Wallmedien: A P2P Wrapper for the Confused ERP Purchasing Masses (Part 2)

When talking to Wallmedien’s US and European management teams, you feel a bit like you’re talking to the original mad P2P scientists. Gary Hare (originally of GE and now running Wallmedien in the US) certainly qualifies. But so does Georg Wall (Wallmedien’s global CEO and namesake founder). The passion, engineering, and collective subject matter depth they bring to P2P simply doesn’t exist among the executive leadership we’ve seen at competing providers, who tend to have more customer, sales (or numbers) oriented management at the top.

Some readers may discount this. After all, you can still have less-than-stellar products and enthusiastic, technically inclined senior management (remember the very early days of Ariba, anyone?) But in making sense of P2P tangles, this passion counts. It’s something we have heard echoed from Wallmedien customers. The enthusiasm extends into Wallmedien’s product DNA, including its global orientation for P2P solution delivery and a customer engagement model that emphasizes rich customizations – which they don’t shy away from – as well as giving them a voice in roadmap decision (the latter in a manner that feels more like how PeopleSoft used to behave in its customer-centric heyday, despite Wallmedien’s small size).

For usability, while each deployment is significantly configured to support a particular customer implementation, most share a common complexity. One customer has over 18,000 users, for example, across 22 countries with 650 catalogs (120 punch-out sites included) and over 2,000 suppliers enabled. And they’ve integrated this with over 55 SAP systems and various instances. For a company its size, Wallmedien has a surprisingly global deployment footprint, including substantial numbers of users in China and Japan. Their base of operations in the region is Hong Kong, from which they serve one of their largest global catalog implementations, BASF.

Other customers have tens of thousands of suppliers enabled and similarly large-scale catalog management capability. In this regard, Wallmedien has a long history of competing with catalog management specialists such as jCatalog and Heiler, not to mention SAP SRM network-centric catalog management tools from Hubwoo and IBX/Capgemini. Catalog management solves but one pieces of the ERP (and Ariba) procurement equation.

Wallmedien has essentially created logical “kits” of its capabilities that can be assembled based on typical customer back-end and P2P environments. For example, customers using earlier versions of SAP SRM might opt for just about everything Wallmedien delivers, yet those on SRM 7 or above might opt for fewer capabilities (and might even prefer SAP’s new buying front-end). In contrast, an Ariba Buyer customer might not care about Wallmedien’s search, requisition, catalog management and services procurement capability, but might want a network alternative for transactional connectivity without the supplier fee structure.

To date, however, roughly 50% of Wallmedien’s customers have SAP SRM. A typical, broader Wallmedien implementation would put SRM in a box, using Wallmedien’s front-end (Catbuy) and its connectivity, search and content management tools to connect with suppliers and manage supplier content. They have also connected Catbuy directly into SAP ECC (MM and PM modules specifically), using web services, for customers who have not licensed SRM. Users might also opt to slap on Wallmedien’s RFX and services procurement capability as well over time (while there is no typical deployment path, Wallmedien customers typically start with trying to fix broken or sub-optimal P2P implementations before expanding the breadth of capability and focus.

2-Catbuy Search Results (Extension Cord)

3-Item Details Page with Review

In newer accounts, Wallmedien has developed a highly specific Ariba-centric model that effectively cuts out the Ariba supplier network while also providing non-contingent services-based buying support (for those not using Ariba’s custom category drivers). We’ll explain this architecture and approach in more detail on Spend Matters PRO for those interested in an “off Ariba network” strategy to save on supplier fees.

As our analysis continues, we’ll turn to the Wallmedien solution experience. You can also read Part 1 here.

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