Coupa and IBM Announce Partnership – What Does it Mean?

There was an interesting announcement at the IBM Empower annual procurement event last week from Coupa and IBM about co-operation between the two firms. A broader sales and distribution partner agreement was announced, one built on top of a previous partnership between the two software vendors. IBM’s procurement technology is centred around the old Emptoris product suite, which is strong in sourcing, contract management and related areas but does not really include purchase to pay capability. Coupa of course made their name with their purchase to pay platform – catalogue, ordering, invoicing etc. So there is an obvious fit there, […]

Jules Goddard and The Fatal Bias – Essential Reading for Procurement

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This week we’re catching up on the recent Procurious Big Ideas Summit (see here for initial coverage) with a series of articles around the people and discussions we heard there. Let’s start today with Jules Goddard of the London Business School, who facilitated the event with charm and insight. Goddard also wrote an article last year, which whilst it was not pitched purely at a procurement audience, is essential reading for anyone interested in where procurement is heading. In The Fatal Bias, which won the “Management Article of the Year Award”* he discusses a recent study from two Deloitte consultants […]

IACCM Europe Forum 2015 – Encouraging Everyone To Think ‘Outside the Rules’


The International Association for Contract & Commercial Management (IACCM) is hosting its Europe Forum 2015 on June 15 - 17 at The Hurlingham Club, London. The IACCM is the "only think tank, research and practitioner body focused on advancing contracting and commercial practices and has more than 30,000 members from more than 150 countries and 10,000 organisations, and is the leading collaborative community for the sales contracting, procurement, commercial management and legal functions. As a non-profit organisation it provides executives and practitioners with advisory, research and benchmarking services, and worldwide training and certification for professionals." Its goal is "to establish […]

Spend Matters 50/50: Ivalua – A Provider To Know in 2015

We announced here and here our two (not ranked) lists: Spend Matters 50 To Know and 50 To Watch firms for 2015/2016. In the first case, this is our view of the 50 solution provider type organisations in the procurement industry that every senior procurement leader should be aware of and understand. The 50 To Watch are the up-and-coming firms  - those with interesting and relatively new solutions for our market. The 50 To Know are the key organisations in our industry that procurement executives need to have on their radar. Having announced the lists, our US colleagues are now featuring each of the […]

The Latest in Negotiation – Understand Behaviour to Achieve Success

If you've ever been on a old-style negotiation training course, you may have been taught the "opening offer" tactic. So let's assume you are the buyer, and you expect to pay £100 per item as the price for whatever it is you're buying. That would be a fair price, in your view. You sit down with the sales person, and before they have a chance to say much, you're straight in there with your opening offer. "Right, I'm looking to pay around £20 for this," you say. The sales person of course looks aghast, their jaw drops, they may fall […]

What Does the End of the Maude Era Mean for the Crown Commercial Service?

What is the future for the Crown Commercial Service? With the new government bedding in, we have a new “Minister for Procurement”, Matt Hancock. He is close to George Osborne, worked in his family’s small business before getting into politics, and is clearly a bright chap – degrees from Oxford and Cambridge. Our sources say he is ambitious, and will be looking for a Cabinet post in a couple of years, so he may see this as a stepping stone, not a long-term crusade (which was how his predecessor, Francis Maude, saw it). He “likes to take a relatively small […]

Exploring Apttus: A Next-Generation ‘Ariba’ and ‘Siebel’ Wrapped up in One for Procurement and Sales? [PRO]


This is Part 2 of our PRO analysis of Apttus. It is easy to make the argument that what Coupa has done in building out a fully integrated source-to-pay (S2P) suite is to take a few cards from the Ariba playbook and simply improve on the overall user experience and value proposition for a cloud-native world vs. one ported from the initial web business applications era (the same could be said, albeit with different nuances for different, high-growth vendors in the S2P and P2P sectors including Ivalua, BuyerQuest and others). But are Coupa and other next generation Ariba competitors bringing something actually “new” to the table – a fundamentally different value proposition? Not yet, at least in our book. But Apttus, a high-growth provider that comes from the sell side, which we started to preview earlier this week, appears poised to do something truly radical for procurement suites. This Spend Matters PRO analysis marks the continuation and final installment of our initial coverage of Apttus and why procurement organizations (and others) should be paying very close attention to what is about to come.

