Jaggaer Preps for the Big Value Creation Hunt: 3 Takeaways from the REV 2019 Keynote Speeches

taken 10/2/1019 A slide presented at Jaggaer REV 2019 in San Diego. (Spend Matters photo)

Several Spend Matters' analysts are harbor-side in San Diego this week for REV, Jaggaer’s annual customer conference. The two-day event offers a strong focus on technology and roadmap topics. And executive keynote speakers this morning articulated the emerging vision for Jaggaer’s product suite.

Clarity of vision is critical today for Jaggaer after the whirlwind of the past three years.

The Morrisville, North Carolina-based provider of source-to-pay solutions went private in June 2016 following its purchase by Accel-KKR, has acquired two companies during that time — direct materials solution Pool4Tool in June 2017 and S2P peer BravoSolution in November 2017 — and recently sold a reported $1.5 billion majority stake to U.K.-based private equity firm Cinven, according to Bloomberg. In February 2019, it began marketing Jaggaer ONE as a combination of its three offerings: Jaggaer Direct, Jaggaer Indirect and Jaggaer Advantage (all now rebranded, see below).

All of this activity has created economies of scale and efficiency benefits based on a textbook consolidation strategy, driving stronger profitability and overall enterprise value in the near term. But it has also raised numerous technical challenges in terms of platform integration and strategy for R&D amid multiple redundant software assets, all of which make Jaggaer’s longer-term hunt for growth more perilous — think hunting a leopard rather than your average November deer.

So where are Jaggaer’s sights pointed? Here are three significant takeaways from this morning’s presentations:

  • ONE-ness is now the mantra. Despite the technical and architectural complexity under the hood, executives held firm in their portrayal of Jaggaer as an end-to-end suite. The various product lines — which Spend Matters has analyzed as Jagger Indirect (formerly SciQuest) [now Jaggaer One], Jaggaer Direct (formerly Pool4Tool) [now Jaggaer One Direct] and Jaggaer Advantage (formerly BravoSolution) (now Jaggaer One+) as of Spend Matters’ Q3 2019 SolutionMap release — received no mentions. Instead speakers emphasized architectural elements to include a new integration layer (JINT, or Jaggaer Integration Network), a Snowflake-powered data lake, and centralization of access and identity management across multiple systems (e.g., corporate SSO, centralized supplier access). These focuses hint, however, at an ongoing effort, not a fully unified product. Development of the services-oriented architecture API framework to enable access of various services across legacy applications was listed as “near-term 2019” roadmap item, and API data extraction from Snowflake fell into the “medium-term 2020” category. All which is to say, the building blocks and the plan are in place, but Jaggaer is still tracking its unified suite prey. (But at least it has made progress on the unified data model front, which is a necessary foundation to achieve its intended result.)
  • AI/cognitive capabilities are front and center. Quibbles about the technical aspects of unification aside, the goal of unification is a noble one: To layer advanced analytics on top of the data layer that deliver predictive and prescriptive insights across the S2P process. Jaggaer CEO Robert Bonvaito called this “intuitive, embedded procurement intelligence” designed to enhance decision-making and risk management efforts for customers. To do this, Jaggaer is looking again toward its data consolidation strategy, but not just form its own assets; instead, it’s pitching customers on a greatly expanded partner network as a source of complementary external data. Technology partners now include Riskmethods, RapidRatings, EcoVadis, ConnXus, D&B and Sovos — a considerable expansion from the 2016 partner logo slide that had “about three names on it,” Bonavito said. All of that data, once consolidated, can be run through various AI engines (e.g., TensorFlow, Keras) that can run predictions on, for example, the probability of on-time/late deliveries or recommending sourcing events to run that could be well-timed based on raw material prices or sales forecasts.
  • Modularity is the onramp toward the larger platform vision. Jaggaer is positioning its tools in a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) manner, but it is not necessarily pushing a full suite, all at once, approach to solution adoption. Rather, a module-by-module approach is still encouraged, and Jaggaer views the ability of clients to “pick and choose the best of what you want” as a way to “balance today’s needs and promises with the promises of the ‘future of technology,’ ” as CTO Zia Zahiri put it. To that end, the various roadmaps for each module appear to be keeping pace with best-of-breed peers — as our area-by-area SolutionMap analyses of Jaggaer’s products have long illustrated. Contract management, for example, is seeing a strong focus, including new abilities to parse and score agreements for risks or compare negotiation strategies against best practices baked into the platform. (Spend Matters will have more detail on these other new capabilities as they are demoed at the event.) And these module-specific capabilities will also serve Jaggaer’s continued vertical focus, as well: Of the 800 or so new features the provider released over the last year, Bonavito said 145 were customer- or vertical-specific.

The Jaggaer strategy presents risks and opportunities. Key to mitigating the risks in preference for the opportunities will be not only a coherent vision but disciplined execution. In the coming days, we’ll be keen to talk with customers to get their perspective on how Jaggaer is meeting their current and near-term needs, as well as to hear from additional Jaggaer presenters on the steps they’re taking to bring Jaggaer ONE to fruition.

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