Author Archives: Nick Heinzmann



EcoVadis targets net zero with Carbon Action Module: Vendor Analysis Update

EcoVadis Carbon Action Module

Sustainability is a broad term that encompasses numerous subtopics. But increasingly, considerations of sustainability center around a pivotal topic: carbon emissions.

As the world grapples with the best ways to balance trade-offs between decarbonizing economies with the expectations of economic growth, corporations, investors and governments have all begun to take stock of their current carbon footprints, in an effort to better prioritize how to reach net zero emissions by their own stated goals.

And if you’re familiar with the ways that corporations go about calculating their carbon footprints, then you know that supply chains account for 80% of greenhouse gas emissions — which means that procurement has a significant role to play in the process of reducing global emissions.

That’s why, perhaps unsurprisingly, the best-known provider of sustainability data and tools in the procurement tech space, EcoVadis, recently released its Carbon Action Module, a toolkit to help organizations prioritize, engage and drive emissions reductions to meet decarbonization goals.

In this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis, 2021 Update, we review EcoVadis’ Carbon Action Module and explain how the solution for sustainability rating and monitoring is tackling the challenge of collecting and analyzing carbon emissions data. This post is an addendum to our 2020 reviews and analyses of EcoVadis:

Transparency-One: Vendor Analysis, 2021 update — Supply chain visibility and responsible sourcing solution overview, strengths/weaknesses, competitors, tech selection tips

Prior to the Covid pandemic, supply chain visibility might have been considered either a growing interest or merely a “nice to have” level of data. In today’s world, however, that mindset has completely flipped. Organizations that have not already begun exploring the deeper tiers of their supply chain and assessing their resilience soon will be, not only to proactively manage risk but also to counter increasing scrutiny from governments, investors and consumers about where raw materials come from, the labor that went into producing products and the environmental effects a product’s journey from source to store entails.

Pre-empting this trend toward greater visibility and responsible sourcing capability was Transparency-One, a solution that enables procurement groups driving responsible sourcing efforts to report accurate supplier and compliance data to sales, marketing and regulatory compliance functions about what’s happening in their supply chains end to end, as well as to map product tracking and quality information down to the lot/batch level. Transparency-One provides a supply chain network approach to enabling supply chain visibility, complemented by deep expertise in supplier requirement gathering and, in new capability developed since our initial review, in 2019, a set of responsible sourcing dashboards that consolidate internal data and with external feeds to enable geographic analysis of supply vulnerability to sustainability concerns, including human rights risks, water stress and deforestation.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis offers an update on our 2019 look at Transparency-One and its capabilities. It includes an overview of Transparency-One’s solution, a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and continuing to improve) about the solution, a competitive segmentation and analysis, and a tech selection checklist for those that might consider the provider.

Agiloft vs. Icertis: Contract lifecycle management head-to-head technology evaluation and comparison

head-to-head

The contract lifecycle management market is fascinating in its breadth. Since all businesses operate on contracts, the technology is highly applicable not only across industries but also across market segments in terms of customer size. Indeed, contract management solutions exist for businesses of all sizes, from SME-focused tools with simple repository or document generation capability to intricate, enterprise-wide CLM platforms that serve multinationals.

But just because there are distinct segments in this market does not mean that vendors always stay in their lane. Far from it. As many providers pursue growth, the lines between mid-market and enterprise specialists have increasingly blurred. This has put multiple providers on a collision course, with enterprise providers moving down market and mid-market specialists climbing up into the enterprise space.

Agiloft and Icertis encapsulate this trend perfectly. Agiloft has a broad customer base, with approximately 630 customers on its CLM product ranging from SMEs to enterprises with more than $2 billion in revenue. Icertis has a more focused customer count (more than 225) and historically has served large global businesses. Yet recent funding rounds and product developments have positioned both to extend into each others’ home territories — which merits a round in the Spring 2021 CLM SolutionMap Head-to-Head evaluation ring.

Not yet a PRO or Insider member? Here’s a preview.

In multiple CLM categories — which include contract information management, contract process management, CLM analytics, configurability and underlying technology — Icertis comes out on top. But in at least one other, Agiloft provides an impressive counterblow, and in specific functional matchups Agiloft comes out swinging with unique strengths that illustrate its ability to address specific customer types.

