Zycus Horizon: Walking Drunk, Procurement and More


Early this morning, I landed in Atlanta, on route to the Zycus Horizon event, held at a resort in Reynolds Plantation, Georgia, outside of the city. Horizon is Zycus’ annual customer event, and the majority of speakers are Zycus customers, using everything from Zycus’ original spend classification solution to its modern modular source-to-pay suite. Zycus puts a tremendous amount into this event every year, and I’ve had the pleasure of attending it going back to the inaugural conference.

This year, Zycus had Stephen Dubner, co-author of “Freakonomics,” highlight the event by opening it up with story after story of economics applied to real life. For example, don’t walk drunk. Based on the data, for the walker, it’s eight times more deadly per mile than driving drunk.

As with this story, Zycus sets its own tone. I’m struck both on a personal level and by observing the industry how companies run by owners rather than an outside board and investors tend to march to the beat of their own drum – which comes through loud and clear at Horizon.

From a traditional tech vendor perceptive, Zycus does not fit the usual stereotypes. It is run and owned by a hyper-competitive yet hyper-patient entrepreneur, Aatish Dedhia, who will take years – not just quarters – to bring products to market that he believes in. At the same time, the company has maintained a strong focus on customers while carving out an expanding niche in the market that is lead by providers with larger sales, marketing budgets and channel relationships, although with research and development organizations of similar stature to Zycus.

It will be curious to watch how Zycus positions its latest capabilities and focus at Horizon this year. In my view, Zycus deserves to go into the large procurement tech and solutions mainstream, alongside the likes of Coupa, Ariba/SAP, BravoSolution, Accenture, GEP and others. But Zycus will need to make some shifts necessary to achieve the next level of growth, including adopting both a technology platform and go-to-market strategy that focuses on ecosystem as much as innovation.

Or, of course, Zycus can keep playing by its own rules. And who knows – maybe that’s not such a bad thing after all.

Stay tuned for live coverage from Zycus Horizon today and tomorrow – and deeper analysis of the provider’s customer, solution and related plans throughout the week. We’ll also share some more Stephen Dubner anecdotes – an outstanding speaker and great opener for the show.

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