Jim Wetekamp at BravoSolution Connect – New Product Enhancements in Advantage Platform

We started our coverage of the BravoSolution Connect customer conference last week, and as well as our exclusive here, my Spend Matters US colleague Pierre Mitchell wrote an excellent article giving his views of the event, ranging from Iron Maiden to knowledge-based platforms, from Domino’s Pizza to Bravo’s new platform. Do read it here! But today we will focus on Jim Wetekamp’s CEO keynote speech. He has been in charge at BravoSolution for nine months now, and he seems very comfortable in the CEO role – not surprising as he was a veteran of the firm and was heavily involved in key product and commercial matters before he took over last October.

His speech last week was mainly around the new product enhancements and the new Bravo Advantage platform, which brings the whole range of Bravo capability together in a single platform. It is “strategic, integrated, lifecycle driven, cross-functional and collaborative”, he says.

Strategically, that puts the supplier at the centre of the user's world, and focuses on the whole procurement life-cycle. Supplier Value Management is the terminology that is being used here, which means having a clear and broad view of the buying organisation's relationship with the supplier, and how they are contributing to savings and other business objectives. So that brings together savings management, spend analysis data, risk related information, sourcing including current tenders and similar events, contract management and performance data. (This is how Bravo represents this graphically - click to expand).

Bravo Advantage

 

 

 

We like that approach, and indeed a while back we wrote a briefing paper titled Putting the Supplier At The Heart of Procurement Thinking (download it here). The enhancements within the new platform include a stronger focus on savings planning, tracking and reporting, and bringing the optimisation (market informed sourcing or MIS) module that was relatively stand alone into the core platform – that's now called “Sourcing Plus”. As well as helping to win new business, Bravo will hope they can exploit this capability with more current clients, many of whom we suspect have not made as much use of MIS as they could.

SVM starts with onboarding, and a focus on applying segmentation in terms of how we want to deal with suppliers - that feeds into other aspects of the platform such as the type of performance management you apply. Wetekamp also majored on partnering with customers. Although this is a new technology platform, he stressed Bravo’s intent to work in partnership with customers on business case development, change management, supplier enablement, assisted events, and employee education and training. (That plays well with their traditional strength in terms of “customer intimacy” which differentiates them from some other competitors).

Then, as we reported last week, Wetekamp talked about the next release, scheduled for “second half of this year”. He mentioned a number of further developments, such as a new user interface, a savings tracker, and improved contract management capability. But the point that got everyone talking was the move into “source to pay” capabilities, as we discussed here; supporting the transactional procurement cycle rather than what we might call the strategic sourcing process which is where the firm has previously focused.

The argument has been that there is no inherent reason why a user should have both those processes served by the same provider and platform. There are touch points, but a bit of integration can address that issue. Philosophically, we tend to agree. However, it seems enough organisations are now looking for that integrated source to pay solution, that BravoSolution hit a tipping point where the firm decided they just needed to be able to offer that to folk who really want it. And whilst it may not be essential, clearly there are few negatives about having such an integrated platform – as long as all the elements are actually appropriate and meet the needs in their own right.

Previously, when potential clients demanded it, BravoSolution has met that requirement for a full source to pay platform via partnerships with various other firms, and according to Wetekamp that will continue where it makes sense. But developing their own capability gives BravoSolution more flexibility and puts the firm in control of their own destiny. Rather than building this functionality themselves, however, they have chosen Verian to do the development work on the new requisitioning, catalogue and invoicing modules. Verian is one of the firms that our US Spend Matters colleagues have long admired for the strength of their technology, so at first sight it looks like a good choice. It does raise a few questions though, which we will no doubt come back to, in terms of how that Bravo/Verian relationship will work.

We will have to wait and see what the new S2P elements look like before we get too excited; but as well as being interesting news for current and potential clients, this obviously has competitive implications for a wide range of firms, from Proactis to SAP, from Coupa to Selectica / Iasta. The conference last week demonstrated again that the firm excels at developing really strong client relationships – as we saw from very positive sessions led by a whole range of customers. Indeed, the new platform is already being used by some, who are giving positive feedback, which all bodes well for containing BravoSolution success.

 

Discuss this:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.