Spend Matters’ head-to-head columns share the insights of each fall and spring SolutionMap update. Subscribers to our PRO analyst content and SolutionMap Insider content can read the head-to-head columns, which provide comparative cuts of SolutionMap benchmark data for two solutions. For each column, we provide comparisons against the S2P-wide benchmarks, comparative scoring of vendors across dozens of functional requirements, and our analysts’ take on how each solution holds up in the competitive ring.

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.

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.

Icertis vs. SirionLabs: Contract lifecycle management head-to-head technology evaluation and comparison

head-to-head

The technology market for contract lifecycle management is not only “hot” but also increasingly crowded. Still, even with increasing adoption, funding and noise, there are a handful of CLM providers that stand out above the rest.

These top-tier players excel at more than just the standardization and automation of contracting workflows. What differentiates the strongest vendors from a functionality perspective is instead the ability to deeply model the actual contents of a contract — including specific obligations, commercial opportunities and risks.

In this exclusive group, Icertis and SirionLabs are two of the best representatives. In our SolutionMap comparison of CLM solutions, both have attained analyst scores for years that surpass suite vendors and other specialists alike.

But what exactly differentiates the two vendors, and how do each one’s relative strengths factor into customer shortlist creation and ultimate selection?

Join us in this unfiltered SolutionMap results analysis from our Fall 2020 dataset to find out.

Spend Matters’ head-to-head columns share the insights of each fall and spring SolutionMap update. Subscribers to our PRO analyst content and SolutionMap Insider content can read the head-to-head columns, which provide comparative cuts of SolutionMap benchmark data for two solutions. For each column, we provide comparisons against the S2P-wide benchmarks, comparative scoring of vendors across dozens of functional requirements, and our analysts’ take on how each solution holds up in the competitive ring.

Not yet a PRO or Insider member?

Here’s a preview: In several CLM categories — which include contract information management, contract process management, CLM analytics, configurability and technology  — Icertis comes out on top. But in at least one other, Sirion provides an impressive counterblow with an unquestionably superior score, and in others it’s darn close.

Enlighta: Vendor Analysis — Solution overview, Enlighta competitors, roadmap, tech selection tips, analyst insights

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis provides an overview of Enlighta and its solution for supplier governance/risk management, contract management and service execution management. While there are solutions that address some of these processes, Enlighta’s focus is on complex services suppliers — including, but by no means limited to, IT outsourcing, BPO, telecom and facilities management.

The sourcing and the management of complex services and service providers remains a challenge for most organizations. Perhaps the weakest points in the source-to-pay (S2P) lifecycle for complex services are post-signature contract management, supplier management (performance and risk) and service execution management. But these areas are critical to managing services effectively.

Enlighta offers its clients highly configurable functional capabilities built on a sophisticated, scalable technology platform with integrations to major third-party procurement and other solutions. From ingesting contractual documents and requisitioning services under a SOW to monitoring supplier risk and managing supplier performance at the project and activity level, Enlighta’s capabilities are broad and deep (and that’s not a hyperbolic statement).

In this Vendor Analysis, we try to cover much ground in just several pages to provide insight into Enlighta and its solution in terms of platform, functional capabilities and supporting services. We also look at Enlighta’s short-term roadmap and competitive environment, and we identify Enlighta’s best-fit use cases and conclude with our take on this provider’s place in the solution landscape.

PaymentWorks: Vendor Analysis — Solution Overview for Supplier Information Management and Fraud Prevention, Roadmap, Customer Feedback, PaymentWorks Competitors, Analyst Insights

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis provides an overview of PaymentWorks and its solution for supplier information management and fraud prevention.

The largest source of cyber-crime in the US is, unfortunately, directly connected to proper procurement processes. According to the FBI, half of cyber-crime targets B2B payments, often via business email compromise (BEC), where fraudulent actors impersonate legitimate employees or supplier reps to direct payments to their own bank accounts. BEC accounted for $1.7 billion in losses during 2019 alone, according to FBI data.

Preventing this and many other issues is what PaymentWorks, a 7-year-old vendor out of Waltham, Massachusetts, helps customers around the US do every day. Designed around the needs of procurement and AP teams to rapidly onboard and handle information change requests from payees — including suppliers and employees — PaymentWorks is a niche solution for fraud prevention and bank payment connectivity. Notably, it tends to co-exist with ERP and S2P/P2P solutions, augmenting their current fraud support and capturing tail spend that often never routes through larger systems.

This Vendor Analysis also explores the concept behind PaymentWorks; the platform, application and supporting services the vendor delivers; a verified customer reference analysis; and a competitive market analysis, complete with key analyst takeaways.

