SIM Strikes Back — Aravo, Rollstream, D&B, Panjiva and Others

As I've recently dug into a number of Spend Matters corners that have piqued my interest such as services procurement and ERP SRM capabilities, my coverage of supplier information management (SIM) and supply risk management has tapered off a bit. But in the coming weeks, I plan to re-engage on the topic as we burrow into the latest and greatest from providers, including this new product news from Aravo last week (also look for reviews of Rollstrem, Hiperos and others). In talking to both consumers and sellers in this space over the past few months, I've observed that content and supply risk vendors seem to be doing exceptionally well. But the market for broader information management platforms is not booming to the same degree that some thought it might (however, growth is significantly outpacing the broader Spend Management arena).

I suspect this is due in large part to many organizations jumping on the supply risk, supplier diversity and spend analysis bandwagons earlier in the year, looking for quick wins for individual programs. But as companies seek to get more from their overall procurement and supply chain efforts, it's going to become increasingly clear that just as their organizations invested in platforms to support core transaction management, negotiation/contracting and inventory/planning processes, they're also going to need to do the same for managing multi-tiers of information and intelligence in their supply chain.

What's neat about observing this market is how the approaches differ. On one side, you have what I'd term the hard-core enterprise/SaaS folks like Aravo who are building uber platforms configurable to the Nth degree. On the other, you have folks like Rollstream and Hiperos with interesting community and social network views (and UIs) on how this market will evolve. Add to this content providers like D&B and CVM Solutions (not to mention broader platform vendors like Ariba) and it gets even more interesting.

Of course we still need to ultimately settle on a name and taxonomy for this sphere that I'm terming SIM. But I'm also eager to see how further investigation and analysis on what's out there in the market -- and the latest from the providers, not to mention how practitioners are deploying solutions in the field -- will most certainly help us all get a better handle on how best to manage supplier information and supply risk into the future.

Jason Busch

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