Earlier this month,
This two-part Spend Matters PRO brief provides a succinct competitive and market analysis of Beeline’s acquisition of OnForce. Authored by Jason Busch, managing director and founder of Spend Matters, and Thomas Kase, vice president, research, the series begins today by exploring the potential for companies to adopt FMS solutions. The second installment will explore how the acquisition may change the competitive landscape for other procurement and VMS providers and accelerate potential interest within Fieldglass and SAP about advancing their own entrance into this area – either through acquisition or organic development (both of which could also eventually take advantage of the capabilities of SuccessFactors). It also discusses how Oracle continues to “sit out” of the current services procurement marketplace evolution, offering only basic internal solutions tied to eProcurement capability within its existing product lines – and how and when Oracle customers should consider augmenting what they may already have purchased as standard procurement extensions.more ▸
In Part 6 of this Spend Matters Plus series on Ariba's patent portfolio, Thomas Kase (VP of research) looks at a patent that, interestingly enough, a former Procuri colleague of his (David Woods, a talented data base analyst with an insatiable appetite for coffee) has his name on. Note that this particular patent predates Ariba. It came from Procuri and from a different platform and development environment than what Ariba uses. So it’s not indicative of Ariba’s current solution or technical prowess, and David, the creator, has since moved on to other opportunities. The patent has to do with dynamic data access and storage. Read on for the layman's explanation of what the patent covers and its impact.more ▸
Has Ariba built a solid brick wall of IP gold or is it all just so much legal papier-mâché to scare us off? Huff and puff – will it hold? If so, will it be used to drive other solution providers into the wall? Back in May 2012, when the acquisition took place, we didn’t think SAP bought Ariba for their technology. Well, we still don’t think so, and we went on record stating that it was really for their network approach – it obviously can’t hurt if you can find a model to propel yourself to SaaS multiplier heights.
In Part 5 of this multi-part Spend Matters Plus series on Ariba’s patent portfolio, Thomas Kase (VP of research) will look at one of Ariba’s most recent patents, one that was awarded just two weeks ago. This patent covers a way to use structured content from another site (i.e. a supplier of something) in another solution (e.g. e-procurement solution – something with a supplier network perhaps) to avoid stale content.more ▸
If anyone had come to us five years ago and suggested that SciQuest, at that time a highly specialized eProcurement provider to the higher education, life sciences/pharma, and public sector markets, was going to pivot around and focus on becoming a top integrated source-to-pay suite with best-in-class capabilities in the sourcing area, we would have laughed. But in recent years, SciQuest has done more than other suite vendors, those that are just paying lip service to sourcing. Not only did it acquire CombineNet for its advanced sourcing and optimization capability in logistics and beyond, it has organically developed a sourcing product that is tightly coupled with the rest of its suite including supplier management and P2P. In our continuing coverage of SciQuest’s 14.2 release, Spend Matters founder and managing director Jason Busch and VP of research Thomas Kase look at the latest from SciQuest in the sourcing area.more ▸
In Spend Matters’ view, Ariba has amassed what appears to be the largest IP portfolio in the procurement technology sector. It is important for competitors and customers to fully understand the diversity and depth of all the process and related patents that Ariba has filed and been granted. In previous installments of this series, we considered a range of patents (see Part 1 and Part 2) that Ariba has also been granted. Today’s Spend Matters Plus research brief by Thomas Kase, VP of research, explores the following Ariba patents: system and method for creating a spot market (spot market procurement – aka tactical sourcing – automated bids and awards); and importable templates (Excel and XML land grab).more ▸
What Makes Public Sector Spend Analysis Different: Summary Recommendations and Lessons Learned [PRO]
The assorted knowledge that Spikes Cavell has gained in years of plying its spend analysis trade with public sector accounts in the US and UK has many lessons for public sector bodies, procurement practitioners working in government, private sector practitioners, and solution providers. In the final installment of this series on public sector procurement, Jason Busch, founder and managing director of Spend Matters, will consider these key takeaways and talk about a future of what more transparent spend will mean for stakeholders, constituents, and the “ultimate” end-users – taxpayers and shareholders. Spend Matters PRO readers can also catch up on Part 1 and Part 2.more ▸
At the end of July, Spend Matters had a briefing with SciQuest to explore the latest enhancements that the source-to-pay provider has made in expanding and integrating its various suite components. In recent years, SciQuest has been somewhat of a challenging vendor to put into a box. It has had truly outstanding individual modular capability in certain areas (e.g., supplier lifecycle management, contract management, spend analytics, advanced sourcing and optimization) gained through acquisitions serving a wide variety of industries as well as a diverse set of home-grown assets centered on purchase-to-pay with a traditional focus in higher education, life sciences and public sector. Dissecting the quarterly earnings results over the past year, we see that much of the growth in the business has come from these specialized product areas, often on a stand-alone basis.
Yet looking ahead and based on its latest 14.2 release, SciQuest has put down the framework to tie these areas more closely together through significant investment in supplier management, closer modular integration across the suite, and a broader sourcing value proposition linked with other solution areas.
