Capgemini IBX Business Network is a provider that continues to quietly build momentum with a broad set of procurement capabilities, many of which are not only deeper than its competitors but also offer a nuanced approach to complementing and enabling existing ERP procurement environments in a manner that can bring procurement and IT organizations together. The IBX platform has undergone constant development and improvement with significant enhancements made to the network, mobile support, invoice automation and spot-buy capabilities (with a new version being released in the coming months). In the P2P and network area, IBX has rolled out a new integration workbench for simplified integration to existing ERP, MRP and catalog management/warehouse solutions, as well as deep support for SAP SRM 7 and SAP MM. This two-part Spend Matters PRO brief provides a comprehensive introduction and review of the IBX solution. In the first installment, we provided an introduction to the provider and its modules and capabilities. In Part 2, we conclude with an analysis of the provider’s comparative strengths and weaknesses and offer perspective on “best fit” customers.
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Capgemini IBX Business Network: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Integrated S2P With Head-Spend and Tail-Spend in One [PRO]
Capgemini, a multinational professional services firm headquartered in Paris, France, is one of the world's largest consulting companies, with more than 180,000 employees in more than 40 countries and almost €12 billion in annual revenue. Buried within this services behemoth is a specialized procurement division, the IBX Business Network, created by IBX Group, in Stockholm, Sweden, and acquired by Capgemini 2010. Since IBX's own acquisitions of Trimondo GmBH and Portum AG in 2005 and 2006, the provider has steadily increased its capabilities, including bringing one of the richest source-to-pay (S2P) platform capabilities that is pre-integrated with a supplier network. While particularly strong in the Nordics, the IBX division of Capgemini has expanded throughout Europe and North America as well. This two-part Spend Matters PRO research brief provides an introduction to Capgemini IBX, an overview of the provider’s strengths and weaknesses and customer recommendations.
FusionOps is a supply chain intelligence company founded in 2005 in Sunnyvale, California, to automate ERP-based business processes, such as direct materials procurement and supplier collaboration, that could not be accomplished effectively using the standalone sourcing and procurement solutions of the day. However, around 2009, the company switched directions — or “pivoted” in tech speak — and started amalgamating "big data" from ERP, MRP and other supply chain and supply management systems in an effort to extract actionable intelligence for clients. Today, FusionOps delivers "big data as a service" through its supply chain intelligence cloud, which contains more than 50 built-in proprietary supply chain models that run on more than 1,000 KPIs across the inbound, internal and outbound supply chain that can be used for diagnostic, predictive and even prescriptive analytics. This Spend Matters PRO research brief provides an introduction to FusionOps, an overview of the provider’s strengths and weaknesses and customer recommendations.
For technology vendors, entering new geographic markets can be as easy as hiring a handful of local employees, offering local language support and getting an office. But in the case of China, especially when the solution a firm sells touches at the very core of government VAT requirements, market entrance is many orders of magnitude more complicated. This Spend Matters PRO research series explores how Tradeshift is entering the Chinese market in partnership with Baiwang, including the process Tradeshift went through to obtain an Internet Content Provider (ICP) license, its specific (regionally customized) solution elements for the Chinese market and a summary analysis of what increasing levels of VAT and tax collection legislation will mean for multinational corporations and the e-invoicing solutions that they deploy. For background on the new Chinese VAT and tax reporting requirements, including system components and elements, please see the first installment of this Spend Matters PRO research brief.
Tradeshift and Baiwang: A Solution Approach to Meeting Chinese VAT and E-Invoicing Requirements [PRO]
Tradeshift is bringing e-invoicing into the world’s most important developing — or developed, depending on perspective — economy: China. A few weeks ago, Tradeshift announced its partnership with Baiwang to deliver an integrated compliance solution in the Chinese marketplace, which we covered in a quick research note. Our research suggests the partnership is more than just a marketing agreement. It involves a material commitment by both parties and could play a significant role in Tradeshift’s global expansion, and the implementation of e-invoicing and compliance programs in China. But it also raises a number of questions, which the Spend Matters team was able to pose to Tradeshift’s Christian Lanng and Vishal Patel following the announcement. In this two-part Spend Matters PRO brief, we provide a closer examination into the partnership, including background insight into Chinese tax reform and e-invoicing requirements that drove Baiwang to collaborate with Tradeshift. We also feature a Q&A with the Tradeshift team and provide our own analysis of the partnership and co-investment in platform localization, including the rationale and implications for connectivity and e-invoicing adoption in China.
