BravoSolution: More Applause Deserved (Part 1)

If BravoSolution were one of your smart kids, it would be the one who could care less about going to Harvard or Yale (or Cambridge or Oxford), but quietly instead opt to head for a school like the University of Chicago or Cal Tech (or Bristol), which few on the planet outside of industry, finance, academic and political leadership knows about, but most certainly should. For a variety of reasons, including the nimble acquisition of VerticalNet that transformed it from a services-driven organization to a hybrid software/services/solution provider, BravoSolution has flown under the radar of many practitioners and advisers in the market.

Yet Bravo's core capabilities in sourcing, supplier performance and spend analysis make them a viable -- and some would argue superior -- entity against just about any other vendor in a competitive selection situation. Toss in solid optimization (and optimization services/advanced sourcing capability), not to mention contract and program management, and the package begins to look even more complete. Today, BravoSolution has 22 companies using their entire suite of software capabilities. Yet it has over 189 individual sourcing (tendering, in their vernacular), 41 contract management, 78 vendor management (supplier performance management), 22 program management and 49 spend analysis/visibility deployments.

By our analysis, this puts BravoSolution in the top five largest software providers in the overall sectors where it competes, not counting Oracle and SAP (especially considering the depth of their capabilities in key areas). The numbers, however, only tell part of the story. Spend Matters sat down with BravoSolution earlier this Fall and spent a significant amount of time going through demonstrations and product updates, looking especially at advanced use cases in the area of spend analysis, supplier performance, sourcing data acquisition for complex categories and optimization. In a series of posts looking at some of BravoSolution's use cases and capabilities in these areas, we'll hope to give some Spend Matters insights into ways of getting more from sourcing/optimization, spend analysis, supplier performance and related areas.

Today we'll provide a flavor of what's coming up in this series, starting with the evolution of how users leverage BravoSolution for spend analysis today. If we take a traditional capability/maturity curve to look at how companies currently use spend analysis tools, BravoSolution told Spend Matters that the foundational level of usage starts with opportunity identification. But many more advanced companies have moved into morphing spend analysis deployments into compliance management platforms. And a select group of early adopters are leveraging Bravo's spend platform for integrated compliance and performance management, leveraging new types of data-sets in their analysis that go beyond transactional compliance.

Perhaps what's most interesting in more advanced spend analysis use cases is that companies are beginning to incorporate additional contract details and diverse enterprise data into their spend analysis environments to look at variance and recovery/improvement opportunities. As companies begin to incorporate more fields and granular details into their analysis, they can begin to tackle variance and performance tracking at a level that goes far beyond basic spend leverage (e.g., for initial procurement transformation waves or after an acquisition to identify cost synergies) and "sourcing preparation," as Bravo describes it.

Stay tuned for further details as we examine the types of analysis that are possible, not to mention how building the right use case for spend visibility and integrated performance analysis can help organizations begin to develop a new granular, drill-able business framework and operating model that can enable a data-driven, portfolio management approach to procurement, creating new levels of insight risk, capital and overall spend portfolio returns. Is what BravoSolution is doing with more advanced customers mainstream? Absolutely not. But it's something we can all learn from. Applause, please.

Jason Busch

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