PRO or Plus Content

E-Procurement Catalog Management and Search: Introduction and Tradeshift Analysis (Part 1)   [PRO]

Most of the leading solution providers featured in the E-Procurement and Procure-to-Pay SolutionMaps can handle many of the nuances required of search and catalog management. For all of the gory details of what comprises catalog management and why it matters as part of an e-procurement system, we encourage PRO subscribers to start here:

Now that you know what catalog management comprises — and assuming you’ve read the “Just Coupa It” analysis of Coupa’s approach to search and catalog management with Aquiire and Simeno — we can explore how other solution providers approach this complex and nuanced area.

Based on insights gained from SolutionMap analysis, this series will explore how other leading providers approach search and catalog management. Today, we introduce the topic and share how Tradeshift, the first of Coupa’s peers that we’ll investigate in this series, tackles catalog management and business user search.

If you are currently using an e-procurement solution or considering purchasing a new technology, this is a critical series that will help you understand one of the most important functional “plumbing” elements within transactional purchasing and procure-to-pay, as well as what other capabilities top performers offer as part of their broader P2P environments. Read on!

With Coupa Taking Aquiire, Only 2 Specialists Left Standing (Updated 2018 E-Procurement Market Forecast and Competitive Sector Implications) [PRO]

Coupa (cleverly) has been snapping up specialized technology in the e-procurement market to further enhance its capabilities (re: Simeno and Aquiire). In doing so, it has also acted as consolidator, reducing the available e-procurement supply market for both customers and competitors. In North America today (and globally, as far as we are aware), there are only two specialist independent e-procurement specialists remaining in the market: BuyerQuest and Vroozi.

Of course to this list you need to add a few folks in Europe — Wescale (which has not expressed interest in pursuing North American sales opportunities, at least with our clients), OpusCapita and Proactis. And lest we not forget larger providers such as Basware, Ivalua, Jaggaer, etc. (in addition to Oracle and SAP Ariba). But the non-suite, best-of-breed supply market for e-procurement, at least in North America, is getting very thin.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO analysis provides Spend Matters commentary on what Coupa’s acquisitive tendencies, in particular the purchase of Aquiire this week, might suggest for competitors and future competitors. Not to pat ourselves on the back, but continued sector M&A was a top prediction we suggested earlier in 2018.

The research brief begins by sharing our updated 2018 market forecast (CAGR, size, etc.) for e-procurement based on 1H 2018 activity. Then we provide commentary and analysis focusing on the implications of continued market consolidation for three segments of the competitive market: ERP providers that have not yet placed their best foot forward when it comes to e-procurement and procure-to-pay (including NetSuite/Oracle, Sage and Workday), Coupa suite competitors (e.g., Basware, Ivalua, Jaggaer, Oracle, SAP Ariba, etc.) and specialist providers (e.g., BuyerQuest, Vroozi, Wescale, etc.).

Part 2 of this analysis will provide a closer analysis of what Coupa’s increasing “post punch-out” product / IP arsenal (inclusive of Aquiire) might have on top e-procurement competitors when it comes to how customers actually look at and use these technologies — both during a software selection and when deploying/scaling e-procurement programs.

‘Just Coupa It’: By Buying Aquiire, Coupa Targets Google-like Search and the End of Punch-Outs [PRO]

Coupa announced its latest acquisition Monday with its purchase of Aquiire, a provider of e-procurement and procure-to-pay software. The deal brings to Coupa’s business spend management suite — which now includes support for e-procurement, P2P, source-to-pay, travel and expense management, and services procurement — many of the latest features for front-end shopping and catalog management, particularly several patents related to real-time search and third-party-hosted catalog integration capabilities. Viewed as part of Coupa’s larger strategy, however, Aquiire is just one piece of a larger puzzle that Coupa has been trying to assemble for the last decade.

The purchase of Cincinnati, Ohio-based Aquiire, along with Coupa’s own innovations in the guided buying area and the company’s 2017 acquisition of Simeno, forms the basis of a shift away from one-to-one, proprietary “punch-out”-based B2B e-commerce models and toward a streamlined, almost touchless approach to finding and buying goods and services. This entails far more than creating a friendly user experience that’s “Amazon-like.” Coupa wants to go one step further, making the search for a corporate purchase as easy as answering a question with Google: one question (sometimes auto-suggested) into the box, numerous answers delivered within the next screen, in real time, prioritized by relevance, price and desired procurement controls.

Coupa’s goal is to make B2B purchasing as easy and reflexive as everyday information retrieval on the broader web. Said another way, when you need to know something, you Google it; when you need to buy something at work, you would Coupa it. Obviously, Coupa is not going to become a verb anytime soon on the scale of Google. The key is to provide a B2B buyer-relevant search that is tuned to the “persona” of the individual buyer to quickly get him or her the needed goods and services from the preferred supply sources and buying channels.

This Spend Matters PRO research brief explores the feasibility of the “Google-like” search concept, as well as how Coupa’s acquisition of Aquiire enables it. It also touches on how Coupa’s approach to front-end shopping enablement compares with the broader e-procurement market, as well as what this means for competitors.

