Perfect Commerce: Procurement Suite, Supplier Network, and More!

We recently had the chance to catch up with the Perfect Commerce team in Chicago. See related coverage on Perfect below:


In a discussion with Hamp Wall (CEO) and Jason Vincelette (VP Product Management & Marketing), we learned that the Perfect team is headed in just about as many directions as an organization their size can move. Source-to-pay software: check. Supplier network: check. New front-end analytics: check. Public-sector specific offering: check.

And Perfect is now selling these products and capabilities across a wide range of organizations – the firm told us they now count over 125 software customers. Across private and public sector organizations, Perfect now counts 1.3 million users (seats) of its tools. And they continue to sell their tail-spend management and procurement BPO solution capabilities as well. They’ve also got a strategy on the connectivity front through their expanding supplier network offering (which includes free basic connectivity for suppliers). Clearly, they’ve got a lot on their plate!

Beyond organic sales and product development, Perfect is leaving no growth strategy stone unturned in the corporate development playbook, including enforcing their IP rights over legacy Commerce One code. They’re doing this not by getting embroiled in lawsuits, but through creative deal structuring and partnering. It’s a fascinating and somewhat uncommon approach, but it appears to be working, with recent acquisitions and licensing deals that have brought them closer to different geographies and industries.

Perfect is keen to note that “they’re not litigators.” They take a “high road approach” to engage those using Commerce One code and attempt to arrive at “equitable relationships.” Beyond the contractual angle, it helps that former Commerce One resellers (still using the product) are typically not as up to speed on the code as Perfect is, given their continued focus developing it (resellers are typically not allowed to work within the code without doing upgrades).

As we’ve noted before, these deals include Supply Chain Connect (SCC), a provider that grew out of its ChemConnect roots by customizing the old Commerce One capabilities to work on direct supply chain connectivity and supplier management. We also wrote in one of the above-linked summaries that in 2012, they acquired another firm built on the Commerce One stack, Tier Technologies, a provider of an application called WebProcure, which leveraged Commerce One technology at the core and built a layer on top for integration into MSFT Great Plains ERP as well as an integrated source-to-award (and P2P) capability.

In recent opportunities, WebProcure has given Perfect a chance to target the public sector on the state and local level. This is a large opportunity, given somewhat limited source-to-pay tools adoption so far and customized requirements (and a more limited competitive landscape than in the private sector). Other public sector competitors (including higher education) in the procurement technology sector include SciQuest, Oracle, ESM Solutions and Ariba resellers. Perfect is clearly winning their share of deals within this mix, including an alliance (eCityGov) within Washington State.

We’ll save our coverage of their technology enhancements and public-sector-specific offerings for an upcoming series on Spend Matters and Spend Matters PRO, but in the meantime, we expect to hear more from them in 2013 given new investments in product, sales and marketing teams and infrastructure. Some of the work they’re doing in the analytics area that bridges operational P2P environments with broader spend-type analytics is fascinating, including drilling into real-time transactional data (e.g., POs, invoices, receipts) and trending.

This is stuff some of the much larger names in the sector could learn quite a bit from. And it’s a way to build a new box around the Commerce One code. Successful execution of this strategy will enable Perfect to deliver some of the most modular and creative S2P analytics on top of a broader set of assets, spanning sourcing to contract to invoicing.

But don't think it’s a case of putting a Porsche wrapper on the outside of a bulletproof – if not boring – Volvo or Honda. There’s other stuff up Perfect’s product sleeves at the core of their products and code.

Stay tuned as we dig into their new capability in the coming months.

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