Zycus Horizon Dispatch: ‘Pseudo’ Suites Do Not Lead to Sweet Adoption Levels

VMS Sergey Nivens/Adobe Stock

During his strategy and keynote talk Monday at Zycus Horizon, CEO and Founder Aatish Dedhia dropped one of the more consistent, direct and humorous phrases he has ever used to describe what Zycus is not doing: pursuing the development of a “pseudo procurement technology suite.” For Dedhia, a suite is about breadth, depth and, ultimately, adoption levels.

And there’s nothing “pseudo” about that. I think.

Sweet Adoption

To his point surrounding penetration, Dedhia shared some examples from customers, including trending data on e-sourcing events conducted through the firm’s sourcing module. Zycus conducted 15,000 sourcing events globally over the past 12 months. Based on a seat of the pants calculation, Zycus’ top eight customers do a credible job representing the 80/20 rule in terms of use. The largest user accounted for nearly 3,400 events, two users were in the mid-2,000 range and the remaining top eight users stood in the mid-to-upper triple-digit event counts to low four digits.

As noted in our post from earlier today, scale is an important consideration for Zycus. Here, as an example, Dedhia cited a Fortune 20 organization that is using iSave (savings tracking and management) to manage more than 24,000 projects, in which 1,369 individual users are involved. Each month, 612 individual users log into the system across 80 countries, representing projects across hundreds of individual operating units.

In the contract management and integrated upstream suite area, Dedhia referenced a "large multinational food and beverage company” that has uploaded 50,000 total contracts into Zycus iContract. Of this total, 26,038 are managed through the CLM module. This company has also use iSource to support 131 sourcing events, and more than 90 business units and thousands of active users are registered in the system.

The Suite Looks Ahead

Beyond investing in sufficient depth within modules so the provider can compete individually — a key point Dedhia likes to reinforce — where is the Zycus suite headed? Dedhia shared the following as potential product investment areas:

  • Risk management, not just a supply risk feature but also embedding risk management capabilities across modules (in addition to supplier risk specific monitoring, including “unstructured data” for disaster and risk)
  • Bid optimization and award enhancement, which includes a new partnership with Trade Extensions  
  • Global e-invoicing compliance, including Brazil, India and other parts of Asia
  • Trade financing, with an emphasis on invoice discounting. There was no mention of approved trade payables financing (SCF) or supplier-led factoring programs. Dedhia did share plans, however, to bring purchase to pay (P2P) closer to the payment equation, which could indicate card and derivative card models, as well, in terms of financing
  • Simplified sourcing capability for less complex events (labeled, with a nod to FreeMarkets, perhaps, as “QuickSource”)
  • Contract risk and obligation management, tying together CLM more closely with the rest of the suite, including project and performance management
  • Visibility into all activity and audit trails, including, for example, the ability to look at changes in workflow configuration as part of an audit into usage and activity in a new “iAudit” module
  • Spend analytics, enabling third-party analytics/visualization tools to sit on top of data within Zycus
  • Services procurement coming in multiple flavors soon. But don’t count on a full Zycus vendor management system (VMS) anytime soon, especially considering the time Zycus took to methodically pursue P2P

The Limits of Suite Technology

At lunch today, I had the chance to speak to a number of customers (and prospects). Each seemed satisfied with what he or she heard this morning, including a handful who were debating moving off other solutions and expanding their Zycus deployment (or rolling out Zycus for the first time).

But one item I heard twice was the need for Zycus to support its suite vision and aggressive modular expansion with on-the-ground resources for deployment and configuration resources in North America. This is a material weakness today for a vendor without a strong partner ecosystem that tries to do as much from HQ (offshore) as possible.

After all, you can build (and configure) great software globally, but the last mile of deployment is all about working closely with customers, including architecting all aspects of a solution, from workflow to process design to analytics views for different users, ideally based on a seat from the procurement trenches.

Stay tuned as our live coverage from Zycus Horizon continues.

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