Plus or PRO Content

Fiverr, the Online Services Marketplace, Is Going Public: What You Need to Know (Part 1) [PRO]

low commodity prices

Spend Matters recently reported that Fiverr, the Tel Aviv-based online marketplace for digital creative services launched in 2010, had filed its Form F-1 paperwork to go public with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Fiverr is the third online work/services platform to IPO, preceded by Upwork in October 2018 (NASDAQ: UPWK) and Freelancer.com in October 2013 (ASX: FLN). Among other things, the Fiverr IPO represents a new opportunity for analysts to get significant insight into another online freelancer marketplace’s financials and other business characteristics, including business strategy, business model and go-to-market approach.

Years ago, when Fiverr entered the market, some may have dismissed it as a low-end “5-dollar store” of online freelancers. But there was more than met the eye. In fact, Fiverr had begun executing its differentiated strategy of creating a unique marketplace based on its service-as-a-product model. According to Fiverr, it had “set out to design a digital marketplace that is built with a comprehensive SKU-like services catalog and an efficient search, find and order process that mirrors a typical e-commerce transaction.”

In this two-part PRO series, we will further discuss Fiverr and its SaaP model, including why it may align to procurement practitioner mindsets and e-procurement solution models. In Part 1, relying partly on Fiverr’s F-1, we will focus on Fiverr as a company and as a unique online freelancer marketplace platform. In Part 2, we will consider the broader context of evolving population of other online freelancer marketplaces, with special emphasis on the public companies, Upwork and Freelancer.

Bid Ops: Vendor Introduction, Analysis and SWOT (Part 2) [PRO]

In this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction, we’re introducing you to Bid Ops, a two-year-old vendor out of San Francisco that positions its cloud-based e-sourcing tool as the first AI solution for automating indirect procurement negotiations. Rather than focusing solely on serving the buyer, Bid Ops’ founders actually built the vendor side of their platform first, shaping the whole user experience around making negotiation faster, simpler and smarter. While it’s early, the solution is more RPA (robotic process automation) than AI (which is early stage assisted intelligence at best), but the vendor has notched some notable wins with big customers, claiming double-digit savings rates with the likes of Berkshire Hathaway, Los Angeles World Airports and the city of Detroit.

In the first part of this two-part series, we provided an overview of Bid Ops’ offering and a selection requirements checklist for companies that might consider the provider. In this second part, we will provide a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution and give a SWOT analysis.

Bid Ops: Vendor Introduction, Solution Overview, Selection Checklist (Part 1) [PRO]

When it comes to bringing artificial intelligence into procurement software, there’s been a lot of hype and very few real advances. This is especially true of sourcing tools, which despite their potential for integrating AI and machine learning, have rarely moved beyond simple use cases like auto-fill of an RFX or automatic identification of the default award winner. And even when they have added early AI-based features into their platforms, sourcing solutions mostly focus on the application of AI to the benefit of the buyer. The suppliers on the other side of the solution — not an insignificant number of users — often have been left out of the AI conversation.

This is not the case with Bid Ops, a two-year-old vendor out of San Francisco that positions its cloud-based e-sourcing tool as the first AI solution for automating procurement negotiations using adaptive target pricing. Rather than focus solely on serving the buyer, Bid Ops’ founders actually built the vendor side of their platform first, shaping the whole user experience around making negotiation faster, simpler and more pleasant for vendors. While it’s still early days, and more RPA (robotic process automation) than AI (which is early stage assisted intelligence at best) the vendor has already notched some notable wins with big customers, claiming double-digit savings rates with the likes of Berkshire Hathaway and a Fortune 100 chemical producer.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on Bid Ops and its capabilities. In this first part, we provide an overview of Bid Ops’ offering and a selection requirements checklist for companies that might consider the provider. In the next part, we will provide a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution and a SWOT analysis.

The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insider’s Hot List: June 2019 [Plus+]

Welcome to the June 2019 edition of Spend Matters Insider’s Hot List, a monthly look at the contingent workforce and services (CW/S) space that’s available to PLUS and PRO subscribers. For those new to the Hot List, each edition covers the prior month’s important or interesting technology and innovation developments in the CW/S space. Uber, Deliveroo, Doordash and Fiverr are among the companies making news.

Procurement Information Architecture and B2B Connectivity: Intel takes RosettaNet into the Future (Part 1) [Plus+]

Editor's note: This is a refresh of our 2014 series on RosettaNet and B2B connectivity, which originally ran on Spend Matters PRO.

