Author Archives: Michael Lamoureux

SupplHi: Vendor Analysis — Background, solution overview, roadmap, SupplHi competitors/market analysis, customer feedback, tech selection tips, analyst summary with strengths/weaknesses

SupplHi solution overview

With the abundance of pure-play solutions for supplier discovery and supplier management that have hit the global marketplace in recent years, one would think that the supplier management market had seen it all. But SupplHi is a new entrant into the space that has found a way to take what may seem like a missed opportunity to many and make it new and exciting to them — and the market.

So why is SupplHi different?

To understand that, we need to understand what the market is. Supplier management is needed for direct and indirect procurement, and it has so many categories that we often call it SXM.

The supplier management product marketplace today primarily focuses on supplier discovery, supplier information management (SIM), and a bit of supplier performance management (SPM) and the services around relationship management (SRM). But that's not the only facets of supplier management. There’s also supplier network management and quality management, an offering that is pretty much limited to a few providers that serve the direct sourcing space.

In other words, while supplier management seems mature, that maturity is primarily in the management of suppliers from an indirect or services perspective. When it comes to direct supplier management that stores deep details on technical capabilities, quality and quality control, engineering knowledge and personnel, compliance and support for regulatory requirements, and the necessary onboarding and validation processes, then the solutions for them are few and far between.

This is where SupplHi is attempting to fill the void.

The future of spend analytics: From Jason Alexander to Jerry Seinfeld

In a previous article, “What the Jason Alexander hoodie ad teaches us about the past and future of spend analytics capabilities,” we talked about how spend analytics in the source-to-pay (S2P) world is a bit like George Costanza in Seinfeld's world. It's still a bit of a side-show, even if it shouldn't be. Sometimes we have to laugh at it, like when it tells us equipment shoes are footwear, even though we should be crying.

But just like the Jason Alexander hoodie from the Super Bowl commercial, if we can laugh at it, or at least acknowledge its flaws in terms of where analytics’ value generation typically comes up short, we will end up respecting its potential even more — because we will be open to the possibility of a new generation of solutions that will provide a level of value not previously seen. Then we will transition from the sideshow of George Costanza to the main act of Jerry Seinfeld as spend analytics begins to take center stage in its own show.

In this follow-up article, we will specify the properties of third-generation solutions and provide some detailed examples of value identification that will only be possible in next-generation systems. First, we'll highlight some of the major shortcomings of current second-generation solutions and overview a few best-of-breed providers that offer, or are close to offering, third-generation capabilities. While we touch on only a few key capabilities in this article, these should be enough to highlight what 2.x solutions are missing and just how deep the opportunity iceberg goes.

Anaplan: Vendor Analysis (Part 1) — Spend analysis solution overview, SWOT, Anaplan competitors, tech selection tips

Anaplan solution

This two-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis introduces the spend analytics specialist Anaplan to the procurement market and explores its new spend analytics offering.

Spend analysis is a relatively mature procurement technology market segment. Recent entrants represent the beginning of Spend Analysis 3.0 — with powerful real-time analytics on large data sets, multi-taxonomy support, multi-cube support, advanced formula and calculation support, machine learning, AI and predictive analytics. And more established entrants, even if they are on Spend Analytics 2.0 stacks, are expanding their out-of-the-box reporting and functionality, deepening integrations, adding market and community intelligence, and using their platforms to power risk, contract and supplier analytics.

What’s more, spend analytics is no longer the domain of specialists only. All of the suite providers have spend analytics, are building it or partner for it. Sourcing providers have consulting partners that do opportunity analysis, and these providers either have their own in-house tools or their own partnerships with spend analysis providers. With these in addition to new best-of-breed providers emerging on a quarterly basis over the last few years, spend analytics is getting crowded.

Yet the market is so attractive, it’s even bringing in crossovers from other spaces. This includes Anaplan, a connected planning solution that is best known for supporting the S&OP process.

Part 1 includes a company background, high-level solution overview, a company SWOT analysis, a look at Anaplan’s competitors and a few tech selection tips.

Part 2 will examine the Anaplan solution strengths and weaknesses, take a deeper dive into the solution functionality and include an analyst summary.

Onventis: Vendor Analysis (Part 1) — Upstream S2C solution overview, SWOT, Onventis competitors/market analysis, tech selection tips

Onventis competitors

Onventis has grown into an interesting source-to-pay suite provider, so we plan to look at its offering in the upstream source-to-contract area in this two-part Spend Matters PRO today, and we'll do another series on the downstream P2P solution in the coming weeks.

It's also important to note two other things about Onventis: First, it is one of the few providers in the space that is fully focused on the mid-market. Second, Onventis can support an organization's indirect, services and direct sourcing needs, which not all platforms can.

Also, consider that if source-to-contract is powered by a single, unified platform, its value only increases because the businesses using it can source faster to respond to disruptions, analyze data to identify trends early, monitor suppliers to conform to every changing compliance regulation, and manage electronic agreements when distances or time prevent physical ones.