In this two-part Spend Matters PRO research series, Founder and Managing Director Jason Busch and VP of Research Thomas Kase look at how these latest enhancements are shaping an emerging value proposition that could provide a differentiated end-to-end suite competitor in the market to Ariba, SAP, Oracle, and Coupa. Our analysis today begins with a look at supplier management areas that SciQuest has put significant investment into, re-platforming the core IP gained from the AECsoft USA acquisition years ago.more ▸
After we published recently an article on what a suite constitutes, the people at Coupa contacted us, insisting that they should also be considered among the suite (source-to-pay) providers. Always ready to amend and update to give our readers the most accurate picture, we have now had a briefing with Coupa. While the company is best known for their procure-to-pay solution, their solution also includes many other areas. The question is of course: do they have a true end-to-end sourcing and procurement suite? Arguably Coupa has a more solid suite claim than BravoSolution does with their Basware fuelled approach (or vice versa). But what about others? In this Spend Matters PRO research brief, Thomas Kase, VP of research, “parks” the traditional suite definition and explores what Coupa has up their overall sleeves today -- a different type of suite.more ▸
We've been talking for some time on the different Spend Matters sites about how social media principles and approaches will inevitably make their way into the business and procurement world, yet progress has in reality been pretty slow. The innovative Rollstream has been assimilated into GXS, now itself part of OpenText, and seems pretty low-profile these days. However, there are signs that things are changing. Sourcemap is a more recently established firm that has an interesting approach, including some aspects of supply chain collaboration with a social media slant. Mark Perera, one of the founders of Procurement Leaders, is involved in Old Street Labs, whose new Vizibl platform is in its testing phase (we'll feature it as soon as you're ready, Mark). The platform looks to use some of the core social media principles in a business environment. And now we have LeanLinking starting to make a splash. This Spend Matters Plus research brief, by Peter Smith (managing editor of Spend Matters UK/Europe), looks at what LeanLinking has to offer and which organizations would benefit from the technology.more ▸
This is the second in a multi-part series on Spend Matters Plus. Read Part 1 here.
As our exploration of Ariba’s extensive and deep patents continues, we turn our attention to three specific patents tied to sourcing and eProcurement. Ariba’s stash covers a broad range – and a good deal of provider companies in the market can't avoid being in violation. That said, to us, many patents appear to cover either features used prior to the filing date – prior art, as the legal term goes – or be overly broad or otherwise fairly trivial. However, if and when Ariba decides to release their legal hounds, a good number of companies will likely be dragged in. Some providers might have struck licensing deals, and for those with IP portfolios of their own there is always a mutual cross-licensing arrangement to be made. In this Spend Matters Plus research brief, Thomas Kase, VP of research, discusses the following Ariba patents: auction bid and visibility restrictions; eProcurement (“figuring out if your supplier is on the Internet”); and supplier connectivity.more ▸
What Makes Public Sector Spend Analysis Different: Lessons From Spikes Cavell in the US and UK (Part 1) [PRO]
Spikes Cavell, a spend visibility provider perhaps best known in the UK for serving public sector clients with a broad-based spend classification and analytics offering, has spent significant time and effort expanding on a growing beachhead in US public sector procurement at the state and local level. This research brief begins to explore the basics behind Spikes Cavell’s approach to public sector spend analysis and what makes serving this challenging sector of the market different. In this first of a two-part Spend Matters PRO series, Jason Busch, founder and managing director of Spend Matters, also examines what unique spend visibility approaches and attributes are useful and/or required depending on specific public sector dynamics, based on lessons from Spikes Cavell and other experts in public sector procurement – as well as private sector takeaways and lessons from these situational requirements.more ▸
Intellectual property rights and patents are big business. And they are, of course, also competitive tools for companies. Witness how many years ago Ariba derailed Emptoris – now part of IBM – as a competitor for a number of quarters and forced a sale of the company based on a patent dispute. But the patent is more than just a tool for vendors to bash competing vendors. They are sometimes open to legal disputes. To the average consumer, the recent Apple vs. Samsung lawsuit over cell phone design and operating system features is probably the most widely recognized legal mess. In May, an Oracle vs. Google dispute concluded with a win for Oracle, with award amounts unspecified (Oracle originally wanted $6 billion).
Patents are powerful tools in the procurement solution software market as well, not just for warding off competitors, but even for generating considerable “income” for the successful parties when push comes to shove. Within the procurement sector, Ariba has amassed an incredibly impressive array of patents (if measured by the yardstick, at least), covering what some might construe as many of the basic elements of the source-to-pay process, including supplier connectivity and collaboration. In Part 1 of this Spend Matters Plus research series, Thomas Kase (VP of Research) provides context for past patent litigation in the sector and begins to cover a number of Ariba’s patents that could affect competitors and customers of competitors down the line. This analysis will attempt to get beyond the legalese with layman’s interpretations of each patent.
Today’s research brief looks at the following three Ariba patents: “supplier/buyer network that provides catalog updates,” “system and method for conducting electronic auctions with multi-parameter optimal bidding,” and “maintenance of a company profile of a company associated with a supplier/buyer commerce network.” If this is a topic of interest to you and you're not a Spend Matters Plus subscriber, contact us to inquire about a free trial.more ▸