Author Archives: Magnus Bergfors



About Magnus Bergfors

Magnus has been a procurement professional throughout his career with deep expertise in strategic sourcing and SRM. Before joining Spend Matters, he worked at Gartner as lead analyst and agenda manager on procurement and strategic sourcing applications. He started out in the early 2000s as direct materials procurement at AstraZeneca and worked in various procurement and strategic sourcing roles at Scandinavian Airlines, IBX, Atlas Copco Tools, Effective Sourcing AB and SAAB. He brings a Europe-centric eye to procurement technology analysis and the challenges affecting the CPO community.


Silver linings from the pandemic — an analyst’s eye on procurement and supply chain predictions for 2021

silver lining procurement predictions

Spend Matters has just finished a series of procurement and supply chain predictions for 2021, with commentary from about 20 leading procurement technology and intelligence providers. Together their foresight runs to 60+ predictions, with the majority of providers unsurprisingly backing supply chain risk mitigation as the forerunner to get firms through 2021 and beyond.

Certain individual themes arose as priorities this year which combine to help procurement and supply chain managers and the organization survive, grow and face the challenges imposed by 2020 and the coronavirus crisis. Our analyst Magnus Bergfors identifies the standout themes and adds his own insight and foresight.

EC Sourcing: Vendor Analysis, 2021 update (Part 3) — SWOT, EC Sourcing Competitors, Tech Selection Tips, Analyst Summary

EC Sourcing

This final installment of our updated three-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis of EC Sourcing series provides a company SWOT assessment, a look at EC Sourcing’s competitors and how the provider compares to competing vendors that customers may wish to shortlist. This post also includes a user selection guide and summary evaluation.

There is a lot of competition in the e-sourcing and strategic sourcing suite marketplace today.

Granted, while new market entrants have largely if not entirely replaced some of the legacy providers from a decade or more ago, the amount of choice procurement organizations have in selecting a provider has never been greater.

EC Sourcing is one such provider that companies — especially those in the middle market — may wish to add to their shortlists, not just for core sourcing and negotiation but to enable basic category management support and upstream (non-transactional) suite capability.

Part 1 and Part 2 of this analysis provide a company and solution overview (with info on the BidMode integration), product strengths and weaknesses, and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider EC Sourcing.

Now, let’s take a deeper look at EC Sourcing and how it sits in the procurement technology market.

EC Sourcing: Vendor Analysis, 2021 update (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses

EC Sourcing

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis update explores EC Sourcing’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations determine if they should shortlist the vendor as a potential provider.

Many procurement organizations at larger firms will soon be on their second (or even third) set of e-sourcing technologies, with many using multiple solutions. The middle market is different, with scattered adoption and a much more recent track record of “sourcing” tools for the first time, if at all. Both trends favor lesser-known providers like EC Sourcing, a closely held technology and solutions firm that has compiled a commendable e-sourcing package that now has all of the core capabilities of a broader “upstream” suite — albeit with strengths and weaknesses in different areas.

EC Sourcing built out its suite from an e-negotiation core, and now it has a range of surprisingly deep capabilities that go beyond modular capability alone, including workflow management. On a functional basis, the provider offers e-sourcing, basic contract management, supplier management (which includes supplier corrective action reporting, or SCAR), and now advanced strategic sourcing decision optimization (by acquiring BidMode) and spend analysis.

Part 1 of our update provided a company and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for what types of organizations should consider EC Sourcing. Part 3 of this series will offer a SWOT analysis of the company, a discussion of EC Sourcing’s competitors, tech selection recommendations and a summary analysis.

Now, let’s examine the solution’s strengths and weaknesses.

EC Sourcing: Vendor Analysis, 2021 update (Part 1) — Background, Solution Overview, BidMode acquisition, added spend analysis

EC Sourcing bidmode

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis 2021 update offers a refresh of our 2020 review of EC Sourcing’s solution based on EC Sourcing’s recent announcements of its BidMode acquisition and its new, native spend analysis capability.

While we normally wouldn’t do two complete PRO updates in a year, these announcements are quite substantial as they provide EC Sourcing with not only entry into the source-to-contract platform market (while they don’t have authoring, they support contract document and data management) but one with advanced optimization capabilities generally only found in the large enterprise source-to-pay platforms.

EC Sourcing is one of a select group of procurement technology providers that have been aggressively targeting the middle market with an e-sourcing platform, one of a smaller group that offer relatively full source-to-contract capabilities (which are more than sufficient for the majority of mid-market companies because legal teams are usually quite happy to author contracts in Word and then just upload the signed contracts), and one of a smaller group still that can even serve Global the 3000 if they are just looking for S2C and are primarily indirect/services.

