BravoConnect Dispatch: BravoSolution by the Numbers and a New Supplier Network Strategy

BravoSolution CEO Jim Wetekamp's fireside chat on supplier networks.

Earlier today, BravoSolution’s CEO, Jim Wetekamp, gave a talk entitled, “Enabling Procurement’s Journey & Maturity to Unlock the Power of Procurement.” While much of the chat centered on Bravo’s strategic and product direction, including a hint that the provider was looking at new approaches to building supplier networks, Jim shared a few items around BravoSolution’s growth in recent years.

BravoSolution Facts and Figures – 2014-2016

These metrics include:

  • An increase in customer count from “530+” in 2014, to “650+” in 2016
  • A similar (but slightly lower percentage) increase in team members during the same time (585 to 650)
  • Bookings growth at 30% during the same period
  • Customer retention at 95%+ over the period

Jim also noted that BravoSolution has been “adding 70-80 new customer activations per year (new platforms online)” and would expect this trend to continue for 2016.

Building a New Network Strategy

While I’ll touch on a number of the initiatives which BravoSolution is pursuing that Jim shared in an upcoming post, one previously mentioned item stands out: BravoSolution’s emphasis on building a supplier network capability that sits at the center of its different offerings. In Jim’s words, a “supplier network provides a central repository for supplier content, document exchange and business partner integration.”

He also noted that a network could become the centerpiece of managing not just basic supplier information and a transactional interchange between firms, but also a clearinghouse of sorts for specialized supplier data (Jim mentioned the type of CSR-related on-boarding and data collection work that Achilles does, as an example of the future value of networks).

But where specifically BravoSolution plans to go with its new network strategy is anyone’s guess at this point (I’m hoping my talk on Blockchain earlier today was heard by the BravoSolution team!), it seems clear the approach is going to center as much on a procurement and supply chain value proposition as an accounts payable and accounts receivable one – which could make it sufficiently different from other P2P network models.

When it comes to the bigger network picture, it’s important to keep in mind that we can count on our hands the number of customers that truly bought “supplier networks” or platforms in recent quarters – the vast majority are buying procurement, e-invoicing and accounts payable enablement in the form of on-boarding, connectivity and efficiencies of scale. So while a supplier network may be central to BravoSolution’s business vision, it’s still business outcomes and requirements (e.g., beyond P2P including supplier management, e-procurement, e-invoicing, supplier discovery, analytics, etc.) that customers are looking to solve, whether it’s through a network model or another means.

My Takeaways:

  • Growth is growth — BravoSolution appears to be keeping pace or is slightly ahead of our own CAGR forecast for different source-to-contract market segments. 
    • Nothing exceptional, and no red flags here.
    • However, with BravoAdvantage now in full deployment, including embedded sourcing optimization and supplier management (the first in an integrated suite), our prediction would be to expect growth to pick up further, barring unexpected commercial challenges.
  • Even without factoring in the addition of Puridiom (P2P), BravoSolution is going to look very different by 2018 if it can execute on even parts of its supplier network vision.

Stay tuned for additional live coverage from BravoConnect in the coming days. And also check out Spend Matters UK/Europe coverage from the event as well!

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