Author Archives: Spend Matters Analyst Team



The Kodiak Rating customer experience: What Makes It Great (Supplier Relationship Management SolutionMap analysis)

The market for supplier management is one of the most fragmented, with a variety of approaches to solving complex issues. Indeed, the fragmented nature of this market is related to the broad and complex array of problems to be tackled when managing suppliers, and the rise of SXM startups to address specific pain points has only further driven this diversification. Kodiak Rating is one such vendor that provides a new take on supplier relationship management.

Founded in 2015, Kodiak Rating is a relatively young vendor that has especially focused its offering on supplier performance management (SPM) within the larger supplier management category. Kodiak Rating’s solution stands out in the market with its primary focus on SPM (and to a lesser degree supplier quality management) supported by basic capabilities in the other SXM areas.

Customers of vendors in our latest SolutionMap Spring 2021 update of the Supplier Relationship Management category agreed that Kodiak Rating’s capabilities stood out among the rest of the fragmented market.

SolutionMap now contains functional and customer satisfaction benchmarks on more than 70 offerings within the procurement technology landscape. But where does Kodiak Rating stand out most and help “set the bar” in supplier relationship management, and why should this matter for procurement and finance organizations? Let’s delve into the SolutionMap benchmark to find out where Kodiak Rating is great, according to customer scores.

“What Makes It Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from our SolutionMap updates for subscribers to SolutionMap Insider content and PRO analysis. Based on our rigorous evaluation process and customer reference reviews, each column offers quick facts on the provider, describes where it excels, provides hard data on where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark and concludes with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider it.

The Vendorful customer experience: What Makes It Great (Sourcing SolutionMap analysis)

Ever since the creation of the first e-sourcing solutions, this headline technology area has been plagued by an Achilles’ heel — end-user adoption. Despite the benefits they could provide, e-sourcing tools have historically struggled to be usable, especially by non-power users, thus obscuring their full potential ROI.

The latest generation of e-sourcing providers, however, has learned from the sector’s founders, and many today boast a user-first approach to usability that encompasses even the needs of non-procurement requesters. That’s exactly what Vendorful, a SolutionMap “Customer Leader” in our graphical market comparison of Sourcing vendors, has done with its solution.

Vendorful is a younger sourcing provider founded by insiders and outsiders of the procurement industry. They saw just how difficult it was for clients to manage sourcing, especially IT spending. Vendorful’s founders made the realization that without proper tools, many companies overspend on IT services and solutions.

After developing its solution for IT spending specifically, other companies wanted to deploy its solution for non-IT spend. Vendorful thus began its commercial offering for general-purpose sourcing. Now, it offers core sourcing solutions, including e-RFX and reverse auction functionality.

Customers also noted its sourcing strengths in the recent SolutionMap Spring 2021 launch.

As of Spring 2021, our Spend Matters SolutionMap contains functional and customer satisfaction benchmarks on more than 70 offerings within the procurement technology landscape. But where does Vendorful stand out most and help “set the bar” in sourcing, and why should this matter for procurement and finance organizations? Let’s delve into the SolutionMap benchmark to find out where Vendorful is great, according to customer scores.

“What Makes It Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from our SolutionMap updates for subscribers to SolutionMap Insider content and PRO analysis. Based on our rigorous evaluation process and customer reference reviews, each column offers quick facts on the provider, describes where it excels, provides hard data on where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark and concludes with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider it.

Basware: What Makes It Great (AP Automation SolutionMap Spring 2021 analysis)

The accounts payable (AP) automation market holds a variety of solution providers specializing in elements of invoice management. But few have a history that stretches as far back as Basware’s, which has been serving finance and procurement organizations since 1985.

Basware is a Finland-based technology company that specializes in global procurement and AP automation solutions. What started as a smaller, region-specific company has grown to become a global solution processing $789.30 billion annually. It’s home to one of the largest e-invoicing and B2B commerce networks in procurement.

The SolutionMap Spring 2021 launch reinforces this position, putting Basware in the top for functional scores. The company was named a solution leader by Spend Matters’ analysts in the AP Automation category.

So where does Basware stand out most and help “set the bar” in AP automation, and why should this matter for procurement organizations? Let’s delve into the SolutionMap benchmark to find out where Basware is great.

“What Makes It Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider subscribers. Based on both our rigorous evaluation process and customer reference reviews, each brief offers quick facts on the provider, describes where it excels, provides hard data on where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark and concludes with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider it.

The graphiteConnect Customer Experience: What Makes It Great (Supplier Relationship Management SolutionMap Analysis)

The supplier relationship management (SXM) market has no shortage of impressive solutions. But within the number of different offerings, the graphiteConnect solution is one that has created a fresh approach to gathering and maintaining supplier data.

