Spend Matters Premium Content:
Vendor Intelligence

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.

more ▸
 

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.

more ▸
 

Proactis 2014 Overview: A Source-to-Pay Provider Uses Acquisitions to Move Up a Gear [Plus +]

- August 22, 2014 1:29 PM

It has been a busy year for Proactis, the source-to-pay software provider based in Wetherby, a town in the fine northern English county of Yorkshire. Of all the firms in our European procurement solution provider market, Proactis has been the busiest from an acquisition point of view – certainly compared to company size. The firm has basically doubled in size (revenue) as well as moving in new strategic directions via three acquisitions in this calendar year. In this Spend Matters Plus research brief, Peter Smith (managing director of the UK/Europe site) provides a recap on those transactions, as well as takes a quick look at their half-year figures released in a trading update on August 12th, ahead of the full results announcement.

more ▸
 

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.

more ▸
 

Beware Ariba’s Patent Treasure Chest (Part 4): Supplier Approval and Activation in a Network [Plus +]

- August 19, 2014 2:23 AM

One of the primary motivations behind SAP buying Ariba was its network approach model. It was theoretically a business model that could deliver scale benefits to participants (and Ariba shareholders) beyond standard software or SaaS applications. There were numerous archetypes for the Ariba Supplier Network. Spend Matters analysis suggests Ariba was a fast follower, copying Commerce One (which had its own stash of patents that was eventually acquired by Perfect Commerce and Novell) and others in building out such a model. Yet Ariba quickly scaled its own IP and approaches in the area of supplier enablement and connectivity. In Part 4 of this Spend Matters Plus series on Ariba’s patent portfolio, VP of Research Thomas Kase considers Ariba’s patent for supplier approval and activation in a supplier network (essentially a one-to-many supplier network approach).

more ▸
 

Lessons From Beeline – Areas to Prioritize in Global Services Procurement (Part 2) [PRO]

- August 18, 2014 2:07 AM

In our discussions with Beeline and their customers earlier this summer, we learned about and explored a number of emerging priorities in global services procurement. A number of these customer requirements are already being partially or fully supported by Beeline and other leading VMS providers – other requirements are still on the roadmap or in their early days on the product release schedule. In the first installment in this series, we considered the increased scrutiny that companies are giving to specific geographies where they will or will not host technology, as well as related access permission issues. In the second installment of this Spend Matters PRO series, Jason Busch, Spend Matters founder and managing director, and Thomas Kase, VP of research, turn their attention to the following areas of emerging interest in global services procurement efforts: deeper technical integration between VMS and others systems; security in a mobile world; emerging audited processes and control mechanisms; regional requirements; and cultural observations.

more ▸
 

Riskmethods: The Cool Risk Management Solution Provider You Probably Haven’t Heard Of [PRO]

- August 14, 2014 2:28 AM

Today's Spend Matters PRO research brief covers the cool company that you probably haven’t even heard of, Riskmethods, which delivers risk management that is dynamic, in near real-time, and even forward-looking. It even has a fun user interface. Their solution loads all your suppliers and their locations, shipping lanes, etc., as well as your own company’s locations (as many and as much detail as you see relevant) whether offices, manufacturing, or distribution sites. At the end of the exercise you have your world map with a lot of dots and connecting lines like the one above. The types of tracked factors are pulled in from various publicly available and/or premium content sources and populates your personalized supply chain world view.

Today (August 14) we have invited Riskmethods to a webinar where we will discuss what can be done to understand supply chain exposure to pandemics (the current Ebola issue is obviously front of mind), as well as other risks that are more of a personal nature (crime, violence, geo-disasters like tsunamis) – please join us! What can you do about this issue and similar events that might disrupt your supply chain and/or put your employees and suppliers at risk?

more ▸
 

Lessons From Beeline – Exploring the Latest in Global Services Procurement (Part 1) [PRO]

- August 12, 2014 10:13 AM

Earlier this summer, vendor management system (VMS) provider Beeline updated Spend Matters on trends they were seeing in the global services procurement markets. This briefing came immediately after the Beeline customer conference, in which Spend Matters founder and managing director Jason Busch had the time to speak to numerous Beeline customers and partners tackling both local and global services procurement challenges. In this Spend Matters PRO analysis, we consider key lessons learned from the conversations, such as issues of VMS data security/integrity (including which countries organizations are comfortable having data hosted in – and which, like the US, are typically not preferred by non-North-American-based companies) and a range of other topics.

more ▸
 

IQNavigator Sells MSP Business to MSX: MSP Background and Deal Analysis [PRO]

- August 11, 2014 2:24 AM

Last week, IQNavigator announced that it had sold its managed services provider (MSP) business to MSX International. Within the procurement community, outside of those specializing in services procurement, there is typically not a great understanding of the role of MSPs. But MSPs are becoming increasingly important outside of just contingent labor, as the charter of many services procurement programs extends into statement of work (SOW) arrangements and diverse categories from management consulting to IT hosting and support services. IQNavigator no doubt had a number of reasons for becoming a pure-play vendor management system (VMS) provider by exiting its MSP business. But before exploring some additional facts and rationale concerning the transaction, it is important to understand what MSPs actually do, since the lines can sometimes be blurred between what services a technology provider delivers (i.e., VMS) and an outsourcer (i.e., MSP) in the enablement of services procurement programs. In this Spend Matters PRO research brief, Founder and Managing Director Jason Busch explores these two areas in more detail.

more ▸
 

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.

more ▸
 

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).

more ▸
 

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.

more ▸