PRO Content

Mastercard Track: A Gateway to a New Kind of B2B Ecosystem (Part 1) — Vendor Introduction and Solution Overview [PRO]

B2B payments represent a significant opportunity for payments providers. Within the U.S. alone, Deloitte research suggests that B2B payments are expected to reach $23.1 trillion by 2020, following a 5.8% CAGR since 2014, with large enterprises accounting for more than 60% of all transaction volume. Financial institutions, however, have placed comparatively less emphasis on the B2B space in favor of B2C transactions, which in spite of their smaller relative total size present less complexity in terms of technological and process problems to solve. Yet this is beginning to change. Banks, payment providers and other institutions are doubling down on the opportunities in B2B, and some are even starting to get their foot in the door by offering software targeted toward procurement organizations. For example, Mastercard has been rolling out its new Track solution in partnership with major banks and P2P and S2P suite providers and via public demonstrations at vendor conferences like Basware Connect and Ivalua NOW. Following the integration of Track’s payment capabilities with Singapore’s Networked Trade Platform (NTP) last year, Mastercard is getting its procurement technology start in, of all things, supplier master data and risk management. This may seem like an odd fit, especially when there are other technology providers offering similar — or in some cases, far more sophisticated — tools for managing supplier data and tracking third-party risk. As many B2B “old timers” know, banks and payment networks (Mastercard included) have been trying to insert themselves into P2P processes for nearly 20 years, and the results have been a failure every time, because they were always about funneling the transactions to their payment networks in order to charge suppliers 2% to 3% processing fees. This relegated these initial efforts to tail spend and highlighted how they couldn’t add value to the broader S2P process.

But we think this solution from Mastercard actually has huge potential and will likely be a market disruptor. Why? Well, from a practitioner standpoint, what would you think of a vendor who took all your supplier master data and then ran it through its “magic engine” and then showed you all the duplicates and supplier risk warning flags — and they did this on a freemium basis? That should catch your attention. And it should catch the competitive attention of D&B, LexisNexis, supplier networks, supplier risk/intelligence providers, supplier discovery tools and others that play in this space, as well as the partnering attention of S2P application providers that want an instant supplier network partner that can do more than process low-dollar transactions on a payment network.

Mastercard is just starting the first act of a longer, platform-based play, and the question today is simple: Is this “priceless” MDM and supplier risk solution worth a look? The answer is a resounding “Yes!” Because unlike other services in the space, Track takes the long view, supporting Mastercard’s aspiration to enable and connect into a global B2B ecosystem of multiple services, from business identity and risk management to payment facilitation and trade finance. And while we expect many of Track’s initial capabilities and partner offerings to evolve over time — what Mastercard has been publicly demonstrating over the past several months is more of a minimum viable product than a fully matured and battle-tested solution — the first cut is worthy of a deeper dive.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on Mastercard Track and its initial capabilities. Part 1 includes an introduction of Mastercard’s offering and a breakdown what the solution can (and can’t) currently do. Part 2 will provide a SWOT analysis and our key recommendations to interested parties (procurement organizations, technology providers, supporting services providers) evaluating Track as encountered through partner P2P or S2P providers.

Accrualify: Vendor Introduction (Part 3) — SWOT, Competitive Placement and Customer Recommendations [PRO]

Accrualify is a new breed of finance-oriented solution that targets a range of procurement and payables processes. It is one of a handful of vendors that, especially within the middle market, can offer solutions that solve the needs of finance and procurement organizations directly. While Accrualify’s AP automation and procurement capabilities are not as robust as some, the overall package and approach could present a more attractive use case for nimble solution buyers with specific requirements in mind.

In Part 3 of Spend Matters’ PRO series examining Accrualify, we turn our attention to placing the provider in a competitive context of a new breed of solutions targeting finance and procurement, offer a strengths/weaknesses/opportunities/threats (SWOT) framework and conclude with recommendations for potential customers. (See Part 1 for an introduction to the provider as well as Part 2 for its solution strengths and weaknesses.)

NPI: Provider Introduction, Summary and SWOT [PRO]

In a world where everything is rapidly digitizing and moving to a services-based delivery model, there is perhaps no category more difficult for businesses to manage than IT services. The more operations move to the cloud and businesses rely on major IT services providers like Microsoft, SAP and Oracle to get work done, those in charge of IT sourcing, whether that be procurement, IT or a dedicated team in a center of excellence, are encountering a higher volume of IT services purchases, more complex offerings and pricing structures to negotiate, and more risk inherent in making the wrong choice. And with worldwide IT spend projected to reach $3.8 trillion by the end of 2019, all of these issues are only expected to build on themselves.

Helping manage this situation is exactly what NPI, a consulting firm based in Atlanta, does for IT sourcing organizations. Founded in 2003, NPI helps businesses identify and eliminate overspending on IT purchases, as well as provides vendor-specific intelligence on a range of topics, including risk reduction efforts, licensing program optimization and negotiation playbooks. Its services span subscription pricing intelligence to renewal process advisory and IT sourcing transformation consulting, and the firm counts businesses as varied as Morgan Stanley, the Social Security Administration, Denver Health and Norfolk Southern as clients.