Lavante: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Strengths, Weaknesses, Competition and Customer Recommendations [PRO]
While not as well known as many other technology providers in the procurement technology ecosystem, Lavante has quietly developed a strong list of Fortune 500 customers, many with diverse sets of supplier information management and audit recovery challenges. (And it has succeeded in linking these initiatives together, we might add.) While Lavante remains North American-centric — it has no offices overseas — the firm can support global clients that want to take audit recovery “in-house” with the flexibility (and option) to self-fund the management of supplier onboarding, master data cleansing and broader compliance initiatives through direct savings capture. As we noted in the first installment in this series, Lavante counts a diverse set of large retail, manufacturing, transportation, healthcare, pharmaceutical, hospitality, telecommunications and financial services clients, many with large supplier and transactional datasets. In our initial coverage, we provided an introduction to Lavante and some of the highlights of its solution set and capabilities. This Spend Matters PRO research brief provides additional insight into Lavante’s strengths, weaknesses and competition, and offers recommendations to customers and prospective customers that are using or considering the solution.
Those procurement organizations that have already deployed supplier management solutions or are familiar with the details of them are likely aware that they are often as — or more — complicated as purchase-to-pay (P2P) and other related solutions. While some providers targeting this area offer focused solutions (e.g., supplier risk management, supplier performance management, supplier portals), others go broad (and deep) spanning all of these areas and more. One such provider is HICX, which we previously provided a company and solution overview for in the first installment of this series. HICX competes against a range of suite providers (e.g., Ariba/SAP, Emptoris/IBM, Coupa, GEP, Determine, Ivalua, Oracle, SciQuest, Zycus, etc.) as well as vendors that target specific or broader aspects of the supplier management area (e.g., Aravo, Biznet, CVM Solutions/Kroll, ConnXus, DiversePoint, DIR, Hiperos/Opus Global, Lavante, OpenText/GXS/Rollstream, Source Intelligence, SourceMap, etc.). It also competes against “substitute” providers offering supplier management capabilities on a managed services basis (e.g., Achilles, Helios, Global Risk Management Solutions, etc.). This Spend Matters PRO research brief provides insight into HICX’s strengths, weaknesses, competition and ideal customer fit.
Lavante was arguably the first provider in the audit recovery sector to focus on commercializing technology and selling direct to customers rather than leveraging it as a means to make solution delivery more effective through a consulting or managed services offering. Since introducing its capabilities over a decade ago, the Lavante solution has evolved materially, extending well past its audit recovery roots. But we would be negligent if we did not mention Lavante has continued to expand its capabilities as a technology solution to collect and manage basic supplier details, contract and PO/invoice information to enable invoice and statement auditing scenarios in a more proactive manner than traditional services-oriented solutions (although audit recovery firms like PRGX and Apex Analytix have become significantly more technology centric-in the past decade as well). This Spend Matters PRO research brief provides an introduction to Lavante’s solution, including an overview of its audit recovery, fraud detection, vendor compliance and supplier management capabilities, as well as its supplier networked-based approach to managing information.
It's time for news about our portfolio of stocks from companies that are all or partly focused on procurement. We have 20 firms represented in our portfolio, and while this year we have abandoned our personal stock-picking competition after last year’s disaster (when we all lost significant amounts of money), we will still be reporting on overall portfolio performance every month and picking out a few firms to focus on more closely. Overall, March saw the improving trend continuing, with markets continuing their recovery from the January woes, and our portfolio in general is performing well. Indeed, for the first time in over a year, the procurement portfolio significantly out-performed the wider market. The procurement stocks in aggregate were up almost 5% on the month and now stand at over 2% above the beginning of the year, whereas the markets in general were up a couple of percentage points and are pretty much back to where they started in 2016.
When you say the words MIT and supply chain, most of us think of operations research. But MIT is incubating more than algorithms and multi-echelon planning solutions these days. It’s also helping commercialize highly pragmatic technology for much broader audiences within procurement and supply management. Sourcemap is one such technology firm with a rich history of leveraging the MIT ecosystem. The provider offers supply chain visualization and mapping capabilities designed to help organizations view their end-to-end supply chain to gain insight and understanding into performance, costs, sustainability and, especially, risk. This Spend Matters PRO research brief provides a detailed introduction Sourcemap’s capabilities, explores the provider's strengths and weaknesses, touches on the landscape of competing products and substitutes (e.g., riskmethods, Resilinc, Elementum, Achilles) and describes what types of organizations are likely to be the best fit for its capabilities. It also provides screen views into what it is like to interact with Sourcemap in practice.
It's time for news about our portfolio of stocks from companies who are all or partly focused on procurement. We have 20 firms represented in our portfolio, and while this year we have abandoned our personal stock-picking competition after last year’s disaster, when we all lost significant amounts of (fake) money, we will still be reporting on overall portfolio performance every month and picking out a few firms to focus on more closely. Overall, February was a better month for the markets than January, with some stability returning in most countries following the dreadful start to the year, although the Dow Jones Global Index is still some 7% down year-to-date. Our overall portfolio is down some 2.5% so far, but while many of the stocks have been fairly quiet this year, the overall number conceals some big swings, positive and negative.
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.