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Vendor Intelligence

Spendata: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview [PRO]

There are two views one can take of spend analysis. The modern view envisions that all of the data needs to be centralized in a data warehouse, business intelligence (BI) or spend analysis tool in a single standardized hierarchy agreed upon by the entire organization. The belief is that there needs to be only one view into a single version of the truth before any (spend-related) progress can be made. This desire to find the be-all single spend taxonomy structure bolted onto a corporate data warehouse is a fool’s errand because there is no single hierarchical structure that represents the multi-variate richness of spend/supply data that category managers need to extract value. For more on this topic, see here.

Then there is the postmodern view, where success depends upon taking appropriate action on whatever data you can get, whenever you can get it, in whatever form it's in. Any intelligence is better than no intelligence, and any savings or value you can identify today is worth more than the hypothetically better savings that you might identify next week, next month, or, more likely next quarter or year (which is likely how long it will take to agree on a common schema, collect all of the data across the organization, categorize it, cleanse it and enrich it). And while more data can allow for the identification of bigger opportunities, it's often not worth waiting until you have it all to start the analysis and start pursuing those opportunities that are available today.

In this series we are going to talk about a new and disruptive spend analysis solution that adopts the postmodern view of spend analysis, where a practitioner should be able to take action on any data she can get her hands on whenever she can get her hands on it and take immediate action wherever and whatever. This includes the situation where the practitioner already has access to an enterprise data warehouse or business intelligence solution, because the data doesn't always get into that solution right away — and even if it does, it's not always the case that the schema of the data warehouse or business intelligence solution will support the type of analysis that the practitioner needs to do.

Oh, and it’s only $699.

Bonfire: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary and Competitive Analysis [PRO]

Bonfire is one of our most anticipated new participants in Spend Matters Q2 2018 Sourcing SolutionMap. Based on what we have covered in this deep dive analysis of Bonfire thus far, we suspect that the provider will personify many of the requirements of the Nimble persona, providing a compelling functional alternative to top-ranked Value Leaders including Scout RFP, Coupa, EC Sourcing, Keelver and Market Dojo (not to mention Nimble Solution Leaders including Ivalua, Zycus, Scanmarket and SynerTrade, as well as Nimble Customer leader SAP Ariba).

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering Bonfire provides an objective SWOT analysis of the provider and offers a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as alternative vendors to Bonfire and offers provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides a summary analysis and recommendations for companies considering the vendor. Part 1 provided an in-depth look at Bonfire as a technology provider and its specific solutions. Part 2 gave a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses and a review of the product’s user experience.

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

The market for best-of-breed sourcing solutions continues to take off. Bonfire, which was founded two years before Scout RFP, is the newest provider in the sector to build significant momentum in North America, leveraging a similar playbook as its better-known competitor, emphasizing ease-of-use, adoption and the user experience. With more than 230 customers in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean, including market penetration in the public sector that rivals larger providers, Bonfire is becoming a more frequent shortlist candidate in an increasing number of sourcing buying scenarios in which suite capability is not a prerequisite.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Bonfire’s 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 Bonfire in the sourcing technology area. The final installment in this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Bonfire: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview [PRO]

Just when you thought the sourcing technology market was mature and the competitive field had narrowed down to fewer choices, along comes a new contender. And not just any provider, but one that could prove a real thorn in the side of competitors, especially for those focusing on public sector, those targeting the “Nimble” SolutionMap buying persona or those targeting the middle market. This new rose — or thorn, depending on your vantage point — is Bonfire. Scout RFP customers and prospective customers, in particular, should pay particularly close attention to Bonfire, as should those considering Market Dojo, EC Sourcing, Scanmarket, SynerTrade and similar providers.

Larger procurement teams that desire Nimble providers, as well as smaller organizations, often need point-based solutions that can be implemented quickly, at an upfront cost they can afford and with a quick ROI to justify their selection. Bonfire fits this description closely. However, your organization won't know if Bonfire should be on your shortlist without some deep insight into what the platform does, where its strengths and weaknesses are, and what its customer base looks like (to understand if they are used to serving your industry). That's what this PRO series is designed to help you understand.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about whether Bonfire, as a standalone sourcing solution, is a better fit than both alternative best-of-breed and suite-based tools. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Bonfire. The remainder of this multipart research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analysis, user selection guides, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

E-Procurement Head-to-Head Technology Evaluation and Comparison: Coupa vs. SAP Ariba

Coupa and SAP Ariba are among the two strongest e-procurement providers — and broader procure-to-pay (P2P) suites — in the Spend Matters Q1 2018 E-Procurement SolutionMap on a functional scoring basis. But how do they stack up against each other in a head-to-head bout?

