Spend Matters Premium Content:
Vendor Intelligence

ZeroChaos: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Competitive & Summary Analysis [PRO]

In the contingent workforce and services procurement market, the role of managed services providers (MSPs) is evolving. What used to be a binary decision between “in-source” or “outsource” the management of contingent spending is now a much more complex one. Within the MSP universe in 2017, there is now a slowly increasing emphasis on embracing the services procurement need outside of contingent workforce management and enablement alone (i.e., moving beyond the comfort zone and typical biases towards staffing-based models).

This includes the full consideration of curated talent pools, independent contractors/freelancers, broader services spend/category enablement (MSA/SOW sourcing/management, category management, etc.) and the evolving role of technology to support different requirements.

Given the variance of capability of MSPs to address these broader areas — without even factoring into account whether they have proprietary technology or not — the decision on which firm(s) to work with should be given more consideration than in the past. Specialized MSPs like ZeroChaos may stand to benefit from these shifts, especially as decision criteria against an often expanded set of requirements becomes more granular and moves beyond contingent labor alone.

This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering ZeroChaos offers a SWOT analysis, competitive assessment and comparison with other procurement technology providers in the MSP and services procurement market. It also includes a user selection guide and summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provide a company and deep-dive solution overview, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider ZeroChaos.

ZeroChaos: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses [PRO]

social

On the surface, ZeroChaos appears to be a seasoned managed services provider (MSP). It is best known for working with Global 2000 firms in outsourcing the management of contingent labor spend in a truly neutral fashion. In this manner, there is no potential for conflict of interest, since it has does not have a parent company that also owns staffing assets.

But dig a layer or two deeper and ZeroChaos begins to look different than many of its peers. It brings a lean operating environment to support back office operations, a proprietary VMS capability, a top-notch supplier management managed service and expertise supporting broader services procurement initiatives and specialized client needs that fall outside a typical MSP. While not without areas for opportunities, ZeroChaos is a differentiated MSP operating in a world where many of its competitors are more fungible.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores ZeroChaos’ solution strengths and weaknesses as a managed services provider, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the firm to support the procurement of contingent workforce spend and broader services procurement categories. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering ZeroChaos. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

EcoVadis: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses [PRO]

sustainability

The market demand for supplier intelligence and data within procurement continues to increase. Whether it’s supply chain and supplier risk data provided by originators and aggregators or category and supply market based general intelligence offered by analyst-driven models, an increasing number of firms are looking to third parties to augment their internal data gathering and analysis efforts. EcoVadis fits within this supplier intelligence/data (and software) landscape as a cloud-based corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability rating/monitoring solution for global suppliers. To date, it has faced no direct competition for its unique bundling of cloud based software, content and services.

The buyer friendly (and supplier friendly) platform allows suppliers to self-register, complete a profile customized to them based on their UN ISIC code and categories of products or services offered, upload all relevant documentation and get certified for a 12-month period with a CSR certification. EcoVadis builds certifications as a smart superset of CSR mega standards (e.g., Global Reporting Initiative, the United Nations Global Compact, and the ISO 26000), which enables it to be more readily accepted across a buying organization’s customer base.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores EcoVadis’ product strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider this provider of supplier intelligence solutions. It also offers a critique (pros/cons) of the user interface. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering EcoVadis. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

EcoVadis: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview [PRO]

For many industries and regions, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability are de rigueur. In several cases, there is also legislation to back them up, and there are no signs the resulting regulations are going away anytime soon.

Despite this, may companies pay CSR little more than lip service. There are numerous reasons for this. For one, CSR often has a hard time competing for budget and investments relative to other “hot” projects focused on short-term cost savings. This is a shame, because when CSR is extended to the supply base, it can actually be used to demonstrate not just regulatory/customer compliance but also to tap supplier innovation, lower costs, reduce supply risk and increase brand leverage.

The bigger tactical issue, however, is that extending CSR out to suppliers is simply hard to do cost effectively — especially if you want to do it properly. Getting hundreds (or thousands) of suppliers to adhere to basic contract terms and a vague supplier code of conduct document is one thing, but getting them to comply with more impactful and enforceable clauses for CSR/sustainability is even more challenging. If you’re a buying organization that’s truly concerned with de-risking your supply chain and looking beyond “check the box” compliance, you need to have a way to engage your suppliers in a more compelling way. Suppliers have many demands on their time and investments, too, so offering them something more than an edict is necessary.

But perhaps the most vexing question begins with measuring success. When you get down to it, how do you even define sustainability and responsibility? How do you measure it? And how do you know whether your performance against those measurements is good or bad for your industry or overall, especially when core requirements for CSR and sustainability differ across dozens of industries and hundreds of categories?