Intel is one of the oldest advocates (and active users, in terms of volume) of RosettaNet as a replacement for traditional EDI connectivity. RosettaNet, a set of process and information connectivity standards based on XML (Extensible Markup Language) originally founded in the late ‘90s, was originally spearheaded by a number of large corporations in the high-tech manufacturing sector. Like EDI, RosettaNet has historically only made sense for larger direct material (e.g., manufactured parts, components, or materials) suppliers or customers. Yet, RosettaNet’s implementations, like those in traditional EDI deployments, have focused primarily on connecting large buyers and/or suppliers for purchase orders, invoices, advanced ship notifications, and other typical high-volume commercial documents. Intel suggests on its own website that the typical criteria for suppliers is that the vendor “should have an interest and the resources necessary to automate their business processes."

Exploring Basware’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) Capabilities and Roadmap: Something For AP and Procurement (Part 3) [PRO]

Artificial intelligence is starting to transform the value proposition of procurement and finance technologies. But it is not just start-ups that are building new capabilities and gaining momentum. Procure-to-pay stalwarts like Basware are making significant investments in the area as well. This Spend Matters PRO brief explores where Basware’s AI investments are appearing in its invoice-to-pay and e-procurement solutions. Part 1 of this series explores Basware’s recent product enhancements, and Part 2 explores 2019 and 2020 roadmap items.

SAP Intelligent Spend Group is future for Ariba, Fieldglass, Concur (Part 3): How can the SAP spend platform ‘Run Simple’? [PRO]

supplier network

The integration of SAP Ariba, SAP Fieldglass and SAP Concur into a single operating entity within SAP, the “Intelligent Spend Group,” will be far more straightforward from a commercial and go-to-market perspective than a technology architecture and platform vantage point. This Spend Matters research brief, the third in our series analyzing integration considerations for the Intelligent Spend Group, explores network and platform considerations and offers key takeaways for the company and SAP customers. Part 1 centered on specific integration models that SAP is likely to take (e.g., the SAP Cloud Integration Gateway) and what these approaches would mean for customers of multiple solutions. Part 2 asked the hard questions surrounding core integration considerations.

SAP Intelligent Spend Group is future for Ariba, Fieldglass, Concur (Part 2): Hard Questions on Integration [PRO]

integration

In late April, SAP announced its “Intelligent Spend Group,” a combination of SAP Ariba, SAP Fieldglass and SAP Concur. As the new operating unit eventually becomes “one” from a product perspective as well, it is important to realize the level of complexity that SAP will confront along the way. For example, SAP Ariba product managers have to deal with their individual platforms/ecosystems (SAP Ariba, Fieldglass, and Concur), but also with integrating to the Ariba Network, relevant SAP applications (e.g., Integrated Business Planning), with partner apps in each of those ecosystems, and the move toward an SAP-centric application stack and platform stack.

For example, SAP has its own journey from ECC to SAP S/4HANA in the cloud via S/4HANA Cloud Foundation, S/4HANA Cross Engineering, S/4HANA Enterprise Architecture, and other toolsets. S/4HANA then needs to integrate to the SAP Cloud Platform applications that will themselves need to integrate with each other as they slowly migrate to an underlying SAP Cloud Platform that includes a range of areas described in this second of three briefs in Spend Matters' PRO research series.

It’s not simple to run — unlike SAP’s old slogan of “Run Simple” used to say.

Upwork’s Share Price Slumps, But Online Staffing Platform Soldiers On (Part 2) [PRO]

independent workers

In Part 1 of this two-part Spend Matters PRO series, we discussed what might have been behind Upwork’s share price decline following its report of Q1 2019 financial results, and we came to focus on potential investor concern about growth deceleration over the past several quarters. We could not say that this was what led to the share price decline, but that was our main finding from the 10-K filing.

Upwork’s actual revenue (to be distinguished from gross services value, or GSV) represents the transactional and service fees that (business) buyers and (work/service) sellers are charged when they use the platform (these can take a variety of forms). Upwork has stated that the majority of its total revenue is comprised of the service fees paid by freelancers as a percentage of the total amount that supply-side freelancers charge clients for their freelance services and, to a lesser extent, payment processing and administration fees paid by buy-side clients.

Growing revenue therefore depends on the volume/value of work/services transactions on the platform (i.e., platform liquidity) and pricing (i.e., the structuring and setting of transactional fees and the fees for Upwork services). Upwork may be able to influence revenue by market segmentation and tuning of offers, quality of service (broadly speaking), structuring and setting of fees (given degrees of price elasticity), and lastly, execution of sales, marketing and support services.

In Part 2 of the series, we will review the handful of updates pertaining to growth initiatives that Upwork provided in its financial results report and earnings call. We will also offer our own perspective on Upwork’s current position as a high profile player in the changing contingent workforce space.