Airbase: Vendor Analysis — Solution overview for spend management, roadmap, customer feedback, Airbase competitors, analyst insights

Airbase solution

There’s no company that doesn’t benefit from exerting better control over external spending. Yet if you looked at the procurement technology market, one might be forgiven for assuming that small and medium-size enterprises (SME) don’t suffer from this issue enough to merit their own class of spend management solutions.

Airbase, a San Francisco-based vendor that offers AP automation, corporate card and expense reimbursement solutions primarily for businesses with 100 to 1,000 employees, illustrates what an SME-focused spend management solution should look like. Rather than slim down the enterprise-grade approach to purchasing and invoice management, Airbase starts from the perspective of end purchasers — everyday stakeholders — to help make purchasing easy while giving controllers and accountants the visibility they need to keep spending compliant.

For its more than 200 customers, Airbase is often the first step from multiple, fragmented systems into a single source of truth. But how does this approach compare with more traditional procurement players, and how strongly can Airbase fare as it looks to “fly” upstream into larger finance and procurement organizations?

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis provides an overview of Airbase and its solution for non-payroll spend management. It also explores the concept behind Airbase; the platform, application and supporting services the vendor delivers; a verified customer reference analysis; and a competitive market analysis, complete with key analyst takeaways.

Making sense of the world of B2B payments and procurement technology: AP automation components (Landscape Overview)

AP automation payments

From an industry analyst perspective, AP automation is a fascinating market. It’s not like other areas of enterprise technology (e-procurement, sourcing, contract management, vendor management systems, customer relationship management, etc.) that typically debut in the Fortune 500 or Global 2000 before making their way into the middle market and smaller businesses. No, the rise of AP automation has largely been a bottoms-up journey. It is one that started with the middle market and small business users and vendors specializing in selling into these markets.

Today, AP automation technologies differ materially based on the breadth and depth of use cases (e.g., invoicing processing requirements — basic vs. advanced), company size, industry and technology systems environment, among other variables. It is challenging to compare head-to-head AvidXChange to Basware to Medius to Tipalti, for example, as we might with e-procurement providers for a particular software selection requirement — they all specialize in specific use cases and have carved out different niches that make them great (or not-so-great) depending on customer priorities!

This Spend Matters PRO series began with a look at the legacy world of B2B payments and how the incumbent/new universes have interplay with each other. Now we can turn our attention to segmenting and defining the modern non-bank world of B2B payments as it relates to procurement and finance technologies.

For the series, we’ll look at this sector’s four categories of providers:

  • Accounts payable automation providers
  • Procure-to-pay (and source-to-pay) providers address AP automation use cases along with deeper support for e-invoicing, ordering functionality and varying degrees of payment capability.
  • Dedicated payment solutions combine technology and services to automate or digitize B2B payments and/or deploy payment infrastructure.
  • Working capital solutions leverage data and bank relationships to enable early payments and optimize working capital.

This PRO landscape overview begins by providing a succinct introduction to AP automation (overall) and highlights our Fall 2020 SolutionMap vendor ranking/scoring (including providing an example of how Basware and Medius perform in our subscriber-only SolutionMap Insider ratings). Finally, it provides insight into the B2B payment capabilities offered by AP automation providers.

SirionLabs: Vendor Analysis, 2021 Update (Part 3) — Company SWOT, SirionLabs’ competitors, tech selection tips, analyst conclusion

SirionLabs competitors

Last spring amid the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, SirionLabs announced it had completed a $44 million Series C round, an event that Spend Matters said signaled the vendor’s arrival at the CLM winners podium. Of course, from our perspective it had already been there for a bit, as Sirion has consistently placed in our Value Leader quadrant of the CLM SolutionMap since we launched our vendor rankings — a finding now shared by other analyst firms evaluating the CLM space.

But where exactly does Sirion differentiate from the competition, and which organizations will find the CLM vendor an ideal fit relative to a growing number of competitors for authoring and negotiation, contract analytics and end-to-end CLM?

The third and final installment of this PRO Vendor Analysis, 2021 Update looks at SirionLabs’ competitors and provides an objective SWOT analysis of the provider. Part 3 also includes provider selection guidance, recommendations for companies that can best take advantage of Sirion’s capabilities, and a summary analysis. Part 1 examined SirionLabs’ background and offered a detailed solution overview and a company profile. Part 2 gave a detailed analysis of SirionLabs’ solution strengths and weaknesses as well as a review of the user experience.