Plus or PRO Content

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.

An Introduction to Sourcing Business Intelligence (Part 1): Definition and Driving Forces [PRO]

The problem with the term “sourcing business intelligence” is that it can have vastly different interpretations. Yet sourcing BI is a concept that we’re increasingly hearing mention of with our procurement practitioner and consulting firm clients, albeit with different names attached to it.

Not to be confused with spend analytics, the concept of Sourcing BI could prove as important to the digital procurement organization of the future as category management did in the past decade — or perhaps even more invaluable. This Spend Matters PRO analysis provides an introduction to the concept of sourcing BI, starting first with a definition and an overview of the trends that are driving it.

Upwork Is Going Public: What It Means for Contingent Workforce Procurement and Human Resources Executives [PRO]

stock prices

Upwork’s prospective initial public offering constitutes a significant marker in the steadily evolving contingent workforce and services procurement and the overall human capital management space, where enterprise executives and line-managers are dealing with seriously imbalanced supply and demand, increasing requirements for workforce flexibility and agility, and a parade of new, non-traditional, technology-driven solutions to the problem of “getting the work done.” This is true in a number of ways and at a number of levels.

In September, Upwork, the largest global online freelancer marketplace and the provider of Upwork Enterprise, announced an IPO plan to list its common stock as an emerging growth company on the Nasdaq Global Market.

Its SEC filings revealed a $10 to $12 per-share-price range. Net proceeds from the IPO (after repayment of $16 million in notes) could range, as reported by the California-based company, between $64 million and $74 million and would be used for working capital and other general corporate purposes, including product development, general and administrative matters, and capital expenditures. Based on the filings, Upwork’s IPO valuation could range from $1 billion to over $1.25 billion (about 5X revenue).

Spend Matters has closely covered Upwork developments for several years. And the Upwork Enterprise solution was recently evaluated and recommended within Spend Matters SolutionMaps for Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) enterprise technology solutions (specifically, in the category of solutions that address independent contract worker (ICW) sourcing, engagement, management and payment).

While this PRO report will draw a number of key points from the trove of new, previously insider-only information about Upwork, readers can access all of those details with one click in the amended Form S-1 filed with the SEC. The purpose of this PRO brief is more to analyze what this event means for executives in contingent workforce and services procurement and HR, many of whom may not be up to speed on changes taking place in the CW/S space — in particular, new types of platform intermediaries that have the potential to substantially enhance an enterprise’s workforce sourcing effectiveness and efficiency, engagement flexibility and structural agility.

The Contingent Workforce and Services Insider’s Hot List: October 2018 [Plus+]

Welcome to the October 2018 edition of Spend Matters’ monthly feature, “The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insider’s Hot List,” available to Plus and PRO subscribers. For those new to the Hot List, each edition covers the prior month’s important and sometimes just plain interesting technology and innovation developments within the CW/S space. Over the last several months, this space has seen both significant change and inertia co-exist, yet the change is not slowing down — quite the contrary.

The September Hot List covered a broad range of developments, ranging from the Ernst & Young acquisition of U.K.-based alternative legal services provider (ALSP) Riverview Law, to the partnership of Jaggaer with Science Exchange, a marketplace for outsourced R&D, all the way to some of the latest blockchain-based work intermediation intermediation platforms, such as Moonlighting. In the meantime, other developments continued percolate around the innovative edge of the defined CW/S space. Altogether these developments reflect an industry that is undergoing widespread transformation.

CPOs Owning Accounts Payable: Does Supply Chain Finance Make it Interesting at Last? [Plus+]

Historically, most CPOs and procurement leaders have not taken a huge amount of interest in the final stage of the end-to-end purchase-to-pay process. The mysterious land of accounts payable (AP) has been out of bounds to many of us in the profession. But that was, if we’re being honest, how we liked it. In my 10 years as a CPO in three organizations, I never had any desire to expend my empire in that direction. It didn’t look like a “mysterious” place in a good way; it was full of people doing what looked like pretty dull administrative tasks for a start — not what we wanted to be as we tried to build our procurement functions into strategic, business-focused powerhouses. So in the vast majority of organizations, procurement has been happy to let AP stay under the auspices of finance.