Author Archives: Michael Lamoureux



Zycus: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary and Competitive Analysis

Oracle

For many years, Zycus’ self-proclaimed corporate objective was to become a “top three” procurement technology solutions provider. The irony of this goal was that it would ultimately — at least until Q2 2018 — prove elusive, not because of a failure to execute on objectives but rather how the market (e.g., Jaggaer’s strategy of combining multiple larger vendors and niche specialists under a single roof) moved against Zycus through unexpected actions. But more important than this is what Zycus’ initiatives actually mean for customers, based on the underlying current capabilities of the provider’s modules, suite and ecosystem today — and its planned enhancements for tomorrow. In these areas, fortunately, Zycus’ approach to meeting its business goals proved more important than the initial objective itself.

The third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot series covering Zycus offers a SWOT analysis of the provider and a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as alternative vendors to Zycus and offers provider selection guidance. Previous installments provided an in-depth look at Zycus as a firm and its specific solutions (Part 1) and a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses, as well as a review of the product’s user experience (Part 2).

Zycus: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses

Zycus is one of roughly half-a-dozen true source-to-pay (S2P) platform providers that offer more than lip service across all of the elements that comprise this solution area. In some modular areas, however, its technology is deeper than others.

For example, while Zycus has the RFX and auction functionality found in just about every sourcing platform, it also brings sourcing project management, spend analysis, a supplier network with supplier relationship management functionality and contract lifecycle management. Zycus also brings significant support for downstream procurement with its own native catalog management, requisition management, purchase order management, e-invoicing, payment support and dynamic discounting capability. And threaded throughout the platform is S2P project management support, organizational “ask procurement” support, integrated search and suggest functionality, and the capability to run end-to-end performance metrics.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot continues our exploration of Zycus’ source-to-pay offering by diving into the platform’s strengths, weaknesses and user interface. In Part 1 of this series, we provided an overview of Zycus as an organization, its primary platform modules and key considerations that will help an organization decide whether or not it should be investigating Zycus to meet its source-to-pay needs. In Part 3, we will conclude our coverage with a SWOT assessment, a detailed user selection guide, competition overview and our expert analysis.

Aravo: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary and Competitive Analysis

suppliers

Of all the procurement solution providers Spend Matters has tracked over the years, Aravo was arguably the most ahead of its time, delivering a set of supplier management capabilities a decade before demand would catch up with supply for this multifaceted solution category.

Owning to the tenacity and passion of its original leadership and the secondary management team that would eventually take the helm, Aravo managed to survive and then thrive, waiting for the market to catch up to it — not the other way around. Today, Aravo excels at many disciplines within supplier management and third-party management, and has a track record of enabling some of the largest deployments of supplier information management (SIM) capabilities that Spend Matters has tracked in the broader market.

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering Aravo provides a SWOT analysis of the provider and offers a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as substitute providers to Aravo and provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides summary analysis and recommendations for companies that can best take advantage of Aravo’s capabilities. Part 1 of this series provided an in-depth look at Aravo as a company and its specific solutions, and Part 2 gave a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses and a review of the user experience.

Aravo: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Platform Strengths and Weaknesses

Aravo was the original standalone supplier information management (SIM) solution in the North American marketplace. Founded in 2000, it is also one of the oldest independent procurement solution providers. After growing beyond its early roots as a catalog management enabler for Ariba implementations, Aravo launched a SIM solution capable of managing general supplier registration field and template-based initiatives. In more recent years, it has evolved into a full-fledged third-party and supplier data management solution that bridges a range of governance, risk and compliance (GRC) and procurement-centric requirements.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Aravo’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the provider. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview, as well as a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering Aravo. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Aravo: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview

The supplier management solution area consists of many subsegments that constitute their own individual markets. These include providers that specialize in aspects of supplier lifecylce management, the enablement of specific supplier management processes and the management of both structured — and, in certain cases, unstructured — supplier data. Few supplier management providers, however, have platforms that can tackle the majority of these areas effectively.

Aravo is one of a handful of providers that can. At the time of its founding nearly two decades ago, Aravo pioneered the supplier management technology market (specifically supplier information management), tracing its roots to Ariba-based supplier enablement and catalog support. But since then, Aravo has not rested on its legacy, despite retrenching to focus on software development and customers in recent years, especially large, complex supplier management deployments. GE, for example, manages 1.2 million suppliers and third parties using Aravo, with integrations to 24 different ERP and GRC software instances across 19 business units.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Aravo and whether its technology is a fit for their needs. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Aravo in the supplier management and quality management areas. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Zycus: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview

Aatish Dedhia, Zycus’s founder, has long preached the benefits of technology provider self-sufficiency, including management-driven investment, profitable growth and organic, suite-based product development. It is based on these principles that Zycus “grew up” from a razor-focused pioneer in the spend classification sector nearly 20 years ago into a strategic procurement technologies suite and, eventually, a full end-to-end source-to-pay (S2P) suite provider. While Zycus has strong comparative solutions depth and capability in certain areas, part of its broader market appeal has been often comparatively low pricing, which we view as a value-based feather in its cap.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement and finance organizations make informed decisions about whether a provider like Zycus, either on a modular or source-to-pay suite basis, is likely to be a strong shortlist candidate for their needs. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Zycus for their S2P needs. The remainder of this multipart research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, user selection guides, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Counselytics: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary and Competitive Analysis

Counselytics is one of a number of upstart providers specializing in the application of semantic artificial intelligence (AI) technology to contract data, including both internal and third-party paper. While limited in its ability to build out a broad-based suite of capabilities based on its size and the amount of capital it has raised to date, Counselytics has spent its limited R&D budget on its core algorithms and reporting capabilities to build a highly targeted solution that complements existing contract lifecycle management (CLM) and source-to-pay technologies.