It takes expertise, and not just software. EcoVadis knows this, and that's why it has more than 150 CSR experts on staff to evaluate supplier profiles, documents and third-party audits to objectively gauge the corporate social responsibility of a company against a benchmarked numeric scale. It integrates this expertise into a unique combination of automated supplier surveys, certifications (gathering, analysis, validation, and publishing), benchmarking and training across 21 major CSR factors (with potentially hundreds of atomic level questions) derived from a combination of major global CSR standards — and augmented by best practice. It’s pretty cool when you see it in action.

In this Spend Matters PRO analysis, we’ll dive into EcoVadis’ company background, its solution offering and some recommendations on how the firm is best used to maximize value. Part 2 of this analysis will focus on strengths, weaknesses and production selection guidance. Part 3 will then wrap up with SWOT Analysis, competitive analysis, shortlist guidance and final commentary and recommendations.

Vendor Summary Report: Procure-to-Pay SolutionMap℠ Q2 2017 [PRO]

This SolutionMap analyzes a select group of procure-to-pay solution providers. It is part of our Q2 2017 SolutionMap report series, also featuring e-procurement and invoice-to-pay solution providers individually (including an expanded set of providers in each area).

Spend Matters tracks more than 50 procure-to-pay solution providers. This analysis features many of the largest procure-to-pay providers, specifically Coupa, Determine, GEP, Ivalua, Pool4Tool, SAP Ariba, Vroozi and Zycus. We will be adding additional providers for the Q3 and Q4 2017 updates (as well as in 2018 and beyond).

SolutionMap ratings provide comparative rankings and insight into how each provider scored from a solution and customer value perspective. It provides a breakdown of solution scoring for each vendor on the category level (e.g., catalog management, shopping/requisitioning, ordering/order management, receiving, supplier network, configurability, technology/architecture and services, invoice structure/capture, invoice collaboration and compliance, additional invoicing technology components, financing/payment, supplier network, configurability, technology/architecture and services). It also provides insight into how customers scored procure-to-pay vendors (e.g., likelihood of recommending the provider, level of value perceived, business value, ability to meet expectations, deployment speed, ROI, TCO and innovation).

Solution scoring is based on analysis of individual vendor capability, including in-depth tech reviews, a highly detailed Spend Matters RFI, and live demonstrations and Q&A by the Spend Matters team. The Customer Value score stems from aggregated direct customer input (survey based).

While Spend Matters does not recommend that existing and potential customers of providers use technology and customer scoring alone to shortlist or evaluate technology providers, the insight, along with SolutionMap’s persona-based ratings, provides a point-in-time perspective that may be useful as either a starting point in an evaluation or a contributing factor to a formal software selection process.

More detailed information on comparative technology subcategory-level scoring can be found in individual Spend Matters PRO SolutionMap Vendor Analyses (publishing in April 2017). Spend Matters reserves its most granular level of scoring and analysis for its practitioner advisory clients, and we invite procurement organizations to contact us for more information.

AnyData Solutions: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary & Competitive Analysis [PRO]

spend analytics

AnyData Solutions competes in a fragmented market for spend analytics. Yet unlike many of its peers, it is not a common procurement vendor name. But with better awareness, it could be a strong analytics competitor globally, especially considering how the solution packs a powerful one-two functional and pricing punch.

From a functional standpoint, AnyData’s rapid visual development framework can enable customers to go beyond spend analysis use cases to create custom, domain-specific analytics solutions (e.g., analytics centric contract lifecycle management and supplier performance management reporting and capability). Combined with AnyData’s low-cost pricing models (a fraction of the cost of other solutions under most scenarios), it should make the solution a shortlist candidate for just about any size organization needing a spend analytics platform that wants the option to move beyond the basics.

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

AnyData Solutions: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview [PRO]

There must be something in the procurement climate in the United Kingdom that encourages procurement technology entrepreneurs to start spend analytics businesses. Coming on the heels of Spikes Cavell (acquired by Xchanging), Spend360 (acquired by Coupa), Simfoni and Rosslyn Analytics is the newest upstart, AnyData Solutions, which was founded in May of 2013. AnyData is yet another spend analytics vendor with strong capabilities, even some unique ones. But like many of its peers, it has been undercapitalized from the start and as a result has not invested in the type of sales and marketing efforts necessary to make it a household name. It has also lacked the channel and business development prowess of Spikes and Spend360, which helped drive significant, yet behind the scenes, growth.

Perhaps most important, as chronicled by Spend Matters previously (see: Exploring the Customer Experience of a Spend Analytics Provider that Should be On Your Shortlist), AnyData’s broad claim around the delivery of broad, powerful analytics is not the typical smoke and mirrors marketing that many vendors put forth. Our analysis suggests it delivers a true end-to-end analytics platform (unlike just about every other spend analysis solution) that is extensible across functions, industries and different use cases both inside and outside of procurement.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about AnyData Solutions and whether its capabilities are a fit for their needs. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and a detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider AnyData in the procurement technology and solutions area. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Coupa to Acquire Trade Extensions: Solution and Market Analysis [PRO]

data analytics

This Spend Matters PRO brief provides a solution and market analysis of Coupa’s announced acquisition of Trade Extensions. Based on subscriber feedback, we’ve already been asked to go into details about what makes Trade Extensions’ optimization capability different from Jaggaer ASO (formerly CombineNet), BravoSolution, Keelvar, Determine/Iasta and Emptoris (IBM).

