Supplier Network 2014 Forecast: Customer Recommendations and Vendor Shortlists [PRO]

One of the challenges of developing recommendations and shortlists for supplier network providers, as we pointed out in last Friday’s Spend Matters PRO brief titled Supplier Network Forecast: 2014 Market Growth, Analysis and Predictions, is trying to compare individual network and platform providers on an apples-to-apples basis. Indeed, many are beginning to provide application-like (and app) capabilities that can either replace or augment the functional capabilities they connect to on the buyer application side (for instance, e-invoicing, eProcurement, direct procurement systems). In short, it’s often now possible to work with a network provider and achieve the same (or similar) outcomes as working with an application provider, albeit in a way that might not be a direct substitute for a SaaS or CD application (e.g., in the case where the network application serves as a “composite application” that augments an existing buy-side application with a broader data model than what exists in, say, the ERP application). Read on for a list of elements that may affect a particular shortlist, selection, deployment, and usage approach for supplier networks, and our vendor recommendations based on your organization’s needs.

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