Implementing Procurement Efficiency / Cost Reduction Programmes – Aggregation and Negotiation


As we said here, we are in a period of considerable economic and political uncertainty for many businesses and indeed public sector organisations too.  Uncertainty […]

Volkswagen Supplier Dispute – Supply Chain “Good Practice” May Have Contributed To Problems


We wrote yesterday about the dispute between Volkswagen and two of its key suppliers which has led to production of Golf cars being suspended for […]

Strategic Supplier Management Is Procurement’s Next Innovation Frontier

dan-bal high res

We are delighted to post this article from guest author Daniel Ball, director at eProcurement specialist, Wax Digital. Better supplier relationship management (SRM) has always been […]

The Olympics – Money Always Matters, in Procurement as Well as Sport

Olympics marathon

In the UK, the Olympics has been a welcome diversion from the pressures of Brexit, a collapsed opposition Labour Party, a new Prime Minister and […]

Volkswagen Supplier Dispute – Production Halted, VW Sends in the Bailiffs


The current dispute involving Volkswagen and two of its key suppliers looks like going down in the annals of procurement and supplier relationship management history, […]

Ariba’s Alex Atzberger and Jason Busch on the ‘Golden Age of Procurement’


Over on our sister Spend Matters US site, there is an interesting two-part discussion between Jason Busch, Spend Matters founder, and Alex Atzberger, SAP Ariba […]

Directworks: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses [PRO]


The market for direct materials procurement technology and suites is well established in Western Europe. In North America, manufacturing is a component of a more complex GDP equation. Perhaps this is more of a political statement than anything else: Countries like Germany depend on manufacturing as the basis of their economy, the US less so today. Yet Directworks is one of a small number of providers attempting to create a separate market in North America that carves out source-to-contract (S2C) — and in the case of competitors, source-to-pay (S2P) — capabilities for direct spend from generic procurement technology providers.In many areas, direct procurement solution providers are as different from regular procurement technology suite vendors as a vendor management system (VMS) is from e-procurement. Granted, in certain components, there is material overlap with generic tools. But manufacturers will understand the difference between purpose-built solutions and regular procurement suites immediately (although whether they will budget for a specialized solution is a different question entirely).

This Spend Matters PRO vendor snapshot explores Directworks’ strengths and weaknesses in direct materials sourcing and related areas, providing facts and expert analysis to help manufacturers and procurement organizations decide if they should shortlist the provider. Part 1 of our analysis comprised a company and detailed solution overview and a SWOT analysis, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for what types of organizations should consider Directworks. The remaining parts of this multipart series will offer a user selection guide, user interface and experience (UI/UX) analysis, competitive alternatives and evaluation and selection considerations.

Directworks: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview [PRO]


In North America, the vast majority of procurement technology expenditure, by Spend Matters estimates, has been focused primarily on automating indirect and services procurement activities spanning from strategy to payment. It’s worth noting that the opposite is true in countries such as Germany, where manufacturing is the focus of the economy. This has made it challenging for direct materials-focused technology providers like Directworks (and competitors such as Pool4Tool and SynerTrade, both of which have a strong base among European manufacturers) to be seen as a “must have” toolset compared with areas like indirect procure-to-pay (P2P) solutions and even more targeted modular areas like contract lifecycle management (CLM).

Directworks, along with its peers, is hoping to change this. Founded as Co-eXprise in 2004 with a goal of building a new type of direct sourcing solution not yet available in the North American marketplace, Directworks has since evolved since. What started as a solution to integrate the new sourcing tools of the day (e.g., RFX, auctions, project management, dashboards) with bill of materials, supplier management and collaborative workflow management has been evolving into a direct materials sourcing workbench.

Since then, Directworks has replatformed with an emphasis on being purpose-built for direct materials sourcing and cost management. There are gaps: auctions and sourcing optimization are absent, user-based workflow configuration is limited and product information management (PIM) is minimal. But the sum of how the parts interoperate is of more pragmatic value than before and should capture the attention of manufacturers.

