PRO Content

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

Those who think the sourcing optimization market is wrapped up by incumbent technology would be wrong. For at least the last few months, procurement organizations interested in sourcing optimization have had their choice of five different providers: SAP Ariba, Coupa, Jaggaer, Keelvar and SynerTrade. To this list, we can now add a sixth option: bidmode.

Among the first five on the list, currently available choices and capability vary significantly. SAP Ariba, the newest entrant, has big ambitions but limited capability. SynerTrade, which has not invested much in optimization since a few customers demanded the capability a decade ago, is in the same boat. The remaining three all offer differing degrees of more advanced capability.

But now to the sixth option. Without even a single mention in the media yet, bidmode, which launched this year, already has a few customers and a pipeline of about a dozen prospects for its new, low-risk entry model called "bidmode Inside," in which it serves as an extension to third-party sourcing capabilities.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction provides a candid take on bidmode and its solutions. Part 1 provides an overview of bidmode and its capabilities, as well as a checklist for those that might consider working with the company. Part 2 offers a perspective on what is comparatively good (and not so good) about bidmode’s solution, including a SWOT analysis.

Vroozi: Vendor Snapshot Update (Part 2) — Strengths, Weaknesses, Customer Perspective, Competition and Summary [PRO]

Vroozi typifies the speed of innovation happening within the broader source-to-pay market in recent quarters. While much of our original Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot from early 2017 on Vroozi remains descriptive of the provider (see Part 1Part 2 and Part 3), Vroozi has picked up its pace of innovation.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot Update provides a refresh of our previous analysis of Vroozi. Part 2 provides updated strengths and weaknesses, customer reference insight, competitive landscape observations and summary recommendations on when to prioritize Vroozi as a shortlist candidate. The first installment of our 2018 update provides key facts on Vroozi, a solution overview, a recap of its overall footprint, and an update on new features and capabilities.

Vroozi: Vendor Snapshot Update (Part 1) — Updated Facts, Footprint and Enhancements [PRO]

The e-procurement and invoice-to-pay technology markets, which we collectively describe as procure-to-pay (P2P), provide incredible choice to software customers today. Not only are these sectors not yet consolidated, there also are a range of smaller technology providers that are seldom invited to the shortlist and selection dance as often as they should be. Within e-procurement especially, Vroozi is one provider that fits this description perfectly.

Spend Matters originally published a Vendor Snapshot on Vroozi in early 2017 (see Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3). A little over a year since then, Vroozi has made a considerable effort to update its solution, making improvements across its suite, including significant enhancements to its invoice-to-pay capabilities and additional investments in its core e-procurement offering. Most recently, in Q1 2018, Vroozi was among the top performers in the Nimble persona for the Spend Matters E-Procurement and Procure-to-Pay SolutionMaps — highlighting the comparative progress the provider has made in this period.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot Update provides a refresh to our previous analysis of Vroozi. Part 1 provides updated key facts on Vroozi and a solution overview, including both a recap of the previous coverage and an update on new capabilities. Part 2 provides updated strengths and weaknesses, customer reference insight, competitive landscape observations and summary recommendations on when to consider Vroozi as a shortlist candidate.

Examining SMB Procurement Tech Needs: Do E-Procurement and SAP Ariba Snap Hit the Mark? [PRO]

purchasing

SAP Ariba is making a bet on the small and medium-sized business (SMB) market with its new Snap offering. But to fully understand this bet, some context is in order.

Smaller middle-market companies are generally late to the procurement technology game, especially compared with Global 2000 and Fortune 500 organizations. The most fully adopted procurement technology component within the SMB market, accounts payable automation (inclusive of basic invoice-to-pay capability), is more likely owned by the finance function than by procurement. And while travel and expense software is also valued by smaller organizations, its impact on procurement goals and metrics is generally limited relative to other initiatives organizations can pursue.

So where does e-procurement fit into the SMB equation, and if SAP Ariba Snap does hit the mark, where might that middle-market sweet spot be? This Spend Matters PRO brief explores how e-procurement solutions, including SAP Ariba Snap, fit into the SMB procurement agenda. It also provides a checklist for middle-market firms to think through when it might make sense to prioritize procure-to-pay (e-procurement and invoice-to-pay) investments relative to other areas such as strategic sourcing, analytics and supplier management. (For a full introduction to SAP Ariba Snap, read our Spend Matters PRO brief on the solution.)

