Segmenting the Supply Chain Risk Management Market — Vendor Categories/Types (Part 2)

In the first post in this series, we investigated some of the characteristics of what we describe as "platform" providers, addressing all or a sub-set of supply chain risk management and supplier management capabilities. In today's post, we'll turn our attention to the second category of providers in this area: best-of-breed/pure-play vendors that have a focused risk supply risk/supplier management offering without a complete spend/supply management or SRM capability attached to it. In examining this segment of providers within the market, we consider both content and software-oriented type vendors as well as those that blur the line, combining both offerings into a single area. Stepping back for a moment, a common characteristic of providers is that nearly all competitors entered the market with a singular focus area (e.g., supplier enablement, supplier diversity, supplier financial risk, etc.) before branching out and offering a broader supply chain risk management solution.

Who are the leading providers in this segment? AECsoft (now part of SciQuest), Achilles, Aravo, CVM Solutions, D&B, Hiperos, Lavante, Rollstream (not part of GXS), SupplierSoft and Xcitec (primary to the Emptoris acquisition) all are best-of-breed/pure-play providers worthy of consideration. Today, nearly all of the providers in this category offer end-to-end supply chain risk management and supplier management solutions that can solve aspects of the broader supply risk/supplier information management challenge at the same time (e.g., supplier compliance, supplier performance management, supplier financial viability/health, etc.). Yet despite this broader focus, legacy strengths (e.g., D&B for financial risk, performance monitoring for Hiperos, Diveristy for SciQuest and CVM Solutions, compliance for Aravo) remain standout capabilities for many vendors in this category.

In considering providers in this category, it's important to remember that the 80% solution is alive and well here (and is possibly all you'll need). But in this regard, don't discount the ability of software providers to rapidly deploy solutions that convince users that they have all of their basics fully covered -- when in fact there's only partial coverage -- for end-to-end supply chain risk management. In fact, there are strong use cases to support the deployment of more than one vendor even in the best-of-breed category to support all key areas of supply chain risk management. For example, even though D&B has SPM and scorecarding capability and even though Hiperos can offer risk enrichment data and alerting, the combination of both providers' core strengths may prove useful for companies that want the best possible solution in each functional risk area.

In the final post in this series, we'll consider niche providers that focus primarily on singular -- or only a handful of -- elements of broader supply chain risk management.

Jason Busch

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