A Spend Visibility Pile-on!

If there's any question as to how hot spend visibility is right now, it was quickly dispelled last week when there were three separate vendor announcements about product enhancements. I covered the Procuri spend visibility analyst tour -- and you can find their press release noting spend visibility enhancement here -- so today I'll point you to two different announcements from Ketera and Zycus (the later of which is very interesting, and I'll get to why in a minute).

I will refrain from commenting on Ketera's news since my knowledge of their current product is incomplete and my past experience with it is most likely not reflective of where Ketera is with the solution today. Having said this, it would seem the recently announced enhancements are a big step in the right direction, and I very much look forward to sharing more with the Spend Matters community when I've had a chance to dig into it.

Let's switch tracks to Zycus. In my view, the recent announcement is a big deal. Historically, Zycus' spend visibility bread and butter has been data enrichment and classification -- an area which they are one of the clear market leaders. Period. But with the current announcement, Zycus is diving headfirst into the strategy and analytics component of spend analysis, firing a shot across the bow of other providers who have previously differentiated largely on the power of their integrated approach (and their strategy development capabilities). With the new release, Zycus calls its capability "Actionable Analytics 4.0" and notes that it "brings objective-driven and savings opportunity focused actionable analytics to customers through innovative features that are a first in the spend visibility market."

Where is Zycus headed with this? If you're thinking spend analysis meets bubble chart sourcing strategy development, you'd be on the right track. But Zycus is going after this vision in a largely automated manner without $2500 / day management consultants analyzing the results and developing a strategy for you. Having seen an earlier demo version of this release, I can say that you'd never know that Zycus' roots came from the auto-classification side of the house. It's slick (and not in a Clinton-esque way). If you were previously looking at Zycus as just a focused classification and enrichment and provider within an integrated spend visibility deployment, you owe it to yourself to see how far they've come on the analytical and visual side.

My question for the community is where are the ERP providers in the visibility race of late? With all of the vendor noise -- not to mention the increased deal flow that I and other observers are seeing in the market -- publishing black papers is simply not going to cut it. Along these lines -- and given Oracle's already stated stance on visibility -- I reckon that we'll see SAP come up with an integrated solution to spend visibility before its adversary does.

Jason Busch

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