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

Yooz is one of the dozens of providers that frequently compete in the accounts payable automation market. This specific market is a bit difficult to “bound” as it represents a narrower “cut” of the functional requirements in Spend Matters’ invoice-to-pay SolutionMap — yet with more granular requirements in support of specific AP-centric (and sometimes industry-specific) needs.  

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Yooz’s solution offering in payment automation and e-invoicing markets. 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 Yooz in the finance technology areas. Part 2 covered product strengths and weaknesses, and this final installment offers a competitor and SWOT analysis, along with evaluation and selection considerations.

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

Tradeshift is a cloud platform that connects buyers and suppliers with the goal of digitizing supply chain relationships, processes and information, while also enabling everyday procure-to-pay activities. Its capabilities span the buying of goods and services through to financing and payment — and significant capability in between, especially in the invoice-to-pay area.

In addition to providing its own procure-to-pay modules, Tradeshift offers an open integration framework that allows other technology firms (and customers) to integrate and/or development third-party “apps,” primarily centered on supplier connectivity, transaction enablement and collaboration. Tradeshift can even integrate alternative procure-to-pay providers in cases where specific enabling capability is desired.

This Spend Matters PRO analysis provides an introduction to Tradeshift, both as a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) provider and also as an e-procurement and invoice-to-pay technology vendor. It is designed to provide facts and expert analysis to help procurement and finance organizations make informed decisions about whether they should consider Tradeshift for both traditional “in-the-box” procure-to-pay requirements as well as unique marketplace/platform type digital initiatives.

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 Tradeshift as a complement to other procurement and finance solutions. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Direct Material Sourcing and Supplier Management Platforms (Part 2) [Plus+]

In the first installment of this series, I introduced six distinct platform areas that manufacturers are making investments in as part of core efforts to drive more successful savings, efficiency, compliance, collaboration and supplier engagement programs. The first, design/engineering and sourcing enablement solutions, represents a new class of direct materials e-sourcing toolsets that attempt to accomplish numerous objectives. Why are all of these areas so essential, especially in concert together? This Spend Matters Plus analysis examines why.

An Introduction to Sourcing Business Intelligence (Part 2): The Leap from Sourcing Analytics to Supply Intelligence [PRO]

data analytics

In Part 1 of this Spend Matters PRO research series, we defined and explored the concept of sourcing business intelligence (BI), an emerging focus area for an increasing number of procurement organizations. Sourcing BI is not a “tool” like a spend analysis application module or a general purpose BI tool — like the visualization tools Qlik, Tableau or Sisense. Rather it is an enabling approach to sourcing, supplier management, total cost modeling/should cost analysis and related initiatives like clean sheeting that focus on the ability to incorporate increasingly rich external market, commodity, category and supplier intelligence with existing internal data sets, process flows and activities to enhance savings, compliance and organizational resilience.

Much of this activity is occurring within category management where managers are trying to move from historical descriptive analytics to “outside-in” predictive/prescriptive analytics that yield true intelligence rather than just subscribing to tribal best-practices sharing and generic data-as-a-service (DaaS) offerings in the marketplace.

In Part 2 of exploring sourcing business intelligence, we first will set some context about how to make the leap from sourcing analytics to broader supply intelligence. “Supply management” is bigger than “sourcing management” — and similarly — “intelligence” is bigger than “analytics.” By understanding this evolution, it helps us set up a deeper discussion into how artificial intelligence relates to analytics — with an immediate focus on sourcing, but a longer-term focus on broader spend/supply.

ADP and the Future of Work (Part 2) — Innovation R&D, Acquisitions [PRO]

interest rates

In Part 1 of this PRO series, we laid out ADP’s business characteristics, its market and financial strength, and its increased investment in innovation R&D as a backdrop and foundation for its pursuit of its future of work strategy. In this second part of the series, we examine the significant technology developments and recent strategic acquisitions that make up key execution components of the strategy. Part 3 will bring the pieces together to describe this strategy and what it may mean in a broader industry context.

ADP and the Future of Work (Part 1) — The Foundation [PRO]

Spend Matters’ coverage of ADP — the global payroll, human capital management (HCM) solution and HR managed services provider — had been infrequent since mid-2015, when ADP sold its procure-to-pay business to Oildex. That made sense since Spend Matters tends to focus on technology and innovation from the procurement perspective, and (given ADP’s traditional focus on internal employees), there was not even much of a link to the contingent workforce area.

But that changed in early 2018, when ADP acquired the freelancer management system (FMS) WorkMarket, and it soon became clear that something larger was brewing at ADP. In fact, we have since looked more closely and found that the company is not only executing a strategy to address needs related to the growing freelancer or independent contract workforce (ICW) — but it also is making a great leap forward in rolling-out a leading-edge core technology platform for its payroll and HCM solutions and services, something that will no doubt play a role in the company’s freelancer/ICW, agile total workforce and overall future of work strategy.

