Plus or PRO Content

A 21-Question Health Check to Score Your Procurement Scorecard (Part 3) [Plus+]

As the old business adage goes, “what gets measured gets done.” This is certainly true in procurement. If you want to do the right things for yourself and your stakeholders, you need to measure the right things and do it efficiently. You also need to ensure that you are measuring what your stakeholders want and what you are in fact delivering. It’s a foundational competency. In fact, in the most recent Hackett Group procurement key issues study, “value contribution visibility” ranked third in terms of procurement key capabilities that were viewed to be major or critical. This is the last post in a three-part series providing a 21-question “health check” for your procurement scorecard, this time covering questions 16-21.

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.

What is Your Procure-to-Pay Persona? Understand Your Requirements and Mass Customize Your Vendor Shortlist [PRO]

No two procurement or finance organizations are alike. Each has its own persona that reflects not only its own value proposition and engagement approach but also the stakeholders it serves — and its supply base. The same principle holds true of procure-to-pay (P2P) application providers. Each has a persona (or more than persona) that reflects its value proposition, solution strategy and targeted customer segments. Therefore, companies should seek providers whose personas best align to theirs. In other words, there is no “magic” solution provider, and finding the right fit is critical, because a P2P application represents the main interface for most of procurement’s internal customers — and a common face to suppliers, as well.

To that end, we are excited to break down our approach to Spend Matters SolutionMapTM, a comparative analytical framework for practitioners to evaluate relevant solutions to meet their procurement needs. Our SolutionMap initiative depicts vendor rankings based on specific buyer personas to reflect the unique value proposition, solution strategy and customer segments served by a vendor. Participating vendors are scored both on their solution as well as on customer value, based on in-depth tech reviews (including live demos) by the Spend Matters analyst team and aggregated direct customer input from surveys. Each SolutionMap is updated quarterly rather than in 12-month (or longer) cycles, to accurately reflect the pace of market developments.

As part of our Spend Matters SolutionMap vendor comparison ranking, for procure-to-pay solutions (publishing in the coming days, with subsequent quarterly updates), the Spend Matters analyst team has dedicated considerable time to developing the unique organizational “personas” that we’ve most often seen in our decades of experience working with procurement organizations. We have used these personas to weight the requirements that we used in solution scoring, which includes customer satisfaction scoring by solution customers.

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 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses [PRO]

Analytics

AnyData Solutions is not just a standalone spend analytics toolset that includes “the basics.” Rather, it is a standalone platform for capturing, managing, sharing and collaborating on structured datasets of any type.

As an end-to-end analytics platform, AnyData is quite different from other approaches to spend analytics on the market today. On many levels, AnyData is closer to the data-centric heritage of BIQ, as it is fundamentally a self-service analytics solution, compared with the vast majority of spend analytics providers, which prefer to handle cleansing and classification activities “as a service,” even if they offer to sell the classification engine separately (which rarely happens).

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores AnyData’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations and other customers decide whether AnyData is the right fit for their need. The first installment provided a company and solution overview and a recommended fit list of criteria for firms considering AnyData. Part 3 will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

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.

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

invoice

This SolutionMap analyzes a select group of invoice-to-pay solution providers. It is part of our Q2 2017 SolutionMap report series, also featuring invoice-to-pay solution providers and procure-to-pay suites.

Spend Matters tracks more than 50 procure-to-pay solution providers. This analysis features many of the largest invoice-to-pay providers, specifically Coupa, Determine, GEP, Ivalua, Invocus, Pool4Tool, SAP Ariba, Taulia, Tradeshift and Vroozi. 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., 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 invoice-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).

Measuring the Procurement Technology User Experience: More Than Just a Pretty Screen (Part 1) [PRO]

UXI

A good technology user experience is not like pornography: One can actually define it without seeing it, or at least attempt to do so.

As you may have noticed, the “Vendor Snapshot” deep dive reports that Spend Matters has been doing for the past year on technology providers have included a section on user experience (UI). In this section, we have rated UI on a number of factors. While it may seem that the first five ratings are subjective, they were all based on a comparison of the platform to other platforms, with a generalized baseline against a set of criteria for “good” user experience that the Spend Matters Analyst team has been developing for over a year.

But now that Spend Matters has released its first SolutionMap℠ — with many more to come — we decided it was time to put down a standard set of more specific definitions, across specific procurement technology modules, about what makes for a good user experience based on the criteria we ourselves use to evaluate UIs across the source-to-pay workflow.