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering Counselytics provides a SWOT analysis of the provider and offers a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as substitute providers to Counselytics and provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides summary analysis and recommendations for companies that can best take advantage of Counselytics’ capabilities. Part 1 of this series provided an in-depth look at Counselytics as a company and its specific solutions, and Part 2 gave a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses, as well as a review its user experience.

Counselytics: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses

Within the procurement technology sector, early artificial intelligence (AI) techniques have primarily been applied against structured data needs. Yet the class of AI techniques that these providers have deployed is actually quite different from the semantic AI analysis that is starting to gain traction in the contract search and analysis area. Within this new market, Counselytics is one of more than half a dozen upstart competitors that are collectively targeting an opportunity that is fundamentally different from — yet complements — contract lifecycle management (CLM).

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Counselytics’ strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the provider. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering Counselytics. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Counselytics: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview

The burgeoning contract search, discovery and analytics sector is distinct from established source-to-pay and contract lifecycle management (CLM) solution areas. This separate sector, pioneered by incumbent Seal Software, among others, is becoming increasingly validated as a standalone market as alternative providers — including recently funded upstarts such as LawGeex, LegalSifter and others — enter the mix.

Within this list of new entrants, we can also include upstart Counselytics. Like its peers, Counselytics applies semantic-based artificial intelligence (AI) approaches to contract data after ingesting third-party (or internal) contract paper to help organizations understand previously unknown contract exposure and ensure that contract clause requirements are in line with internal requirements. In addition, these providers offer varying degrees of contract search, discovery, analytics, and associated managed services capabilities and partnerships to create additional business value from the core extraction, structuring and reporting capabilities they provide.

This Spend Matters PRO analysis provides an introduction to Counselytics, a specialized provider in this market, offering facts and expert analysis to help procurement and legal organizations make informed decisions about whether they should explore either (or both) Counselytics and semantic AI technology further. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Counselytics as a complement to other contract lifecycle management (CLM) investments. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

LUPR: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary and Competitive Analysis

The market for supplier management technology is complex. Not a single provider that Spend Matters has reviewed as part of our PRO and SolutionMap analyses comes with out-of-the-box capabilities to competitively and fully support the myriad of solution components in this area, spanning supplier discovery, supplier on-boarding, supplier information management (SIM), supplier master data management (MDM), supplier performance management (SPM), supplier risk management, supplier diversity enablement and supplier quality management. Granted, some technology providers come close. But most opt to specialize in one or a handful of supplier management disciplines.

LUPR is one such provider, specializing in strategic supplier management (primarily supplier quality and supplier performance) in support of manufacturers and direct materials procurement initiatives. This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering LUPR offers a SWOT analysis, a competitive assessment and comparisons with other providers in the supplier management market. It also includes a user selection guide and summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provide a company and deep-dive solution overview, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider LUPR for supplier management initiatives.

LUPR: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses

This vendor snapshot series is focused on LUPR, a new entrant in the supplier management technology arena. Pronounced “looper,” but not spelled looper, as that's a media site dedicated to bite-sized entertainment news and pop culture, and procurement technology is usually not that scintillating, the name certainly caught our attention. And maybe yours.

Perhaps you’re chuckling about the various puns on the name LUPR (e.g., that supplier threw me for a …). But once you get past the name — which we believe positively calls out and reinforces the need for closed loop supplier and customer engagement — it becomes clear that LUPR is addressing a number of areas that most procurement organizations have not yet gotten around to automating through technology outside Excel, primarily centered on supplier quality and supplier development in a direct materials context.

Built on the Salesforce platform, LUPR has two different solutions: a buyer platform and a supplier platform, which is free for suppliers to use. This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores LUPR’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the provider. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering LUPR. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

LUPR: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview

While not all procurement groups have adopted the “supplier” flavor of customer lifecycle management — that is, supplier relationship management (SRM) — an increasing number of organizations are taking the plunge and purchasing supplier management capabilities, either from standalone providers or as part of integrated suites — and sometimes both. The SRM sector is a crowded one, and Spend Matters has covered many of its newest entrants. From specialized initiative management providers to on-boarding and master data management (MDM) specialists and spend-specific vendors (e.g., manufacturing, services) there is no shortage of solutions to choose from, let alone individual technology providers.

One of these new entrants, LUPR, was co-founded by Sean Harley, a former colleague of one of the authors of this brief. (Harley and Jason Busch worked together at FreeMarkets). The name LUPR is a play on words, as one of the goals of the firm is to close the loop between buyers and suppliers with relevant data to help both parties sustain relationships, improve quality levels, resolve performance issues and collaborate on innovation. LUPR is not yet a full-featured supplier information management solution, but it does go deep in specific supplier management areas and excels in meeting a range of initiative-based requirements for manufacturers.

But in such a crowded market, the question remains: Is LUPR different enough to succeed? Maybe.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about LUPR and whether its technology and solution capabilities are a fit for their needs. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider LUPR in the supplier management and quality management areas. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.