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Procurement Technology

Exploring Oracle E-Business Suite Advanced Procurement: Adoption Trends and Roadmap (Part 1) [PRO]

- September 9, 2014 2:30 AM

Oracle OpenWorld 2014 is taking place in San Francisco from Sept. 28 to Oct.2. It typically represents one of the best chances of the year for analysts to peer behind the covers of Oracle’s products and informally talk to both customers and Oracle employees at length. It lets us reach outside of our existing research/advisory client base. Earlier this summer, Spend Matters had a collective update from each of the product groups representing the different Oracle brands most focused on the procurement sector – PeopleSoft, Oracle E-Business Suite, and Oracle Procurement Cloud. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing some of the highlights of what we learned.

You will also receive our initial analysis, subject to additional commentary following Oracle OpenWorld. This initial Spend Matters PRO brief, written by Jason Busch, managing director and founder, Pierre Mitchell, managing director and chief research officer, and Thomas Kase, vice president of research, explores the latest happenings with Oracle E-Business Suite Advanced Procurement including Purchasing, Endeca Extensions, Sourcing, iSupplier Portal, Supplier Hub, Supplier Lifecycle Management, Procurement Contracts , Mobile and related product areas. We’ll also touch on the new Oracle Project Procurement application.

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Beeline, OnForce and the Future of Services Procurement and the Extended Workforce [PRO]

- August 27, 2014 10:00 AM

Earlier this month, Beeline announced it had acquired OnForce, one of the original providers to offer a targeted, web-based platform to help companies manage freelance labor, especially – at least in OnForce’s case – regarding IT. The extended workforce market and related technologies such as OnForce that support it emphasize different areas and capabilities than other purchasing and services procurement technology. Moreover, OnForce and competitors such as WorkMarket actually have their own three-letter acronym (TLA) that is different from vendor management systems (VMS) or purchase-to-pay (P2P) solutions. Rather, they are often called freelancer management systems (FMS).

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.

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Beware Ariba’s Patent Treasure Chest (Part 6): Dynamic Data Access and Storage [Plus +]

- August 26, 2014 2:08 AM

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.

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Beware Ariba’s Patent Treasure Chest (Part 5): Analysis of a Recently Awarded Patent [Plus +]

- August 21, 2014 2:35 AM

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.

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SciQuest – That “S” is Now For Sourcing (In More Ways Than One) [PRO]

- August 8, 2014 2:27 AM

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.

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Beware Ariba’s Patent Treasure Chest: Spot Market and Importable Template [Plus +]

- August 7, 2014 2:35 AM

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).

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What Makes Public Sector Spend Analysis Different: Summary Recommendations and Lessons Learned [PRO]

- August 6, 2014 2:36 AM

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.

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SciQuest – Well Along in the Journey from Frankenquest to Integrated Suite [PRO]

- August 5, 2014 1:33 PM

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.

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Coupa Versus the Suite Wor(l)d [PRO]

- July 28, 2014 10:56 AM

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.

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LeanLinking Brings Social Media Principles to Procurement and Supply Management [Plus +]

- July 25, 2014 2:27 AM

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.

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Beware Ariba’s Patent Treasure Chest: Sourcing and eProcurement (Part 2) [Plus +]

- July 17, 2014 4:09 PM

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.

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What Makes Public Sector Spend Analysis Different: Lessons From Spikes Cavell in the US and UK (Part 1) [PRO]

- July 16, 2014 7:02 PM

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.

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