Zycus Horizon 2017 Dispatch: 5 Impressions From The Event So Far

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Xavier Olivera and I have spent the past 24 hours at Zycus Horizon. We’ve been in and out of sessions, had conversations with customers and partners, and spent significant time talking to Zycus management.

While we did not spend too much time in New Orleans digging into Zycus’ latest product releases, we’ve spent a dozen or so hours in the past quarter reviewing Zycus’ core procure-to-pay (P2P) and strategic procurement technology modules. Factoring these sessions into account and what we’ve learned at Horizon, we thought we’d do a “shoot from the hip” list of impressions from the event this year.

1. Maintaining Independence

Zycus is maintaining its commitment to staying independent and is not seeking outside investment or a board to help steer overall strategy. This stands in contrast to providers like Ivalua and Jaggaer, as well as public companies like Coupa and SAP Ariba, competing in the source-to-pay market segment. Staying independent and not having to be accountable to outside investors or a board is both a blessing and a curse. Yet this commitment appears to be part of Zycus’ DNA, which gives it a unique position. Independence also allows Zycus to place big, longer-term bets, such as going after services procurement head-on with a next generation VMS model (see below).

2. Beyond the Usual Customers

Zycus is thinking beyond the Fortune 500 and large European accounts by going global and also pursuing the middle market. Its investments in Asia as well as targeting of the middle market in North America distinguish it somewhat from others in the sector, especially among full-suite vendors with breadth and depth across spend analytics, sourcing, contract management, supplier management, e-procurement and invoice-to-pay.

3. Targeting Services Procurement

Zycus wants to capture a piece of the huge (and growing) services procurement pie. But it is doing so by pursuing what some would consider an “all or nothing” approach: going after the VMS market rather than pursuing MSA/SOW services procurement. Zycus’ solution, which is still in development, factors into account both traditional staffing resources as well as independent contractors and freelancers. Zycus shared a video on stage exploring its approach and some early screen captures. It’s audacious, more so than Coupa’s targeted efforts. But audacity brings risk, as well. Regardless, we will watch for this launch closely in the future.

4. Ecosystems and Partnerships

Zycus has built a targeted ecosystem of consultants in Europe and plans to do the same in North America. It recently hired Eric Lynch, a business development specialist (and a former Azul Partners employee), who is well known in the market for developing partner relationships with larger consultancies, systems integrators and boutique firms alike. While the strategy makes sense, Zycus is behind other suite-based providers in building out implementation support with larger firms and in going to market together. It also has not fleshed out an implemented platform-as-a-service (PaaS) model to collaborate with others and to build its own platform capability going beyond basic API-based integration alone.

5. Specialized Capabilities

Full suite is a mantra at Zycus, but the firm is also focusing on developing capability that sits in between traditional modules. This includes not only continuing to flesh out its P2P capability alongside sourcing and other areas but also focusing on a range of other capabilities spanning project management, “inbound” interception of procurement requests from the business, commodity and category management, supplier development and manufacturing-specific use cases.

Stay tuned for further coverage from Zycus Horizon later today and this week.

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