Emptoris Sourcing — All the News That Fit to Print (Part 1)

Next week, I plan to provide a general update on Emptoris’ technology direction and announcements based on the details they provided at their Empower event. But since there appears to be an increased level of interest in sourcing platforms of late -- especially because SAP is on the road talking about it -- I thought I'd tackle a few of the enhancements and the planned product roadmap for the Emptoris product in this area with a series of posts today. I should also note that those close to Emptoris will admit off-the-record that sourcing has always remained a major product focus for the company -- at the potential expense of other areas -- given the founder's interest in this area from the very beginning. Enough background. Let's dig in.

Emptoris is currently on the 7.0.2 sourcing release as of August 25th. Releases earlier this year included 7.0 (March 21) and 7.0.1 (May 23). There are currently 11 customers rolling out on the current release and 8 customers already live. Feature enhancements include enhanced usability (e.g., improved attachments handling) and an enhanced notification and alerting framework. Other foundational improvements include an updated preliminary bidding interface as well as optimized auctions that allow companies to combine elements of both reverse auctions and scenario-based optimization, providing feedback to suppliers while driving to, in their words, "best value" on the buy-side. This feature is only included in the Professional-level product.

From an awarding perspective, Emptoris has also added incremental awards capability, which while seemingly basic, now allow users to award a market in its entirety, in partial quantities or not at all (in previous versions award decisions on the lot or market level were binary, depending on set-up). The new awards capability also allows collaboration between sourcing team members and suppliers in the award process.

Perhaps the most important enhancement to Emptoris sourcing is a new Desktop Intelligence feature that provides significant ad-hoc reporting capabilities that plug into Microsoft Excel. Think of it as SPSS lite for sourcing analysis. The reporting capability and interface are not rocket science -- anyone who has done significant statistical analysis development work could probably code something like it in a few weeks -- but the domain knowledge that Emptoris has embedded in the function is quite useful and cool indeed. This is one of the first truly innovative sourcing capabilities that 75%+ of companies who have it will actually use (versus having the capacity sit on the shelf).

- Jason Busch

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