Thinking Beyond Procuri's TotalView

Last week at Empower, Procuri highlighted its "TotalView" dashboard and management console. While the concept of a Spend Management dashboard is nothing new -- Ariba, Emptoris, and others have had similar capabilities for some time -- Procuri appears to have a created a very intuitive and user-friendly approach to providing all relevant management and oversight information to users of the system. For example, executives can drill down on such areas as savings and cycle time metrics (by users or category), and category managers can gain insight into all the status of their projects, goals, etc. According to Tim Minahan, "The system is already configured to track hundreds of metrics across your supply management operations -- from the cycle times you discuss, to data quality, to supplier performance, savings versus goal, compliance management, etc."

In the future, I believe this type of project-driven reporting mechanism will become standard in sourcing suites, just as basic optimization capabilities have become the ante in negotiation suites. As procurement organizations continue to move to embrace sustainable, long-term category savings approaches rather than event-driven sourcing programs, reporting and management will be become essential to track progress and plan appropriate strategies. But perhaps there's an even larger opportunity here than meets the sourcing-driven eye.

A few years back, a fast-growing vendor called Adaytum (now part of Cognos) caught the attention of many industry observers, including Bruce Richardson. These enterprise pundits could not help but lavish praise on a segment of the analytics and reporting market -- and Adaytum, in particular -- that they saw as essential to improve overall "enterprise performance management". Now flash forward a couple of years and consider how the combination of reporting and performance management will need to be at the core of Spend Management suites, especially as organizations look to develop a more holistic view of internal performance, supplier performance, and overall risk exposure in a single place.

Right now, there's no one vendor in the lead in this regard, and the only options companies have to tie together category-driven sourcing management with broader performance and risk management is to create a custom deployment leveraging different technologies and content services to create an active, "live" approach to management, gaining a complete view of their activities and exposure. But in the next 12 months, I think we'll begin to see a range of vendors from spend visibility vendors to broader suite providers begin to combine these elements together into a single management console and solution. Given the nuances of Spend Management and the wide open opportunity, about the only thing I'd bet on in this "niche of a niche" market is that the BI and ERP guys won't win this particular race, regardless of how big the opportunity is. It's simply too process and content driven for them, though I do believe the internal / external integration hurdle will be significant.

Jason Busch

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