Gartner Report on Strategic Sourcing Application Suites – Which Firm Has Been Hung, Drawn and Quartered*?

The latest Gartner "Magic Quadrant" related to our industry was published last week. It covers “Strategic Sourcing Application Suites” - so that means providers that can offer sourcing, contract management, supplier management and spend analytics. Some providers offer more within their suite,  but that is the core Gartner definition. I'm sure my expert technology colleagues in the US will be covering this in more depth shortly, but let's start with a few immediate comments here.

No-one making an important selection decision about software should rely purely on Gartner, but it is a useful indicator and a good starting point for discussion with your potential vendors. And there are a few shocks in this particular assessment. Probably the one that will get the most attention is the position of IBM/Emptoris, with the firm dropping well down on the “Ability to Execute” axis so they are no longer in the top right “Leaders” quadrant. (The two axes are "ability to execute" and "completeness of vision").

Last week, I spoke to someone who left a senior role at IBM recently. We weren't principally talking about the quadrant, but when we touched on this, his comment was, "not surprising, they haven't invested in it for the last two years". Whether that is true or not, it is hard to argue that Emptoris is better placed as a brand or product than it was two years ago, and it feels like IBM needs to think about some serious action here. As we have said before, IBM still has huge resources and capability, so that's far from an impossible task!

BravoSolution (click their sponsor banner on this page to get your copy of the Gartner report), Zycus and SAP/Ariba all come out with strong scores, although some observers may be surprised about one of those doing quite so well.

And it is good news for iValua in particular, which are in the top right quadrant, and Selectica, SynerTrade and Vortal will be reasonably pleased too I suspect. Those may be new names to many but not if you follow Spend Matters diligently. Vortal, who sponsor our Public Spend Matters Europe site, is a Portuguese firm with a really strong product suite particularly designed for and used by the public sector in Europe and South America. iValua is an originally French firm, now providing real competition to Coupa and SAP in the US and parts of Europe, and moving more strongly into the UK. Selectica is of course the parent company that acquired Iasta last year.

Other firms featured are GEP, Scanmarket, Mercado Elcectronico and Gatewit. Interestingly SAP (the non Ariba product) is way down in the “rating.”

Anyway, it is all good entertaining and interesting stuff, but as we say, if you are in the market for this or any other software, don’t purely rely on Gartner. Do your homework, take up references with existing clients, be clear about what you want, ask for demos based on what you want (rather than what they want to show you).

And of course read Spend Matters. Even our free material (particularly from our US site) covers these vendors and products better and in more detail than anyone. Our subscription service, PRO, has even more in-depth material on technology and vendors. If you spend a five-figure amount or more annually on procurement software, then I'd suggest a subscription to PRO will pay back, probably many times over!

* quartered = quadrant?  Geddit?

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