SAP Ariba Snap: Bucking Convention with a Real Middle-Market E-Procurement Package [PRO]

SAP Ariba is serious about the small and medium-sized business (SMB) market for e-procurement and integrated procure-to-pay (P2P). With its new Snap offering, which takes a packaged approach to out-of-the-box capability and deployment, SAP Ariba is bucking convention. It’s doing so in two ways: first, by bringing to market a solution for which market demand is not yet established like it is in the Global 2000 and the upper mid-market; and second, by scripting, bounding and containing all aspects of deployment and configuration in a 12-week rapid implementation model (which many who know SAP Ariba might find hard to believe). 

The lower end of the middle market, a prime target for Snap, is unproven ground for e-procurement. While Coupa’s original business plan, Spend Matters believes, targeted largely SMB customers, a key pivot for the provider, in our opinion, was its realization that larger middle-market and Global 2000 companies generally represented a better fit for integrated procure-to-pay (although Coupa does still actively target and serve smaller customers, as well). In contrast, dozens of providers have successfully driven AP automation into the SMB market, with rumored IPO candidate AvidXchange arguably the most successful in North America from a growth and customer traction perspective, especially at the smaller end of the market.

This Spend Matters PRO brief provides an introduction to SAP Ariba Snap: what it is, what it consists of, its design and implementation philosophy, pricing, key takeaways, and our recommendations for customers and prospects. A follow-up Spend Matters PRO brief will focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the approach SAP Ariba is taking with Snap in targeting a market segment for e-procurement and procure-to-pay in which greater value within procurement typically comes from prioritizing different business process areas and supporting technologies.

Insight Sourcing Group (ISG): Provider Introduction, Summary and SWOT [PRO]

consultant

Insight Sourcing Group (ISG) is likely the largest North American boutique management consulting firm providing strategic and operational solutions for procurement. But unlike similar firms, ISG offers more than just consulting services. Beyond its core business, ISG has three additional business units that form the nucleus of its offering: SpendHQ, a spend analytics platform; InsightGPO, a group purchasing organization (GPO); and ISG Energy, an energy supply and demand cost optimization practice.

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

Tech Enabling Procurement Shared Services: SAP Ariba Begins the Journey [PRO]

Procurement shared services organizations and centers of excellence (CoEs) are sometimes tasked with the operational management of source-to-pay technologies on behalf of the organizations they serve. But up until now, they have not utilized purpose-built solutions to improve their own operations. While many use core analytics, sourcing, contract management, supplier management, e-procurement and invoice-to-pay solutions in some capacity in the delivery of their services, the actual operational management of shared services organizations and CoEs themselves has been loosely integrated with underlying procurement technology at best.

In other words, there has not been an operational solutions layer specifically designed for procurement shared services and CoE groups that provides a single workbench to manage activities. This is true even though legacy SharePoint, business process management and workflow solutions often loosely hold some knitting together for these teams. SAP Ariba is hoping to change this with introduction of its Procurement Desk product, which Spend Matters PRO recently profiled, covering the solution’s current capabilities in its initial release and planned roadmap for the coming quarters.

This Spend Matters PRO brief explores how different procurement technologies enable the various roles that shared services organizations and CoEs assume — and the opportunity for an operational overlay on top of underlying procurement technology modules. As part of this analysis, we also consider how Procurement Desk may help meet the broader needs of shared services and CoEs, as well as opportunities for SAP Ariba and others to close the gaps that remain in developing purpose-built operational management solutions for these organizations.

SAP Ariba Procurement Desk: Shared Services and Center of Excellence (CoE) Enablement [PRO]

category management

Procurement shared services groups can take different shapes and can add different sources of value. Shared services tend to focus on procure-to-pay (P2P) and accounts payable support, including supplier enablement, supplier master data maintenance, transactional purchasing, transaction processing, invoice automation and exception management. CoEs focus on both a classic shared services model (i.e., supporting processes on behalf of the business units) or a more transformational CoE model (i.e., giving business units tools, training and focused resources like third-party services). 

