Plus or PRO Content

When Advanced Contract Analytics and Spend Analytics Converge: Seal Software Vendor Snapshot Update [PRO]

Seal Software has historically focused on search, discovery and reporting on structured and unstructured contract data scattered throughout organizations (i.e., not just in a centralized repository). Recently, however, Seal expanded the scope of its capability with a bespoke “front-end” analytics offering, which on the surface more resembles spend analytics than contract management. But the new contract analytics solution is something fundamentally different, and its capabilities extend far beyond a standard spend analysis or contract reporting tool. This Spend Matter Vendor Snapshot Update provides an introduction to Seal Software’s new contract analytics capability and explains why it’s more than “another analytics dashboard” for procurement, finance, supply chain and legal stakeholders. It is an addendum to our previous review and analysis of Seal’s solution capability:

How to Attack Marketing Spend (Part 5) [Plus+]

One of the most important elements of tackling marketing spend is executive buy-in, which requires aligning the vision of the CMO, CPO and CFO. In fact, don't do anything until you force this to happen. Above all, ensure that your CPO is well briefed, and don’t let this person destroy your credibility by going into meetings with the CMO with the usual procurement speak. Take the time to get your CPO genuinely interested in the topic as a means of furthering his own interests and even career. For example, in a CPG or retail company, all executives can further their interests by knowing more about marketing. In general, some might call this attaining “stakeholder buy-in,” since there may be stakeholders who are critical decision makers but are not C-level. You get the idea.

RapidRatings: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Competitive & Summary Analysis [PRO]

RapidRatings is a proven supplier risk management solution that specializes in financial risk management. Many large enterprises depend on it as a core component of their supplier risk management programs. It brings the ability — a critical one — to evaluate privately held suppliers, including a methodology to get even small and middle-market firms to submit financials with very high success levels.

Spend Matters analysis suggests that RapidRatings has a proven and comparatively superior methodology to alternative established models for developing accurate and predictive supplier financial risk ratings — especially for privately held companies — and gaining insight into overall supplier financial health. But it is important to note that the provider does not offer a comprehensive supplier or supply chain risk management solution and ideally should be considered as a component within a broader supply risk management capability.

This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering RapidRatings offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other procurement technology providers (suite and otherwise). It also includes a user selection guide, user interface and user experience (UI/UX) analysis and summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provide a company and deep dive solution overview, a SWOT analysis, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider RapidRatings.

How to Attack Marketing Spend (Part 4) [Plus+]

marketing

Today we continue our exploration of best practices and strategies for attacking marketing spend with the importance of training; a return to the potential benefits of decoupling creative from production; and the necessity of cultural sensitivity to bridge the gap between marketing and procurement teams. Missed the previous installments of this series? Check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 before reading on!

Everything Procurement Should Know About Payments (Part 3): Challenges and Opportunities for Payment Operations [PRO]

e-invoicing

As anyone tasked with extending and integrating a procure-to-pay (P2P) system to fully support the second “P” has no doubt learned, corporate payment processes and systems are highly complex — perhaps even more so than transactional purchasing activities. This Spend Matters PRO series provides a procurement-centric introduction to the topic of payments, offering a look into the payments lifecycle and how it integrates with core P2P processes and workflows.

Earlier installments (see Part 1 and Part 2) explored the invoice-to-reconciliation process, internal and external parties involved in core payments workflow and P2P technology best practices. In Part 3, we turn our attention to the nitty-gritty of managing core payment operations, examining a full list of the challenges companies face in confronting payments today, as well as the financial and operational costs of managing payments sub-optimally. We also provide an overview of shared services environments for payment operations while also exploring the many challenges companies face in attempting to drive payment process and system centralization generally.

Oracle Procurement Cloud: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Competitive Analysis & Recommendations [PRO]

tech

With planned release enhancements in the coming year, Oracle Procurement Cloud could become the 80% headache (today it is the 70%) for procurement suite providers and even more specialized competitors. Already, Oracle Procurement Cloud not only provides newcomers to spend management an opportunity to build a strong procurement foundation, but for companies that have swung and missed (for whatever reason) in their attempts to establish such a baseline, Oracle brings a lot to the table and will likely surprise those that had previously looked at earlier releases or other Oracle procurement applications.

This third and final installment of our Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot provides a SWOT analysis of Oracle Procurement Cloud, as well as a segmentation and comparison of competitors. It also includes a recommended shortlist of candidates that could serve as alternative vendors to Oracle for source-to-pay (S2P) suites, procure-to-pay (P2P) suites and e-sourcing. Finally, we conclude with a summary analysis and recommendations for organizations considering Oracle Procurement Cloud.

How to Attack Marketing Spend (Part 3) [Plus+]

Torchlite

Our first takeaway: focus on media value. Media is often the largest spend in the marketing budget, and the real challenge is to not look at how to reduce the price point of media buys, but how to develop methodologies to measure the value of media specific to the strategic requirements of the brand and business. As we’ll soon explore in more detail, technology and analytics beyond generic spend analysis is key to understanding media value.

