Category Dojo – a new product from Market Dojo

If all the surveys and predictions are correct, topics such as supplier relationship management, capturing supplier  innovation, and collaboration are set to be priorities for procurement through 2014. But we also know that the tools  available to support this sort of activity are not as well developed as ( for instance) those available in the areas of sourcing or purchase to pay.

So when we saw Market Dojo at the eWorld event in the Autumn promoting a new product called Innovation Dojo, we were interested and (eventually) caught up with Nick Drewe and Alun Rafique, founders of the firm, for a chat and a look at what they’ve been up to.

Market Dojo is now four years old, and has grown steadily, doubling in each of the last couple of years – it’s still largely the three founders plus a range of outsourced support (developers, admin and marketing support) but revenues should be over £500K in 2014. Their basic premise remains to provide easy to use, cloud-based sourcing and related tools, priced very competitively. Auctions is the area where Market Dojo is principally known, but their sourcing product is more than that, covering RFIs, RFQs, tendering and similar options.

As well as the original Market  Dojo (sourcing) product, the firm has recently launched two new products -  Innovation Dojo and Category Dojo. We’ll cover Category Dojo today, and come back to Innovation Dojo tomorrow.

Category Dojo was only launched in December, funded in part by the firm’s second grant from the Technology Strategy Board, but there are already a handful of ‘presold’  live users (generally users of the core product), covering major private sector firms and the public (housing) sector. It’s what we might define as a ‘expert system’ tool. It enables a category manager, or a procurement executive who has responsibility for a number of categories, to develop overall category prioritisation and plan, and suggests appropriate sourcing routes for each category.  As far as we know, it is the first SaaS tool of its type available (certainly in the UK).

So the user creates a portfolio of spend that defines the area to be considered (which might be the organisation’s total spend or a subset). The scope is then defined by the user in terms of individual categories or sub-categories, with spend levels, whether EU rules apply (public sector), currency and other key questions.  The user also responds to questions at category level, such as establishing long it is since the category was last addressed, number of incumbents,  market competition etc.

Algorithms within the platform then calculate the likely savings per category, and an assessment of the complexity / difficulty of addressing it. The platform also suggests which route might be most appropriate in terms of auction, RFQ, RFI (if the category is not mature enough for a direct competitive approach), or more public sector focused options where relevant such as competitive dialogue. Various charts and graphs can be produced, such as ‘bubble charts’ showing spend or savings potential versus complexity of category.

The tool is not positioned as the answer to all your category management problems - it is fairly limited in the sense that it is not an end to end, take you through the seven steps of CatMan tool, for instance. And the output depends to a large extent on the data entered, of course. But for users at a relatively early stage of introducing category management, it would be a very useful tool for starting to prioritise and consider approaches within the overall category programme.

And the cost makes it even more attractive. Market Dojo are following a ‘freemium’ model, so you can actually do some analysis free, then a single user licence is just £1,000 a year (with a sliding scale for more users, so £400 a user for 10 licences, for example).  So there’s a real encouragement to give it a try.

And we'll be back with more on Innovation Dojo later this week.

First Voice

  1. Grant Millard:

    Interesting article. The comment regarding Category Dojo being the first SaaS tool of its type available is incorrect. Vendigital has a SaaS based application since 2006 called ‘Procurement Optimiser’ (http://vendigital.com/software/optimiser) which, based on the article, has all said functionality and more. Bearing in mind that Mark Dojo founders Alun and Nick are ex-Vendigital employees, I am somewhat surprised that that are marketing Category Dojo as being a new innovation

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