Today, we’ll start our discussion by defining what general characteristics make for a good UI, and an effective user experience (UIX), primarily by sharing examples (without naming vendor names) and different use case scenarios that separate out a base-level UX from an advanced one.

What is Your Invoice-to-Pay Persona? Understand Your Requirements and Mass Customize Your Vendor Shortlist [PRO]

e-invoicing

No two accounts payable, finance or shared services organizations are alike (or procurement departments, for that matter). Each has its own persona that reflects not only its own value proposition and engagement approach but also the stakeholders it serves — and its supply base. The same principle holds true of procure-to-pay (P2P) application providers. Each has a persona that reflects its value proposition, solution strategy and targeted customer segments. Therefore, finance and procurement organizations should seek providers whose personas best align to theirs. In other words, there is no “magic” solution provider, and finding the right fit is critical, because a P2P application represents the main interface for most of procurement’s internal customers.

To that end, we are excited to preview our approach to Spend Matters SolutionMapTM, a comparative analytical framework for practitioners to evaluate relevant solutions to meet their accounts payable, working capital and procurement needs. Our SolutionMap initiative depicts vendor rankings based on specific buyer personas to reflect the unique value proposition, solution strategy and customer segments served by a vendor. Participating vendors are scored both on their solution as well as on customer value, based on in-depth tech reviews (including live demos) by the Spend Matters analyst team and aggregated direct customer input from surveys. Each SolutionMap is updated quarterly rather than in 12-month (or longer) cycles, to accurately reflect the pace of market developments.

As part of our Spend Matters SolutionMap vendor comparison ranking for invoice-to-pay and procure-to-pay solutions (publishing next week, with subsequent quarterly updates), the Spend Matters analyst team has dedicated considerable time to developing the unique organizational “personas” that we’ve most often seen in our decades of experience working with procurement organizations. We have used these personas to weight the requirements that we used in solution scoring, which includes customer satisfaction scoring by solution customers. Having collected feedback from hundreds of invoice-to-pay users, vendors and consultants in recent months as part of our SolutionMap research, we see these personas as useful starting points for procurement organizations to classify themselves before looking at solution rankings of providers in the market.

This Spend Matters PRO analysis shares six of the most common customer personas in invoice-to-pay buying needs. Aimed at practitioners as well as vendors and the consultants advising them, this research brief will be helpful to drive the type of “mass customization” of procure-to-pay solutions needed to meet specific organizational needs.

Below, we present our six personas for invoice-to-pay. For each, we include: full definitions, typical organizational priorities (based on each persona), functional/solution and customer value emphasis and recommended selection processes. Comparative vendor rankings will be published for each persona next week on Spend Matters (and updated quarterly).

A 21-Question Health Check to Score Your Procurement Scorecard (Part 2) [Plus+]

health

As the old business adage goes, “what gets measured gets done.” This is certainly true in procurement. If you want to do the right things for yourself and your stakeholders, you need to measure the right things and do it efficiently. You also need to ensure that you are measuring what your stakeholders want and what you are in fact delivering. It’s a foundational competency. In fact, in the most recent Hackett Group procurement key issues study, “value contribution visibility” ranked third in terms of procurement key capabilities that were viewed to be major or critical. This is the second in a three-part series providing a 21-question “health check” for your procurement scorecard, this time covering questions 6-15.

Trade Extensions and Coupa Acquisition Analysis: Customer and Partner Recommendations [PRO]

Tradeshift Baiwang

This Spend Matters PRO brief, part of a series analyzing Coupa’s acquisition of Trade Extensions (see also here and here), provides recommendations for Trade Extensions and Coupa customers and partners surrounding the acquisition. 

Spend Matters has spoken or met with many of Trade Extensions’ largest customers in recent years (most of which prefer to remain unnamed) and the most advanced organizations view it as the tool that affords the highest degrees of competitive advantage across the procurement technology spectrum relative to peers in as much as how it is used than what it has the potential to do. This is key. In fact, there are material levels of diversity among Trade Extensions users even in the same industry. Many customers expose some parts of Trade Extensions’ potential yet could get away with another optimization solution for at least some of their events, if not all. Yet best-in-class procurement organizations unleash its full potential to drive competitive sourcing and supply chain advantage.

Whether you view Trade Extensions and sourcing optimization at this level or more tactically, this Spend Matters PRO brief provides insight and recommendations into the combination of the two providers. It is divided into three sections: Trade Extensions customer recommendations, Coupa customer recommendations and partner recommendations.