Procurement & supply chain technology reviews coming in the New Year

Even though my colleague Peter Smith still feels more comfortable reviewing music over the specifics of enabling procurement technologies (Peter Smith’s note – how dare you!  OK, you’re right),  I’m working with him on digging into the bits, bytes, technology architectures, functional capabilities and client reference of a range of Spend Management technology solution providers.

In the New Year, we’ll be featuring on Spend Matters UK / Europe reviews of a number of technology providers.  We’ll continue to look at vendors such as Intenda, which we started to profile early in the fall.  And we’ll go deep on a range of other sourcing providers including the likes of Emptoris, Trade Extensions, Iasta, CombineNet and BravoSolution in Q1 2011.

But we won’t ignore what I think is often a more messy and complicated area of procurement technology: purchase-to-pay systems.  P2P systems comprise a range of core enabling technologies and capabilities including eProcurement, invoice management (also known as electronic invoice presentation and payment or EIPP), supply chain finance / discounting and supplier connectivity / supplier networks.

Moreover, it also comprises a range of significant and just as critical 'plumbing' tools,  including capability to support supplier enablement / on-boarding, catalogue management, content/supplier search and overall reporting and analytics.  Got all that?  Good.  It certainly confused me for years before a light came on.

In our first exploration of P2P in the UK and Euruope, we’ll look at two European-headquarted vendors: Proactis and Science Warehouse.  Proactis is a relatively small P2P competitor to firms such as Ariba, SAP and Oracle but they deliver a comprehensive solution and have a significant installed user base in the UK and are expanding into the US.  Science Warehouse tackles a subset of the P2P market, focusing primarily on catalogue management and supplier enablement in the higher education and life sciences, biomedical and biotech areas.  (Peter has touched on their offering previously here). Their closest competitor is US-based SciQuest.

So check back in early January as we complement Peter’s music reviews with a bit of technology. I’ll try not to put everyone to sleep as we turn up the volume to eleven on perhaps the most important area of investment outside of people that companies and governments can make in the procurement area.

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