Previewing Aravo's and CVM's New Supply Risk Solutions

Earlier this morning I penned a quick entry offering some initial thoughts on Aravo's and CVM's latest new offerings. In this post, I'll expand a bit on the news, delving into each product. And next week, I'll provide additional details, ahead of deep-dive examinations this summer (which we'll publish in a new, longer format outside of the blog; for these longer examinations, I'll be joined by a true expert in the supply risk and performance management field). But until then (and next week), this will have to do. Let's begin.

According to Aravo's announcement, their new module, Aravo Risk, focuses on automating many of the key elements for managing supplier risk. For you poker players, the use of the word "automation" is the tell here. Aravo's secret sauce over the years has been automating the gathering and management of disparate sources of supplier information. In other words, Aravo is leveraging their current platform -- which practically defined supplier enablement automation originally -- to target supply risk. While there are certainly business process benefits to what they do, companies often chose to work with Aravo for the automation elements that speed up other solution implementations, make scalable sustainability programs and provide a single point of interface for managing supplier data -- in a push/pull manner -- on-top of not only multiple internal supplier systems, but also data that is directly input and provided by suppliers themselves.

Aravo Risk is merely an extension of this paradigm. Now, don't get me wrong -- I think it's a logical and worthwhile extension. But it is not a new approach, merely a new module. Which I would argue is a good thing, especially for companies focused on overall supplier information management automation. The module includes and extends a number of capabilities Aravo already had over in the supply risk arena including supplier evaluations and ratings, supplier business continuity planning and execution and regulatory compliance monitoring. It also lets companies pull in supplier financial information from third party sources (but at this stage does not offer proactive risk forecasting).

Sitting on top of these core capabilities are standard Aravo interfaces and features -- dashboards, tools that constantly track and management information and allow companies to manage by exception, notifications, surveys, alerts, etc. Aravo's geopolitical risk forecasting, another element of this module release, sounds to me largely undifferentiated. All supply risk solutions, when deployed properly, have global elements for companies operating globally (a number in corporate world mapping and/or shipping route tracing/modeling elements).

All in all, it's quite a nifty piece of supply risk management technology. But CVM Solutions is also now a player in the risk game as well. But they're doing it as part of a new platform release that they call Supplier Central. Supplier Central, which I'll delve into more in the coming weeks as CVM begins to roll it out to customers, is an entirely new supplier information management solution that leverages CVM's proprietary supplier content and aggregates it with third party data (e.g., Experian supplier risk data) while also providing a platform that automates routine supplier interactions, information gathering, etc.

One of CVM's differentiations is that they support their offering by also delivering managed services (e.g., supplier credential validation) on top of it. They're also starting to aggregate some of this information -- just as Ariba is also starting to do -- to provide information back to buying organizations about supplier information (e.g., "measuring the number and amount of spend each supplier has with its customers").

From a risk perspective specifically, CVM has tailored a solution to help companies based on multiple levels of internal sophistication, from providing basic risk scoring data from both CVM and Experian on an ad-hoc basis through to continuous risk monitoring, corrective action procedure initiation and management, score carding and a range of other related capabilities. All in all, it's a solid solution set for managing a number of elements of the supply risk equaton. While -- like Aravo -- it lacks the analytically based forecasting and proactive analysis that D&B brings to the table with DNBi for supplier financial monitoring, it makes up for shortcomings in this area with richer capabilities in others.

At this point, I'm thrilled to see that CVM and Aravo have entered front and center on the supply risk stage. Along with D&B, they offer some of the stronger capabilities in the market. But the strengths and weaknesses of all three providers are different. Where CVM and Aravo appear to be strong, D&B is weak. And where D&B is strong, CVM and Aravo are weak. This is a recipe for companies to potentially work with multiple providers to solve a range of supply risk challenges and initiatives -- or to pick one and hope that they build out all of the elements of an end-to-end supply risk management platform (which is something that no vendor has today). For now, I'd strongly encourage all companies looking to tackle the supply risk management challenge to consider both Aravo and CVM Solutions -- along with D&B and some other new entrants in the market that we'll be hearing about shortly.

Jason Busch

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