SAP Intelligent Spend Group is future for Ariba, Fieldglass, Concur (Part 1): Customer Analysis, Solution Integration, Roadmap [PRO]

Late in April, SAP announced that it was bringing its procurement assets under a single operating umbrella. The announcement of the new business unit, tucked into the body of a press release with the headline of a leadership promotion, notes that the “SAP Intelligent Spend Group” will be “comprised of SAP Ariba, SAP Fieldglass and SAP Concur.” The group, according to the announcement, would be headed by SAP Ariba and Concur veteran Barry Padgett, but this week we learned that Padgett left SAP. Regardless of leadership, the Intelligent Spend Group will move forward. This Spend Matters PRO brief provides an analysis of what the creation of a single organization within SAP for these solutions may mean for each individual solution line and customers.

If Ivalua is now a yardstick, how do competitors like Coupa, SAP Ariba, Oracle measure up to it? [PRO]

At Spend Matters, most of our time is spent actually looking at solutions and evaluating and validating detailed RFI responses. So when a procurement organization asks us, for example, “how does SAP Ariba compare to Coupa for source-to-pay,” we can provide a detailed explanation across hundreds of different functional specifications and customer satisfaction benchmarks about how the two precisely compare and differentiate. We get questions on these two providers a lot.

Technology vendors reach a milestone when other providers (as well as practitioner and consultants) start using them as a yardstick to measure and compare capabilities. And now with Ivalua reaching unicorn status and sharing current growth metrics that generally dwarf that of its larger peers — based on organic product growth — we expect to hear more and more procurement organizations ask about Ivalua in the same way they ask about SAP Ariba and Coupa. And of course from a SolutionMap perspective when it comes to technology selection, we can answer that question with hard, objective data on a capability-by-capability basis (now mapped to procurement business requirements).

But off-the-cuff, how does Ivalua and its unified suite compare to others?

I asked my colleagues on the Spend Matters analyst team who know different areas of Ivalua (and its peers) to comment not using the SolutionMap benchmark, but their own opinion.

So without further adieu, let’s read the Spend Matters analyst team’s candid take of how Ivalua’s source-to-pay competitors measure up to it (including positives and negatives comparisons for each). Our analysis explores, on an overall company basis, subjective views about how the following vendors compare to Ivalua: Coupa, Determine (now part of Corcentric), GEP, Jaggaer, SAP Ariba, Oracle, SynerTrade and Zycus.

Do you want the objective, hard comparative data on a functional and product basis to understand how Ivalua stacks up to peers? Check out SolutionMap Insider.

UPDATE: With Barry Padgett leaving SAP, what’s next for new Intelligent Spend Group? [PRO]

Barry Padgett has left SAP only weeks after being named president of the newly created SAP Intelligent Spend Group (ISG), a combination of SAP Ariba, SAP Concur and SAP Fieldglass.

Padgett had previously served as president of SAP Ariba, before being promoted to the new role as leader of the combined group. Spend Matters sources suggest he has accepted a new role as chief revenue officer for Stripe, a payments company, although this is unconfirmed at this time.

SAP’s Intelligent Spend Group told Spend Matters that Mike Eberhard, formerly president of SAP Concur, will take over for Padgett, at least as an interim leadership move. Eberhard had previously planned to “step back” from a daily role at SAP in Q3 to serve as an adviser. While on the surface, the move to promote Eberhard on a temporary basis may seem like a GE “moving around the management chess pieces,” type of maneuver, Eberhard has a unique foundation from which to sit on top of the combined organization at a pivotal time.

Not only has Eberhard had sales leadership experience and significant growing, global commercial responsibilities within Concur in the past decade, he brings leadership depth from other areas of procurement, payables and supplier management solutions earlier in his career. This includes holding previous P&L responsibilities for SAP Ariba, Xign, Peoplesoft and D&B.

Based in part on his diverse set of experiences in the “spend” universe, including P&L leadership within a number of different business cultures that sold to different economic buyers, we are enthusiastic about the selection of Eberhard as at least a temporary leader of the SAP Intelligent Spend Group.

But as Eberhard perhaps channels Constantine the Great, one of the great “uniters” of different factions in Roman history, he will nonetheless face a range of challenges on multiple fronts — internal and external — as SAP plans for simultaneous battles at the same time as it brings together three best-of-breed solutions under one roof, one that ideally represents more than just a united fighting commercial front.

Leadership Required on Simultaneous Fronts

The remainder of this research brief introduces some of the campaigns that SAP’s Intelligent Spend Business group will need to simultaneously embark upon if it is to align what is in the interests of customers and shareholders over the long term. We see three main fronts that SAP must target at the same time.

Before exploring these, we should note that Padgett left the SAP Intelligent Spend Group before having a chance to substantively make a mark on this newly created business unit. His departure at a formative, pivotal moment gives the opportunity to Eberhard (and/or a future leader) to chart a course for the future of a common SAP Ariba, SAP Concur and SAP Fieldglass at a time in which all three former independent operating units face new dynamics.

PRO subscribers can read more about the three fronts that SAP faces.