Author Archives: Spend Matters Analyst Team



Zycus: A Comparative Analysis of the S2P Suite (Source-to-Pay SolutionMap Analysis)

Zycus is part of an exclusive club.

It is one of the few source-to-pay suite vendors on the market that can offer at least adequate functional support across all six modular areas that Spend Matters tracks for S2P using only its internally developed capabilities. This stands in contrast to several of its biggest competitors, which have to varying degrees of success acquired and integrated best-in-class vendors or other suites to bolster their own capabilities.

And while Zycus cannot today claim its technology runs its suite of applications on a single data model, more than 95% of the solution is unified, and when compared against the market, it generally presents broad-based and out-of-the-box capability. Its solutions not only provide strong baseline (sometimes above-the-benchmark) functionality but they come from a single provider that is responsible for making it all work together.

This Spend Matters SolutionMap analysis examines Zycus’ solutions by modular and suite view to help interested parties understand the best components that make up the vendor’s end-to-end offering. It provides insight into which areas Zycus is strong in (and where it lags), how competitive individual modules are compared with best-in-class alternatives, and how combinations in the form of procure-to-pay (P2P), strategic procurement technology (SPT) and source-to-pay (S2P) suites stack up in comparison to Zycus’ broader peer group, including Coupa, Jaggaer, SAP Ariba, Ivalua and SynerTrade.

For this analysis, our report uses the aggregate results of nine SolutionMaps from Q4 2018 (the most recent in our quarterly update cycle), comparing a total of 58 solution providers across more than 600 granular functional benchmarks, which are aggregated into more manageable, tiered buckets for the purpose of this analysis. (Those procurement organizations leveraging SolutionMap for a software selection process gain insight into comparative performance at a significantly more granular level of detail that maps business requirements to functional performance.) The SolutionMap analyst ratings, also called the Solution scoring, used in this analysis are based on more than 3,000 hours of live product demonstrations and validated vendor RFI responses.

In subsequent briefs exploring SynerTrade and others, we will take a similar approach to analyzing source-to-pay providers, breaking down where end-to-end platforms excel (or fall below the functional benchmark) on module and suite bases. Previously, we covered the suite performances of Jaggaer, SAP Ariba, Ivalua and Coupa.

After EcoVadis’ Sustain 2019: Company Update, Solution Overview and Technology Enhancements (Part 1)

sustainable

This week, Spend Matters founder and analyst team member Jason Busch represented the Spend Matters team at the EcoVadis Sustain 2019 customer conference in Paris, where about 500 attendees gathered.

EcoVadis, a sustainability/CSR solutions provider that combines ratings content (CSR focused) and a technology platform, is not so dissimilar from providers such as Avetta and ISNetworld, albeit that it focuses on vendor sustainability practices and metrics rather than general compliance/credentialing (e.g., insurance validation) or “pre-qualification” for health and safety.

But like these related firms, EcoVadis is able to take advantage of platform economics (network-based economics) in its business model by qualifying and rating suppliers a single time — with yearly updates — and then leveraging this information across the procurement community. What is special about all of these models is that unlike pure-play technology solutions (e.g., supplier information management) or even general risk management offerings, they tend more toward “winner take all” markets because suppliers carry their credentials with them from customer to customer.

This approaches provides value for all parties and makes switching potential solution providers such as EcoVadis more painful (when alternatives even exist), creating an incentive for buyers and suppliers to remain using the system on a permanent basis. But unlike Avetta (which is growing but still must compete with Achilles and ISNetworld), the only material competition that EcoVadis faces — in a single industry/vertical only — is via the highly specialized, not-for-profit Sedex.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO update provides an overview of what is new at EcoVadis. Today, we provide an update on EcoVadis (overall) and explore its recent solution update and overall platform. An introduction to EcoVadis can be found in our PRO Vendor Snapshot coverage: Background & Solution Overview, Product Strengths & Weaknesses, and Competitive & Summary Analysis.

Comparing S2P Procurement Technology Suites on a Functional Basis: Coupa, Ivalua, Jaggaer and SAP Ariba

Now more than ever, better choices exist at the top end of the market for source-to-pay technology suites. When it comes to overall suite functional performance in the Q4 2018 SolutionMap, a handful of suite vendors tend to stand out from the overall pack, often for very different reasons. Four of the top performing S2P suite vendors in the Q4 SolutionMap functional benchmark are Coupa, Ivalua, Jaggaer and SAP Ariba. But how do they compare to the overall SolutionMap source-to-pay benchmark dataset? You can find out here in our coverage, which will include Determine, SynerTrade and Zycus.

