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Zycus Horizon Dispatch: Product Strategy Emphasizes 3 Key Areas

10/30/2018 By

As the second day of Zycus’ Horizon customer event kicks off in Virginia (see day one coverage: Facts/Investment/New AI Direction and Building the Partner Ecosystem) we thought it would be useful to distill what we’ve learned so far as the global provider (now with about 1,000 employees) continues to build out its procurement technology suite.

From the various main stage sessions and conversations we had with key Zycus personnel, we can segment Zycus’ product/solution strategy into three areas.

  • Emphasis on Suite — Zycus appears increasingly focused on building out its overall suite value proposition, including increasing linkages/integration between individual procure-to-pay components (e-procurement and invoice-to-pay) and strategic procurement components (sourcing, analytics, contract management and supplier management) to make the sum of whatever a customer buys even better than the individual parts. Especially in the middle market and upper middle market, the optionality of a full-suite value proposition (even when customers begin with just a handful of modules) is becoming more and more attractive to the Zycus customers and prospective customers we spoke to at the event.
  • Niche “Add-Ons” to Drive Differentiation — For years, based on customer requests, Zycus has focused on building out capabilities that are not quite modules (in a traditional sense) but complement modules and go beyond the expectations (e.g., total cost modeling/cost breakdowns, supplier corrective action request enablement, savings management, project management, etc.). An example of this in a new area is its focused capability (iLogix) targeting logistics sourcing that leverages sourcing optimization. In a presentation to attendees, Zycus noted that its customer research found that “80% of the use/need for sourcing optimization was for logistics,” which resulted in the provider building out “purpose-built” capabilities for lane optimization.
  • Artificial Intelligence — Zycus is putting AI at the core of its product development future. As noted in previous coverage of the event, this includes enabling transactional procurement (e.g., Supplier On-boarding RPA, Buyer’s Desk, Invoice Email Attachment, Invoice Metadata Extraction, Request Fulfillment, Approver Reminder, Requester Reminder) through AI. It also includes supporting strategic procurement activities: contract management (e.g., Metadata Extraction, Clause Classification, Clause Recommendations/Changes), risk analytics and sourcing (e.g, Buyer/Supplier Negotiations and RFQ/Auction Assembler). For example, a sourcing AI plug-in will enable users to “negotiate with suppliers when required” by taking “basic inputs” to suggest how to negotiate with individual suppliers.

Stay tuned for additional AI coverage examining what Zycus is up to in this area in the quarters to come, as Zycus shares more with Spend Matters. Incidentally, AI was a major theme at the event, with Gartner Research’s Bern Elliot, a vice president and distinguished analyst, giving an excellent keynote on the topic on the first day. This included showing a live demonstration of Microsoft’s new PowerPoint presentation mode audio to second/alternative language text translation that uses multiple AI techniques to translate spoken language in real time to a second language on screen.