The former tends to focus on tactical buying like spot buying and tail spend management, and the latter tends to focus on strategic procurement areas such as analytics, sourcing, category and supply market intelligence, and contract management support. Increasingly, a number of CoEs are focused on both areas, whether run and administered internally or in an outsourced manner — sometimes only in part — by a business process outsourcing (BPO) partner such as Accenture or GEP.

Yet even with the help of these outsourced partners, procurement shared services teams and CoEs have not had up to this point a purpose-built technology solution to manage their own operations. SAP Ariba is hoping to change this with its new Procurement Desk product. Available in March to limited release customers and in the summer months to all SAP Ariba customers, Procurement Desk has big plans to improve the capability of shared services teams and CoEs to deliver value and drive continuous improvement.

Based on demonstration sessions, presentations and analyst discussions at SAP Ariba Live in March 2018, this Spend Matters PRO research brief introduces the initial release of Procurement Desk, explores some of SAP Ariba’s ambitions for future releases based on the product roadmap and offers our initial analysis of the new offering, along with recommendations for SAP Ariba customers. A subsequent PRO research brief will provide a generalized CoE operating framework spanning all areas that procurement shared services groups can address with SAP Ariba’s current and planned capabilities for targeting this market.

SolutionMap Subscriptions and Practitioner Selection Programs: A Primer and Sneak Peek at Q1 2018 SolutionMap [PRO]

Earlier today Spend Matters released its Q1 2018 SolutionMap. The release now comprises six technology areas with individual vendor rankings (spend and procurement analytics, sourcing, supplier management, contract lifecycle management, e-procurement and invoice-to-pay) and three composite suite views (strategic procurement technologies, procure-to-pay and source-to-pay).

Our goal with SolutionMap is very different from what other analyst firms seek to achieve with their ranking systems. This is apparent even at our “free” level. The SolutionMap approach starts by releasing the ranking charts in the public domain, providing multiple persona-based views of vendor capability (45 comparative 2/2 matrices in total for the Q1 2018 release). We take a truly data-driven approach to plotting vendors, where an “average” score positions a provider in the dead center of a chart. SolutionMap ranking charts also make it easy to distinguish analyst scoring from customer scoring, plotting the data on separate analyst and customer axes. Finally, the Q1 2018 release actually reflects the time frame of its publication: We update the underlying data set and charts for SolutionMap on a quarterly basis.

Admittedly, the “free” stuff is designed to pique your interest. Unlike some of our peers in the analyst world, we have not made SolutionMap “reprint friendly” for the maximum number of vendors through grade inflation. Why? Because in the world of procurement technology, not everyone is “above average” like the children of Lake Wobegon. There’s an average, and there’s a deviation from average — positive and negative. Obfuscating these deviations might produce charts that make people feel good about buying decisions up front, but other than a near-term CYA, how useful will these be in the long run for those relying on them for, well, anything?

At the new SolutionMap subscriber level — separate from Spend Matters PRO — the tangible value of SolutionMap becomes even clearer. At this level, we unpack the underlying data we show for the analyst scoring by rated sub-category. For example, in the Supplier Management SolutionMap, you can see individual, tiered-based scoring for capabilities such as master data management (MDM), supplier onboarding support, core supplier information management (SIM) and supplier performance management, among other areas. Customer ratings (e.g., level of value perceived, quick deployment, ROI) are also visible.

To see the full level of data available to SolutionMap subscribers, check out the currently available reports from the Q1 2018 release:

There are views of the data beyond those provided in these reports (e.g., tiered-based scoring and ranked scoring for all sub-components that comprise an area, such as master data management within the Supplier Management report). Per our competitive intelligence policy, however, we reserve this view for practitioners going through a selection process (or the consultancies advising them), with strict licensing. This prevents comparative information from falling into the hands of competing vendors participating in SolutionMap. We take intellectual property protection and data privacy, for providers and practitioners, very seriously here at Spend Matters; otherwise, we’d find ourselves out of business quickly.

