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bidmode: Vendor Introduction (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview [PRO]

Those who think the sourcing optimization market is wrapped up by incumbent technology would be wrong. For at least the last few months, procurement organizations interested in sourcing optimization have had their choice of five different providers: SAP Ariba, Coupa, Jaggaer, Keelvar and SynerTrade. To this list, we can now add a sixth option: bidmode.

Among the first five on the list, currently available choices and capability vary significantly. SAP Ariba, the newest entrant, has big ambitions but limited capability. SynerTrade, which has not invested much in optimization since a few customers demanded the capability a decade ago, is in the same boat. The remaining three all offer differing degrees of more advanced capability.

But now to the sixth option. Without even a single mention in the media yet, bidmode, which launched this year, already has a few customers and a pipeline of about a dozen prospects for its new, low-risk entry model called "bidmode Inside," in which it serves as an extension to third-party sourcing capabilities.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction provides a candid take on bidmode and its solutions. Part 1 provides an overview of bidmode and its capabilities, as well as a checklist for those that might consider working with the company. Part 2 offers a perspective on what is comparatively good (and not so good) about bidmode’s solution, including a SWOT analysis.

Vroozi: Vendor Snapshot Update (Part 2) — Strengths, Weaknesses, Customer Perspective, Competition and Summary [PRO]

Vroozi typifies the speed of innovation happening within the broader source-to-pay market in recent quarters. While much of our original Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot from early 2017 on Vroozi remains descriptive of the provider (see Part 1Part 2 and Part 3), Vroozi has picked up its pace of innovation.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot Update provides a refresh of our previous analysis of Vroozi. Part 2 provides updated strengths and weaknesses, customer reference insight, competitive landscape observations and summary recommendations on when to prioritize Vroozi as a shortlist candidate. The first installment of our 2018 update provides key facts on Vroozi, a solution overview, a recap of its overall footprint, and an update on new features and capabilities.

Examining SMB Procurement Tech Needs: Do E-Procurement and SAP Ariba Snap Hit the Mark? [PRO]

purchasing

SAP Ariba is making a bet on the small and medium-sized business (SMB) market with its new Snap offering. But to fully understand this bet, some context is in order.

Smaller middle-market companies are generally late to the procurement technology game, especially compared with Global 2000 and Fortune 500 organizations. The most fully adopted procurement technology component within the SMB market, accounts payable automation (inclusive of basic invoice-to-pay capability), is more likely owned by the finance function than by procurement. And while travel and expense software is also valued by smaller organizations, its impact on procurement goals and metrics is generally limited relative to other initiatives organizations can pursue.

So where does e-procurement fit into the SMB equation, and if SAP Ariba Snap does hit the mark, where might that middle-market sweet spot be? This Spend Matters PRO brief explores how e-procurement solutions, including SAP Ariba Snap, fit into the SMB procurement agenda. It also provides a checklist for middle-market firms to think through when it might make sense to prioritize procure-to-pay (e-procurement and invoice-to-pay) investments relative to other areas such as strategic sourcing, analytics and supplier management. (For a full introduction to SAP Ariba Snap, read our Spend Matters PRO brief on the solution.)

Insight Sourcing Group (ISG): Provider Introduction, Summary and SWOT [PRO]

consultant

Insight Sourcing Group (ISG) is likely the largest North American boutique management consulting firm providing strategic and operational solutions for procurement. But unlike similar firms, ISG offers more than just consulting services. Beyond its core business, ISG has three additional business units that form the nucleus of its offering: SpendHQ, a spend analytics platform; InsightGPO, a group purchasing organization (GPO); and ISG Energy, an energy supply and demand cost optimization practice.

This Spend Matters PRO Provider Introduction offers an overview of ISG, including quick facts on the provider. The brief includes an introduction to each of ISG’s four business lines, an overall SWOT analysis comparing it to other procurement consultancies and a selection checklist for companies that may consider the provider.

Tech Enabling Procurement Shared Services: SAP Ariba Begins the Journey [PRO]

Procurement shared services organizations and centers of excellence (CoEs) are sometimes tasked with the operational management of source-to-pay technologies on behalf of the organizations they serve. But up until now, they have not utilized purpose-built solutions to improve their own operations. While many use core analytics, sourcing, contract management, supplier management, e-procurement and invoice-to-pay solutions in some capacity in the delivery of their services, the actual operational management of shared services organizations and CoEs themselves has been loosely integrated with underlying procurement technology at best.

In other words, there has not been an operational solutions layer specifically designed for procurement shared services and CoE groups that provides a single workbench to manage activities. This is true even though legacy SharePoint, business process management and workflow solutions often loosely hold some knitting together for these teams. SAP Ariba is hoping to change this with introduction of its Procurement Desk product, which Spend Matters PRO recently profiled, covering the solution’s current capabilities in its initial release and planned roadmap for the coming quarters.

