Regular readers will know that, for the last couple of years, we have created and then followed a stock portfolio, created from the firms who are quoted on various stock exchanges and have a significant interest in the world of procurement technology and solutions. We have also run an internal competition, whereby Jason Busch and I (for two years) and also Nancy Clinton (last year) chose our own portfolio from among the 20 or so firms. But last year we suffered the ignominy of underperforming the market and our overall full portfolio. So although Jason won, we have decided to lick our wounds and not choose our own basket of firms for 2016.
Spend Matters Premium Content:
Join us Tuesday, Nov. 3 at 1 p.m. CDT for the webinar, Choosing a VMS: How to Maximize the Process and Limit the Stress, with Beeline. A contingent workforce management program lacking the right VMS is kind of like a haunted house: an empty, scary place where almost anything can happen. Fortunately, whether they are already users of a VMS or “first time buyers," procurement professionals and their businesses are fully prepared and competent to exorcise their demons and select their next VMS. Right? Not necessarily...
Perfect Commerce recently announced it would acquire Hubwoo – it now owns the majority of voting stock and roughly 80% of outstanding shares. We’ve covered the deal previously, but we caught up with Perfect’s CEO, Hamp Wall, and asked some hard questions about go-to-market strategy, growth prospects, post-M&A synergies, product and service overlaps, partnerships – such as those with GEP – and other topics, which we’ll cover in the rest of this Spend Matters PRO brief. We’ll even discuss an industry-specific, custom procure-to-pay provider landscape study we performed earlier this year that is very relevant here.
Global e-invoicing compliance is hard. And few supplier network and e-invoicing providers are truly compliant in the actual manner in which they claim – especially on a regional basis around the globe. Tungsten is one of the exceptions to the rule, in part because of its own paranoia surrounding all the nuances and minutia of making sure its customers are compliant on a country-by-country basis in Latin America, Turkey and elsewhere. In the second installment of a 2-part Spend Matters PRO analysis, we explore the details of Tungsten’s global compliance approach, starting first with Tungsten’s efforts in the area of content validation.
While some would call e-invoicing a lowly operational task that CEOs, CFOs and CIOs shouldn’t invest the time to understand or explore anymore than they should care about the latest in accounts payable automation and optical character recognition (OCR), the Spend Matters team has adopted a very different view of it, especially in emerging and global markets. The impetus for this is government regulations are demanding greater compliance from companies, including implementing approved invoicing processes with data verification and integration to the ERP system in Latin America and other regions. And, as expected, the C-level wants to avoid any financial and tax penalties, causing these execs, in turn, to ensure the company’s e-invoicing system is in order. Tungsten, an e-invoicing network provider, is front and center in facilitating global compliance, although it has done a rather poor job at marketing what it is actually up to. In this 2-part Spend Matters PRO analysis, we explain what Tungsten is doing in enabling global compliance efforts, going beyond the basics of what TrustWeaver is facilitating for just about every other e-invoicing provider and supplier network.
This is all beginning to sound like a broken record, as the 3 Spend Matters stock pickers show that you should listen to us when we talk about procurement strategy and technology – but perhaps not when we talk about which firms’ stocks in our market you should buy! Yes, April was a dismal month for myself, Jason Busch and Nancy Clinton in terms of our virtual/ imaginary stock portfolios that we chose at the beginning of the year. We picked 24 firms, large and small, for our overall portfolio that contains publicly quoted businesses that operate in the procurement solutions market. Indeed, it was not a good month either for the overall portfolio, which dropped some 3% even though most global markets picked up slightly (1%-3%) during April. Global markets are around 6%-8% up on the year so far, but our portfolio still fell, which suggests some industry specific factors at play.
Cloudbuy, then called @UK PLC, was floated on the AIM stock market way back in 2005. The firm focuses mainly on spend analytics and electronic marketplace provision, although there is some legacy business too (more on that later). Since that flotation, the business has had a checkered existence. The shares were issued at 60 points, raising about $11.7 million, and at one stage fell back into single figures as annual results consistently showed losses and limited revenue growth. More capital has been raised along the way, the last tranche of $5.87 million last October, which helped drive a share price revival – it hit 40p late last year. It then halved to under 20p recently, only to recover to around 30p over the last couple of weeks following the announcement of its 2014 results.
Last week, Finnish technology firm Basware announced it will acquire Procserve, which is headquartered in London. According to the stock market release on the acquisition news, (Basware is quoted on the Finish stock exchange), “The acquisition price is approximately EUR 25.9 million. In 2014, the net sales of the acquired business amounted to approximately EUR 9.6 million.” Procserve has a strong position as a provider to the UK public sector, particularly with its marketplace technology, having grown from what was initially an early in-house venture into e-procurement by the UK government itself. Esa Tihilä, CEO of Basware, was in London recently to meet and present to the Procserve staff and explain the vision for the future. I was able to catch up with Tihilä as he headed back to Heathrow Airport.
IQNavigator’s product roadmap and investments in big data initiatives around the future of talent management – including, but not limited to, contingent labor – yield a number of clues into the direction of the future of vendor management systems overall. While a number of items on IQNavigator’s product horizon are no doubt designed to keep up with the competition, there are new areas that are truly creative and potentially game changing around improving overall procurement outcomes for a broad range of services. This Spend Matters PRO research brief explores IQNavigator’s product roadmap and solution direction, highlighting a number of truly creative ideas ranging from the user experience, including the UI-less UI, and the future of prescriptive procurement analytics.
The Novice Investor Trounces The Experts! The February 2015 Spend Matters Stock Portfolio Update [Plus +]
The month of February has probably had less written about it than any other month. In the northern hemisphere anyway, it is often cold and gray, the time when we all get a bit sick of winter and long for the first stirrings of spring. And (dubious lead in there), it has been a bit of a gray month for the stock portfolios of 2 of your esteemed Spend Matters commentators, while stock markets generally have been far from gloomy. The month wasn’t great for our overall procurement stock portfolio, which includes 24 firms that have a procurement angle to their business; from giants like IBM and Infosys, to minnows such as Access Intelligence or Rosslyn. The overall portfolio was up a couple of percent on the month, but is down 1.6% on the start of the year. That is disappointing for our sector, given the stellar start to the year that most wider stock markets have seen.
IQNavigator is a vendor management system (VMS) provider in the midst of an important transition, which includes “doubling down” on a focus on technology R&D in part by continuing to add R&D resources following the sale of its MSP arm, more aggressively embracing partnership with the MSP ecosystem than in the past and starting the implementation of a strategy to “roll up” smaller VMS providers in the sector through acquisition. In December, Spend Matters Founder and Managing Director Jason Busch spent the day with the IQNavigator team in Denver to drill down on company strategy and product direction and met with the European team in the UK in early February to get an update on activity from the other side of the Atlantic. This multi-part Spend Matters PRO analysis covers his findings and analysis, beginning with a 2015 IQNavigator company update and European market adoption trends.
Following up on the earlier reports on Coupa's announcement that it is acquiring ZenPurchase – a recent startup focused on collaborative sourcing – I had the pleasure of speaking with the CEOs of both companies recently. Find out what the 2 leaders had to say about the merger and what is ahead for the new firm.