Join us in this unfiltered SolutionMap results analysis from our Q1 2018 dataset, supplemented by commentary from Spend Matters Founder Jason Busch. These recurring Head-to-Head columns share insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider Subscribers, providing unique comparative cuts of SolutionMap benchmark data, along with the trademark quips that have defined Spend Matters analysis since its inception.

So prepare for some real data and expect at least a modicum of salty opinion as we pit Coupa and SAP Ariba head-to-head in the Spend Matters evaluation ring. Here’s a preview: In certain e-procurement capabilities — which span catalog management, shopping/requisitioning, ordering, receiving, supplier network, configurability, technology (overall), general services and a summary e-procurement average — Coupa gets the nod as the king of the hill e-procurement hill. But in others, SAP Ariba takes the prize. And at the final bell — well, we won’t give that away just yet. But the scoring might surprise you. (Hint: It’s bloody close.)

The Q1 2018 E-Procurement SolutionMap benchmark is now based on an underlying dataset featuring 19 separate providers, including all of the “biggies” procurement organizations can expect to consider in a typical selection process. Whether you’re in the market for a new e-procurement product or want to know if you made the right decision for your organization, our SolutionMap analysis and benchmark data can tell you the answer. Curious to learn more? Don’t hesitate to get in touch.

BidMode: Vendor Introduction (Part 2) — Solution Strengths, Weaknesses and SWOT [PRO]

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction continues our initial coverage of BidMode, a recent entrant in the sourcing optimization sector. If you’re curious about how BidMode stacks up on a comparative basis to Coupa, Jaggaer, Keelvar and others in the Sourcing Optimizer persona, you’ll need to wait until our Q2 2018 SolutionMap release, in which EC Sourcing — with BidMode pre-integrated — features its optimization capability.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction provides a candid take on BidMode and its solutions. This second installment analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of BidMode’s solution, as well as offers an overall SWOT analysis and summary perspective on the provider. Part 1 of this brief includes an overview of the BidMode, describes its capabilities and provides a checklist for those that might consider the provider.

LexisNexis Entity Insight: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview [PRO]

Almost overnight it seems that the supply risk management (SRM) solution area has exploded with new options. Available solutions fall into a range of categories. On one end of the spectrum, technology suite vendors are adding basic supplier risk functionality, providing what amounts to a starter package for procurement organizations to quickly “risk categorize” their suppliers. While solutions like this may lack the feature and monitoring depth that more advanced procurement and supply chain organizations may require, they deliver a combination of integrated ease of access and use that can be difficult to pass up as an add-on to existing capabilities.

At the other end of the spectrum, more advanced supply and supply chain risk management solutions now provide multiple dimensions of insight through integrated software and content packages that can stand on their own as an independent solution area separate from traditional “source-to-pay” suites and modules or integrate with existing systems. These types of solutions, which include LexisNexis Entity Insight (LNEI), the subject of this analysis, are typically best suited for procurement and supply chain management teams where risk management practices and solution requirements are well developed or more strategic.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about LNEI and whether its solution is a fit for their supplier and supply chain risk management needs. Part 1 of our analysis provides company background information and a solution overview, as well as recommended fit suggestions. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

The SAP Fieldglass Digital Network: What Is It and What Does It Mean? [PRO]

SAP Fieldglass announced in March the first stage in the development of its Digital Network, a new way for businesses to access alternative digital suppliers of workforce and services. Prominent among these suppliers are online talent marketplaces, which engage and aggregate one or more general categories of talent, typically freelancers/independent workers. While larger enterprises have generally been slow to utilize these emerging digital suppliers — especially through a managed buying channel and a VMS — we’ve observed that levels of curiosity and interest have been trending upward. Within SAP Fieldglass, these marketplaces and other digital platforms are treated as additional contingent workforce suppliers within a “multichannel” sourcing framework.

We had an opportunity to connect with SAP SAP Fieldglass President Rob Brimm and members of his staff to discuss what the Digital Network is and what it means from the SAP Fieldglass perspective. Below, we share some of what we learned, as well our own perspective on how this development fits into a broader industry context.

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.