Zycus Horizon 2014 – First Dispatch: Taking off For Amelia Island

Zycus is holding its annual customer and sales event at what is probably my favorite vacation destination in the US – Amelia Island, Florida. Before our kids got older, my wife and I would spend a month (sometimes more) working remotely from the place in the winter with our young family. It’s a magical place and one that is not removed from the seasons like central and southern Florida. The landscape says southern coastal Georgia and the downtown has part of the charm (but none of the pretension) on a much, much smaller scale of Savannah – and some of the residential architecture is surprisingly similar.

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It is not “Florida” as we conceive of Florida. It is laid back, charming and filled with great people, including shop and business owners that are hard to forget – which in fact feels like the opposite of South Florida generally. It is also home to my favorite pub south of Washington, D.C., the Palace Saloon. The place is a true pit in the best possible way, and I hope it never changes.

The only thing that mars Amelia from perfection is the fumes from a local pulp/paper factory that occasional waft in the wrong direction. But after a week or two of being on the island, you don’t even notice it. A couple of years back, Dawn and John Evans packed up their family and businesses and migrated to Amelia. I am jealous on many levels of the decision! It truly an island that holds a special place for me.

In any event, kudos to Zycus for choosing such a great destination. As to the event, Pierre Mitchell and I will be covering things this week. Zycus is a rather curious vendor in the space to us on so many levels – it grew up as truly the best-in-class provider for auto-classification for spend analysis but has since seen competition for this moniker while at the same time building out a full source-to-pay suite on its own terms. It is one of the few true “suites” in the market today.

What I’ve always liked most about Zycus is that because it’s been self-funded by its founder, it has not had to beat to any external investment drums (at least not for a long time). This has allowed Zycus to progress at its own pace, including giving time to really think through a suite and P2P strategy. On many levels, Zycus’ marketing, which is among the most hard hitting in the business on the lead generation side, stands in contrast to its product strategy and philosophy. This is a good thing.

But I come to this year’s event with many questions that I’m hoping to get some answers to:

  • How mature is the Zycus with its P2P solutions?
  • What traction is the company having with the broader suite – including sourcing, contract and contract management customer engagement and adoption?
  • What is the integrator/channel strategy?
  • How is the overall partner ecosystem shaping up?
  • Is the company considering a many-to-many network approach for any of its solutions – supplier enablement, management, P2P, etc.?
  • How is Zycus seeking to build beyond procurement (e.g., incorporating finance, direct materials, etc., into its solution arsenal and orientation)?

Pierre and I are among what seems like dozens of analysts and pundits speaking at the event. It promises (perhaps besides us) to be a great show. Stay tuned as we cover it live this week!

That is, if no one is dragging me back to the Ritz from a late night Palace session Monday night…

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