Author Archives: Michael Lamoureux



AnyData Solutions: Vendor Analysis 2020 Update (Part 3) — SWOT, Competitor Comparisons, Tech Selection Tips

AnyData Solutions competes in a fragmented market for spend analytics. Yet unlike many of its peers, it is not a common procurement vendor name. But with better awareness, it could be a strong analytics competitor globally, especially considering how the solution packs a powerful one-two functional and pricing punch.

From a functional standpoint, AnyData’s rapid visual development framework can enable customers to go beyond spend analysis use cases to create custom, domain-specific analytics solutions (e.g., analytics-centric contract lifecycle management and supplier performance management reporting and capability). Combined with AnyData’s low-cost pricing models (a fraction of the cost of other solutions under most scenarios), it should make the solution a shortlist candidate for just about any size organization needing a spend analytics platform that wants the option to move beyond the basics.

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis provides an objective SWOT analysis of AnyData and looks at its competitors and the market they inhabit. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as alternative vendors to AnyData, and offers provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides summary analysis and recommendations for companies considering AnyData. Part 1 provided an in-depth look at AnyData as a firm and its solution overview. Part 2 offered a detailed analysis of its solution strengths and weaknesses.

AnyData Solutions: Vendor Analysis 2020 Update (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses

InnoCentive

Part 2 of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis update explores the strengths and weaknesses of AnyData’s spend analytics and contract management solution, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations and other customers decide whether AnyData is the right fit for their needs.

Since our 2017 review, AnyData has added a strength: metric definition and management. And it improved on old strengths, like rapid configuration and ease of use. Also its visualization engine is sharper, faster and more configurable by the end user. Areas for improvement include more marketing and industry customization. We’ll discuss all of these and more later.

As we indicated in Part 1, AnyData Solutions is not just a stand-alone spend analytics toolset that includes “the basics.” Rather, it is a stand-alone platform for capturing, managing, sharing and collaborating on structured datasets of any type — which can come from flat files, spreadsheets, databases, live API feeds, documents scanned by OCR and just about any data source you can think of.

As an end-to-end analytics platform, AnyData is quite different from other approaches to spend analytics on the market today. On many levels, AnyData is closer to the data-centric heritage of BIQ, or the newer Spendata solution (founded by a BIQ co-Founder), as it is fundamentally a self-service analytics solution, compared with the vast majority of spend analytics providers, which prefer to handle cleansing and classification activities “as a service,” even if they offer to sell the classification engine separately (which rarely happens).

The first installment of this three-part series provided a company and solution overview and a recommended fit list of criteria for firms considering AnyData. Part 3 will offer a company SWOT analysis, a look at AnyData’s competitors and a user selection guide.

AnyData Solutions: Vendor Analysis 2020 Update (Part 1) — Background, Solution Overview, Tech Selection Tips

AnyData Solutions, founded seven years ago, is yet another spend analytics vendor with strong capabilities, even some unique ones — but it’s not just a spend analytics vendor, as it offers contract management capabilities and bases its platform on a no-code rapid AI-enabled visual development environment (VIDE). But like many analytics startups hailing from the UK (including Rosslyn Data Technologies, Spend360 that was acquired by Coupa and Spikes Cavell that was acquired by Xchanging and is now DXC Technologies), it has been undercapitalized from the start. As a result, AnyData has not invested in the type of sales and marketing efforts necessary to make it a household name. It also has lacked the channel and business development prowess of DXC Technologies (Spikes Cavell) and Spend360 (Coupa) that helped drive significant yet behind-the-scenes growth and resulted in their eventual acquisitions.

Perhaps most important, as previously chronicled by Spend Matters (see: Exploring the Customer Experience of a Spend Analytics Provider that Should be on Your Shortlist), AnyData’s broad claim around the delivery of powerful analytics is not the typical smoke-and-mirrors marketing that many vendors put forth. Our analysis, backed up by deep SolutionMap analysis, finds that it does deliver a true end-to-end analytics platform (unlike just about every other spend analysis solution) that is extensible across functions, industries and different use cases both inside and outside of procurement (as the VIDE can be used to configure broad-based analytics support).

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis, updated since our 2017 review, provides facts and expert insights to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about AnyData Solutions and whether its capabilities are a fit for their needs. Part 1 of our analysis provides an updated company background and a detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider AnyData in the procurement technology and solutions area. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Ivalua NOW 2020 (dispatch 2): La licorne française va directement pour la route moins fréquentée

The Ivalua NOW 2020 conference began today online because the coronavirus disruption canceled two other in-person events. During the event, Ivalua announced that it currently has at least nine major enhancements in the development queue, with (the beginnings of) seven major enhancements being planned for the next two releases. (It's OK, it's not all in French.)

Ivalua NOW 2020 dispatch: The unicorn and its quest for the One Platform

FM Global Resilience Index

The Ivalua NOW 2020 conference began today online because the coronavirus disruption canceled two other in-person events. Still, a lot of speakers are scheduled for the two-day event. CEO David Khuat-Duy kicked it off Tuesday, and Chief Product Officer Pascal Bensoussan outlined the Ivalua vision for 2020-21 that highlighted Ivalua’s plans for Procurement Domination ... err ... enhanced customer success over the next two years.

Surviving the coronavirus crisis for the self-employed or COVID-19 disenfranchised (Part 3)

In our previous two installments in this coronavirus series for small-business owners, we noted how two general categories of business have been hit hard by the coronavirus shutdown: services and non-essential products. We focused on how those businesses not selling products will be especially hard-hit and have to be creative with e-commerce, social media and other online tools to have any chance of survival in some cases. We also noted that these businesses would not be able to maintain staff levels and would be contributing even more to the COVID-19 disenfranchised workers as time went on.