The graphiteConnect approach is to build an open network for supplier management. It promotes “many to many” data sharing where one supplier profile is shared with unlimited clients. The platform is essentially a social network of suppliers with a modern, data-driven architecture.

Both because of its modern approach and its ability to hold its own in the Spend Matters Supplier Management SolutionMap as such as young vendor, graphiteConnect was named to the Spend Matters’ Future 5 list for 2020, which recognizes exciting and impressive procurement start-up solutions. Founded by the former Senior Director of Global Procurement at Adobe, graphiteConnect and its team has deep industry expertise, carrying over to high customer satisfaction ratings.

As of the Spring 2021 release, the Spend Matters SolutionMap contains functional and customer satisfaction benchmarks on more than 70 providers within the procurement technology landscape. But where does graphiteConnect stand out most and help “set the bar” in supplier relationship management, and why this should matter for procurement and finance organizations? Let’s delve into the SolutionMap benchmark to find out where graphiteConnect is great, according to customer scores.

“What Makes It Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from our SolutionMap updates for subscribers to SolutionMap Insider content and PRO analysis. Based on our rigorous evaluation process and customer reference reviews, each column offers quick facts on the provider, describes where it excels, provides hard data on where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark and concludes with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider it.

Release note, SolutionMap Spring 2021: Source-to-Pay

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider release note provides insight into the SolutionMap Spring 2021 release for the Source-to-Pay suite category, reviewing the process that we followed for this update.

The Spring 2021 SolutionMap resulted from a “condensed” update cycle containing only customer score updates, spurred by new or expiring references. Analyst scores were carried forward from the previous Fall 2020 rankings. This condensed cycle allowed time for our analysts to simplify and streamline a new RFI for the next cycle, Fall 2021 SolutionMap. The addition of new vendors and existing vendors’ expansion into new categories were also pushed to Fall 2021 to coincide with the rollout of the revamped RFI.

The providers in the Spring 2021 Source-to-Pay SolutionMap include Coupa, Corcentric Platform (formerly Determine), GEP, Ivalua, Jaggaer ONE (Direct and Standard), SAP Ariba and Zycus.

All of the S2P providers were required to participate in SolutionMap for each underlying module, as well. These individual areas of S2P include Sourcing, Spend and Procurement Analytics, Supplier Relationship Management & Risk, Contract Lifecycle Management, E-Procurement and Invoice-to-Pay. All of these providers are also included in the individual Strategic Procurement Technologies (SPT) and Procure-to-Pay (P2P) suite views.

The Source-to-Pay customer data set is composed of a subset of the 941 individual organization references included in the overall SolutionMap scoring as of Spring 2021*. Customer references from Q1 and Q2 2018 expired after 2½ years of use.

*Customers using more than one module that a vendor provides can opt to fill out a single survey (e.g., a customer using two modules for P2P and four modules for SPT would need to fill out only one survey).

Get a first look at the Spring 2021 SolutionMap comparative quadrant graphics here.

SolutionMap Insider members: Learn more about each vendor by accessing the Provider Scoring Summary reports right here.

Release note, SolutionMap Spring 2021: E-Procurement, Invoice-to-Pay and Procure-to-Pay

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider release note provides insight into the SolutionMap Spring 2021 release for three categories: E-Procurement, Invoice-to-Pay (I2P) and Procure-to-Pay (P2P). The note reviews the process that we follow and highlights what has changed since the last SolutionMap release.

The Spring 2021 SolutionMap resulted from a “condensed” update cycle containing only customer score updates, spurred by new or expiring references. Analyst scores were carried forward from the previous Fall 2020 rankings. This condensed cycle allowed time for our analysts to simplify and streamline a new RFI for the next cycle, Fall 2021 SolutionMap. The addition of new vendors and existing vendors’ expansion into new categories were also pushed to Fall 2021 to coincide with the rollout of the revamped RFI.

“Determine (Corcentric)” is now displayed as Corcentric Platform.

The E-Procurement, I2P and P2P customer reference set added 100 new individual customer references in Spring 2021. References from Q1 and Q2 2018 expired after 2½ years of use.

Get a first look at the Spring 2021 SolutionMap comparative quadrant graphics here.

SolutionMap Insider members: Learn more about each vendor by accessing the Provider Scoring Summary reports right here.

Release note, SolutionMap Spring 2021: Sourcing, Spend and Procurement Analytics, Supplier Relationship Management & Risk, Contract Lifecycle Management and Strategic Procurement Technology (SPT) Suites

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider release note provides insight into the SolutionMap Spring 2021 release for the following five categories: Sourcing, Spend and Procurement Analytics, Supplier Relationship Management, Risk (SRM), Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM), and Strategic Procurement Technologies Suite (SPT). The note reviews the process we follow and highlights what has changed since the last release.