Coupa: A Comparative Analysis of the S2P Suite (Source-to-Pay SolutionMap Analysis)

It is impossible today to discuss procurement and finance software solutions without mentioning Coupa. Since its founding in 2006, Coupa has grown into one of the best-known providers of technology for corporate purchasing as well as invoicing and payments, sourcing, and spend analysis. And its philosophy of business spend management (BSM) resurrected — and improved upon — the original premise that gave rise to Spend Matters back in 2004 (spend does matter).

The awareness of Coupa in the market is due in no small part to its 2016 IPO, which brought the provider into the wider public eye while also providing it with the balance sheet to support an aggressive M&A program. The result is that Coupa can now claim some of the most advanced procurement-specific capabilities in multiple technology areas, as it has acquired several market-leading vendors and integrated their functionality into its own platform.

But where does Coupa excel the most, and where do its comparatively few weaknesses lie, measured against both best-of-breed vendors for standalone technology areas (e.g., contract lifecycle management) and competing suite providers (e.g., procure-to-pay, source-to-pay)?

 This Spend Matters SolutionMap analysis examines Coupa’s solutions by modular and suite view to help interested parties understand the best components that make up the vendor’s end-to-end offering. It provides insight into which areas Coupa is strong in (and where it lags), how competitive individual modules are compared with best-in-class alternatives, and how combinations in the form of procure-to-pay (P2P), strategic procurement technology (SPT) and source-to-pay (S2P) suites stack up in comparison to Coupa’s broader peer group, including Jaggaer, SAP Ariba, Ivalua, Oracle, SynerTrade and Zycus.

For this analysis, our report uses the aggregate results of nine SolutionMaps from Q4 2018 (the most recent in our quarterly update cycle), comparing a total of 58 solution providers across more than 600 granular functional benchmarks, which are aggregated into more manageable, tiered buckets for the purpose of this analysis. (Those procurement organizations leveraging SolutionMap for a software selection process gain insight into comparative performance at a significantly more granular level of detail that maps business requirements to functional performance.) The SolutionMap analyst ratings used in this analysis are based on more than 3,000 hours of live product demonstrations and validated vendor RFI responses.

In subsequent briefs exploring SynerTrade, Zycus and others, we will take a similar approach to analyzing source-to-pay providers, breaking down where end-to-end platforms excel (or fall below the functional benchmark) on module and suite bases. Previously, we covered the suite performances of Jaggaer, SAP Ariba and Ivalua.

BirchStreet: What Makes It Great (E-Procurement SolutionMap Analysis)

BlueCart

If you’re outside of the hospitality, restaurant, food service, casino and food manufacturing industries, you’ve probably never heard of BirchStreet. But if you’re involved in purchasing goods and services in any of these markets — from CAPEX spending to bananas to booze — then chances are you’ve encountered this top-performing Spend Matters SolutionMap provider — or you’re already using it on a daily basis. And based on SolutionMap customer reference reviews and data, you’re quite happy indeed.

But how does BirchStreet stack up to other e-procurement vendors, especially those less-specialized providers trying to break into these markets? Join us as we explore what makes BirchStreet great based on SolutionMap’s analyst and customer benchmark data.

As of December 2018, SolutionMap contains functional and customer satisfaction benchmarks on more than 50 providers within the procurement technology landscape. Within SolutionMap, where does BirchStreet stand out most and help “set the bar” in e-procurement, and why should this matter for procurement and finance organizations?

Let’s delve into the SolutionMap benchmark to find out where BirchStreet is great.

“What Makes It Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider subscribers. Based on 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.

Ivalua: A Comparative Analysis of the S2P Suite (Source-to-Pay SolutionMap Analysis)

FM Global Resilience Index

Ivalua is a source-to-pay procurement suite technology provider that, until recently, has not gotten the attention its capabilities would suggest it deserves on the global stage -- only in the past few years has it started to gain the type of momentum in North America as its functional prowess would imply. Still, the provider has a longer history in Europe, where its roots and the majority of its customer base still lie. But in comparison with suite providers like Coupa and SAP Ariba, Ivalua has not captured as much of the market’s attention with respect to association with specific capabilities or investments.