This Spend Matters PRO Provider Introduction offers an overview of NPI, including quick facts on the provider. The brief also has an introduction to each of NPI’s six business lines, an overall SWOT analysis comparing it to other procurement consultancies and a selection checklist for companies that may consider the provider.

Accrualify: Vendor Introduction (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses [PRO]

In our initial research brief on Accrualify, we introduced the four-year-old provider based out of San Mateo, California. The upstart procurement and finance technology vendor offers a unique set of technology capabilities to manage specific components of the invoice-to-pay cycle, as well as adjacent areas like basic requisitioning and broader accruals management.

The first part of this brief provided an overview of Accrualify’s offering and a short selection requirements checklist that outlined the typical company for which Accrualify might be a good fit. In today’s installment (Part 2), we provide a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, exploring Accrualify’s “positives” and “negatives.”

Commercial Value Management: Making Contracts the Commercial Core of Enterprise Value (Part 1) [PRO]

contract

Contract management can seem like a boring topic in business — corporate attorneys taking far too long to create long documents of “legalese” designed around transferring risk to your trading partner in a deal. Managing these contracts in contract lifecycle management (CLM) is a step in the right direction by cross-functionally managing them throughout various business processes: order-to-cash, source-to-pay, hire-to-retire, record-to-report, etc.

Some organizations will even take contract management a little further and use the nomenclature of commercial management to help shift the focus away from the contractual artifact and more toward commercial business relationships. The focus becomes writing and managing better contracts to incentivize trading partners to more easily comply, collaborate and create a larger pie of value to share.

However, there is a subtle shift happening within the scope of contract and commercial management (CCM), and a not-so-subtle shift that is also happening within the digital realm (e.g., namely artificial intelligence, low-code platforms, open source, “XaaS”). What’s happening is that as contracts get digitized and more deeply modeled, they are becoming the single most important piece of master data within the enterprise that touches virtually every single stakeholder within these core processes and also within corporate functions such as R&D, risk management, strategic planning, treasury, audit, sustainability, digital/innovation and others.

The cornerstone to this transformation (in the private sector at least) is the notion of maximizing value created in commercial activities. Commerce is about exchanging value. Good commerce strives to maximize value for individual parties (i.e., large slice of the pie) and excellent commerce focuses on maximizing value to expand the total economic pie within a value chain. On the sell side, you want to deliver differentiated value to customers in order to retain them and make more money off them over the long term. On the buy side you want to maximize value (i.e., the most “bang for the buck”) by maximizing “bang” (what suppliers commit to deliver to you) and minimize the bucks (spend/costs) flowing out the door. These commitments of expected value to be delivered can take many forms, and using next-generation contract modeling (way beyond tagging and analyzing clause text) and process integration is turning out to be a very practical way to maximize value from the C-suite down to various functional process participants.

In this Spend Matters PRO series, we’ll cover some of the ways in which next-generation contract management (and underlying digital platforms) will model and manage commercial value much more deeply in a way that will support enterprise processes in areas such as GRC (governance, risk and compliance), Treasury, FP&A, IT service management, project/program portfolio management, commodity management, supply chain execution and many other areas.

Procurify: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary and Competitive Analysis [PRO]

digital

Many technology providers could argue they are part of the P2P space, but as we discussed in Part 2 of this series, the extent of a solution’s P2P capabilities can vary greatly from one provider to another. In the case of Procurify, we view the provider more as an e-procurement player than a full P2P suite, since it does not currently offer true invoice-to-pay support (e.g. features for invoice capture, validation and approval). To compare Procurify with its likely competitors, then, we must evaluate the solution against those that offer similar e-procurement capabilities, whether as part of suites that offer full P2P packages or from specialists. In this light, Procurify hits a sweet spot for small and mid-size businesses and, as defined by Spend Matters’ SolutionMap personas, has a Nimble approach that helps it differentiate its solution from competitors.

This final installment of our three-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering Procurify offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other e-procurement and P2P technology providers. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provided a company and deep dive solution overview, a UX/UI ranking, product strengths and weaknesses, and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider Procurify.

Procurify: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses [PRO]

Procurify, a seven-year-old provider of spend management software, is filling a market need for Nimble e-procurement solutions, the category of Spend Matters’ SolutionMap where Procurify’s solution fits. With 400 customers and 25,000 active users, Procurify is offering real value to an underserved slice of the e-procurement market, small and mid-size businesses. And with $14 million in current funding, we'd wager additional investments on the product and business side are on the horizon that would only reinforce its SMB market presence and its broader P2P capabilities.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot, Part 2 of the series, explores Procurify’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the vendor. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview, as well as a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering Procurify. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Procurify: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview [PRO]

procurement

Procurify, a Canadian procure-to-pay (P2P) provider with a presence in 70 countries, is capturing a market not typically well-served by other vendors: small and medium-sized businesses that need e-procurement. While there are certainly many choices of e-procurement and P2P providers today, as Spend Matters’ E-Procurement and Procure-to-Pay SolutionMaps illustrate, there are few remaining choices that have not been acquired by a larger firm or that are tailored to the needs of SMBs. Such a solution would fall under the category of SolutionMap’s Nimble persona, and Procurify’s relative strengths in e-procurement, complemented by baseline AP automation functionality, such as invoice approval and traditional three-way matching, position it as perhaps an ideal match for this market need, as clients like Asana, Planet Fitness, Reliance Oilfield Services and Element Biosciences can attest.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot offers an introduction to Procurify, providing facts and expert analysis to help organizations make informed decisions about whether they should add this P2P provider to their shortlists. Part 1 of our analysis offers a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Procurify. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Fiverr, Online Services Marketplace, Is Going Public: What You Need to Know (Part 2) [PRO]

