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SolutionMap in 2019: Where We’ve Been and the Year Ahead

01/02/2019 By


Ah, the memories.

When it comes to preparing for The Year in Comparative Rankings of Procurement Software Companies, it’s hard not to gravitate immediately to Spend Matters SolutionMap.

For one thing, SolutionMap provides quarterly updates, keeping in real-time lockstep with advancements and innovations in the procurement software and technology market. For that reason, we saw some cool things happen over the past 12 months — and have some exciting updates to share for 2019.

To get a primer and a SolutionMap 101, including links to free and premium content, check out this article.

Brand-New Solution Area Launched: Contingent Workforce & Services

In Q3 2018, Spend Matters unveiled the inaugural release of the Contingent Workforce & Services SolutionMap, composed of three categories: Contract Services/Statement of Work (SOW), Independent Contract Workers (ICW) and Temp Staffing.

Andrew Karpie, Spend Matters’ research director of services and labor procurement and lead analyst on the CW/S SolutionMap, set it up this way in the Q3 CW/S Release Notes:

“Given our procurement orientation, we evaluate [these CW/S] ‘enterprise technology’ vendors within a source-to-pay (S2P) reference model. In other words, we look at vendors in terms of their specifically focused — or more comprehensive — capabilities that address some or all enterprise requirements that arise within a S2P lifecycle (i.e. from supplier sourcing to worker or supplier payment).”

Indeed, much changed in that space during 2018. As Karpie recently noted, “It is clear that fault lines have begun to appear and some tremors have registered on the CW/S industry transformation Richter scale.”

In the latest release (Q4 2018), a total of 11 providers participated in one or more of the three categories that make up the CW/S area, including Beeline, WorkMarket (ADP) and SirionLabs. Shortlist, a very strong newcomer to the ICW category, landed as a Value Leader — in the upper-right quadrant — for all four personas within that category.

Check out the free persona graphics for all CW/S providers at

Coupa Makes a Lot of News in Q4 SolutionMap

Speaking of the latest release, one provider seemed to attract a lot of focus.

Going by Coupa’s more recent acquisitions — first of DCR Workforce, a VMS provider, in September 2018, and then of Aquiire, an e-procurement provider, in October — the San Mateo-based suite provider began muscling its way into the head of the pack well before the Q4 SolutionMap release on Dec. 4.

Here are a few takeaways from how last quarter’s SolutionMap data analysis shook out:

  • Coupa made a splash in SPT Suites, entering for the first time and giving Ivalua a great run for its money as the competing Value Leader for practitioners to consider in Deep, Configurator, CIO-Friendly and especially Turn-Key personas.
  • The same can be said within S2P Suites, where Coupa was even more of a runaway Value Leader over all the other providers across all personas.
  • Coupa-DCR Workforce, as the new entity is currently listed in SolutionMap post-acquisition, ended up mauling the competition in the Contract Services/SOW Even though the sample size of providers participating in this category remains small, it’s something to consider for practitioners in any stage of the contract services/SOW software selection process — especially those already engaged with Coupa.

What Makes Them Great? 

Spend Matters put a number of providers under the microscope starting in the second half of 2018 to give readers a deeper look at “What Makes It — [the provider and its solution] — Great.”

(This series is available to SolutionMap Insider subscribers, but some providers have graciously allowed their profiles to be unlocked to all readers.)

From the “big suite guys” to the best-of-breed point solutions, the Spend Matters analyst team runs the gamut in helping readers understand what they should be considering more closely.

Here are a few example providers and how their capabilities in specific solution areas covered by SolutionMap stack up to the competition.

What makes SAP Ariba great in E-Procurement. “When it comes to e-procurement, the search and shopping experience (supported by catalog management) typically gets the most attention in common selection processes,” the team wrote in November. “But a fully educated organization that understands all the business process elements of e-procurement (and broader procure-to-pay) is much more likely to also pay attention to two additional elements of e-procurement: ordering (including all PO components) and receiving.” SAP Ariba delivered the top functional scores for both areas in the Q3 2018 SolutionMap benchmark. Full article here (behind Insider paywall).

What makes Icertis great in Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM). “Icertis’ dominance and innovation pace in CLM is so great, in fact, that we believe it has led one of its competitors to not yet participate in SolutionMap because the process could expose its relative capability gap compared with Icertis,” the team wrote in September. “Moreover, Icertis continues to add new capabilities into its platform, including recently incorporated artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.” According to Spend Matters’ SolutionMap analysis, the provider excels in setting the bar for best-in-class CLM functional support overall, among several other areas. Full article here (* free for all readers!)

What makes SpendHQ great in Spend Analytics. “SpendHQ blends a SaaS-based approach with managed services, in which SpendHQ manages the entire process of implementation, data integration, spend normalization, classification and enrichment, as well as regular refreshes and the creation and maintenance of the savings opportunity report,” the team wrote in July. “Technically, SpendHQ provides all the spend analysis basics. But where SpendHQ stands out is in delivering business value from spend analytics, and the combination of its out-of-the-box reporting and core and extended spend analysis services make it an ideal fit for many organizations.” Full article here (behind Insider paywall).

2019: The Year Ahead 

The Spend Matters team spent the better part of the last year developing a new RFI, which is sent to the providers and provides the raw solution data for SolutionMap analysis. We’re currently planning to release the SolutionMap results and rankings based on the inputs from the new RFIs at the end of Q2 2019.

What does the new RFI mean for practitioners?

Updated persona weightings (including a new Nimble persona in the CLM category), additional practitioner-selection tools and more varied content are all part of the plan in future quarters — ultimately designed to inform whatever stage of the procurement software selection process you happen to be in.