In addition, this brief offers a broader market-based analysis of the acquisition. As always, we invite Spend Matters PRO advisory customers to reach out to us for more insight behind our thinking and also to discuss if Trade Extensions is right for them (as well as alternatives). We will publish a separate customer and partner analysis PRO research brief later this week.

Given our knowledge and background in this market, we tried to think of an analogy to describe the combination of Coupa and Trade Extensions’ strategic sourcing capability. We think we’ve got a good one. However, we’ll share this analogy at the end of this research brief. First, to focus on what really matters, we’ll delve into some of the less superficial solution, customer and market analysis.

ZeroChaos: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview [PRO]

ZeroChaos is a provider of global, vendor-neutral contingent workforce management services/solutions. Going beyond traditional MSP, VMS, payrolling and agent of record categories, ZeroChaos provides clients with a range of services, which can be assembled into a client-specific solution supported by the company’s own technology platform and analytics. As such, ZeroChaos represents a quintessential integrated solutions provider in a converging procurement world, in which services providers are codifying IP and extending their reach and capability through applications while software providers are embedding additional content and intellectual property in their applications.

Having started over a decade ago in the contractor employer of record and agent of record space and later distinguishing itself as a disruptor in the staffing supply chain, ZeroChaos competes today in a field of evolving solutions providers offering outsourced contingent workforce management solutions to enterprises.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help buying organizations make informed decisions about whether they need a solution like ZeroChaos as an alternative for or complement to their organizations’ incumbent solutions for organizing/managing and assigning work to their own “affiliated” workers or to help control and drive savings across broader services procurement categories. 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 ZeroChaos. The rest of this multipart research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analysis, user selection guides, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

A Look Back at IvaluaNow: Balancing Complexity with UI [Plus +]

Last Friday, I found myself in a wood-paneled, classy meeting room at NYC’s prestigious Princeton Club. It had been a slow commute into the city that morning, so I got there just in time for the speakers to blast an energetic opening video and to loudly announce our host — Ivalua CEO David Khuat-Duy.

Khuat-Duy founded Ivalua 17 years ago in France, and the company has realized rapid year-on-year growth since its inception. For example, in 2016 the firm experienced 45% growth over the previous year and a 100% customer retention rate (which has been 98% since inception). Ivalua now serves more than 250 customers globally, and the U.S. accounts for 50% of the company’s business.

Named a Provider to Know for three consecutive years in the Spend Matters Almanac, the company “has built an end-to-end solution on a single technology stack (from the ground up) with sufficient breadth and depth across all key functional areas to enable it to serve as a single technology suite for procurement organizations. Its entire suite was built in-house on a single platform over the last 16 years.”

BuyerQuest: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview [PRO]

purchasing

There are those who believe the market for targeted (i.e., “point”) solutions in the broader source-to-pay area is becoming less important than an integrated suite approach. This observation is becoming even more important in typical customer buying decisions in cases of strategic procurement technology, such as analytics, supplier management and strategic sourcing, where more and more customers at least want the “option” to purchase an integrated suite. Yet for transactional procurement (e-procurement and invoice-to-pay) solutions today, the notion of selecting a vendor with a broader suite may or may not matter depending on what a procurement organization values most.

BuyerQuest is an upstart procurement software and solutions provider without a broader suite offering (outside of an expanding invoice-to-pay capability), albeit one that is building worldwide adoption and reach in the core areas on which it focuses. Its entire focus is on developing specialized technology that it believes delivers a best-in-class procure-to-pay (P2P) experience for users and procurement organizations, based on a unique underlying architecture built entirely with supporting a B2C user experience in mind.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about BuyerQuest and whether its capabilities are a fit for their needs. 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 BuyerQuest in the procurement technology and solutions area. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

PRGX: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary & Competitive Analysis [PRO]

While not as well known in the spend analytics and supplier management markets as most of its peers, PRGX has built up a small arsenal of solutions through acquisition and organic development that are likely to surprise potential customers — including those that are PRGX audit recovery clients but that may not be aware of PRGX’s emerging technology and solutions outside its traditional services business. In particular, with its OPTIX and Lavante product lines, PRGX brings a particular competency in delivering a “data as a service” model and supplier information management (SIM) solution capability.

This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering PRGX offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other procurement technology providers in the spend analytics and supplier management areas. It also includes a user selection guide, user interface and user experience (UI/UX) analysis and summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provide a company and deep-dive solution overview, a SWOT analysis, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider PRGX.