So we would suggest that while the subject might seem old-hat, the slick-fashioned offerings of the new players that focus on the mid-market are certainly worth the time and effort to get to know better. For some companies, they may turn out to be the perfect providers.

Part 1 will cover the company background, a short solution overview, a SWOT analysis, a look at Onventis competitors and tech selection tips. Part 2 will focus on Onventis' S2C solution strengths/weaknesses, a deep dive into its solution capabilities and an analyst summary.

Onventis: Vendor Analysis (Part 2) — Upstream S2C Solution Strengths/Weaknesses, Solution Deep Dive, Analyst Summary

Onventis solution

The source-to-pay market aims for comprehensive coverage of all of an organization’s procurement spend. But in reality, all spend is not necessarily covered by every suite, and even the ones that span indirect, direct and services-based purchases can have blindspots. And beyond even spend scope, it’s even rarer that such opportunities are available to mid-size businesses, with the Global 2000 and Fortune 500 often winning out on comprehensive coverage.

Onventis is an S2P provider that resists both of these generalizations. It not only covers all three major types of spend but also is specifically designed (and priced) for middle-market organizations — although it certainly has the foundations to scale up to larger customers, as well. In the S2C segment specifically, we see this in capabilities such as BOM-based direct materials sourcing; a respectable and granular supplier network; and deep master data management configuration support.

Part 2 of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis provides details on the solution’s strengths and weaknesses as well as a deep dive into the S2C solution and an analyst summary. Part 1 included company background info, a SWOT analysis and a review of Onventis competitors. For coverage of Onventis’ P2P capabilities, PRO subscribers can expect a companion two-part series publishing in the weeks to come.

The 3 biggest ‘no-nos’ in post-merger technology integration — and what to do instead

In technology M&A, integration projects come down to decisions. Sure, the technical elements guide the work, but the key to long-term success is to make the right decisions up front about platform, workflow and potential consolidation strategy that all tie to business objectives.

In a shocking number of cases, however, vendors rush such integration decisions, or operate on assumptions that later reveal themselves to be sinkholes, costing time, resources and customer patience. So just as we advise technology providers to look for common “surprises” that can hide from deal teams in M&A due diligence, we also have a list of “no-nos” to consider when making key decisions about how to manage integration projects. But unlike our surprises list, which was about investigating technology claims that are often dubious, our “no-nos” list is about assumptions, especially those that underestimate the potential value of another approach.

What do you need to keep in mind before you make these critical integration decisions?

In this Spend Matters PRO series, we’re outlining the most common potholes and hidden sinkholes that technology providers encounter in post-acquisition technology integration. Because without foreknowledge, acquisition dreams quickly morph into maintenance nightmares from which vendors may never wake up. And we want you to have a chance of getting it right.

For vendors getting up to speed on post-merger integration strategy, consider reviewing our earlier briefs, where we defined five specific stages of post-merger technology integration, as well as our follow-on brief about perhaps the most important upfront integration planning question (to maintain or note to maintain?). See:

IntegrityNext: Vendor Analysis, 2021 update — Supplier sustainability monitoring solution overview, strengths/weaknesses, SWOT, competitors, tech selection tips

IntegrityNext solution review

The Covid pandemic finally has made it clear to procurement organizations that monitoring suppliers for risk in compliance, operations and reputation is paramount — because a violation, disruption or mishap can be devastating. For organizations that have looked beyond a single incident and examined the bigger picture, however, some are realizing that the larger issue is the long-term sustainability of supply chains.

The trouble for procurement groups, however, is that monitoring suppliers to reduce not just general, business-focused risks but also sustainability risks is no easy task — especially across the long tail of suppliers.

To get a grip on supplier compliance to meet these broader objectives, procurement organizations generally need four things:

  • supplier self-assessments that capture details on policies and procedures
  • certificates of verification
  • third-party audit information
  • up-to-the-minute insight and analysis on reported events that could be early indicators of issues that need to be investigated

IntegrityNext, which first went to market in May 2017, sits at the nexus of these areas. It offers an affordable, easy way for procurement organizations to access compliance assessments, up-to-date certifications and real-time market sentiment on their supply chains. To such an end, they have delivered and have grown to be one of the largest supply chain sustainability platform/profile holders in the world that monitors suppliers (and the supply chain) across 155 countries and over 1 billion messages daily for sustainability monitoring.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis offers an update on our 2018 look at IntegrityNext and its capabilities. It includes an overview of IntegrityNext’s offering, a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a SWOT analysis, a list of IntegrityNext competitors and a selection requirements checklist for those that might consider the provider.

Bid Ops: Vendor Analysis, 2021 — Solution overview, strengths/weaknesses, SWOT, Bid Ops competitors, tech-selection tips

Despite the merger and acquisition frenzy in the procurement technology market of the past few years, the upstream source-to-contract (S2C) market continues to remain crowded. For organizations evaluating a sourcing solution, not only can they choose from 10 source-to-pay (S2P) players, they also can select from multiple mini-suites (S2C) or dozens of other vendors in pure-play e-sourcing and supplier management.