The Spring 2021 SolutionMap resulted from a “condensed” update cycle containing only customer score updates, spurred by new or expiring references. Analyst scores were carried forward from the previous Fall 2020 rankings. This condensed cycle allowed time for our analysts to simplify and streamline a new RFI for the next cycle, Fall 2021 SolutionMap. The addition of new vendors and existing vendors’ expansion into new categories were also pushed to Fall 2021 to coincide with the rollout of the revamped RFI.

Determine (Corcentric) is now displayed as Corcentric Platform.

Some 183 new or refreshed customer references (and 60 individual map references) were added in the Strategic Procurement Technology areas. Customer references from Q1 and Q2 2018 expired after 2 ½ years of use.

Get a first look at the Spring 2021 SolutionMap comparative quadrant graphics here.

SolutionMap Insider members: Learn more about each vendor by accessing the Provider Scoring Summary reports right here.

Release note, SolutionMap Spring 2021: Accounts Payable (AP) Automation

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider release note provides insight into the SolutionMap release for the AP Automation category. The note reviews the process that we follow and highlights what has changed since the last SolutionMap release.

AP automation is a major portion of the Invoice-to-Pay (I2P) technology market and will be harmonized with our broader I2P SolutionMap category in the Fall 2021 SolutionMap. This cycle is the last time that it will be considered a standalone map.

The Spring 2021 SolutionMap resulted from a “condensed” update cycle containing only customer score updates, spurred by new or expiring references. Analyst scores were carried forward from the previous Fall 2020 rankings. This condensed cycle allowed time for our analysts to simplify and streamline a new RFI for the next cycle, Fall 2021 SolutionMap. The addition of new vendors and existing vendors’ expansion into new categories were also pushed to Fall 2021 to coincide with the rollout of the revamped RFI.

Fourteen vendors are ranked in the category for this release.

The set of AP Automation customer references had 62 new individual customer references for this release.

All readers can get a first look at the free Spring 2021 SolutionMap rankings here.

SolutionMap Insider members: Learn more about each vendor in the Spring 2021 Provider Scoring Summary reports right here.

Release note, SolutionMap Spring 2021: Contingent Workforce & Services (CW/S) Enterprise Technology Solutions — Temp Staffing, Contract Services/Statement of Work (SOW), Direct Sourcing of Workforce/Services

The SolutionMap Spring 2021 release marks the ninth research cycle for Spend Matters’ Contingent Workforce & Services (CW/S) “enterprise technology” SolutionMap, the sourcing and management of three underlying spend categories: Temp Staffing, Contract Services/Statement of Work and Direct Sourcing of Workforce/Services (formerly Independent Contract Workers, or ICW).

This release note is part of our SolutionMap Insider subscription content.

The Spring 2021 SolutionMap resulted from a “condensed” update cycle containing only customer score updates, spurred by new or expiring references. Analyst scores were carried forward from the previous Fall 2020 rankings. This condensed cycle allowed time for our analysts to simplify and streamline a new RFI for the next cycle, Fall 2021 SolutionMap. The addition of new vendors and existing vendors’ expansion into new categories were also pushed to Fall 2021 to coincide with the rollout of the revamped RFI.

The Contingent Workforce & Services (CW/S) SolutionMap categories have 129 active customer survey references.

Full List of Providers in Contingent Workforce & Services (CW/S) The full list of providers includes:

  • Beeline
  • Coupa
  • Elevated Resources
  • Field Nation
  • Shiftgig
  • Shortlist
  • SirionLabs
  • TalentNet
  • Talmix
  • Talon
  • Upwork Enterprise
  • VectorVMS
  • VNDLY
  • Workforce Logiq
  • WorkMarket (ADP)

Get a first look at the Spring 2021 SolutionMap comparative quadrant graphics here.

SolutionMap Insider members: Access the latest Provider Scoring Summary reports right here.

Coupa and integration: Mobilizing to tackle M&A complexity

Pollen Street Capital

Editor’s note, May 13, 2021: Since publishing our December 2020 PRO article on Coupa’s M&A integration efforts, Spend Matters has received multiple briefings from Coupa on the topic. The provider has shared detailed timelines and statuses for integration projects relating to all of its major acquisitions over the past several years — in addition to sharing its overall playbook for M&A integration. This PRO research brief updates and replaces previous coverage on Coupa’s M&A integration progress and plans.