Apttus: Beyond CLM – A P2P Provider About To Seriously Challenge Ariba, Coupa, Ivalua and Others [PRO]


Apttus. We admit the name does not exactly roll off the procurement tongue – at least not yet – but the Spend Matters research team believes that the firm is the most important new procurement solution company you’ll be hearing about this year. This Spend Matters PRO brief, based on our recent attendance at the Apttus 3-day customer event in San Francisco, explores context and background on the entrance of the P2P provider into the procurement solutions market. Among other areas, we explore why practitioners, consultants and competitors should be paying close attention to Apttus, not the least reason of which is that the solution is built and architected on the platform, which is now referred to as the “Salesforce1 Platform,” and which provides instant compatibility out of the box into hundreds of other applications including CRM, marketing automation, customer support and other solutions. Buy side meets sell side? Yes, you got it (a dream that Ariba and SAP would love to achieve, but have only taken small steps to enabling, despite starting out light-years ahead of other vendors in the space).

Unimarket Moves Beyond Higher Education in the P2P Sector [PRO]


In our previous installment of this PRO research brief, we looked at Unimarket, its core vertical focus and the first tier of its business model for suppliers, the free solution. The premium offering expands on these features and offers additional abilities. In Spend Matters opinion, this solution is good enough to pay attention to and has been recognized and put to use in several industries and markets, not just in higher education. It is well worthy of consideration in other verticals as you look for a source-to-settle solution.

Higher Education – Still A Niche “Procure-To-Pay” Area [PRO]


Not all procure-to-pay (P2P) providers are active in the higher education space, even though business needs and practices aren't that different from the "regular" commercial sector. As competition increases, inevitably we will see new entrants coming into this vertical, and interestingly in case of this article, from across the globe. Although originally out of New Zealand, Unimarket has established itself as one of the leaders in P2P solutions for higher education in North America. This is Part 1 in our PRO series on Unimarket, stay tuned tomorrow for Part 2.

Best of Spend Matters Network – Week of April 27 [Plus +]


Welcome to another edition of our best of roundup – a compilation of our most noteworthy and talked about articles published this week around the Spend Matters Network. Check out M&A and Amazon news on Spend Matters and find out what public procurement can learn from private organizations over on Public Spend Matters Europe. MetalMiner gives us a lesson on exponential technologies and Trade Financing tells us how the SEC custody rule is impacting finance.

Peeling the New Amazon Business Marketplace Onion: Part 1 – Selection, Pricing and Experience [PRO]

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In our previous post on Amazon Business (an expansion of Amazon Supply), we discussed the basics of the new release and model in its current form. But, there’s much more to this story for procurement professionals – good and bad. After spending time with members of the Amazon team, and “reading through the tea leaves” from both these conversations and other sources, there are some critical factors to consider for buyers, sellers and technology partners when they “dance with the [Seattle] bear.” Some of these are specifically commercial, and others are more strategic (IP protection, for instance). We’ll also highlight some no-brainer short-term opportunities and some more strategic opportunities and issues. For example, Amazon Business is currently an e-marketplace and not an e-commerce platform that facilitates non-intermediated commerce. Yet that doesn’t mean Amazon couldn’t become a true “platform” intermediary leveraging the technical components of the IaaS and PaaS side of the company house. Such a scenario could be closer than many might think (e.g., consider Mechanical Turk in relation to emerging contingent work platforms or think about Amazon Home Services/TaskRabbit applied to fixed-fee B2B services). Anyway, I’m foreshadowing too much. Let’s get started and dive in. In the first part of this PRO research series, we’ll focus on selection, pricing and user experience as well as highlight 10 shortfalls (or “opportunities,” if you will) in the solution stack that warrant serious consideration.