Bristlecone Pushes Flexibility, Knowledge, Pricing as Differentiators With SAP SPM (Part 2)

Please click here for Part 1 of this post.

SAP's latest Spend Performance Management release (2.1) features enhancements to an already strong UI and now includes a number of additional features, including the ability to compress much more information onto a single page without scrolling thanks to a new hierarchy tree that can be compressed or expanded at will. There's also some pretty slick charting capability that Spend Matters recently saw including new bubble charts, bar charting, etc. But perhaps most pragmatic from a UI enhancement standpoint is a new ability to conduct total landed cost analysis and simulation based on a variety of factors that users can incorporate, rolling up (or down) to a line item reporting level.

Based on this total cost analysis capability and the charting, users have some pretty cool options to visualize information and create charts and reports (e.g., waterfall chart analyses that can display multiple cost elements and their trending over time -- for example, freight, raw material, and value-added cost components). Despite the ability for more advanced companies to undoubtedly customize SPM 2.1 to the Nth degree behind the firewall as part of their license CD deployments, cost-conscious users will be happy to know that Bristlecone offers a more standardized package deployed in a SaaS manner.

Indeed, Bristlecone's offering packages the type of combined services and software components one would get from directly engaging with Ariba, BravoSolution, Emptoris, Spend Radar, Zycus or another competitive spend analysis solution provider. This includes a SaaS deployment and rental model that bundles a license, on-boarding, infrastructure and supporting services. The least expensive deployment for a company turning over $500 million or less of spend data to Bristlecone/SAP would be $4,500 per month plus a one-time start-up fee of $35,000.

This pricing does not include classification and data enrichment (which users can opt to do on their own). For companies that want to have their spend analysis partner take control of this step, Bristlecone's pricing climbs to $7,500 per month and a one-time set-up of $50,000 within the above constraints (including limited data refreshes). Bristlecone shared with Spend Matters that organizations with less than $500 million of spend managed in the toolset should budget $200-$300K over three years based on the type of enabling services required and related variables.

For companies with over $1 billion in spend (but less than $4 billion), the three-year total costs will range between $300,000-500,000 on a TCO basis. At $4 billion, companies should budget $400,000-600,000 over 3 years. As an example of how this further breaks out, companies with $2 billion in spend would pay a one-time $65K start-up fee and then $9,500 on a monthly basis (for a standard refresh package).

From an overall fee-range perspective for all of the above scenarios, Bristlecone shared, at the lower price point, that "we are setting up the system, configuring the system, putting it on our hardware, and continuing to provide support over 3 years (providing patches and so on)." And "at the higher price point, we are also doing supplier normalization and enrichment and quarterly data refreshes." More frequent refreshes (which Spend Matters recommends) would add to the cost, but the benefits of current data from planning, compliance and risk perspectives will more than likely outweigh the added cost.

Spend Matters believes that Bristlecone's quoted three-year TCO for a spend analysis deployment is competitive with many of the larger and better known spend analysis providers in the market (although others, in competitive situations, might be less expensive for a comparable solution). Still, all companies considering spend analysis deployments with at least a partial SAP back-end (or previous Business Objects deployment) would do well to consider Bristlecone and SAP as highly credible options in their short-list analysis of potential vendors, especially given the improvements of SPM 2.1. And for those companies considering a behind the firewall deployment of SAP Spend Performance Management, Bristlecone's RDS equivalent deployment pricing relative to SAP's own professional services organization (PSO) pricing appears attractive in comparison.

Jason Busch

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