PRO Content

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

spend analytics

Not only is the market for spend analysis solutions highly fragmented from a vendor “choice” perspective today, it is also characterized by solutions that are difficult to compare on an apples-to-apples basis between providers. Sievo is one such provider that makes cross-comparisons of vendors challenging because of some of the unique approaches it takes both to spend classification and, more important, to savings reporting and tracking. In fact, this latter element makes it one of the few spend analytics solutions that is as relevant for finance (and CFOs) as it is for procurement organizations.

This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering Sievo offers a SWOT analysis, competitive assessment and comparison with other providers in the spend analytics market. It also includes a user selection guide and summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provide a company and deep dive solution overview, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider Sievo.

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

This vendor snapshot series focuses on WorkMarket, an online (cloud-based) work intermediary that allows organizations to organize/manage their own “affiliated” (on-location, geographically-distributed) workforce across a range of labor categories, including independent workers, contractors, freelancers, alumni and employees as well as various service providers.

Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and solution overview. We noted that WorkMarket goes to market today with a broad, comprehensive platform that is undergoing continuing development and evolution. Rather than present the market with a clearly labeled, delineated set of modules, WorkMarket provides a platform, which organizations can choose to leverage in different ways, in accordance with their unique workforce management requirements and goals. Accordingly, in Part 1, we also identified basic fit criteria for firms considering WorkMarket.

Part 2 of this PRO Vendor Snapshot explores WorkMarket’s product strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide if they should shortlist the vendor to enable their services procurement technology requirements. It also offers a critique of the user interface. Part 3 of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Coupa Unveils Services Maestro: Will the Student Become a Master of Services Procurement and Contingent Workforce Spend? [PRO]

At its Inspire user conference in San Francisco last week, Coupa announced its “early access program” soft-launch of Services Maestro. The company’s first step into services procurement, Coupa presented Services Maestro in 2016 as a part of the product roadmap and has introduced the offering as part of Release 18.

“Customers will benefit from this application through automated contract compliance, improved supplier experiences and full visibility into spend — both goods and complex services — in one unified platform,” Coupa said in its press release.

It’s a commendable first step, but the sooner Coupa fully understands the complexity of the services Pandora’s box it has opened up by becoming an embedded and integral part of contingent workforce and services procurement programs, the better its ultimate solution(s) will be, should it decide to make services procurement and contingent workforce a core business pursuit. This Spend Matters PRO brief provides an introduction to Services Maestro and insight into what Coupa will need to add to truly compete in the contingent workforce and services procurement market if it decides to strategically pursue this market segment.

Sievo: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses [PRO]

data analytics

To get the full benefits of Sievo, a novel analytics and savings management/tracking provider that delivers value to both procurement and finance organizations, customers need to get their hands dirty in their data — which can be a good thing. In engaging Sievo, it is the involved customer that becomes intimate at a deeper level with their data to drive true spending intelligence, in contrast to working with many other spend analytics providers that take ownership, on an outsourced basis, of data stewardship to drive cleansing, enrichment and classification perspectives.

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

Coupa Inspire 2017: Product Impressions and Dissecting R18 [PRO]

VMS

Today’s coverage of Coupa Inspire 2017 will go deeper than our first dispatch, as we we zero in on product. The biggest news to come out of Coupa’s customer conference Thursday was the general availability release of R18. Although “just a scheduled release” may seem boring, procurement transformations are inherently evolutionary, and the 50 major new features and capabilities were well received by the customers — and generally by us, too.

There’s more than just “evolution” to the product set in R18. In this PRO brief, we discuss the good as well as the gaps in Coupa’s latest release as we unpack the latest from the cloud spend management provider. We’ll also point to the future and explore some areas where Coupa may head later in 2017 and 2018 based on what we’ve heard from customer needs (external) and signposts around product innovation (internal), as well.

IBM Emptoris and SAP Ariba Partnership: First Take Customer Analysis [PRO]

Spend Matters provided initial coverage Wednesday of the SAP Ariba and IBM Emptoris partnership. We also offered a personal essay, a eulogy to Emptoris. This Spend Matters PRO First Take provides an analysis and recommendations for IBM Emptoris customers, including how they should think about an overall migration to a third-party solution as well as the role of IBM and its professional services organization as an advisor in the transition.

This brief also provides insight into comparable SAP Ariba solutions to those that Emptoris delivers, as well as comprehensive shortlists of vendors in the spend analytics, sourcing, contract management and supplier management areas in a segmented frameworks for each, including SAP Ariba (e.g., suite based, best of breed, specialization, industry focus, etc.).

Finally, this PRO analysis offers insight into artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive applications that SAP Ariba and IBM Emptoris may develop together by combining the Leonardo (SAP) and Watson (IBM) AI engines, as well as Spend Matters insights and research into different AI use cases applied to different disciplines within procurement, including sourcing and contract management.

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

In the contingent workforce and services procurement market, the role of managed services providers (MSPs) is evolving. What used to be a binary decision between “in-source” or “outsource” the management of contingent spending is now a much more complex one. Within the MSP universe in 2017, there is now a slowly increasing emphasis on embracing the services procurement need outside of contingent workforce management and enablement alone (i.e., moving beyond the comfort zone and typical biases towards staffing-based models).

This includes the full consideration of curated talent pools, independent contractors/freelancers, broader services spend/category enablement (MSA/SOW sourcing/management, category management, etc.) and the evolving role of technology to support different requirements.

