“Asia” is obviously an impossibly broad label, covering so many countries, with such a range of cultures, languages, and political, ethnic, and demographical issues that we have to paint with broad, sweeping strokes. That said, there are definitely procurement culture traits worth pointing out. Depending on a solution provider’s strengths and capabilities, we think the region is ready for a more serious look – consider it hedging your bets, since everybody is already slugging it out in the U.S. and Europe. So the question is, what are you doing in Asia, the region that outgrows Europe and the US at a rapid clip? In this first of a two-part series on Spend Matters Plus, VP of Research Thomas Kase gives a backdrop on regional issues to know.more ▸
Trojan Rabbits and Project Portfolios: Procurement Market’s Freemium Applications and Services (Part 1)
The old Trojan horse trick has its place in the procurement market. This Spend Matters Plus research brief, by Chief Research Officer Pierre Mitchell, covers the good, bad, and ugly of “freemium” technology for different types of procurement solution providers across the solution spectrum, from technology providers to membership-based advisory firms. Pierre then makes some recommendations for not just solutions providers, but also practitioners who themselves are providers in their own right. If you are not yet a Plus subscriber and are interested in this topic, contact us to inquire about a free trial.more ▸
This is the second in a multi-part series on Spend Matters Plus. Read Part 1 here.
As our exploration of Ariba’s extensive and deep patents continues, we turn our attention to three specific patents tied to sourcing and eProcurement. Ariba’s stash covers a broad range – and a good deal of provider companies in the market can't avoid being in violation. That said, to us, many patents appear to cover either features used prior to the filing date – prior art, as the legal term goes – or be overly broad or otherwise fairly trivial. However, if and when Ariba decides to release their legal hounds, a good number of companies will likely be dragged in. Some providers might have struck licensing deals, and for those with IP portfolios of their own there is always a mutual cross-licensing arrangement to be made. In this Spend Matters Plus research brief, Thomas Kase, VP of research, discusses the following Ariba patents: auction bid and visibility restrictions; eProcurement (“figuring out if your supplier is on the Internet”); and supplier connectivity.more ▸
What Makes Public Sector Spend Analysis Different: Lessons From Spikes Cavell in the US and UK (Part 1)
Spikes Cavell, a spend visibility provider perhaps best known in the UK for serving public sector clients with a broad-based spend classification and analytics offering, has spent significant time and effort expanding on a growing beachhead in US public sector procurement at the state and local level. This research brief begins to explore the basics behind Spikes Cavell’s approach to public sector spend analysis and what makes serving this challenging sector of the market different. In this first of a two-part Spend Matters PRO series, Jason Busch, founder and managing director of Spend Matters, also examines what unique spend visibility approaches and attributes are useful and/or required depending on specific public sector dynamics, based on lessons from Spikes Cavell and other experts in public sector procurement – as well as private sector takeaways and lessons from these situational requirements.more ▸
We’ve been running a series on patents in procurement solutions in general, and Ariba’s stash of IP goodies in particular (check in on Spend Matters to read them). This week’s Ask the Expert, run by Thomas Kase, VP Research at Spend Matters is more of his layman’s perspective on Ariba’s cache of patents, what they cover, and who might be in violation. Plus and PRO members, this one's for you! Click on through to register.more ▸
Earlier in the month, we had a client ask us if we could offer specific guidelines or methodologies for creating a spend category taxonomy within the automotive and industrial markets. The question resulted in a discussion among a number of us with industry experience. And since we didn’t have any research already published on the topic, we thought we’d invest the time to document our findings. In this second installment of a two-part Spend Matters PRO research series, Chief Research Officer Pierre Mitchell explores how granular procurement should go in creating a spend taxonomy and concludes with practical tips for implementing a program.more ▸
Intellectual property rights and patents are big business. And they are, of course, also competitive tools for companies. Witness how many years ago Ariba derailed Emptoris – now part of IBM – as a competitor for a number of quarters and forced a sale of the company based on a patent dispute. But the patent is more than just a tool for vendors to bash competing vendors. They are sometimes open to legal disputes. To the average consumer, the recent Apple vs. Samsung lawsuit over cell phone design and operating system features is probably the most widely recognized legal mess. In May, an Oracle vs. Google dispute concluded with a win for Oracle, with award amounts unspecified (Oracle originally wanted $6 billion).
Patents are powerful tools in the procurement solution software market as well, not just for warding off competitors, but even for generating considerable “income” for the successful parties when push comes to shove. Within the procurement sector, Ariba has amassed an incredibly impressive array of patents (if measured by the yardstick, at least), covering what some might construe as many of the basic elements of the source-to-pay process, including supplier connectivity and collaboration. In Part 1 of this Spend Matters Plus research series, Thomas Kase (VP of Research) provides context for past patent litigation in the sector and begins to cover a number of Ariba’s patents that could affect competitors and customers of competitors down the line. This analysis will attempt to get beyond the legalese with layman’s interpretations of each patent.