This Spend Matters PRO vendor snapshot provides a history and overview of the Directworks platform, including how it can support direct materials procurement efforts today. This multi-part research brief comprises a company and solution overview, company-level SWOT analysis, product strengths and weaknesses, competitive alternatives, a user selection guide and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Tamr: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary & Competitive Analysis [PRO]

data analytics

It’s possible to look at what Tamr is trying to do for procurement through multiple lenses. From one angle, Tamr is bringing a revamped approach to data management and data classification for basic procurement analytics. But from other angles, Tamr is pursuing a different end game entirely: attempting to expand procurement’s data-driven horizons from traditional spend analysis to broader supply analytics (which includes spend data). Supply analytics is about much more than looking at “how much we spent.” It’s about bringing in new datasets to procurement analytics and expanding the value procurement can deliver through: exploring drivers of activity, linking specific category-based datasets to measurement and strategy development, influencing future buying behavior, quantifying the strategic value of spend and supplier relationships and much more.

This is a significant shift. We like to joke around the Spend Matters office that traditional spend analysis approaches should really be called forensic “spent analysis.” This statement can be, of course, read in two ways. Literally, spent analysis is rear-facing — and of diminishing value over time. But one can also read the phrase as an indictment of the actual benefit of most spend analysis today, especially when compared to its true potential. After all, if our analytics approaches are “spent,” then maybe procurement’s value-add is similarly at risk.

This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering Tamr offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other spend analytics providers, as well as enterprise business intelligence vendors that are actually a better basis of comparison (if we want to move beyond “spent” analysis). It also includes a user selection guide, user interface and user experience (UI/UX) analysis and summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provide a company and deep dive solution overview, a SWOT analysis, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider Tamr.

BravoSolution & Puridiom Acquisition First Take: SWOT Analysis, Customer, Partner & Competitive Considerations [PRO]

Tradeshift Baiwang

BravoSolution, a procurement technology suite provider historically focused on delivering analytics, sourcing, supplier management and contract management solutions to private and public sector customers in Europe and North America, recently announced its acquisition of Puridiom, a procure-to-pay (P2P) technology provider. In the coming quarters, the transaction will broaden BravoSolution’s organic footprint and provide the organization with greater control over the future of developing an integrated source-to-pay (S2P) suite instead of having to rely on partner solutions to fill missing gaps. This Spend Matters PRO research brief provides a BravoSolution customer, partner and competitive landscape analysis and considerations based on the transaction, as well as a SWOT analysis (with the Puridiom asset).

Tamr: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses [PRO] Stock

It’s an unfortunate fact that the procurement industry rarely gets to take advantage of leading edge technologies before other functions. Sales, marketing, IT, HR and supply chain/operations are often the first within companies to play in the technology innovation sandbox. Consider customer data integration (CDI) technology, other big data applications (e.g., complex entity management/collaboration, optimization/solvers and workforce planning and measurement as just a start. Yet Tamr is helping to buck this trend, bringing one of the most powerful machine learning-based analytics platforms for managing structured and unstructured content to procurement (and other value chain areas) to show the power of the technology applied to spend, suppliers, categories and any other datasets where data complexity can drag down any procurement analytics efforts. Providing a technology vote of confidence, Google, Thomson Reuters and HP are all investors in Tamr.

This Spend Matters PRO vendor snapshot explores Tamr’s strengths and weaknesses in the spend analysis and supply analytics areas, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide if they should shortlist Tamr as a potential provider. Part 1 of our analysis comprised a company and detailed solution overview and a SWOT analysis, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for what types of organizations should consider Tamr. The remaining parts of this multipart series will offer a user selection guide, user interface (UI/UX) analysis, competitive alternatives and evaluation and selection considerations.

Flaming July and the Software Giants Catch Fire! [Plus +]

stock prices

After the events of June, with Brexit dominating the headlines, stock markets actually did pretty well in July. The Dow Global index was up 4% on the month and is now positive for the year, as are U.K. and U.S. markets. The month was also a good one for our portfolio of 20 firms that have an interest in procurement services and solutions. The portfolio was up almost 5% on the month, driven by some of the giants of the industry, as we’ll see. It is now 4.8% up year-to-date, slightly better than the global stock market index but still underperforming the general U.K. and U.S. indexes by still a percentage point or so.