That’s a shame, because when ranked on a highly granular basis across the numerous functional areas that make up the Spend Matters SolutionMap benchmark, Ivalua often scores in the top tier of all providers for the majority of capabilities and, in the aggregate, among the most functionally advanced platforms across many modules. A key factor in this strong performance is Ivalua’s engineering approach: Its entire suite was built in-house on a single platform over the last 19 years, placing it in a small group of providers that offer an end-to-end solution on a single technology stack. Moreover, it has a stated philosophy in terms of M&A/acquisition to "buy and replatform" rather than buy and integrate. To be fair to its competitors, however, Ivalua only has one deal under its belt (we'll see if this holds in the future!)

This Spend Matters SolutionMap analysis examines Ivalua’s solutions by modular and suite view to help interested parties understand the best components that make up the vendor’s end-to-end offering. It provides insight into which areas Ivalua is strong in (and where it lags), how competitive individual modules are compared with best-in-class alternatives, and how combinations in the form procure-to-pay (P2P), strategic procurement technology (SPT) and source-to-pay (S2P) suites stack up in comparison to Ivalua’s broader peer group, including Jaggaer, SAP Ariba, Coupa, Oracle, SynerTrade and Zycus. It provides a full review and analysis of the Ivalua's procurement technology suite capability.

For this analysis, our report uses the aggregate results of nine SolutionMaps from Q4 2018 (the most recent in our quarterly update cycle), comparing a total of 58 solution providers across more than 600 granular functional benchmarks, which are aggregated into more manageable, tiered buckets for the purpose of this analysis. (Those procurement organizations leveraging SolutionMap for a software selection process gain insight into comparative performance at a significantly more granular level of detail that maps business requirements to functional performance.) The SolutionMap analyst ratings used in this analysis are based on more than 3,000 hours of live product demonstrations and validated vendor RFI responses.

In subsequent briefs exploring Coupa, Oracle and others, we will take a similar approach to analyzing source-to-pay providers, breaking down where end-to-end platforms excel (or fall below the functional benchmark) on module and suite bases. Previously, we covered the suite performances of Jaggaer and SAP Ariba.

Avetta, Browz to Merge: Placing Avetta in the Context of Broader Supplier Management and Risk Management Solutions (Part 3)

How does Avetta — and its peers, including ISnetworld and Achilles — fit into the broader supplier management and supply/supply chain risk management technology and solutions universe? This Spend Matters PRO research brief provides insight into all of the components that comprise the supplier management and supplier/supply chain risk management sectors. It then attempts to place Avetta in the context of these two, highly complex solutions markets.

Our analysis includes detailed functional and requirements for each of these areas. Just coming up to speed on our analysis of the merger of Avetta and Browz? See our initial Spend Matters PRO Coverage: Avetta, Browz to Merge: Facts, Figures, Solution & Market Overview (Part 1) and Avetta, Browz to Merge: History and the Growth of Community-Oriented, Network Models (Part 2).

Before placing Avetta (and its peers) in the context of these two solution areas, it is essential to create a level-set definition of each. There is often significant overlap between supplier management solutions and supplier/supply chain risk management solutions, both in capability and in terms of the “what” companies are buying. But in short, here’s what they comprise and how they differ.

SAP Ariba: A Comparative Analysis of the S2P Suite (Source-to-Pay SolutionMap Analysis)

procurement software

SAP Ariba was arguably the first true source-to-pay (S2P) suite vendor. Back when Emptoris was going strong (pre-IBM) and Coupa was an open-source e-procurement application, SAP Ariba had already assembled various source-to-pay pieces from organic development and acquisition. This suggests it was the first vendor (at least with any scale and depth) to lay claim to having full coverage across sourcing, spend analysis, supplier management, contract lifecycle management, e-procurement and invoice-to-pay — even if all of the components were not perfectly integrated at the time.

But how does SAP Ariba stack up today from a source-to-pay perspective?

This Spend Matters SolutionMap analysis examines SAP Ariba’s solutions by modular and suite view to help interested parties understand the best components that make up the vendor’s end-to-end offering. It provides insight into which areas SAP Ariba is strong in (and where it lags), and how competitive individual modules compare with best-in-class alternatives. It also explores how SAP Ariba competes in three “suite” markets — procure-to-pay (P2P), strategic procurement technology (SPT) and source-to-pay (S2P) — in comparison to SAP Ariba’s broader peer group, including Jaggaer, Coupa, Ivalua, Oracle, SynerTrade and Zycus.

