Zycus Building Up the Solutions Arsenal Behind the Scenes (Part 5)

You can read the first, second, third and fourth posts in this series by clicking the previous links.

Wrapping up our coverage of Zycus' recent solution enhancements, new product features and roadmap, we'll conclude with a few items in the supplier management, risk and cost modeling areas before offering summary solution and suite observations. In supplier management, Zycus is heading down a path with its product roadmap that will take an event-based approach to providing insights into individual risk elements as they unfold in the context of overall organizational relationships with individual suppliers. This will include the ability to "aggregate information from different sources including web and third-party sources for events such as the flooding in Thailand" and combine this information with internal performance, supplier management and related risk information on suppliers.

While others in the market are pursuing a similar strategy (and some, like SAP, can also provide this information on a multi-tier level with their newer, innovative products outside of their core procurement offerings), Zycus planned ability to enable this type of third-party data integration alongside its own cross-suite data (from iSupplier, iPerform, iSource, etc.) into consolidated, drillable dashboards will certainly be effective and nuanced given their experience with supplier and item-level master data already. We also look forward to seeing their planned roadmap items focused on customized supplier risk modeling, based on both internal and external information sources (and potentially even constraint-based requirements and objectives).

In another suite area worthy of attention, Zycus is getting a warm reception with a number of manufacturers who have adopted the iCost cost modeling toolset (almost entirely for direct materials and crossover categories such as packaging). iCost lets users track different of cost elements, including data that can change based on external indexes. When integrated with the rest of the Zycus suite, including spend analysis primarily, iCost enables companies to track price variance and supplier compliance to contracted pricing based on underlying commodity price movements, evaluating overall savings criteria against initially identified components and opportunities and actual market performance of underlying commodity elements that contribute to total cost.

While we don't have time in this series to go into a similar level of detail across Zycus' entire and growing solution suite in spend analysis and contract management, potential and existing Zycus customers owe it to themselves to take a closer look at the rapid enhancements, including catching up and even passing those who flanked the original leadership position in spend analysis alone. It should go without saying at this point that Zycus' rate of new product introduction, innovation and product releases puts it off the charts compared with nearly all of its competitors with suite-based product coverage.

In summary, as companies evaluate Zycus' products, they should keep in mind the following:

  • Zycus' ease-of-use and thoughtful execution of more advanced capabilities in core areas such as sourcing, supplier performance, etc. is likely to result in greater adoption of features such as optimization and rolling up and including KPIs in supplier management and supplier selection criteria among organizations at all stages of maturity
  • The power and importance of cross-suite integration built on a single code-base. Such a model greatly reduces the cost and hassle of integrating, rolling out and leveraging new Zycus capabilities with broader enterprise tools and processes
  • What Zycus doesn't have today, it is likely to have in the relatively near future given their rate of innovation. Don't write off Zycus from eventually achieving the advanced capabilities of its best-of-breed rivals more quickly than could be imagined -- not to mention continually expanding its suite of solutions into new areas
  • Don't expect Zycus to push the innovation button outside of where it is comfortable -- SaaS/cloud/enterprise applications in procurement. Zycus does not appear to have a vision or roadmap for becoming a provider offering either supplier network or platform-based offerings that create new value through ecosystem approaches
  • Organizations working with third-party service providers (e.g., management consultants, systems integrators, business process outsourcers) in the procurement area owe it to themselves to explore Zycus thoroughly on their own given Zycus' lack of focus on partnerships and awareness among external advisors. General awareness of Zycus among these service providers is likely to be limited relative to vendors like Ariba, BravoSolution, Emptoris, SAP, Iasta, Spend Radar, Oracle and many others that have actively built and embraced partner and channel models in recent years

As a final note, organizations that may be worried about Zycus' ability to deliver on global and US implementations from contract signing through to ongoing support, upgrades and new module releases should put away their fear. Despite Zycus' base of operations in India, we have heard nothing but good things from prospects and customers -- aside from occasionally pestering calls to set up initial appointments -- about how Zycus will provide the exact level of hand-holding requested and required, from locally or from afar.

- Jason Busch

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