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Opera Solutions (BIQ/Signalytics): Vendor Analysis (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview

09/26/2017 By

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This PRO series is specifically focused on Opera Solutions for Procurement and not Opera Solutions as a whole. If you are considering Opera Solutions for other enterprise analytics needs, this series may not address all of the relevant points.

Fourteen years ago, in the sleepy little town of Southborough, Massachusetts, a tiny startup set out to give procurement (and business) analysts a self-service yet powerful transactional data analysis tool. This would enable them to do their own analysis and get their own insights rather than having to “outsource” much of the process — including creating rules for classification, reports and different cube views — to a third party.

Less than two years later, it released that tool, called BIQ, and it totally changed the spend analysis market for both procurement organizations and consultants alike. For the first time, power analysts could do everything themselves in a market where spend analysis was primarily offered as a service, and they could do it at a price point that was significantly less than what larger vendors were charging them (often 5X–10X less). While it did require a lot of knowledge, aesthetic blindness and elbow grease, over time it could be done. BIQ was raw but powerful.

This quickly made the solution a favorite tool among not just mid-market companies that couldn't afford specialized solutions but also niche consultancies that could now do power-house analytics projects on their own, including firms like Lexington Analytics and Power Advocate. This, along with some really smart marketing, pushed BIQ into the mainstream of spend analytics providers, making it an essential shortlist candidate for any company wanting do-it-yourself spend analysis. This got the attention of many providers, who were afraid of the threat, in awe of the technology, or both.

One distributor of BIQ was Opera Solutions, which acquired the solution in 2012, as well as Lexington Analytics shortly thereafter. Once the two providers were merged, Opera Solutions instantly had a complete spend analysis software and services solution for the indirect space. But just as it achieved this combination, technical innovation on the core platform became inconsistent and market awareness was all but nonexistent. Yet in more recent years things have changed. BIQ is back. The new version (fall 2017) comes packed with some big enhancements, including one capability that is not only market leading but also unique among the spend analysis providers we have covered to date.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Opera Solutions and whether its capabilities are a fit for their needs. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and a detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Opera Solutions for procurement and spend analysis. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

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