The shelter-in-place emergency measures mean less shopping or spending money on a meal or a night on the town — so a large number of people are out of work.

Surviving the coronavirus crisis for physical small businesses: Saving services providers (Part 2)

As we made clear in Part 1, two general categories of business have been hit hard by the coronavirus shutdown: services and non-essential products. Your business is likely already online to some degree — but now's the time to go all in on e-commerce and reach your customers via social media or other virtual means. For physical shops that sell goods, we addressed ways that you can boost sales by going online.

Today we are going to address services, which is a tougher category as some businesses, regrettably, won't survive, and others will only scrape by with massive layoffs, and then only if they can still partially operate. However, this doesn't mean that the owners or disenfranchised workers can't either find alternate means of employment/self-employment or set themselves up to bounce back in the future.

CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE: Dear Procurement, AI won’t save you, but rules-based automation might!

This Spend Matters analyst brief has been posted outside the PRO subscription paywall to share information that could help businesses take on the coronavirus disruption.

Given the coronavirus-related chaos going on now, you'd think now more than ever you'd want a solution that could just take some categories off your plate and source/procure them for you. But, all of these "AI" solutions are based on classical machine-learning algorithms that have produced standard responses based upon standard situations identified from large historical datasets where a significant amount of the time the data is consistent — price is relatively static over a period of time or rises over time in accordance with a predictable trend line, supply/demand imbalance is relatively consistent, there are no major shake-ups in the supply base or customer base or new major product introductions that significantly impact the supply/demand imbalance, etc.

Compare this to the current situation. There is no historical data that describes this chaotic coronavirus situation, and no standard responses in the platform's repertoire. There's no statistically relevant response and anything the platform did would be essentially random.

Now is NOT the time to deploy AI-based sourcing and procurement technology, and it's not the time to over-rely on any existing AI-based sourcing and procurement solution you might already have. You can use the analysis capabilities where you have access to daily information feeds and look at the recommendations, but definitely do not use any auto-sourcing/auto-procurement. Apply human oversight to every key step of the process until the global economic situation settles down to a new normal that has been consistent long enough to produce enough data for the algorithms to learn from and adapt to. Everything is an exception now, so there are no consistent rules.

On the flip side, you have no time for any tactical, semi-thoughtless tasks that can be automated, or at least automated the majority of the time and only escalated to human review in exceptional situations. Now that we're all stretched thin, working remotely, having to spend most of the day in online meetings, we need automation more than ever. In particular, we need all of the classic automation that has been used for years as well as the automation that is underlying modern AI-based sourcing and procurement programs, but manually (and not system) controlled through rules and semi-automated processes with exceptions and forced go/no-go confirmations by humans.

What's the difference?

Through this month, a Spend Matters' special PRO Expert Survival Pack is available to procurement practitioners only* at up to 50% off. The discount applies to PRO subscription content from our analysts and other services. — Learn more

Surviving the coronavirus crisis for physical small businesses: Take a lesson from creators! (Part 1)

Two general categories of businesses have been hit hard by the coronavirus shutdown: services and non-essential products.

In the first case, while it’s regrettably the case that some small businesses might not survive, many services professionals can weather the storm if they get creative. In the second case, your storefront may be gone, but your business doesn't have to be. Chances are, your business is already online to some degree. Now's the time to go all in on e-commerce.

How can you survive, you ask? Simple. Take a lesson from creators like singers, musicians and comedians.

Dear Procurement (Part 3): Apply traditional procurement technology in non-traditional, socially distanced ways!

supplier network

The coronavirus crisis has put procurement pros out of their element as they have to work from home, but if you’re willing to seize the opportunity, it can be done. And the traditional technology that’s used for clients can be turned inward to help your own team as co-workers socially distance.

Today we'll look at the four standard source-to-contract modules (S2C) and give you some creative ideas for using them to maintain, and maybe even increase, levels of productivity in this crisis.

Note: These are non-traditional use cases!

Rosslyn Data Technologies: Vendor Analysis (Part 3) — SWOT, Competitor Comparisons, Selection Guide, Analysis

In this three-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series, we are providing a detailed introduction to Rosslyn Data Technologies, which is one of the granddaddies in the standalone best-of-breed analytics space. (Sievo is a couple of years older, but that's about it.)

In Part 1, we provided a background on the company, founders and the product — as well as an overview of the solution. Then, in Part 2, we dove deep into the almost unparalleled product strengths, as well as a few product weaknesses (or shortcomings compared to typical expectations from today's potential analytics customers).

Today, in this third and final part, we are going to provide a SWOT analysis of Rosslyn Data Technologies, a market overview of competitors, a quick short-list guide and a few final thoughts.

Rosslyn Data Technologies: Vendor Analysis (Part 2) — Strengths and Weaknesses

In Part 1 of the Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series, we detailed the history and solution capabilities of Rosslyn Data Technologies, one of the more distinctive spend analytics vendors in the procurement space. A granddaddy of the sector, it was one of the first self-serve vendors, first cloud vendors and first public providers in the space.

Today, we're going to do a deep dive into the strengths and weaknesses of the Rosslyn platform. You can probably guess some of the strengths based on our platform overview yesterday, but today we are going to make it explicit.

Then, in our third and final part, we will provide an overall SWOT of Rosslyn, compare it with competitors in the market and wrap up with some final thoughts.