Nine Spend Management Vendors to Watch in 2008 (Part 2)

Earlier this week, I looked at three Spend Management vendors that I thought would shake things up in 2008 from a customer and solution perspective. Today, I will continue this analysis, investigating three more vendors who I think will make some noise -- maybe quiet noise when it comes to headlines, but certainly with customers -- in 2008. These are Coupa, CVM Solutions and Emptoris.

Coupa -- 2008 could be a banner year for Coupa, an upstart eProcurement vendor. I won't get into the details about what I said in the fall about their new inexpensive eProcurement solutions, but I do believe that there is a significant market among smaller and mid-size organizations -- and possibly even larger ones fed up with implementation complexity and lower-than-expected adoption rates -- for their non-open source offerings. Along with Rearden and Ketera, Coupa has focused extensively on creating a user experience that makes using requisitioning software simple rather than a burden. I suspect that we will see SAP and Ariba, among other providers, begin to adopt similar user interfaces in the future (Oracle already has, in part). But neither of these bigger names will ever be able to match Coupa's entry-level price points which fall in the four and five figure range per year. Indeed, these are price levels which procurement managers at smaller and middle size companies will not need to initially run up the ladder for approval. But perhaps like, many Coupa users will find themselves wanting to spend more and upgrade to additional capability and features. Methinks there's a good business in this ...

CVM Solutions -- Last year, I wrote about CVM Solutions as a best-kept secret in the Spend Management world. Unfortunately, I would still describe them in this category. But that's a shame, as they're quietly serving a ton of Fortune 500 customers, and what they've done outside of the diversity sourcing space -- which they currently have significant if not leading market share within -- is quite focused and useful indeed, not to mention original. Consider their Procure-to-Pay process Manager which complements other supplier on-boarding, eProcurement, requisitioning and sourcing solutions by serving as an über-workflow and process management engine that creates a level of control and visibility that I've not seen elsewhere. And I've not even mentioned CVM's stand alone supplier portal and supplier performance management capabilities which are novel -- if not pretty -- in both their approach and execution. It's my guess that 2008 will be a seriously big year for CVM Solutions -- both from a customer and product perspective. But don't expect them to make headlines. Sometimes actions and growth speak far louder than press releases.

Emptoris -- Emptoris has a history of remaining relatively quiet from a marketing perspective until they sense a chance to pounce on a competitor when it's opportunistic for them (often in ways which other vendors are sharply critical of). But don't mistake this relative silence from a vendor their size for a lack of traction or most important, product innovation in important areas where they've got a chance to lead the market. For example, even if Emptoris were to just focus on going to market with their updated supplier qualification and performance management capabilities in 2008, I would say they could gain a significant number of adherence just for this one solution area (and that speaks nothing to what they're doing in spend analysis, sourcing, or contract management, especially, among other areas). But perhaps most important, Emptoris has focused on the linkages between visibility, analysis, performance, contract management and even requisitioning -- for SAP environments -- using an extension of its best in class contract management solution as the central compliance glue to ensure that optimal sourcing strategies and procurement execution processes do not become unbound in complex environments.

Stay tuned for part three of this series next week.

- Jason Busch

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