Technology Content

Rethinking Sourcing Suites and Their Sub Components — Gartner’s 2017 Magic Quadrant

Gartner recently came out with their 2017 Magic Quadrant for Strategic Sourcing Application Suite review. There was material movement from this year’s quadrant compared to the previous one that was published two years ago, and in this post we offer our commentary on it.

Without question, Gartner has some of the best minds in the technology research sector. But given the pace of technology providers’ innovation, our perspective is that the notion of publishing a report every two years is not terribly useful outside of the point-in-time snapshot — which may in fact be six months old by the time a report is published — that a comparative analysis provides. In the end, for better or worse, the Magic Quadrant becomes ubiquitous with IT professionals to shortlist vendors (and sometimes more) and often a CYA for procurement.

AllWork Launches Innovative On-Demand Work Platform for Retail and Brands

Officially launched this week, AllWork is a work platform that enables consumer brands to place brand/product freelancer specialists into assignments at stores of any number of different retail businesses. From our perspective, AllWork is a truly instructive example of how digital work platforms can and will enable completely new ways of arranging work.

ERP or Best-of-Breed? (Part 3): The Realistic Downsides of BoB

We began this series by reinvestigating the age-old question, “ERP or Best-of-Breed?” The semantics and the assumptions alone are problematic, so we had to throw a few clarifying questions out there first. Then we delved into how to put yourself into a strategic sourcing mindset to begin considering the issue — but we only began scratching the surface of the pros and cons of the various options!

ERP or Best-of-Breed? (Part 2): Look to Sourcing Best Practices for Best Software

In our opening salvo on the latest and greatest edition of the “ERP vs. Best-of-Breed?” issue, I mentioned that baseline definitions are critical to understanding the deeper problems inherent in the debate. Defining “best-of-breed” (What does best mean? What breed are we talking about? Must the breed be apps-only?) and “app suites” (Single app? Or a ‘sweet suite’?) is the first step of the process. That’s because there are multiple options between these two ends of the spectrum. And, it’s really important to understand that a single ERP provider (or even BoB suite provider) doesn’t equate to an integrated solution set, a single architecture or a common support model, among other things. So let’s start with how to optimally source this technology (and/or broader XaaS services) — by looking to strategic sourcing.

In Their Own Words: 5 Contingent Workforce Companies We’re Tracking in 2017

Last year was an exciting one for the contingent workforce procurement market. This year, according to our resident CW/S procurement expert Andrew Karpie, is unlikely to be a massive breakthrough year. “For the most part,” he wrote, “the developments and trends that we have seen taking shape in 2016 will continue, and maybe accelerate or attract greater interest by procurement practitioners.”

To keep the momentum going, we thought about the innovative solution providers in this market whose next steps we’re eagerly anticipating, and we shot over a simple question to them: What exciting things are you doing in 2017?

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.

3 Critical Choices for Making a Best-of-Breed Decision with CLM Solutions

Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) may seem like an application area that should be hardwired to an ERP system. Contracts are the ultimate commercial system of record, so they should be housed in an enterprise-wide software suite, available to everyone, right?

Not necessarily. Far from the elegant, centralized solution advertised, ERP suites have often fallen short. Their generic capabilities are often housed in functionally stovepiped modules that fail to meet the unique needs of various stakeholders. They can describe contract documents and have contract attachments, but they don’t understand the data and meaning of the contract clauses and language itself. This shortfall can lead to workarounds, customizations and frustration all around.

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)

NLP

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

SciQuest

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.