D&B Expands Supplier Management Capabilities in Europe Through Supplierforce Assets/IP (Part 2)

In the first post in this series, we covered a number of details surrounding D&B's purchase of Supplierforce's assets and IP. Today, we'll continue the analysis, focusing specifically on how D&B will continue to go to market with the assets it now owns. D&B is continuing to sell the entire Supplierforce 360 Degree Supplier Management suite, which includes broad capability starting with basic spend analysis and progressing through to e-sourcing, contract management and performance management (not to mention the supplier information management framework that everything else is built upon). D&B is continuing to sell the sourcing and contract management components to "customers who require it" but told Spend Matters that they are leading "its proposition with the differentiating functionality/capabilities of SIM, Risk and Performance Management."

D&B's Supplierforce business leader Declan Kearney told Spend Matters that the main suite differentiators are in the supplier information management (SIM), risk and performance areas. Spend Matters analysis from a few quarters ago suggests that while it has solid capabilities in these areas, others including Aravo, AECsoft (SciQuest), CVM Solutions, Hiperos, Xcitec and Rollstream (GXS) may offer greater depth depending on solution requirements. However, we await an update from D&B on the combined D&B and Supplierforce future capabilities. Regardless, with the brand and sales and marketing strength of D&B behind it, Spend Matters believes that Supplierforce will have a commercial leg up on many competitors who may have stronger products, but have a lesser market presence than D&B in the UK and Europe.

As important as commercial reach is, the content and supplier intelligence in the system may be more important to some than absolute functional capability. To this end, Declan shared with Spend Matters that the "most significant change in development is the incorporation of D&B data" from basic enrichment for spend/vendor analysis to more detailed enrichment for risk management. Still, the application supports the gathering and management of a range of data elements, including vendor company details, banking/financial information, category-specific details/requirements (e.g., CSR data for a new product introduction), contact information, operational details and additional third-party data. Supplierforce already directly interfaces with D&B intelligence for data enrichment and validation and also integrates with third-party ERP, procurement and supply chain tools including SAP, Oracle and Microsoft Dynamics.

Customers are using Supplierforce to tackle a range of initiatives today. For example, O2 has deployed their complete supplier information management capabilities, realizing a greater than 70% reduction in the costs of vendor data maintenance. It has also reduced key cycle time from one month to three days for specific data gathering and validation efforts/steps. Others have used the platform to identify new savings opportunities, drive vendor compliance and reduce the cost of supplier contract and data audits, lower reduction in cost of claims.

From a pricing standpoint, D&B charges an initial set-up fee for Supplierforce based on license and delivery costs. Ongoing license charges for the platform are based in part of the number of customer users and number of suppliers. With D&B resources, Supplierforce is continuing to support a range of services-driven capabilities including supplier data clean-up (data cleansing, consolidation and segmentation), sourcing strategy development from spend analysis data, sourcing process support, supplier information management support and contract data gathering and import capabilities.

In the broader UK and European marketplace, Spend Matters recommends that companies considering a supplier information management toolset now put Supplierforce on their shortlist for consideration. While their platform is likely to fall short of the requirements of the most demanding and advanced supplier management organizations, it elegantly covers a broad range of capabilities and may prove sufficient for the majority of organizations getting started with supplier management technology enablement. Moreover, customers considering Supplierforce should also factor into account the broader value proposition of D&B's supply management capabilities in other products and offerings.

Disclosure: SupplierForce is a former sponsor of Spend Matters UK/Europe. D&B is a sponsor of Spend Matters. Without commercial interest, Spend Matters Editor, Jason Busch, made the initial connection between the two organizations prior to the transaction.

Jason Busch

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