So, how exactly does all of this work? Read on as we unpack a SolutionMap Insider-level example within Supplier Management from the Q1 2018 SolutionMap. Specifically, we compare Jaggaer with Jaggaer Advantage (formerly BravoSolution) to showcase how it all works.

LegalSifter: Vendor Introduction, Analysis and SWOT [PRO]

forced labor

Contract lifecycle management is becoming a priority in many procurement organizations for several reasons. First, sourcing activity is increasingly driven by contract renewals on various types of managed services agreements. Second, sourcing results (e.g., savings) only matter when executed against a contract that gets matched against. Third, outside-in supply risks are ever-present and must be monitored, but a lot of risk is buried within historical contracts in the portfolio. 

As such, managing contracts intelligently is going to require a lot more than just the ability to draft new contracts efficiently and analyze simple header-level contract metadata. It's going to require the ability to analyze contracts efficiently and effectively (i.e., deeply) to determine if they contain specific clause language, address identified regulations or fall into certain categories based on specific business rules.

This is going to require a whole new class of contract analytics that until now was only offered by a few big players, like Seal Software (the clear leader in the buy-side contract analytics space who we’ve covered for years), Exari (CLM app with demonstrated AI capabilities) and, to a limited extent, Icertis. Due to the value such solutions would provide, however, a new breed of vendors, including Kira Systems, RAVN (iManage), LawGeex, Luminance, LegalRobot, Counselytics and LegalSifter, are rising up to offer this service. They are all focused on broader contract analytics (i.e., not just the buy side) and each offers a unique market focus and approach to the problem.

In this Vendor Snapshot, we’ll focus on LegalSifter and its technical approach to the problem.

Group Purchasing Organizations: Supplier Perspectives and the Evolving GPO Landscape [PRO]

Joining a GPO is like getting a Costco membership. You know you’re not going to get ripped off, so you probably won’t put much thought into joining. But therein lies the rub for GPO members. Like Costco, a GPO is a one-size-fits-all marketplace where you may overbuy when you get there or underbuy by not getting there at all.

In an increasingly Amazon-dominated world, however, this model is not the only available option.Today, the assortment and pricing of items available to consumers are tuned to the user and monetized most efficiently by intermediaries that can source better and optimize for lowest total landed costs better than individual buyers. Procurement organizations are now looking to bring this experience to the complex world of B2B purchasing. And where GPOs fit into this more sophisticated equation is not a simple answer (many are still trying to figure it out themselves). 

But that doesn’t mean GPOs will go the way of the 1980s big box retailer. Instead, GPOs will have to take on a role beyond the race to the lowest price. This multipart Spend Matters PRO series explains what motivates GPOs and helps procurement organizations best decide when and how to engage them. In this second installment (see our initial GPO introduction), we explore GPOs from a supplier perspective and offer recommendations for vendors working through GPOs to make these relationships more successful. We also explore how GPO options and capabilities are evolving and segment the GPO market by model and type and provide case example looks at different GPO business models. These include vertical/industry independent, member-owned, horizontal, affinity, category-specific and procurement technology led GPO models. 

Vendorful: Vendor Introduction, Analysis and SWOT [PRO]

Just after suite providers claimed victory in the sourcing software arena for the value and optionality of combining integrated source-to-contract and source-to-pay capabilities, a backlash occurred. Many upstart sourcing provides, including ScoutRFP, Keelvar, Market Dojo and EC Sourcing, saw new customer acquisition growth that is at least on par with, if not increasing faster than, suites themselves.

Within this mix, we can add a “new” software firm to the mix. This sourcing provider is Vendorful, which now offers an RFX and reverse auction solution for middle-market companies that want to embark on — or accelerate — their RFX and reverse auction strategic sourcing journey. Vendorful rounds out these capabilities with basic supplier information management and contract tracking. Primary competitors include EC Sourcing, Keelvar, Market Dojo and ScoutRFP, although Vendorful differentiates itself from the market through its ease-of-use and user design.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on Vendorful and its capabilities. It includes an overview of Vendorful’s solution set, a perspective on what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a SWOT analysis and a selection requirements checklist for organizations that might consider the provider.