Moreover, EC Sourcing also happens to be one of the most mature in capability, with a set of clever features that only comes from the battle scars of decades of managing sourcing events. Spend Matters' analysis of the EC Sourcing platform positions it as a solid contender to fill the sourcing needs of middle to large middle-market procurement organizations as well as a subset of Global 3000 organizations looking for technology to transform their end-to-end sourcing efforts.

Since our initial three-part snapshot update, EC Sourcing has continued to address a number of the weaknesses we pointed out in addition to natively integrating the sourcing optimization specialist BidMode, adding native spend analytics capability, and continuing to enhance its UI and process-based workflow capability. That means its solution now consists of modules for spend analysis and insight, e-sourcing, optimization, workflow-based process management, contract management, and supplier management.

This update will provide facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations determine if the EC Sourcing solution is the right fit for their needs, and it will offer perspectives on alternative providers to consider in an evaluation alongside it.

Part 1 will include a company and detailed solution overview. Part 2 will focus on product strengths and weaknesses. Part 3 will offer a company-level SWOT analysis, a look at EC Sourcing’s competitors, tech selection considerations and a summary analysis.

Coupa and complexity: Acquisitions, tech integration and customer issues

As veteran industry analysts in this space, we closely watch procurement technology developments — engaging with solution providers, their customers, implementation consultants and the broader market. Coupa’s aggressive M&A activity over the last couple of years (four this year alone) has shifted the market landscape, but also the Coupa solution landscape for its current customers.

We’ve covered Coupa since it was a scrappy start-up with a really simple, easy-to-use solution at a very low price point. Now it is integrating all of its acquisitions to fulfill Coupa’s vision for business spend management (BSM).

Simplicity was really important to Coupa. Yet, with growth comes complexity, and after a series of major acquisitions, some customers that we’ve spoken with aren’t seeing a fully integrated, simpler solution.

In this Spend Matters PRO piece, we’ll explore:

  • How Coupa is facing integration issues stemming from its strategy of increasingly larger acquisitions
  • The issue of master data fragmentation (with supplier master data in particular) on workflow and analytics — and on a common supplier portal interface
  • Coupa’s expansion beyond spend management into supply chain management
  • Our point of view on Coupa’s continued growth strategy through acquisitions

Spend Matters is making this piece available outside of a PRO subscription for procurement practitioners. Please email pierre@spendmatters.com for your copy.

Workday Strategic Sourcing (formerly Scout RFP): Vendor Analysis, Part 2 — Deep Dive on 7 Modules, SWOT, Competitors in E-Sourcing, Commentary

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Scout RFP entered an already crowded e-sourcing market back in 2013 with a singular focus on ease-of-use, not unlike that of Coupa in the P2P space some years earlier. This focus, combined with rapid development of additional features and adjacent capabilities in project management, supplier management and contract management led to Scout RFP being acquired by Workday in 2019. Since the acquisition, it has been renamed Workday Strategic Sourcing and development has continued.

In the first part of this updated Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis, we looked at the company background and solution overview, solution strengths and weaknesses as well as a simple tech selection guide.

In this second part, we will do a more detailed solution overview, offer a SWOT analysis and take a look at Workday Strategic Sourcing's competitors in the e-sourcing market.

Workday Strategic Sourcing (formerly Scout RFP): Vendor Analysis, Part 1 — Background, Solution Overview, Strengths/Weaknesses, Tech Selection Tips

community

About this time last year, Scout RFP made headlines by being acquired by Workday, a provider of finance and HR solutions. The acquisition itself might not have been a huge surprise, given that Workday was an investor in the company already, but the valuation of Scout RFP raised an eyebrow or two (see here for more info).

At first it operated as “Scout RFP (a Workday company).” But recently, the name was officially changed to Workday Strategic Sourcing. This is a natural evolution as the acquisition becomes a more integrated part of the larger Workday organization. That said, there are no plans to replatform. Workday Strategic Sourcing will remain a separate solution, although more extensively integrated to the rest of the Workday offering.

Since our last analysis, Workday has added contract management and some interesting bid analytics and negotiation support capabilities.

In this two-part Spend Matters PRO about Workday Strategic Sourcing, we will take a closer look at the company and its solution — and then offer details on seven solution modules, do a SWOT analysis and discuss Workday’s competitors in the e-sourcing market.

Graphite Systems: Vendor Analysis (Part 3) — Detailed Overview of the graphiteConnect Solution

Part 3 of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis focuses on Graphite Systems’ offering and gives a detailed overview of the graphiteConnect solution.

The focus of its solution, graphiteConnect, has mainly been on SIM, but it has also expanded into SRM and supplier risk management.