Overall, SAP Ariba performed admirably across several categories within the Q4 2018 SolutionMap and on an overall basis, with particularly strong scoring for the P2P areas and supplier management. Its long history in the space, comprehensive offering, recent enhancements and close SAP linkages make it a “must-shortlist” vendor in a range of technology selection scenarios, and its status as one of the providers “to beat” is indeed supported by its frequently above-the-benchmark functional capabilities and notable UX/UI improvements. Moreover, its targeted investments in technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning illustrate that it is not resting on its accomplishments to date.

For this analysis, our report uses the aggregate results of nine SolutionMaps from Q4 2018 (the most recent in our quarterly update cycle), comparing a total of 58 solution providers across more than 600 granular functional benchmarks, which are aggregated into more manageable, tiered buckets for the purpose of this analysis. (Those procurement organizations leveraging SolutionMap for a software selection process gain insight into comparative performance at a significantly more granular level of detail that maps business requirements to functional performance.) The SolutionMap analyst ratings used in this analysis are based on more than 3,000 hours of live product demonstrations and validated vendor RFI responses.

In subsequent briefs exploring Coupa, Ivalua, Oracle and others, we will take a similar approach to analyzing source-to-pay providers, breaking down where end-to-end platforms excel (or fall below the functional benchmark) on module and suite bases. Previously, we covered Jaggaer’s suite performance: Jaggaer ONE: A Comparative Analysis of the S2P Suite (Source-to-Pay SolutionMap Analysis).

Corcentric to Acquire Determine: Exploring Determine’s Strategic Procurement Technologies Strengths and Weaknesses (Part 4)

Corcentric recently announced its pending acquisition of Determine (see previous Spend Matters PRO analysis: Transaction Overview and Customer Recommendations and Competitive Landscape Analysis and Determine’s P2P Strengths and Weaknesses — as well as our news coverage here).

But in buying Determine, what exactly is Corcentric gaining from a strategic procurement technologies (SPT) perspective (i.e., product, solution and platform strengths and weaknesses)? And how do Determine’s capabilities stack up in the market overall relative to peers on a granular basis?

This is an important question to analyze, but two of the three vendors that came together to form Determine were in the SPT area, not P2P. (Some background: Determine came about in 2015 when Selectica and two other brands, Iasta and b-pack, combined. Selectica and Iasta had the SPT heritage.)

To answer the question about how Determine compares against peers, you can turn to the latest Q4 2018 SolutionMaps Insider provider scoring summaries (See: Sourcing, Supplier Management, Contract Lifecycle Management and Spend + Procurement Analytics). For those interested in viewing Determine from a broader Source-to-Pay perspective, there is a SolutionMap for you as well. Each report provides comparative overall and “deep-dive” capability insight (e.g., catalog management, requisitioning, invoicing compliance, etc.) as well as detailed customer reference benchmarks. Determine is one of dozens of providers featured in these granular, comparative vendor ratings analyses designed to aid shortlisting and selection decisions. Other providers include Coupa, Exari, HICX, Icertis, Ivalua, Jaggaer, Oracle, SAP, Sievo, Ariba, Zycus.

But to provide insight into overall product strengths and weaknesses for strategic procurement technologies, let’s dive right in today as we offer a summary view of where Determine stands out from the pack — and where it trails its peers.

Avetta, Browz to Merge: History and the Growth of Community-Oriented, Network Models (Part 2)

Industry insiders might argue that the growth of Avetta, Browz, ISNetworld and other industry supplier compliance and credentialing solutions like VendorMate (now part of GHX), GRMS and Hellios should never have been allowed to reach escape velocity owing to the first mover advantage that Achilles had on this market overall. But playing armchair supplier credentialing, pre-validation and certification vendor quarterback is nowhere near as useful an exercise as explaining the history of this market and how it became the largest procurement solutions sector that most buyers know little if anything about — yet is of critical strategic (and growing) importance.

So join us as we provide a history lesson about how this market came about and the value levers it created for buyers and suppliers. This investigation includes exploring how the sector in which Avetta competes can serve as a complement to other supplier management and risk management areas too (which we’ll tackle in more detail in the next research brief in this series).