Given the variance of capability of MSPs to address these broader areas — without even factoring into account whether they have proprietary technology or not — the decision on which firm(s) to work with should be given more consideration than in the past. Specialized MSPs like ZeroChaos may stand to benefit from these shifts, especially as decision criteria against an often expanded set of requirements becomes more granular and moves beyond contingent labor alone.

This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering ZeroChaos offers a SWOT analysis, competitive assessment and comparison with other procurement technology providers in the MSP and services procurement market. It also includes a user selection guide and summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provide a company and deep-dive solution overview, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider ZeroChaos.

ZeroChaos: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses [PRO]

social

On the surface, ZeroChaos appears to be a seasoned managed services provider (MSP). It is best known for working with Global 2000 firms in outsourcing the management of contingent labor spend in a truly neutral fashion. In this manner, there is no potential for conflict of interest, since it has does not have a parent company that also owns staffing assets.

But dig a layer or two deeper and ZeroChaos begins to look different than many of its peers. It brings a lean operating environment to support back office operations, a proprietary VMS capability, a top-notch supplier management managed service and expertise supporting broader services procurement initiatives and specialized client needs that fall outside a typical MSP. While not without areas for opportunities, ZeroChaos is a differentiated MSP operating in a world where many of its competitors are more fungible.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores ZeroChaos’ solution strengths and weaknesses as a managed services provider, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the firm to support the procurement of contingent workforce spend and broader services procurement categories. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering ZeroChaos. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Beeline: Convergence, Balance and Client-Centric Innovation [PRO]

road

This PRO brief, based on Spend Matters’ information gathering at the recent Beeline+IQN Customer Conference, provides an update on the new combined business called Beeline. We have covered details of the merger previously (see: GTCR Acquires Beeline From Adecco -- Merges VMS Firm with IQNavigator; Beeline, IQNavigator & GTCR: Transaction/Valuation Analysis, Future Product/Technology Considerations and SWOT Analysis; and Merging Beeline and IQNavigator: Customer, Prospect and Partner (MSP) Recommendations).

Our interpretation of what Beeline shared at the event suggests three key themes for where the provider is headed: convergence, balance and client-centric innovation. In this analysis, we share insight into these three areas, as well as provide an outlook for Beeline in what is perhaps the most dynamic and fast-moving procurement and HR market segment today.

EcoVadis: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses [PRO]

sustainability

The market demand for supplier intelligence and data within procurement continues to increase. Whether it’s supply chain and supplier risk data provided by originators and aggregators or category and supply market based general intelligence offered by analyst-driven models, an increasing number of firms are looking to third parties to augment their internal data gathering and analysis efforts. EcoVadis fits within this supplier intelligence/data (and software) landscape as a cloud-based corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability rating/monitoring solution for global suppliers. To date, it has faced no direct competition for its unique bundling of cloud based software, content and services.

The buyer friendly (and supplier friendly) platform allows suppliers to self-register, complete a profile customized to them based on their UN ISIC code and categories of products or services offered, upload all relevant documentation and get certified for a 12-month period with a CSR certification. EcoVadis builds certifications as a smart superset of CSR mega standards (e.g., Global Reporting Initiative, the United Nations Global Compact, and the ISO 26000), which enables it to be more readily accepted across a buying organization’s customer base.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores EcoVadis’ product strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider this provider of supplier intelligence solutions. It also offers a critique (pros/cons) of the user interface. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering EcoVadis. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

A User’s Guide to the Gig Economy for Procurement Practitioners [PRO]

The gig economy has been talked about so endlessly that the term has become nearly meaningless. Yet contingent workforce and services procurement practitioners know there is something going on beyond the buzzwords, something that is beginning to matter to the work they do. It is difficult, however, for many practitioners to distinguish what is essential and of importance in the context of their procurement goals. To aid in that effort, this PRO brief explores how practitioners can make the gig economy work for them.

Getting the Most from Sourcing Optimization (Part 1): Lessons From Leaders [PRO]

Global Risk Management Solutions (GRMS)

The combination of Trade Extensions and Coupa may seem a curious one for those unfamiliar with either organization, and may even raise questions for those who know both. As Trade Extensions’ recent customer event showed (see our live coverage here, here and here), the sourcing optimization specialist and its customers continue to push the limits of what is possible with e-sourcing. In contrast, procurement organizations that gravitate to Coupa — even highly sophisticated ones — tend to do so because they want to avoid complexity for their users and make the transactional buying process as simple as possible, all the while guiding users to make the best decisions for the business.

This two-part PRO research note provides additional perspective from Trade Extensions’ customer event on how this spectrum of complexity and simplicity may not be incongruous in the future; rather, sourcing optimization could serve as a better mousetrap to identify complexity, deconstruct it and ultimately redefine procurement’s role in the business by changing how the function is conceived. But before that can happen, there’s a more important topic address: the fact that most firms using Trade Extensions (and other sourcing optimization technologies) have only begun to scratch the surface of embracing complexity — let alone containing, controlling, distilling and simplifying it.

Part 1 of this series explores how an organization can get the most from sourcing optimization once it has signed up for it, which is easier said than done. We explore three areas: selecting the right users and training them effectively to use optimization, leveraging a center of excellence (CoE) to scale efforts and thinking big (i.e., beyond category-driven events alone). Spend Matters would like to thank all of the conference attendees and Trade Extensions for sharing these ideas.