Admittedly, it can be hard to differentiate from with the number of options available, and in sourcing specifically, unless an upstart offers decision optimization, RPA (robotic process automation), specialized analytics, semantic parsing or some other advanced technology, they can easily get lost in the sea of standardized options.

Bid Ops is a younger entrant making waves in the e-sourcing market by differentiating on automated negotiation support, bill-of-material import, intelligent pricing suggestion and automated KPI roll-up against supplier profiles. These capabilities, among others, empower procurement organizations to conduct more events with far less (or even no) manual effort while bringing more spend under management, especially for non-strategic or standardized categories like MRO, where analysis is minimal and most of the process can be standardized. For many Bid Ops customers, which include both mid-market process manufacturers and enterprise-level discrete manufactures, the value prop of working with a rapidly iterating direct sourcing specialist is proving compelling — and has made it one of our 50 Providers to Watch in recent years.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis provides an overview of Bid Ops and its solutions for automated e-sourcing solutions and supplier management. It explores the concept behind Bid Ops and how that fuels the platform, application and supporting services that the vendor delivers. This post also includes a look at Bid Ops’ competitors and key analyst takeaways on strengths and weaknesses.

Digitate: Vendor Analysis — Overview of analytics solution, roadmap, Digitate competitors, tech selection tips, analyst summary

Digitate was founded as the product arm of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) back in 2015 to provide its consultants and services personnel with the tools that the market just wasn't providing them — specifically, the opportunity identification and program monitoring that most of its customers were missing from their source-to-pay suites.

Looking at these platforms, Tata noticed that their customers typically had the tools they need to "do" sourcing and procurement, but not the ones needed to identify the best, or hidden, opportunities, and definitely not the ones to identify which sort of controls they should put in place to ensure goals are met and risks are averted.

So they developed ignio Cognitive Procurement, a monitoring analytics platform backed by data science that can be used by organizations to analyze spend and supply. This platform is capable of identifying not only traditional spend analytics-based opportunities but also more non-traditional opportunities hidden in the supply chain, like late deliveries, high returns, high-risk payments, missed (safe) early payment opportunities and other issues.

Said another way, while more traditional spend analytics vendors allow you to “slice and dice” your data, Digitate gives you a battle ax that’s meant to cut through the hardest data problems you can throw at it.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis provides an overview of Digitate and its solution for data science-backed analytics across source-to-pay. It explores the concept behind Digitate and how that fuels the platform, application and supporting services that the vendor delivers. This post also includes a look at Digitate’s competitors and key analyst takeaways on strengths and weaknesses.

The 3 most common ‘surprises’ in post-merger technology integration — and how to avoid them

integration surprise

In the enterprise technology space, no acquisition comes without challenges. The key question for technology and product leaders is whether they know about those challenges before closing a deal.

In a shocking number of cases, however, vendors elect not to engage outside experts to conduct deep technology diligence. Or even if they do, the diligence is frequently surface level, performed merely as a “check the box” activity on the way to a speedy deal. As a result, multiple “unpleasant surprises” can arise over the course of post-merger integration projects. The number and severity of these surprises can lead to, at minimum, delays in expected roadmap delivery or, at worst, customer attrition due to lagging innovation, strained support levels and unkept promises.

In this Spend Matters PRO series, we’re outlining the most common potholes and hidden sinkholes that technology providers encounter in post-acquisition technology integration. Because without foreknowledge, acquisition dreams quickly morph into maintenance nightmares from which vendors may never wake up. And we want you to have a chance of getting it right.

For vendors getting up to speed on post-merger integration strategy, consider reviewing our earlier briefs, where we defined five specific stages of post-merger technology integration, as well as our follow-on brief about perhaps the most important upfront integration planning question (to maintain or not to maintain?). See:

Creactives: Vendor Analysis (Part 1) — Solution overview, strengths/weaknesses, tech selection tips

Creactives solution

In this two-part Spend Matters PRO series, we will overview Creactives' unique technologies and capabilities that make it a vendor that every global multinational sourcing direct materials should be considering as part of their overall source-to-pay and/or supply chain technology arsenal.

While there are a large number of traditional solutions for material master data management (MMDM) and a similarly large number of analytics solutions with artificial intelligence (AI) auto-classification, most of the traditional MMDM solutions don't use advanced machine learning (ML) and AI. Most of the analytics solutions with AI have been trained on indirect data sets for the purpose of spend, and not material, classification. There are few MMDM or analytics solutions that were built specifically for automatic part and material classification — and fewer still for real-time classification and maintenance during the procurement cycle.

This is why Creactives is one of the most interesting players in the source-to-pay (S2P) space to hit the global procurement solutions scene. Its approach, combined with its almost two decades of experience in material classification using advanced knowledge engineering technology (ML, AI, semantic technology, deep learning, etc.), make it a unique provider — especially when you consider its real-time ability to classify and search parts and materials in over 25 languages.

Part 1 focuses on company background, solution strengths/weaknesses and tech selection tips. Part 2 gives a deep look at the solution, a list of Creactives' competitors and a detailed company SWOT analysis.