If you’re just coming up on this market and the merger of Browz and Avetta, read the first research brief in this series (Avetta, Browz to Merge: Facts, Solution and Market Overview), which explored the core details and numbers behind the two companies coming together under the Avetta name.

The Bonfire Customer Experience: What Makes It Great (Sourcing SolutionMap Analysis)

complex sourcing

Usability is proving the single most important killer app for the next wave of sourcing technology adoption. And providers such as Bonfire are proving that absolute feature/function capability alone is less important than providing an optimally rich user and customer experience that will maximize adoption and customer satisfaction.

This is not a new strategy. Bonfire is in fact following Coupa’s playbook. As we have noted before, “such was Coupa’s first act, before it focused on investing in functional leadership to complement best-in-class usability.”

Today, Bonfire is headed down a similar path in the sourcing market. Its customer references and candid feedback from Spend Matters’ Q4 2018 Sourcing SolutionMap suggest it is not a typical provider but rather one that is redefining an entire market by focusing on customer adoption and the user experience. Like Coupa, it is creating a movement among procurement organizations.

But where and how does Bonfire stand out in this competitive technology market with customers?

As of December 2018, the Spend Matters SolutionMap contains functional and customer satisfaction benchmarks on more than 50 providers within the procurement technology landscape. But where does Bonfire 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 Bonfire 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.

Jaggaer ONE: A Comparative Analysis of the S2P Suite (Source-to-Pay SolutionMap Analysis)

tech

When source-to-pay suite provider Jaggaer announced in early February the release of Jaggaer ONE, a platform that unifies the provider’s acquired solutions into a single offering, it took a big step forward in clarifying the firm’s strategy. Using a services-oriented architecture (SOA) that allows users to select discrete business processes (i.e., modules) from Jaggaer’s portfolio of technology solutions, Jaggaer ONE has articulated a vision for the company beyond bringing the code and customers from SciQuest, Pool4Tool and BravoSolution under one roof.

Jaggaer noted with the release of Jaggaer ONE that it is unifying three of its product lines — Jaggaer Indirect, Jaggaer Direct and Jaggaer Advantage — without moving them onto a single code base, allowing customers and prospects to select the best modules from each offering to fit an organization’s unique needs. It’s a cafeteria approach that allows clients to assemble a “synthetic” source-to-pay suite rather than wrestle with a patched-together “Frankensuite” (or “Frankensuite’s monster,” if you have to be that guy).

But with three distinct product choices that each cover some or all areas of the source-to-pay cycle, Jaggaer ONE presents opportunities for too much choice. How can current Jaggaer clients, prospective customers, systems integrators and consultancies determine which modules to select from the Jaggaer ONE portfolio, and how do the best-performing modules from Jaggaer ONE fare when compared against other market leaders for specific point or suite products?

This Spend Matters SolutionMap analysis examines Jaggaer’s solutions by modular and suite view to help interested parties understand the best components that make up Jaggaer ONE. It offers insight into which areas Jaggaer is strong in (and where it lags), and how competitive this SOA-unified suite is compared with other procure-to-pay (P2P), strategic procurement technologies (SPT) and source-to-pay (S2P) in comparison to its broader peer group including Coupa, Ivalua, Oracle, SAP Ariba, Synertrade and Zycus.

Overall, the results paint a comparatively promising picture for Jaggaer ONE on a functional basis, and our hats go off to the Jaggaer team for assembling such a robust set of suite building blocks — with additional enabling solutions for specific industries that extend beyond what SolutionMap even prioritizes as key ranking criteria.

For this analysis, our report uses the aggregate results of nine SolutionMaps from Q4 2018 (the most recent in our quarterly update cycle), comparing a total of 58 solution providers across more than 600 granular functional benchmarks, which are aggregated into more manageable, tiered buckets for the purpose of this analysis. (Those procurement organizations leveraging SolutionMap for a software selection process gain insight into comparative performance at a significantly more granular level of detail that maps business requirements to functional performance.) The SolutionMap analyst ratings used in this analysis are based on more than 3,000 hours of live product demonstrations and validated vendor RFI responses.

In subsequent briefs exploring Coupa, Ivalua, SAP Ariba and others, we will take a similar approach to analyzing source-to-pay providers, breaking down where end-to-end platforms excel (or fall below the functional benchmark) on module and suite bases.