This Spend Matters PRO brief explores how different procurement technologies enable the various roles that shared services organizations and CoEs assume — and the opportunity for an operational overlay on top of underlying procurement technology modules. As part of this analysis, we also consider how Procurement Desk may help meet the broader needs of shared services and CoEs, as well as opportunities for SAP Ariba and others to close the gaps that remain in developing purpose-built operational management solutions for these organizations.

SolutionMap Subscriptions and Practitioner Selection Programs: A Primer and Sneak Peek at Q1 2018 SolutionMap [PRO]

Earlier today Spend Matters released its Q1 2018 SolutionMap. The release now comprises six technology areas with individual vendor rankings (spend and procurement analytics, sourcing, supplier management, contract lifecycle management, e-procurement and invoice-to-pay) and three composite suite views (strategic procurement technologies, procure-to-pay and source-to-pay).

Our goal with SolutionMap is very different from what other analyst firms seek to achieve with their ranking systems. This is apparent even at our “free” level. The SolutionMap approach starts by releasing the ranking charts in the public domain, providing multiple persona-based views of vendor capability (45 comparative 2/2 matrices in total for the Q1 2018 release). We take a truly data-driven approach to plotting vendors, where an “average” score positions a provider in the dead center of a chart. SolutionMap ranking charts also make it easy to distinguish analyst scoring from customer scoring, plotting the data on separate analyst and customer axes. Finally, the Q1 2018 release actually reflects the time frame of its publication: We update the underlying data set and charts for SolutionMap on a quarterly basis.

Admittedly, the “free” stuff is designed to pique your interest. Unlike some of our peers in the analyst world, we have not made SolutionMap “reprint friendly” for the maximum number of vendors through grade inflation. Why? Because in the world of procurement technology, not everyone is “above average” like the children of Lake Wobegon. There’s an average, and there’s a deviation from average — positive and negative. Obfuscating these deviations might produce charts that make people feel good about buying decisions up front, but other than a near-term CYA, how useful will these be in the long run for those relying on them for, well, anything?

At the new SolutionMap subscriber level — separate from Spend Matters PRO — the tangible value of SolutionMap becomes even clearer. At this level, we unpack the underlying data we show for the analyst scoring by rated sub-category. For example, in the Supplier Management SolutionMap, you can see individual, tiered-based scoring for capabilities such as master data management (MDM), supplier onboarding support, core supplier information management (SIM) and supplier performance management, among other areas. Customer ratings (e.g., level of value perceived, quick deployment, ROI) are also visible.

To see the full level of data available to SolutionMap subscribers, check out the currently available reports from the Q1 2018 release:

There are views of the data beyond those provided in these reports (e.g., tiered-based scoring and ranked scoring for all sub-components that comprise an area, such as master data management within the Supplier Management report). Per our competitive intelligence policy, however, we reserve this view for practitioners going through a selection process (or the consultancies advising them), with strict licensing. This prevents comparative information from falling into the hands of competing vendors participating in SolutionMap. We take intellectual property protection and data privacy, for providers and practitioners, very seriously here at Spend Matters; otherwise, we’d find ourselves out of business quickly.

So, how exactly does all of this work? Read on as we unpack a SolutionMap Insider-level example within Supplier Management from the Q1 2018 SolutionMap. Specifically, we compare Jaggaer with Jaggaer Advantage (formerly BravoSolution) to showcase how it all works.

Q1 2018 SolutionMap Release Notes: Source-to-Pay (S2P)

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider Release Note provides insight into the Q1 2018 SolutionMap release for Source-to-Pay, reviewing the process that we followed for this inaugural release.

The providers in the Q1 2018 Source-to-Pay SolutionMap include Determine, GEP, Ivalua, SAP Ariba and Zycus. All of these providers were required to participate in SolutionMap for each underlying module, as well. These individual areas include Sourcing, Spend and Procurement Analytics, Supplier Relationship Management & Risk, Contract Lifecycle Management, E-Procurement and Invoice-to-Pay. All of these providers are also included in the individual Strategic Procurement Technologies (SPT) and Procure-to-Pay (P2P) suite views.

This SolutionMap Insider research note provides insight into these and additional considerations in the Q1 2018 SolutionMap release. The Source-to-Pay customer data set comprises more than 250 individual survey responses among the more than 500 different organization references included in the overall SolutionMap scoring as of Q1 2018 (and 1,000-plus individual survey responses* by module).

*Customers using more than one module that a vendor provides can opt to fill out a single survey within each individual suite area (e.g., a customer using two modules for P2P and four modules for SPT would only need to fill out two surveys).

Q1 2018 SolutionMap Release Notes: Sourcing, Spend Analytics, SRM, CLM and Strategic Procurement Technology Suites

tech

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider release note provides insight into the Q1 2018 SolutionMap release for Sourcing, Spend and Procurement Analytics, Supplier Relationship Management & Risk, Contract Lifecycle Management, and Strategic Procurement Technologies Suite Solution Maps, reviewing the process we follow and highlighting what has changed since the last release.

