Keelvar, Invu and Neurored – more on our new friends from eWorld

Let’s get into some of the more interesting new boys and girls we met at eWorld recently in a little more detail.

Keelvar is a young company which has come out of Cork University in Ireland. Alan Holland, its founder, is a mathematician and computer scientist, so you may not be surprised to learn it is into technology to support clever sourcing optimisation or MIS (market informed sourcing) as I call it. Now this isn’t new – regular readers will have seen Trade Extensions and CombineNet (the two pure-play firms in this space) as well as BravoSolution, Emptoris and Iasta all mentioned here as providers whose software has that sort of capability.

But Keelvar’s proposition is all about making MIS technology simpler to use, so that it is more accessible to a wider range of organisations and users. So it appears to be having some success getting it into the UK and Irish public sectors for instance – and not something those other firms have really managed yet.  (Interestingly, it has the HM Government logo on its website as a client, as well as the United Nations, Cork and Essex Councils, etc.)

It is promoting the angle that MIS can be used to help ensure smaller firms, for instance, have a fair chance to win business. Certainly, this approach enables the buyer to run more complex tenders, which gives the opportunity perhaps to disaggregate the requirement into smaller ‘lots,’ giving smaller potential suppliers more chance of winning.  And from a two-minute glance, the user interface certainly looks good – we will take a closer look and report further over the next few weeks.

I also met Neurored’s founder, Ricardo Medem.  He has moved from Spain to England to head up expansion into English-speaking territories (including the US).  “Neurored vision is to provide the next  E-Business Apps generation for global trade, procurement, supply and logistics by leveraging Cloud Computing and Big Data technologies.”

You can tell by that sentence from its website that this a firm that wants to position itself at the cutting edge of technology latest thinking!  The products are a range of modules that address logistics, supply chain, sales and procurement applications – including marketplaces and catalogue systems, planning tools, RFPs and other sourcing tools.  There is a strong focus on international trade, shipping and logistics, so tools also include export / import management, shipment documentation and similar.

What is most interesting here is that the suite is built on the salesforce.com platform. So anyone using Salesforce can instantly access the Neurored products – and there is also the ability to link with other apps available on the platform that can be used alongside Neurored.  Software & Business as a Service (S&BaaS) is the terminology here. Complementary apps include Conga Composer, which creates customized documents and contracts, and MapAnything which ... maps anything!

Now we’re stretching my technology understanding here – but this is moving the business software world towards the way we buy and use apps on our i-Phone or i-Pad. Perhaps the future will see different procurement software options accessible as easily as downloading the Flappy Bird app to your phone?  Anyway, Neurored is clearly another firm Spend Matters needs to look at more closely over the next few months.

Finally, we met ABBYY and Invu.  ABBYY is a large firm that provides document management systems, data capture and translation software and related products. But Invu is perhaps more interesting for us. It started out very much in the document management space with systems to read paper documents, and customised invoice processing solutions aimed at the mid-market.

But it is now expanding into wider purchase-to-pay solutions for the mid-market. The logic is that, in a sense, and particularly for small and midsized firms, purchase to pay is as much about workflow and document management as anything – the handing of physical (as well as digital) purchase orders, invoices and so on.

And often its clients don’t have a procurement department. Some have never tried to automate the purchasing process, others may have tried to work with a Purchase Order system, added onto an ERP implementation, but it often fails because of a lack of structured processes to underpin the technology. So Invu has launched a simple, user-friendly PO processing and invoicing solution, designed to be easy to use for non-experts in those devolved buying situations, who don’t have the time or inclination to work through the pain of a full bells and whistles P2P system.

It’s an interesting way of looking at things. Its offering is still maturing and developing, so most of its clients currently have deployed the software, but next steps will move towards a portal and cloud model. And that mid-market has huge opportunity, we suspect – certainly another firm to watch.

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