Coworks

This two-part Spend Matters PRO series examines the online services platform provider Fiverr, which recently announced that it is going public (presumptively this month). The company — which has brought a fresh, distinct approach to the business market for freelancer-driven, platform-based work/services — will become the next business in the category to IPO after Freelancer.com (ASX: FLN) in 2013 and Upwork (NASDAQ: UPWK) in 2018.

Becoming a public company can be accompanied by opportunities for business validation, market awareness, access to capital, etc., but it brings new responsibilities, transparency and challenges (especially in a market that — despite getting kicked off in the mid-2000s — is still immature and evolving). Do these IPOs mark the start of a new stage of market development when businesses of all sizes may begin to accommodate and scale their new workforce models? If so, what do procurement practitioners and senior business executives know about Fiverr and the market that it and other work/services platforms operate in?

In Part 1, we examined Fiverr as an online work/services platform business (background, go-to-market strategy, solution offering and financial picture).

In Part 2, we will look at Fiverr in a broader industry context and provide a high-level comparison to Freelancer.com and Upwork. We also offer insights for procurement practitioners and executive leadership in larger organizations who are trying to get a handle on the potential supply channel of online/remote, freelancer-based work/services platforms.

2019 M&A and Investment Dynamics For Procurement Technology and Solutions: Segmenting the Market (Part 1) [PRO]

Private equity — and other — buyout and M&A interest in the procurement solutions market is at an all-time high. We define procurement solutions as technologies and services that target a range of areas that include:

— Core procurement (i.e., source-to-pay, procure-to-pay, etc.)
— Direct procurement
— Services procurement
— Contract management (that goes beyond supplier contracts)
— Accounts payable
— Trade financing (B2B Fintech)
— B2B (transactional connectivity, marketplaces, aggregation and GPO models)
— Third-party (supplier) management from a GRC standpoint as much as from a procurement standpoint

This multi-part Spend Matters PRO research brief explores the “who” (i.e., what types of companies are attracting the most interest and the profile of different buyers), the “why” (i.e, typical investment theses) and the “how” (i.e., the mechanics of deal processes and what is unique to the solution area, including where buyers that are new to the sector often have a higher learning curve than expected). It also explores some important dynamics in the market that have changed in recent months as buyer interest from both the strategic and financial sides increases.

Today we begin by exploring the “who” by segmenting the types of targets that are garnering the most attention into 10 areas and exploring the first five in detail (procurement technology suites, transaction-focused solutions, payment/financing providers, nimble solutions and leveraged buying / GPO models), including sharing illustrative providers in each segment and why buyers are attracted to each group.

* Our parent company, Azul Partners, has directly advised on more than half a dozen transactions in recent quarters, primarily working in a due diligence and strategy capacity for both strategic and financial buyers, leveraging our proprietary SolutionMap benchmark database, customer satisfaction/peer review benchmarks, PRO research, SolutionMap Insider research, and deep domain knowledge. Azul Partners works with investors in two ways. First, we partner with clients as exclusively retained subject matter experts in these markets. Second, we serve as an “arms dealers,” providing subscription research to hundreds of clients.

Accrualify: Vendor Introduction (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview [PRO]

procurement

Most of the well-known solution providers in the P2P space got their start in one of two ways. They either began with improving on the e-procurement experience offered by ERP, pursuing an “Amazon-like” user experience for frontline buyers and then moving to invoicing and payments; or, they focused on the problems of invoice capture, validation and processing, expanding from AP automation to full invoice-to-pay support and later building or acquiring e-procurement functionality. Both approaches eventually allowed such providers to link the two “Ps” in P2P, bringing procurement and finance activities together under one technology roof.

Accrualify, the subject of this three-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction, has taken neither approach. Rather, the San Mateo, California-based provider started, in 2015, with tracking accruals and enabling simple B2B payments. It later built out functionality for AP automation and eventually PO management and requisitioning, giving it what we would call an almost complete P2P solution under the Spend Matters P2P SolutionMap methodology. Yet even without the catalog management and ordering functionality that would give it true e-procurement support, Accrualify has managed in four short years to build a commendable set of I2P capabilities, ones well-suited to the mid-market, as customers such as BitTorrent, Helix, FloQast, Lookout and Getaround can attest.

This Vendor Introduction series offers a candid take on Accrualify and its capabilities. The series will include an overview of Accrualify’s offering, a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a SWOT analysis, and a selection requirements checklist for companies that might consider the provider.

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.