Within the individual areas covered in this brief, the following providers have been added to the Q1 2018 release: Agiloft, Aravo, ConnXus, HICX, Opera BIQ, Simfoni and SynerTrade. Additionally, providers such as SAP Ariba have received updated scoring following the submission and demonstration of new capabilities based on production releases of individual modules. (Non-GA capabilities are not considered in SolutionMap scoring.) This SolutionMap Insider release note explores these and additional changes in the Q1 2018 SolutionMap release.

Q1 2018 SolutionMap Release Notes: E-Procurement, Invoice-to-Pay and Procure-to-Pay

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider Release Note provides insight into the Q1 2018 SolutionMap release for E-Procurement, Invoice-to-Pay (I2P) and Procure-to-Pay (P2P), reviewing the process that we follow and highlighting what has changed since the last release.

The Q1 2018 SolutionMap release saw a number of changes from the Q4 2017 release. This includes the addition of the following new providers: OpusCapita, Oracle and Yooz. Additionally, a number of providers have received updated scoring based on the submission and demonstration of new production technology release capabilities. The SolutionMap analyst team also updated weights for select buying personas, to create clearer differentiation between personas. The Procure-to-Pay customer reference set now comprises nearly 200 different procurement organizations.

This SolutionMap Insider research note provides insight into these and additional changes in the Q1 2018 SolutionMap release.

LegalSifter: Vendor Introduction, Analysis and SWOT [PRO]

forced labor

Contract lifecycle management is becoming a priority in many procurement organizations for several reasons. First, sourcing activity is increasingly driven by contract renewals on various types of managed services agreements. Second, sourcing results (e.g., savings) only matter when executed against a contract that gets matched against. Third, outside-in supply risks are ever-present and must be monitored, but a lot of risk is buried within historical contracts in the portfolio. 

As such, managing contracts intelligently is going to require a lot more than just the ability to draft new contracts efficiently and analyze simple header-level contract metadata. It's going to require the ability to analyze contracts efficiently and effectively (i.e., deeply) to determine if they contain specific clause language, address identified regulations or fall into certain categories based on specific business rules.

This is going to require a whole new class of contract analytics that until now was only offered by a few big players, like Seal Software (the clear leader in the buy-side contract analytics space who we’ve covered for years), Exari (CLM app with demonstrated AI capabilities) and, to a limited extent, Icertis. Due to the value such solutions would provide, however, a new breed of vendors, including Kira Systems, RAVN (iManage), LawGeex, Luminance, LegalRobot, Counselytics and LegalSifter, are rising up to offer this service. They are all focused on broader contract analytics (i.e., not just the buy side) and each offers a unique market focus and approach to the problem.

In this Vendor Snapshot, we’ll focus on LegalSifter and its technical approach to the problem.

IntegrityNext: Vendor Introduction, Analysis and SWOT [PRO]

For many procurement organizations, monitoring suppliers for regulatory compliance and sustainability initiatives is becoming increasingly important. This is true with both larger, tier-one suppliers and smaller vendors further down in the supply chain. From supply disruptions to infractions in the court of public opinion, even the most hidden suppliers today introduce product and operational risks that can cause irreparable harm to a business.

Monitoring suppliers to reduce risk, however, is no easy task, especially across the long tail of suppliers. Many procurement organizations still require a basic platform that can manage supplier, information, performance, relationship and lifecycle needs to drive basic automation, collection, aggregation and maintenance of this data. In order to get a grip on supplier compliance to meet these objectives, procurement organizations generally need four things: supplier self-assessments that capture details on policies and procedures; certificates of verification; third-party audit information; and up-to-the-minute insight and analysis on reported events that could be early indicators of issues that need to be investigated.

At the nexus of these areas is IntegrityNext, a new solution provider in the supplier risk and compliance sector. IntegrityNext is aiming to offer an affordable and easy way for procurement organizations to access compliance assessments, up-to-date certifications and real-time market sentiment on their supply chains.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on IntegrityNext and its capabilities. It includes an overview of IntegrityNext’s offering, a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a SWOT analysis and a selection requirements checklist for those that might consider the provider.

Icertis: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses [PRO]

The contract lifecycle management (CLM) technology market is not one market. Rather, this technology comprises several subspecialties, each served by a diverse set of vendors with varying degrees of capability. Because of this, procurement, commercial, legal and other users have significant choice between broad-based suites and independent CLM vendors today.

Within this market, Icertis is one of the few providers delivering a robust enterprise-class CLM solution with significant depth across nearly all functional areas of CLM that Spend Matters tracks. Moreover, Icertis takes a truly platform-based approach rather offering just a set of fixed modules on a menu. It is also one of a handful of enterprise contract management solutions built on a modern technology stack, as well as one of the few that revolves entirely around the contract — even if its UI reminds us more of the end of the Obama era than Brexit.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Icertis’ product strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should shortlist the vendor. It also offers a critique of the user interface. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Icertis in the P2P technology area. The final installment in this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.