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What Makes Public Sector Spend Analysis Different: Motivations and Process Requirements (Part 2) [PRO]

- July 23, 2014 11:21 AM

Building a successful public sector spend capability requires similar core capabilities as found in those sold to the private sector, as well as additional ones. But more so than simply checking the feature/function box as a vendor – or in software/solution selection processes as a user – implementing the right public sector spend analysis approach requires taking a slightly but critically different mindset compared to what is tried and true in the private sector. In Part 2 of this Spend Matters research series (see the first installment here), Jason Busch, founder and managing director, continues to explore what these unique motivations, requirements, and approaches are.

The final installment of the series (Part 3 – forthcoming) will continue to profile one of the specialist vendors in the sector, Spikes Cavell, which appears to have cracked the code on what federal, state, and local organizations most value in understanding their expenditures, reporting on activities, and tying data to actual programs to drive better constituent outcomes. There are clearly lessons in this regard for public sector procurement organizations and overall leadership (employees and elected officials), other technology and solution providers expanding their public sector presence, and, surprisingly perhaps, the private sector as well.

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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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Beware Ariba’s Patent Treasure Chest: An Arsenal of Intellectual Property (Part 1) [Plus +]

- July 14, 2014 3:21 PM

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.

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SAP, Fieldglass, and the Future of the VMS: Why MSPs and Staffing Firms Should Wake Up to a New Threat [PRO]

- June 26, 2014 2:27 AM

It’s business at usual at Fieldglass. With their customer event this month and, as far as we’re aware, no big decisions having been made regarding combined product rationalization and roadmaps with SAP and Ariba, it’s clearly a post-merger honeymoon period. And they deserve it – Fieldglass has done a commendable job working and building trust with both customers and the incumbent managed services provider (MSP) ecosystem (Tapfin, Allegis, KellyOCG, Agile-1, Randstad, Bartech et al) over the years while also driving more competitive pricing in the contingent workforce marketplace. But at some point, change will come as SAP evaluates such areas as product integration, sales structure, partnerships/business development, marketing, pricing and the like.

All of this is to be expected. But those in for the biggest shock likely won’t be competitors (we think the acquisition will raise the profile of the humble VMS and services procurement generally – which is a good thing). No, those in for a shock will be staffing firms and their MSP arms as well as independent MSPs – which potentially have far more to lose than gain as technology automation and integration with broader procurement accelerates. In this Spend Matters PRO research brief, Managing Director Jason Busch takes a look at how and why the SAP acquisition of Fieldglass will eventually shake the services procurement and staffing ecosystem to the core – and the winners and losers likely to emerge.

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Coupa Inventory: Expanding the P2P Value Proposition and Surrounding Core Financials [PRO]

- June 25, 2014 2:24 AM

Earlier this spring, Coupa provided a briefing and demonstrated a version of its latest inventory module to Spend Matters. Coupa sells its inventory module as an add-on to core procurement but separately from accounts payable, contracts management, and other suite components. But the question remains: in its initial release, does it provide enough value to justify the added cost and modular expansion for companies using other Coupa suite components?

After seeing it, Chief Research Officer Pierre Mitchell and Managing Director Jason Busch argue in this Spend Matters PRO research brief that Coupa’s new inventory management capabilities are likely to bring the company closer to marginalizing the expansion of an ERP value proposition in middle market deployments (but not necessarily a fit with larger customers who are likely to have more sophisticated processes than the tool can handle – let alone inventory management systems already in place).

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Beeline – A Prescient Acquisition by Adecco that Becomes More Strategic by the Day [PRO]

- June 23, 2014 11:36 AM

Last week, Jason Busch, Managing Director of Spend Matters, joined a panel discussion at Beeline’s customer event. During the show, he had time to speak with dozens of practitioners, Beeline staff, and partners about the current state of contingent workforce and services procurement programs. He was also able to dig into the latest product enhancements and roadmap that Beeline shared not just on PowerPoint, but on actual demo servers with beta code. His conclusion? For parent company Adecco, Beeline is becoming more strategic by the day and will become even more so once SAP takes certain steps we think are inevitable by 2016 with Fieldglass. This Spend Matters PRO research brief explores the current state of Beeline and some of its planned enhancements as it builds out from its VMS foundation – and why we think that owning the asset will become even more strategic for the staffing and MSP giant.

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An Update on Aravo: Latest Capabilities, Roadmap, and Customer Recommendations (Part 2) [PRO]

- June 16, 2014 2:24 AM

The supplier management technology and solutions market has been one realizing quiet success over the past 18 months. But it doesn’t get the same level of attention from procurement executives, investors, and the media that truly “hot” areas like P2P, supplier networks, and e-invoicing do – despite the fact it’s arguably a much more important area to invest in first. More important because it is a foundational issue that enables much of all the other initiatives.

One of the challenges of the market that we wrote about in the Spend Matters PRO research brief Supplier Management Forecast: 2014 Customer Recommendations and Vendor Shortlists is that “there is not a single ‘supplier management’ market. Nor is there simple supplier/vendor landscape segmentation. The marketplace is highly fragmented, as can be seen in our market growth analysis report … [across] functional areas that rely on supplier information in order to meet other business needs, as well as in focused point solutions and suite modules that are designed just to manage supplier information.”

Aravo is a key player in this emerging landscape, and while the company has been relatively quiet on the marketing side, it continues to innovate on the solutions front and manages some of the most complex supplier management deployments for Pharmaceutical/Healthcare, CPG, and diversified manufacturers and high tech companies. In Part 2 of our spring/summer 2014 update on Aravo, Managing Director Jason Busch and Research VP Thomas Kase explore Aravo’s latest capabilities and emerging roadmap items, and provide recommendations to customers and partners.