Today’s research brief looks at the following three Ariba patents: “supplier/buyer network that provides catalog updates,” “system and method for conducting electronic auctions with multi-parameter optimal bidding,” and “maintenance of a company profile of a company associated with a supplier/buyer commerce network.” If this is a topic of interest to you and you're not a Spend Matters Plus subscriber, contact us to inquire about a free trial.more ▸
We had a question from a client of ours about whether there were any guidelines or an overall methodology to coming up with a spend category taxonomy. It’s a simple question, but there isn’t a simple answer. So, we thought we’d offer some insights to help guide your efforts. But before we say what to do, there’s a quick recommendation on what not to do. In this first of a two-part Spend Matters PRO research series, Chief Research Officer Pierre Mitchell explores how to think about creating a spend category taxonomy, pitfalls of incorrect approaches, and how to embrace an approach that cuts across categories and spend types.more ▸
GTCR & Opus Global Buy Hiperos: Consolidation Begins in Supplier Management Solution Market (Part 1)
Marketing can have a funny influence on things. Hiperos labels what it enables as “third party management” rather than “supplier management” or “supplier lifecycle management.” But make no mistake. This is a play with words by a clever marketing department and doesn’t mean a different core value proposition. (We think this comes from a sales focus on finance rather than procurement; to the CFO it’s all a bunch of third parties and compliance, and finance just can’t be bothered with terms like suppliers.) When GTCR and Opus Global acquired Hiperos earlier this week and not only kept the current management (one of whom is a major investor) actively engaged in the business but also put them on the broader holding company’s board, they were making a bet on the need to better manage traditional indirect suppliers, staffing companies, consultants, BPOs, and others who serve customers in a contracted way – in their case, typically large financial services clients. In many cases, Hiperos led with a “meet the [fill in the blank] regulatory requirement” value proposition – a message that works, especially for a finance audience.
But what Hiperos and its competitors (Aravo, HICX, IBM/Emptoris, Lavante, Oracle, SAP, and many others) are capable of accomplishing in the sector far transcends simply meeting check-the-box regulations. Done right, the better engagement of suppliers across a lifecycle is a massive undertaking, as it starts with a tailored onboarding process (don’t count on your P2P or e-invoicing provider to touch more than a few bases in this area) and carries through to supplier engagement, performance management, development, risk management and eventually off-boarding (by PO, assignment or overall) at both the SKU and overall vendor level. And it’s an undertaking that can transform procurement and finance outcomes spanning all non-employee resources and T&E-related spending (which represents a massive portion of the business). For this and related reasons, we believe that in 2015 (and perhaps sooner) we will see more consolidation in this market. In this three-part Spend Matters Plus research series, VP of Research Thomas Kase and Managing Director Jason Busch consider the backdrop and rationale behind the expected consolidation and offer predictions for what moves to watch. Our analysis today begins with why this market is becoming more strategic to customers.more ▸
Purchase Price Variance (PPV) in Procurement and Savings Strategy: Limitations and One Potential Use
There are many reasons why purchase price variance (PPV) is not the best metric to track procurement performance. In last week’s Spend Matters PRO research brief, Why Purchase Price Variance (PPV) Should Be Banished From Procurement Measurements and KPIs, Jason Busch (Managing Director) and Pierre Mitchell (Chief Research Officer) gave 10 reasons why PPV can be misleading and how smart procurement organizations in the market have long since moved past it. These reasons include the fact that declining and rising cost variables outside of a buyer’s control can have a significant effect on individual part costs not reflected in the actual performance of a procurement manager and the fact that PPV fails to measure true lifecycle costs. In today’s Spend Matters PRO research brief, Jason and Pierre start by providing a summary of the first analysis and then explore a scenario where PPV may actually be a useful means of measurement, courtesy of Tungsten’s new network analytics capability.more ▸
Earlier today, GTCR and Opus Global Holdings collectively announced they had acquired Hiperos, the supplier (and other third-party) management vendor. Hiperos is originally a supplier performance management (SPM) focused provider from Southborough, Mass. It has since expanded to deliver a broad range of third-party data collection and supplier lifecycle management solutions – and will now operate as a business unit under Opus Global. Opus Global in turn is a JV between GTCR (a private equity firm from Chicago) and Doug Bergeron. Bergeron was until 2013 the CEO of VeriFone and is now the CEO of Opus Global. GTCR and Bergeron go back to VeriFone – which Bergeron (together with another investor) had bought from HP for pennies on the dollar ($50 million for an asset which HP has paid $1.3 billion). When Bergeron resigned after 12 years as CEO, the company had a market valuation of $3.5 billion. (We thought Bergeron’s long-term ownership and patient growth focus background is important to note.) Note also that Bergeron’s background is from the financial services industry – where Hiperos has a strong presence. In this Spend Matters PRO analysis, VP of Research Thomas Kase and Managing Director Jason Busch take a closer look at Hiperos (including a detailed SWOT analysis), private equity/buyout implications, the prospects for the supplier and third-party management market, and what the acquisition means for customers, prospects, and competitors.more ▸
We are halfway through 2014, and we're halfway through our Spend Matters stock portfolio challenge. Regular readers will know that we identified a portfolio of 21 companies with a procurement content and interest in order to track their performance and get a sense of where the market for “our” firms was going. Jason Busch and I then chose our own preferred portfolios from those stocks, each using an imaginary $1 million fund. He focused on just eight firms; I spread my risk with 14. So how was June? Relatively uneventful, if I’m honest, compared to some months when we’ve had major price movements.more ▸