In Part 1, we discussed the company background and graphiteConnect’s strengths and weaknesses. In Part 2, we provided a company SWOT analysis and looked at the graphiteConnect competitors.

Now, let’s dive into a detailed overview of the graphiteConnect solution.

Graphite Systems: Vendor Analysis (Part 2) — SWOT and Competitors for its graphiteConnect solution

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For Part 2 of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis series, we will look at graphiteConnect's competitors in the supplier management solution market and we'll offer a SWOT analysis on the vendor, Graphite Systems.

The supplier management solution market is red hot, and there are new solutions popping up left, right and center. However, the market is fragmented, and most vendors have their unique take on what supplier management means.

Spend Matters has defined five core building blocks of supplier management — Supplier Information Management (SIM), Supplier Performance Management (SPM), Supplier Relationship Management (SRM), Supplier Risk Management, and Supplier Quality Management (SQM) — to give a framework on how to classify and compare vendors in this space.

Graphite Systems is a new vendor in this space that we introduced in Part 1. The focus of its solution, graphiteConnect, has mainly been on SIM, but it has also expanded into SRM and supplier risk management.

Let's take a look at graphiteConnect's competitors and the company's SWOT.

Graphite Systems: Vendor Analysis (Part 1) — Background of Company & graphiteConnect Solution, Strengths/Weaknesses, Tech Selection Tips 

The first part of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis looks at Graphite Systems’ background, offers an overview of its graphiteConnect solution and details graphiteConnect’s strengths and weaknesses. But Graphite Systems is part of a larger story.

Networks are nothing new in the procurement technology space. But the focus of most networks has so far been primarily on transactions — connecting trading partners in a many-to-many network to facilitate exchange of purchase orders and invoices. Now, most of these networks have expanded some, and many also include some supplier information, but that has typically been limited to the most basic information needed to support the transaction.

This is now changing with Graphite System’s entrance into the marketplace.

It is arguably the first supplier management vendor that is building its solution, graphiteConnect, on a network model where suppliers enter and maintain their information once and can share it with any and all buyers in the network.

Part 2 of this series will offer a company SWOT analysis and a look at Graphite System’s competitors. In Part 3, we will provide a detailed solution overview.

Scanmarket: Vendor Analysis, 2020 Update (Part 3) — Competitors and Market Overview, Analyst Summary

The third and final installment of this updated Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis covering Scanmarket provides a SWOT analysis of the provider and looks at Scanmarket’s competitors in a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison.

The landscape for e-sourcing (RFX, auction, category management, sourcing optimization, etc.) is still highly fragmented. There is not a single market-share leader or “dual” leadership in this sector (as is the case with Coupa and SAP Ariba for the procure-to-pay category).

However, one trend in consolidation stands out: Providers focused on the “upstream” areas like sourcing but also supplier management, contract management and analytics have a strategy of either building or buying their way into the procure-to-pay sector — or merging their capabilities with other solution providers in this market.

Yet one nearly full upstream provider focused on this market remains independent: Scanmarket.

(We say “nearly full” because it remains dependent on a partner for spend classification, and it has some functional gaps in the supplier management and contract management areas.)

Of course Scanmarket faces competitors from different segments of providers with either more targeted or overlapping functional footprints. And a number of newer generation e-sourcing providers have set a course to build out their suites to more directly compete with Scanmarket, even if this is more on a regional basis currently.

This Part 3 installment also includes recommended shortlist candidates as alternative vendors to Scanmarket and offers provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides a summary analysis and recommendations for companies considering the vendor.

Part 1 provided an in-depth look at Scanmarket as a firm and its specific solutions, and Part 2 gave a detailed analysis of the solution’s strengths and weaknesses.

Let’s take a look at Scanmarket’s opportunities and threats as well as Scanmarket’s competitors in e-sourcing.

Scanmarket: Vendor Analysis, 2020 Update (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses, Tech Selection Tips

This updated Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis explores Scanmarket’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether Scanmarket’s solution fits their needs and whether they should shortlist the vendor.

Scanmarket is one of the last remaining independent “upstream” procurement technology suite providers. While it brings particular capability and expertise in running both simple and complex RFX and auction processes (and formats), it also offers a range of adjacent capabilities in project management, supplier management and contract management.

On many levels, Scanmarket is one of the heirs to the specialized e-sourcing capability pioneered by firms like FreeMarkets and Procuri. And it also represents a targeted and cost-effective alternative to full-suite providers. In addition, Scanmarket offers deeper sourcing capability than procure-to-pay specialists in the market today.

Part 1 of our analysis provided a company background and solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Scanmarket in the procurement technology area.

The final installment in this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, a look at Scanmarket’s competitors, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Let’s examine at Scanmarket’s strengths and weaknesses.