Oracle Procurement Cloud: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses [PRO]

Oracle Procurement Cloud is a procurement technology suite that is targeted primarily at three key market segments. First, net new Oracle ERP Cloud customers who are looking to add procurement suite functionality. Second are those organizations that are current Oracle eBusiness Suite, PeopleSoft or JD Edwards ERP customers that may migrate to the cloud for their core financial system. And third are those customers with “installed” Oracle solutions for procurement (Oracle eBusiness Suite Procurement, PeopleSoft SRM, etc.), although these organizations may or may not (yet) be a fit for Oracle Procurement Cloud based on organizational requirements, including the degree of customization done to previous solutions.

Regardless, in many cases, Oracle customers considering Procurement Could will not have purchased a full source-to-pay (S2P) or procure-to-pay (P2P) suite from third-party vendors in the past, although they may have had experience with individual modules and solutions from Oracle procurement competitors. But in certain cases, Oracle customers have replaced suite capability from providers such as SAP Ariba and Coupa.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Oracle Procurement Cloud’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the solution. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering Oracle. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Oracle Procurement Cloud: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview [PRO]

You can almost set your watch on it. When ERP vendors decide to enter a particular solution market, impassioned arguments debating the tradeoffs of their approach versus the perceived benefits of those taken by specialized application vendors turn up the volume on a regular basis. “To ERP or not ERP,” that is the question. And while Oracle’s Procurement Cloud has not yet settled this debate, the offering will continue to draw the attention of many companies as well as Oracle’s installed base during their respective source-to-pay (S2P) technology evaluation processes, especially as Oracle’s solutions continue to improve and mature in the area and take their place as cloud-native solutions, turning entirely away from the ERP installed software legacy.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Oracle Procurement Cloud 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 Oracle Procurement Cloud. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Everything Procurement Should Know About Payments: Best-in-Class P2P Technology Capabilities and the Reconciliation Process (Part 2) [PRO]

BuyerQuest

There have been two (somewhat bad) jokes around product naming since procurement technology adoption became widespread. The first was when SAP labeled its e-procurement product “supplier relationship management” (SRM), which was a misnomer, to say the least. SRM, which competed against Ariba, Commerce One and others at the time, was about managing transactional buying, not about strategic supplier relationships. The other naming “fail” was unfortunately more generalized outside of a single provider, and that was labeling the broader transactional procurement tech sector as “P2P,” with the second “P” standing for “payment.”

If there is a silver lining in this naming misstep, however, it’s that we have the power to actually do something about it today. P2P solutions are finally beginning to embrace the payment ecosystem more holistically, and procurement is taking an orchestration role in the process. This Spend Matters PRO series provides a procurement-centric view into payments, exploring the payments process and all that it encompasses through a “get smart” primer.

Part 1 provided an introduction to the topic and explored what e-procurement systems do (and do not do) to enable payment processes. It also explored what SAP Ariba and Coupa have developed from an integrated e-procurement, e-invoicing and payments offering perspective though various partnerships. The second installment in this series provides a summary checklist of best-in-class e-procurement and e-invoicing native payment capability and integrations (internal system and third party) to enable payments and an overview of the invoice to reconciliation process, outside of P2P systems alone. It includes an introduction to various electronic funds transfer (ETF) models, tax considerations, currency considerations and related topics. It also includes a look at all of the internal and external functions and parties involved in different stages of the reconciliation process.

Supply Dynamics: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary & Competitive Analysis [PRO]

Spend analysis providers that tackled the “hard stuff” originally offered line-level visibility into buying activity based on invoice data. Such capability has now become standard. But what if you could go beyond line-level visibility when it comes to understanding spend data? And what if you could do this for supplier spending, as well?

For the majority of direct materials spend in manufacturing, nearly all approaches to analytics come up short when it comes to gaining insight into the underlying materials, spend and suppliers used for semifinished materials, parts, components, assemblies and finished products, either directly by the buying organization or passed-through based on supplier purchases. This lack of visibility not only increases both supply and commodity price risk but also stands in the way of driving innovative sourcing strategies that can drive hard dollar savings.

Yet one provider thinks they have the answer to this challenge: Supply Dynamics. Supply Dynamics combines its own form of spend classification, enrichment and front-end analytics based not just on information contained in ERP/MRP data but also on engineering drawing and bill of material information, using both data and metadata it extracts from design drawings. It also provides out-of-the-box capabilities to create material demand aggregation programs for metals, plastics, electronics and other sub-components (but that’s only one “savings” lever it brings, as we explore in this review).

This third and final installment of our Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering Supply Dynamics 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 Supply Dynamics, and offers provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides summary analysis and recommendations for companies considering Supply Dynamics. Previous installments provide an in-depth look at Supply Dynamics as a firm and its specific solution capability and a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses, as well as a review of the product’s user experience.

How to Attack Marketing Spend (Part 2) [Plus+]

The next topic we must address in considering the basics of attacking marketing spend is potentially the most sacred of all: agency selection. In considering how best to engage in this area, it is important to consider the costs of both sides going through the process. For agencies, the costs to manage and respond to an RFP can be quite high. Some agencies estimate their total cost at around $200,000 per RFP — on average!

Granted, the bulk of this expense comes in the form of soft costs. But the undertaking is considerable, and carefully vetted among agencies. This point is important to emphasize: agencies are quite picky about the clients and projects they bid on. We hope the following example, based on how one West Coast-based agency approaches RFPs, provides insight into the best means of engaging the right set of firms.