Exploring SciQuest’s 14.1 Release: Supplier Management Takes Center Stage

At SciQuest NextLevel last week, Pierre Mitchell and I had the chance to sit down with a number of people from the SciQuest product management and marketing team and learn about the latest happenings with the current (14.1) release. We’ll save our detailed reporting and commentary for Spend Matters PRO members next week, but the high level of what’s new includes a range of enhancements in the Advanced Sourcing Optimizer (ASO) product (formerly CombineNet) centered not on broader integration with the rest of the SciQuest suite but rather functional build-out. In addition, SciQuest has included a number of new visibility and reporting capabilities with the core eProcurement and Accounts Payable modules as well as the migration off of the previous generation UI. All users are now on the new “Phoenix” UI.

But the real star of the release is the latest supplier management enhancements. These include an updated interface, capabilities and a single model for supplier data that cascades – or will soon cascade – across the entire suite of products (except ASO and Contract Director) based on the data definition in this model. SciQuest has essentially taken a lot of the IP from the AECSoft acquisition and completely rebuilt a standardized solution that stands at the center of the broader solution suite. As SciQuest notes in release notes, this “new” core supplier management capability “allows for a single process and place to manager supplier information and relationships,” including “centralized self-service registration” and “certificate management.”

It also features a lot of the cleverness – minus the previous lack of product standardization – that Tom Ren and the original AECSoft team originally deployed in the area of document collection, workflow, management and supplier self-service and automated approvals. Building complex supplier information management (SIM) and supplier lifecycle management (SLM) capabilities requires a combination of systems architecture, integration, process, workflow and subject matter knowledge. And the rewriting of the AECSoft solution to put at the center of SciQuest on a fully integrated basis with eProcurement, Accounts Payable Director, and Sourcing Director (in “mid-2014”) has created a differentiated suite for SciQuest.

For example, compared with Ariba/SAP (which has numerous vendor masters and supplier portals) and Coupa (which has not focused on building out the same depth of supplier management capability on a stand-alone basis compared with P2P), SciQuest can claim to be one of the few source-to-pay suite vendors to put advanced supplier management and a common supplier master at the core of its capabilities.

A curmudgeon might say “it’s about time,” given that it has been over three years since the acquisition of AECSoft. But knowing the lack of standardized deployments that SciQuest inherited along with the incredibly depth of IP from the deal, we’re not surprised it’s taken this amount of time to rebuild from the ground up. But what a supplier management foundation!

Stay tuned for further coverage and analysis of SciQuest’s latest enhancements.

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