Technology Content

Financial Supply Chain 2017: Cubs and Uber and Blockchain, Oh My!

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from SAP Ariba.

Innovation and change seem almost seasonal in the world of consumer payments, as new options and approaches pop up like dandelions in the spring. B2B payments, however, seem to occupy a parallel universe where time stands still and innovation is as likely as the Chicago Cubs winning a World Series.

But the times, they are a changin’. The Cubs pulled off the seemingly impossible and snagged a championship after a 108-year drought. And innovations in the financial supply chain that seemed impossible only a few years ago are finally falling into place — and they promise to change the face of B2B payments. What can you expect to see in the year ahead? Here are four predictions.

Following Up on SAP Fieldglass Flex: The New VMS for Mid-Sized Organizations

services procurement

In December, Spend Matters covered SAP Fieldglass’ launch of its new product, SAP Fieldglass Flex. The new offering is effectively a VMS designed specifically for mid-sized organizations. Existing enterprise VMS solutions have tended to be too complex and costly for mid-sized businesses. And although some enterprise VMS solutions may have achieved some limited penetration in the mid-market, we believe none has been (1) designed from the ground-up specifically for this purpose, (2) benefited from best practices knowledge of a leading enterprise VMS and (3) had the support of one of the largest global software players. Given the above, we thought it was important to go a bit deeper into understanding Flex and were able to have a conversation with Rob Brimm, President of SAP Fieldglass, to gather more details about the product.

Artificial Intelligence in Contract Management (Part 4: Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning)


In this final installment of our series on artificial intelligence in contract management, we turn our attention to natural language processing (NLP). In earlier posts in this series, I mentioned chatbots and the Turing test, both of which require NLP. I also mentioned machine learning and the process of classifying text to the domain-specific ontologies that model commercial knowledge. At this point, you may have wondered, “Yeah, but how the heck do I actually model and extract all of this knowledge out of our existing contract documents in the first place?”

Artificial Intelligence in Contract Management: Considerations for Practitioners (Part 1)

In case you haven't noticed, artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming a very big deal in business. And there is perhaps no area where the impact of AI systems (i.e., systems that exhibit intelligent behavior) will be felt more than in legal departments and, more broadly, in the area of managing contracts. Consider the enormity of collective knowledge that makes up commercial law and amount of money spent translating the semi-structured “legalese” that enshrouds what should be logical business constructs that sit at the core.

SciQuest: Competing in Multiple Procurement Technology Market Segments — Year-End Tech Review


This post is part of our 2016 Year-End Procurement Tech Review, in which we offer procurement practitioners a bird’s-eye view of some key vendors and their solutions in select categories. This is the last week of this series, and today we’re highlighting a company in the procurement technology space.

While it is possible to label SciQuest as a procurement technology suite vendor (source-to-pay, source-to-contract and procure-to-pay), the reality is that SciQuest competes in multiple, infrequently overlapping segments of the procurement technology market. To date, SciQuest has generally had different sets of customers, prospects and different competitors for its core P2P product. This stands in contrast to many of its peers, which have generally chosen to focus on fewer market segments rather than more.

Determine: Re-Platforming for the S2P Future — Year-End Tech Review

Determine Inc.

Determine, a procurement suite technology vendor that is in the process of releasing a re-platformed solution (incorporating Selectica, b-pack and Iasta) onto a single code base and stack, has done a remarkable amount to bring multiple solutions together in a unified platform in a limited development timeframe. Procure to pay (P2P), contract lifecycle management (CLM) and supplier management (with limited sourcing) are fully available on a single platform today. By the end of 2016, Spend Matters analysis suggests that the new platform will have sufficient basic sourcing capability included, which will continue to be enhanced in 2017.

Integrating SAP MM and P2P: When ERP and E-Procurement Must Do a Two-Step ‘Buy’ Together


Spend Matters recently spoke with a large procurement organization whose IT group is supporting 50 locations globally with an SAP implementation, as well as a third-party purchase-to-pay (P2P) solution and supplier network deployed on top of it, leveraging the underlying MM components for core automation. The lessons we learned from the discussion speak to the importance — and beauty — of thinking through all of the details when it comes to thinking through ERP and procurement systems integration, especially when multiple systems will be handling different aspects of transactional procurement.

ShiftPixy Wants to Slay the Gig Economy Compliance-Risk Dragon


ShiftPixy has recently appeared as another blip on our gig economy radar screen. Incorporated in Wyoming in June 2015 and now headquartered in Irvine, California, the company describes itself as “a disruptive Next Gen GIG Economy provider of unique insurance products, regulatory compliance services, proprietary human administration tools and variable labor force provider, that plans to enable unemployed, under-employed or part-time and/or full-time individuals to apply for variable shift work from businesses in their local market.”

Maven, an ‘Expertise-as-a-Service’ Platform: WIP of the Week


Maven, launched in 2008 in San Francisco, is a work intermediation platform business that provides enterprises with a set of knowledge-based services, utilizing various populations or communities of expert talent (Mavens). In a high-velocity, specialized information economy, rapidly obtaining very specific, reliable information from domain experts can be critical to the success of programs/initiatives (for example, developing a new drug).

Reinventing Supplier Data and Intelligence Businesses: The Premise


The supplier data and information business is broken. The Spend Matters analyst team came up with this premise when we saw that a number of well-known supplier content and enrichment providers had no reason being on the 50 to Know and 50 to Watch lists this year. Our research and discussions suggest that incumbent providers in this sector have lost the confidence of the market, their clients and even members of their organizations in their ability to deliver solutions that hit the mark. Time has stopped for some — they are selling solutions better suited for the year 2005 than 2015.

What Procurement Processes are Organizations Automating the Most?


When it comes to automating procurement processes, the automation of invoicing receipt and processing is most widespread, according to a recent survey. About 50% of procurement and finance professionals surveyed by spend control and e-procurement solution provider Proactis reported a high level of automation in invoicing processes within their organization. Additionally, 14% said their invoicing systems were fully automated. Automating purchase-to-pay (P2P) processes was also popular, with 43% of respondents reporting a high level of automation and 25% saying their P2P process was fully automated.

Opternative, a Kind of Uber for Eye Exams: WIP of the Week


Opternative, commercially launched in Chicago in 2015, is the provider of a highly innovative — and potentially disruptive — platform that allows people to have their eye exams performed online using a technology application the company developed starting in 2013. The technology (refractive eye exam) was the basis for the now patented business applications developed by the company’s founders. The online eye exam outputs are reviewed through a network of ophthalmologists, who also work online.