The future of workforce sourcing, engagement, management and compensation is that of human capital management as well as payment “platforms” and digital ecosystems that bring together businesses (large and small), ecosystem technology and services partners and, last but not least, workers of different generations, localities, economic strata and types of work arrangements. That includes dynamic arrangements: part-time or temporary employment, on-demand intermittent gigs or moonlighting, and freelance/independent contract worker engagements.

In this three-part PRO brief, we will provide a refresh on ADP and how it is strategically addressing the “future of work” head-on. Part 1 will provide a summary overview of ADP and how the company has been strategically investing in innovation and technology to address the future of work. Part 2 will identify and discuss significant technology developments and recent strategic acquisitions, key execution components of ADP’s future of work strategy. Finally, Part 3 will bring many of the pieces together to form a picture (or more accurately, a sketch) of how ADP is moving forward to address a future of workforce management that is increasingly digital and decentralized, and where the needs and expectations of client businesses AND workers are already diverging from those that were stable for decades.

LexisNexis Entity Insight: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary and Competitive Analysis [PRO]

The supplier risk management market includes a highly diverse set of providers, many of which are difficult to compare on an “apples to apples” basis with each other — unlike just about every other procurement technology segment. Within this market — which also can extended deeper into the tiers of a supply base in the form of supply chain risk management — more organizations are seeking to automate the management of risk as much as possible, as accurately as possible. And arguably, LexisNexis Entity Insight (LNEI) is better positioned than many of its peers to have deep, methodologically-driven conversations based on how it adjudicates data and verifies document integrity to drive risk analysis.

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering LexisNexis 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 LexisNexis and offers provider-selection guidance. Finally, it gives summary analysis and recommendations for companies considering the vendor. Part 1 provided an in-depth look at LexisNexis as a supply risk provider and its specific solutions, and Part 2 gave a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses and a review of the product’s user experience.

Direct Material Sourcing and Supplier Management Platforms (Part 1) [Plus+]

In enabling basic strategic sourcing capability for indirect, services and basic direct materials spend, there are now a lot — and we mean it — of solid choices in the market. And it’s a space that’s getting more crowded everyday. Yet in comparison to the broader sourcing marketplace, the direct materials market is, unfortunately, given short shrift. There are potentially many reasons for this. First, it’s complex — there is not one category of solution. Second, the user for these tools is not always the same as one who might use a more generic sourcing toolset (at least not alone). And third, the processes that direct materials sourcing toolsets support are complicated because they are used not only across numerous internal functions (materials management, plant management, operations, supply chain, design/engineering, procurement, sales and operations planning, etc.), but span multiple tiers of suppliers.

In a three-part Spend Matters Plus series that will deliver a cursory attempt to segment this market, we’ll attempt to overcome the current lack of research in this area by providing a concrete segmentation of different technology categories and the capabilities within each. Today we’ll consider additional context and provide a high-level segmentation and explanation of tools (which we’ll flesh out and provide vendor short-lists for later in the analysis).

Coupa: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Commentary and Summary Analysis (2018 Update) [PRO]

Since we last reviewed Coupa, the provider has continued to increase its market share within the source-to-pay technology segment, albeit with a primary focus on procure-to-pay (e-procurement and invoice-to-pay), spend analytics and sourcing. As we have noted in the past, numerous areas can be credited for its continued ascent, including a spend under management growth rate that continues to exceed revenue growth — a metric that shows the rapid manner in which customers are implementing and scaling Coupa implementations relative to first generation procure-to-pay (P2P) solutions. Coupa’s metrics-centric approach to measurable business value is an extension of its own culture, including an emphasis on rapid solution development based on listening to customers and creating accountability for results.

While Coupa is not an ideal fit for all procurement technology requirements, it has become the new benchmark by which other e-procurement and spend management technology suite vendors must measure themselves, or at least in comparison and differentiation. In many ways, Coupa’s initial public offering (IPO) established the first of a new generation of providers assuming a leadership position in the market.

From a competitive perspective, when we last wrote, we suggested that  Coupa had moved from the hunter to the hunted, although its competition remained fragmented, with the exception of SAP Ariba, which it continues to encounter most in shortlist and evaluation considerations, and Oracle, which is now its second largest competitor as it markets itself as the provider of “Business Spend Management” solutions. More recently, we also have seen Ivalua be considered in — and often win — a range of often large deals, with an emphasis on public sector, healthcare and manufacturing, in situations where Coupa, SAP Ariba and others might have been in the pole position in the past.

Regardless, Coupa competes against both a select few and many dozen of providers — depending on the situation and how fragmented the competition is for a given opportunity, geography, industry or modular need. Regardless, Coupa competes against both a select few and many dozen of providers — depending on the situation and how fragmented the competition is for a given opportunity, geography, industry or modular need.

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering Coupa provides an objective SWOT analysis of Coupa and offers a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison based on Q4 2018 information. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as alternative vendors to Coupa and offers provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides summary analysis and recommendations for companies considering Coupa. Part 1 provided an in-depth look at Coupa as a firm and its specific solutions, and Part 2 gave a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses and a review of the product’s user experience.