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Scout RFP: The E-Sourcing Upstart Focused on User Experience — Year-End Tech Review

12/05/2016 By

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This post is part of our 2016 Year-End Procurement Tech Review, in which we offer procurement practitioners a bird’s-eye view of some key vendors and their solutions in select categories. This week, we’re highlighting companies in the sourcing (including e-sourcing) and supplier management spaces.

The founders of Scout RFP launched their firm with the goal of making e-sourcing solutions accessible and less cumbersome. Since the launch of a basic but simple-to-use RFP solution in 2013, the Scout RFP team has quickly built out the core of an e-sourcing suite, adding e-auction, savings tracking and supplier (information) management. Flash-forward only three years, and Scout RFP today positions its solid mid-market solution against the leading best-of-breed vendors in this segment of the market, with capabilities even larger firms may want to use.

Quick Facts

  • Founded: 2013
  • Headquartered in San Francisco, with additional offices in Austin, Texas, and Cleveland
  • Number of employees (range): 26–50
  • Total annual revenue (range): $2 million–$10 million
  • Percentage of revenue from procurement/supply: 100%
  • Serves customers in Asia, Australasia, North America, South America and Western Europe
  • Customers include Twitter, Owens Corning, Fitbit, Intuit, Splunk, Jo-Ann’s, Shutterfly, Smuckers, Levis, Unified Grocers, Duke University, NCAA and Zebra Technologies
  • Industries served include technology, manufacturing, retail, healthcare and hospitality
  • Available modules: Sourcing, Auctioning, Pipeline, Intake, Contacts
  • Other app integration: Salesforce and (coming soon) ServiceNow

Background & Overview

Some may question why anyone would launch a new business in the e-sourcing market. After all, the complexities of basic sourcing capability typically pale in comparison with what is required to tackle areas like procure to pay (P2P) and contract lifecycle management effectively, which is why so many second-generation vendors in these sectors have used new technology stacks to all but completely overtake early providers in capability (perhaps with the exception of SAP Ariba, which is still holding its own with growth).

Moreover, there is arguably greater value from advanced sourcing approaches that begin to incorporate elements of total cost management, constraint-based optimization and supply chain network design than basic e-sourcing alone. Yet Scout RFP is proving the observation wrong. In North America, it’s adding customers faster than just about any other provider.

The Scout RFP platform brings a set of integrated e-sourcing modules that can be enabled or disabled as necessary. The solution emphasizes simplicity and collaboration, with the goal being that users can be up and running with little or no training. It allows for integrated Slack-like team collaboration and features an API for data pull/push between other procurement (related) applications and Salesforce. Training is embedded through integrated walkthroughs and pop-ups, and the implementation time can be as little as a few hours.

Competitors include:

  • SAP Ariba
  • EC Sourcing
  • Keelvar
  • MarketMaker4/CSC
  • Market Dojo
  • Oracle
  • Scanmarket
  • SciQuest
  • SourceDogg

Commentary & Summary

Scout RFP is more than just an RFP and e-sourcing technology. It offers a possible solution to the vexing problem that has plagued “upstream” procurement technology adoption for the past 15 years. By focusing on the user experience first, including a messaging and collaboration capability at the core of the application, and building out capability that is likely to be used by the majority of users versus features that will just be valuable to a minority of customers and individuals, Scout RFP has taken a different approach than many of its peers.

The company’s growth to date and current rate of customer additions relative to peers is proof that this approach is resonating with customers. While work remains to build out a full-featured sourcing suite, fully internationalize its capabilities and tackle important integration questions and scenarios with other procurement and related technologies, Scout RFP has much to teach both its rivals as well as procurement organizations looking to increase the sphere and influence of their sourcing activities.

For a more comprehensive analysis and guide for procurement organizations looking to understand whether they should consider adding the provider to their shortlists for consideration, please head over to the Spend Matters Almanac.