Outside of M&A transactions themselves — which, for those who have never gotten a front-row seat themselves, involve unbelievable amounts of research, diligence and paperwork — software M&A is, unfortunately, often more art than science when it comes down to making combined assets work together. Indeed, few firms are able to drive integration between acquired assets in a timely manner, as planned in the original discussions and presentations that get shared with customers after a deal is closed. Granted, part of the challenge may be semantics as to what constitutes “integration.” This is why Spend Matters decided to create strict definitions for the five levels of post-merger technology integration (See: here, here, here, here and here) that are extensible far beyond our corner of the procurement technology market.

M&A is no longer optional as tech providers get larger. You simply can’t talk about larger vendors in the procurement sector without M&A being a key part of the conversation. Coupa is perhaps the case study here. Outside of SAP, which entirely remade itself from the outside in across the extended procurement technology area via three large acquisitions, Coupa is undisputedly the top acquirer in this market as measured by frequency, size, deal flow and the willingness to push the limits of what constitutes procurement and finance technology (e.g., moving into treasury management/payments and supply chain design and planning.). And this is in addition to a consistent stream of funding and development to internal product development: Coupa disclosures note that the vendor reinvests approximately 20% in revenue into R&D, a figure totaling $134 million in 2020.

Coupa’s acquisitions have addressed a variety of business cases, including not only the addition of functional specialists that differentiate Coupa’s coverage compared with other suites but also smaller tuck-ins to address key customer challenges (e.g., the acquisition of ConnXus to enhance supplier diversity coverage across suite components). Initially these acquisitions were smaller and tended to be more “acqui-hires,” in which Coupa rebuilt the acquired solutions in its own Ruby-on-Rails-based P2P solution (and incrementally expanded the core Coupa platform’s data model to support the new functionality in its expanding suite for business spend management, BSM) — providing the benefit of a single code stack and object structure to maintain scalability, support and consistent usability across the entire solution suite.

Yet as Coupa has pursued growth beyond its roots as a P2P player, it has made a series of increasingly large acquisitions — with 2020 seeing five deals, including the $1.5 billion acquisition of supply chain management provider LLamasoft. (That activity has continued in 2021, which has included the acquisition of another travel booking provider.) Because M&A is an important issue for Coupa customers and prospects, but also for understanding the effects of acquisitions on an organization's procurement technology architecture in general, this Spend Matters PRO piece explores:

  • Coupa’s philosophy and approach to acquisition and integration strategy
  • The hurdles that all vendors face in expanding via acquisition (and what Coupa is doing to address them in its case)
  • Technical integration examples
  • Our point of view on Coupa’s continued growth strategy through acquisitions

LLamasoft and Coupa: Exploring Procurement, Finance and Supply Chain Use Cases for Today and Tomorrow

contract lifecycle management

In our Spend Matters PRO coverage of Coupa’s acquisition of LLamasoft, we have defined and explored the linkages between direct procurement and supply chain functions and provided a functional overview of LLamasoft’s offerings and their connections to procurement.

In this analyst article, we turn our attention to use cases for the solutions today, as well as brainstorm what Coupa might do in the future with LLamasoft’s broader assets.

The benefits from applying LLamasoft (which focuses on supply chain planning, monitoring and analytics, or SCPMA) to procurement and finance/treasury use cases are further magnified when supply chain considerations are evaluated in tandem with other functions. After all, the power of optimization only starts to really come out when you continue to add additional datasets and constraints!

Let’s start with a chart that explores individual (e.g., procurement) and shared (e.g., procurement + finance/treasury) modeling scenarios using such an approach.

And then we’ll dive into how LLamasoft can change the notion of sourcing optimization and risk management (as two separate areas).

Disclosure: Spend Matters’ parent company, Azul Partners, provided due diligence services to Coupa as part of this transaction.

Coupa acquires LLamasoft: Defining and Exploring the Overlap Between Direct Procurement and Supply Chain

To understand the points of intersection between Coupa and LLamasoft, we must first understand the intersection between procurement and supply chain. These two functions are distinct within most companies. Procurement activities are historically centered on managing commodity and category spend, negotiating with suppliers, putting contracts in place, managing onboarding and compliance, and tactical/transactional buying. According to CSCMP, the primary activities of the supply chain function are orchestrating supply and demand both internally and with third-parties (including suppliers, logistics providers and customers).

Conceptually, while supply chain includes procurement as part of an end-to-end process, it is nearly always managed as a distinct function with different workstreams. In practice, while there can still be a significant skill set, talent and even academic (university program) overlap between both groups, both functions operate independently even if there is the partial or full capability of one group to speak the language of the other (depending on company sophistication and industry).

Let’s unpack this a bit to understand where Coupa and LLamasoft conceptually fit together and the challenges they are proposing to tackle.

Disclosure: Spend Matters’ parent company, Azul Partners, provided due diligence services to Coupa as part of this transaction.