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SciQuest: Competing in Multiple Procurement Technology Market Segments — Year-End Tech Review

12/14/2016 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 is the last week of this series, and today we’re highlighting a company in the procurement technology space based on earlier 2016 Spend Matters PRO vendor snapshot. 

While it is possible to label SciQuest as a procurement technology suite vendor (source-to-pay, source-to-contract and procure-to-pay), the reality is that SciQuest has largely competed in (to date) multiple segments of the procurement technology market. SciQuest has generally had different sets of customers, prospects and different competitors for its different suite components and modules. This stands in contrast to many of its peers, which have generally chosen to focus on fewer market segments, with a single point of entry (e.g., eProcurement) rather than more than one.

Quick Facts

  • Founded: 1995
  • Headquartered in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, with additional offices in London; Hamburg; Houston, Texas; Pittsburg.; and Newtown Square, Pennsylvania
  • Number of employees (range): 201–500
  • Total annual revenue: $106 million (2015)
  • Number of customers: 500–1,000
  • Serves customers in Australasia, Europe, Middle East and North America
  • Customers include Sunoco, Illinois Tool Works, State of Georgia, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Air Force, Kimberly Clark, Case Western Reserve University, University of Colorado, University of New Mexico, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, LaRoche, Scripps Research Institute, Toshiba
  • Industries served include commercial (including manufacturing, pharma, food and beverage, retail, transportation); higher education; and public sector
  • Available modules: Sourcing Director, Spend Radar (Analytics), Advanced Sourcing Optimizer, Total Contract Manager, Total Supplier Manager, Spend Director, Accounts Payable Director, Enterprise Reagent Manager, Portfolio Savings Manager

Background & Overview

SciQuest has the most unique past among procurement technology companies from a capitalization perspective. Its recent acquisition by Accel-KKR marks the second time the company has been taken private. SciQuest was one of the original B2B software companies to rise and fall with the dot-com waves, and was taken private in 2004 after a stunning ascent and crash as a scientific supplies marketplace.

Following six years as a privately held company, it went public again in 2010, on the NASDAQ, once it had firmly transitioned from an original B2B marketplace to a full-fledged e-procurement provider. Prior to that, SciQuest competed against Chemdex and Ventro, two science-centric B2B marketplaces eventually acquired by Ketera, which Deem later acquired and whose brands and assets have long since been forgotten. After SciQuest went public a second time, it spent little precious time waiting to use its newly found currency. In fact, the firm made four acquisitions between January 2011 and September 2013: CombineNet, Upside Software, AECSoft and Spend Radar.

Competitors include:

  • SAP Ariba
  • Coupa
  • Determine
  • Ivalua
  • GEP
  • Oracle
  • Trade Extensions
  • Tradeshift
  • Zycus

Commentary & Summary

SciQuest finds itself in a unique position in the procurement technology market, as it is probably the only independent technology suite vendor that competes across different customer requirements, specialized vertical segments and product lines, despite having a strong story to tell based on the capabilities of its integrated source-to-pay capabilities today, aside from sourcing optimization (which is loosely coupled today). Potential SciQuest customers need to be self-selecting and should add SciQuest to their shortlists if they believe the vendor is a fit.

Spend Matters believes SciQuest deserves a look more often than the opportunities it generally has been able to find its way into in recent years — and we suspect recent changes to the management of the organization (and new ownership) will quickly bring about a crystallization of a more targeted set of market segments and a common, integrated suite message.

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.