Empower Dispatch: Procuri's Product Direction (Part 1)

As Spend Matters readers have probably already gathered, I always like when vendors err on the side of disclosure versus forcing the media and analysts to read between the lines (or blur the lines as the case way me). So you can imagine how refreshing Empower was given Procuri's level of disclosure -- from their financials to product roadmaps (and just about everything in between). They even allowed me unscripted and unplanned time with customers. This type open access says a lot about the vendor and what they stand for. I should add that Ariba disclosed just as much at LIVE, but they are a different animal, given the fact that their shares are traded on the open market.

One of the more useful main stage presentations on the second day of the event was a dialogue between Steve Brooke, Procuri's CTO, and Tim Minahan. The focus of this discussion was to highlight, in an entertaining way, Procuri's product roadmap and direction, focusing on recent and near-term enhancements. Starting with the visibility and analytics capability gained through their TrueSource acquisition, Procuri's recently added features include category data management, spend analysis, and classification. This includes a self-service tool set that enables the acquisition, processing, and classification of spend data without the need for significant outside services help. Supporting this capability is a rules-engine which enables auto-classification to a certain degree (though every vendor, including Procuri, will admit that auto-classification tools will never enable 100% classification of a company's spend).

On the sourcing front, Procuri has added enhanced project management capabilities into its 5.0 release. These are "not bolted on, but embedded in the application itself," according to Brooke. This management cockpit also enables the capture of cycle time metrics which one can role up into a dashboard and reporting tool, which is also a recent addition (and impressive, from the main stage demonstration that they showed). It reminds me a bit of Ariba's reporting and category management capabilities, to be honest. In addition, Procuri has added advanced surveying capabilities which support 14 different types of questions. A customer might create an ISO or TS survey, for example, to better understand supplier quality and production processes.

From a negotiation and decision support perspective, Procuri now offers a very intuitive, easy-to-use optimization module (it was not clear to me if this is part of the core sourcing module, or something which is sold additionally). Now even Procuri would admit their optimization capabilities do not go as far as a CombineNet, but that's not their goal. Rather, they want to enable a basic level of optimization that any procurement professional can use for basic decision support (e.g., minimizing costs while reserving a certain amount of spend for an incumbent or minority supplier). Emptoris is definately still ahead at this point in this regard, but Procuri's capability might be enough for organizations wanting only basic self-service decision support capabilities.

To be continued ...

Jason Busch

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