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Selectica and Iasta – Mapping the Future of Procurement, Contract Management, and Customer Engagement [PRO]

- June 9, 2014 3:26 PM

Selectica and Iasta have their homework cut out on pulling off the basics of post-merger integration activities. But beyond what they must do, what is the absolute potential of a combined offering if they succeed in going far behind the basics? It’s significant – very significant – and could mark a fundamental shift in how procurement organizations work with suppliers by creating greater trust between parties, counter-parties, and even third parties working together to achieve a common outcome – whether that involves the manufacturing of a part or component, the building of a new facility as part of a capital investment, or a licensing agreement for embedding intellectual property in products. In this Spend Matters PRO research brief, Managing Director Jason Busch and Chief Research Officer Pierre Mitchell explore the potential of bringing procurement and contracting closer together, as well as explore some of the potential ideas that Selectica and Iasta have shared as part of a combined vision.

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Selectica and Iasta – Exploring Core Capabilities and Technology Components Today [PRO]

- June 6, 2014 9:40 AM

Late on Thursday, Selectica, a thinly traded public company that is yet one of the leaders in the contract lifecycle management market, announced its accretive acquisition of Iasta, one of the stand-out sourcing suite vendors which perennially ranks high in our shortlist analyses (not to mention Gartner Magic Quadrants). Spend Matters Plus/PRO subscribers can see our initial analysis of the acquisition here. The solution vision the companies outlined to Spend Matters following the announcement of the acquisition is daring, yet achievable with the right investment and integration. Yet Spend Matters thinks that tactical upsells and modular handoffs and handshakes will remain the order of the day for at least the next 12-18 months for the two providers. From an integration perspective, it’s also important to note that both providers are building off of different architecture – in Iasta’s case, multiple architectures – and while both bring a great set of enabling technologies, there is a fair amount of technical blocking and tackling to do to make the vision reality. In this Spend Matters PRO research brief, Jason Busch and Pierre Mitchell take a look at Iasta’s and Selectica’s combined technology assets and how they compare to those of peers and competitors. In a subsequent brief, the Spend Matters team will explore a vision for putting these assets together and changing the sourcing, supplier engagement, contracting, and buy/sell world tomorrow.

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Simeno – A Stellar P2P Enablement Vendor That Few Have Heard Of [PRO]

- June 4, 2014 4:14 PM

A couple of weeks back, I caught up with Udo Gruenhoff, the founder and CEO of Swiss-based Simeno, yet another European P2P vendor focused on enabling the SAP procurement ecosystem. Simeno, which has been around since 2000, offers a range of tools that include a highly scalable catalog/content management solution (with some seriously large global deployments, including those that have daily updates spanning tens of thousands of SKUs in multiple languages such as Mandarin) and a friendly requisitioning, shopping, and eProcurement front-end to SAP SRM and MM. If you’ve not heard of Simeno, we’re not surprised. Like some of its European peers (including jCatalog, IBX/Capgemini, Wallmedien, Heiler, Hubwoo, Poet, etc.), they focus on highly engineered products (and implementing these solutions for customers themselves) but not as much on marketing. In this Spend Matters PRO research brief, Managing Director Jason Busch provides an introduction to Simeno as well as recommendations on what types of organizations are most suited to take advantage of its capabilities. Simeno – and some of its peers – can provide a strong alternative to moving away from an ERP procurement environment. So don’t scrap SAP SRM – or write off MM, even without using SRM – for procurement just yet!

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As Aravo Goes, So Goes Supplier Management (Part 1) [PRO]

- June 2, 2014 2:20 AM

By our records, Aravo was the first supplier management vendor, in existence even before the sector – and before Aravo associated itself with the concept. Yet Aravo’s marketing has been relatively quiet over the past few years as the company went through a management transition and focused on execution. It has not hurt Aravo, however, as the provider has witnessed material double-digit CAGR growth in the period, significantly outpacing the forecast CAGR of the supplier management market based on Spend Matters estimates. During this time, Aravo has continued to execute on its supplier management platform strategy, albeit with some adaptions which Spend Matters believes are reflective of general shifts in the market. This Spend Matters PRO brief, written by Jason Busch and Thomas Kase, provides a look at how Aravo has evolved since it helped launch the original supplier management and supplier information management market. In Part 1 of our analysis, we review the Aravo solution set and explore solution direction and strategy (e.g., Aravo’s conflict minerals approach). Part 2 will feature a look at some of Aravo’s latest capabilities, their new user interface, and emerging roadmap items, and provide recommendations to customers and partners.

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Amazon.com vs. Ariba: The B2B Merchant Experience to Procurement is in for a Storm of Change [PRO]

- May 30, 2014 11:05 AM

We've long thought that Amazon, with its AmazonSupply, will eventually own the small and medium sized business (SMB) market for eProcurement – a space that is littered with the purchasing bones of many a vendor that has tried to enter. For years, Ariba failed to successfully pursue the market, among others. Today, Coupa, Verian, Wax Digital, Puridom, Proactis, and a few others have all had some traction with SMBs in purchase-to-pay (P2P). But generally speaking, this market is untapped from a centralized, automated technology buying perspective. Amazon knows this – and we think it’s why they’re currently looking to hire someone with a “cXML, OCI and e-procurement” background to “manage e-procurement integration projects with customers and supplier networks” (more on this in a minute). As soon as Amazon builds out a Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering and app marketplace to integrate to AWS, it will become way more interesting than just a re-skinned Amazon (i.e., the aforementioned AmazonSupply). In this Spend Matters PRO analysis, Managing Director Jason Busch and Chief Research Officer Pierre Mitchell provide their candid perspective on Amazon’s potential in the eProcurement and P2P market, in part based on evidence they’re already seeing in Amazon’s business already.

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