transcepta for e-invoicing and supplier network connectivity and vendor enablement. The combination of these features (and extended partner capabilities) is likely to make SciQuest more competitive in the overall P2P suite market – and provide some clever areas of differentiation that are likely to increase in the contracts area as the legacy and updated Upside contract management IP is increasingly embedded alongside the e-procurement and accounts payable automation compliance capabilities – and as a separate, but fully integrated, module in the upcoming 15.2 release. This Spend Matters PRO research brief will conclude our initial analysis and research from the SciQuest NextLevel event.

SciQuest’s 15.1 Release Ups the E-Procurement Ante – But How Does it Compare to Ariba and Coupa? [PRO]

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SciQuest launched its Version 15.1 of its suite at its recent NextLevel customer event in Washington, D.C. At the show, the Spend Matters team had the chance to look at all of the modules in SciQuest’s latest release and also preview some of the items slated for the 15.2 release this summer. The 15.1 release represents a critically important step for SciQuest in the P2P area in an increasingly competitive market – especially in conjunction with an announced partnership with Transcepta for e-invoicing and supplier enablement. Most important, 15.1 marks a critical step toward a full-featured and integrated source-to-pay (S2P) platform for SciQuest. Yet core P2P capabilities matter as well – beyond sourcing and supplier management. This Spend Matters PRO research brief provides an analysis of the P2P capabilities and enhancements in 15.1 – and offers our perspective on cases where SciQuest e-procurement is likely to be a strong shortlist contender for customers.

SciQuest: The New Suite Dimension That Puts the Supplier First [PRO]

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SciQuest has proven to be one of the source-to-pay (S2P) leaders in higher education and life sciences (as well as some public sector areas). The organic traction it has realized in these markets – albeit with increasing competition from ESM Solutions, Periscope Holdings (BuySpeed/BidSync) and Unimarket within higher education and state/local government – signifies that it has been successful even without a fully integrated suite (until now) in its core industries. Currently, with the new integrated suite value proposition and particular strength at the intersection of P2P and supplier management (and rising capability in sourcing), it is likely to be in an even better position to compete in these and new markets. If you’re considering other providers such as Ariba, Coupa, SAP, Oracle and Ivalua for integrated S2P, this analysis will provide context to understand if SciQuest should be added to your vendor shortlist.

SciQuest Becoming a “Sweet” Suite Team Player [PRO]

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Along with my colleague Jason Busch, I recently spent 3 days at the SciQuest customer conference in Washington, D.C., talking to dozens of customers and sitting through many product demonstrations and breakouts. SciQuest has invested significant money and effort to develop a new integrated source-to-pay (S2P) platform entirely, and the launch of its new version 15.1 signifies a material step forward in this area. This Spend Matters PRO analysis will provide an introduction to SciQuest’s new suite capabilities and roadmap. As I myself was an outsider to this firm before the event, it will be most useful starting from a low knowledge base on the provider as well as for those who may wish to consider adding SciQuest to their S2P vendor shortlist along within Ariba, SAP, Oracle, Coupa, Ivalua and others – and to understand where the provider comparatively fits today.

Exploring Work Market: Managing the Freelancer Lifecycle [PRO]

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From both procurement and HR perspectives, the systematic management of freelancers is arguably significantly more complex than managing the traditional contingent workforce that is employed by a staffing intermediary. Companies – or managed services partners administering programs on their behalf – must fully consider the same types of compliance and worker classification questions that come up in a staffing situation and the overall lifecycle associated with workers, from creating an initial job description/requisition through to selection, onboarding and offboarding. This Spend Matters brief continues our analysis of the Work Market platform, specially designed for freelancer management from the ground up, exploring how procurement and other users can more effectively and efficiently take advantage of freelancers as part of their contingent workforce program.

Exploring Work Market: Creating Talent Pools and Campaigns [PRO]

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Work Market is aiming to become the Fieldglass, IQNavigator and Beeline (all wrapped up in one) of the freelancer management market. The overlap with VMS – and even some human capital management – tools is considerable if you dissect the platform’s actual capability. Ultimately, this could lead to Work Market even competing in the more traditional market segment of managing staffing-based contingent labor and SOW-based staffing and consulting-led projects. Of course, others (including Beeline) have acquired or are building capability of their own in the freelancer and independent consultant/contractor market as well. In this second installment of this Spend Matters PRO series (read the first here) looking under the product and technology covers of Work Market, we start to double click on the Work Market platform and user experience.

Exploring b-pack’s Marketing Challenges (Which Selectica is Likely to Fix) [PRO]

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Parlez vous North American 'proqurement?' Non! Selectica Inc. has acquired a treasure-trove of source-to-pay (S2P) solution capability through its acquisition of b-pack. The acquisition is a smart one on multiple fronts and should provide much-needed exposure for the b-pack P2P modules (among other areas), owing to the commercial professionalism and reach of the Selectica and Iasta teams. Yet b-pack has a number of challenges (virtually none relating to the underlying product) that Selectica needs to address – starting with the brand name (shudder). Our earlier analysis of the acquisition covered b-pack’s strengths and an initial market perspective on the acquisition. This follow-up Spend Matters PRO analysis explores these areas for improvement, and offers a perspective on the steps Selectica will need to take to maximize the value of its various suite assets.