After we published recently an article on what a suite constitutes, the people at Coupa contacted us, insisting that they should also be considered among the suite (source-to-pay) providers. Always ready to amend and update to give our readers the most accurate picture, we have now had a briefing with Coupa. While the company is best known for their procure-to-pay solution, their solution also includes many other areas. The question is of course: do they have a true end-to-end sourcing and procurement suite? Arguably Coupa has a more solid suite claim than BravoSolution does with their Basware fuelled approach (or vice versa). But what about others? In this Spend Matters PRO research brief, Thomas Kase, VP of research, “parks” the traditional suite definition and explores what Coupa has up their overall sleeves today -- a different type of suite.more ▸
We've been talking for some time on the different Spend Matters sites about how social media principles and approaches will inevitably make their way into the business and procurement world, yet progress has in reality been pretty slow. The innovative Rollstream has been assimilated into GXS, now itself part of OpenText, and seems pretty low-profile these days. However, there are signs that things are changing. Sourcemap is a more recently established firm that has an interesting approach, including some aspects of supply chain collaboration with a social media slant. Mark Perera, one of the founders of Procurement Leaders, is involved in Old Street Labs, whose new Vizibl platform is in its testing phase (we'll feature it as soon as you're ready, Mark). The platform looks to use some of the core social media principles in a business environment. And now we have LeanLinking starting to make a splash. This Spend Matters Plus research brief, by Peter Smith (managing editor of Spend Matters UK/Europe), looks at what LeanLinking has to offer and which organizations would benefit from the technology.more ▸
Many people refer to ERP systems (notably master data stored in them) as the “system of record," which is interesting terminology. Think about supplier master data entered in the buyer’s ERP system that immediately can become “stale” the moment it’s entered. Let’s even take a better example of the penultimate document of record between the trading parties: the contract. A buying organization can use a contract lifecycle management solution that is fully integrated with an e-sourcing solution and even Microsoft Word documents that can be used as the user interface of sorts in contract authoring. Data is tracked at a detailed data element level and built up from low-level clause libraries. Yet when it comes time to seal the deal, the buyer and supplier print the contract and then start scurrying around for the final signatures, usually hand-written and faxed, only to then be stored and scanned so that the document image can be attached back to the CLM/ERP system. In today's Spend Matters PRO research brief, Pierre Mitchell makes an argument for the need of systems to accommodate the data types and user types across the source-to-pay continuum.more ▸
Building a successful public sector spend capability requires similar core capabilities as found in those sold to the private sector, as well as additional ones. But more so than simply checking the feature/function box as a vendor – or in software/solution selection processes as a user – implementing the right public sector spend analysis approach requires taking a slightly but critically different mindset compared to what is tried and true in the private sector. In Part 2 of this Spend Matters research series (see the first installment here), Jason Busch, founder and managing director, continues to explore what these unique motivations, requirements, and approaches are.
The final installment of the series (Part 3 – forthcoming) will continue to profile one of the specialist vendors in the sector, Spikes Cavell, which appears to have cracked the code on what federal, state, and local organizations most value in understanding their expenditures, reporting on activities, and tying data to actual programs to drive better constituent outcomes. There are clearly lessons in this regard for public sector procurement organizations and overall leadership (employees and elected officials), other technology and solution providers expanding their public sector presence, and, surprisingly perhaps, the private sector as well.more ▸
This is the second in a two-part Spend Matters Plus series from Thomas Kase, VP of research, on strategies for providers to deliver procurement solutions and services in Asia. This second installment covers specific trends and recommendations for Singapore, Japan, Korea, China, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia. So what should a company looking at an Asian expansion do? If this is a topic that interests you and you're not a Spend Matters Plus subscriber, contact us to inquire about a free trial.more ▸
“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 ▸