Author Archives: Xavier Olivera



Aquiire: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary and Competitive Analysis

BuyerQuest

The competitive landscape for e-procurement software still counts dozens of vendors globally that offer varying degrees of solution breadth, depth and focus. One provider that drives to the core of e-procurement requirements (search, shopping, catalog management, compliance, requisitioning and approvals) with a set of deep and differentiated capabilities is Aquiire.

This third and final installment of our Vendor Snapshot covering Aquiire provides an objective SWOT analysis of the vendor and offers a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates that could serve as alternatives to Aquiire and offers provider selection guidance. Part 1 provided an in-depth look at Aquiire as a technology provider and its specific solutions. Part 2 gave a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses.

Aquiire: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses

Despite what Coupa and SAP Ariba would like companies to believe, the e-procurement market is far from consolidated. Moreover, some of the lesser-known vendors in the sector are not only driving some of the more unique areas of spend management innovation, but can also be the most adaptable to unique requirements that fall outside of the standard e-procurement box (which might include a single “buyer” or even a broader consortia of organizations coming together to buy in a “marketplace”). Aquiire is one such provider.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Aquiire’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the vendor. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview, as well as a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering Aquiire. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Aquiire: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview

In September 2016, Vinimaya announced the launch of Aquiire, a cloud-based, real-time procure-to-pay (P2P) software suite. While Vinimaya had always been in the e-procurement business, Aquiire was an entirely new solution, built from the ground up, albeit one that took advantage of the company’s federated search, shopping and marketplace product roots.

Fast-forward to today, and that new product has become the future of Vinimaya. In fact, the company officially changed its corporate name in February 2017 to Aquiire Inc., extending both the brand and the philosophy behind its e-procurement solution across the entire company. Today, Aquiire competes primarily against a select group of e-procurement specialists (e.g., BuyerQuest and Vroozi) and is winning business against top-tier suite providers (e.g., Coupa, Ivalua, Jaggaer, SAP Ariba).

But it can also serve as a broader buy-side marketplace as well (when requirements extend outside the standard e-procurement box). In fact, many of Aquiire's customers integrate its real-time B2B marketplace and catalog management functionality into competitor’s platforms (e.g. SAP Ariba) to complement and extend indirect purchasing and catalog management capabilities.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot uses facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Aquiire’s e-procurement and P2P software solutions. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as suggestions for when organizations should consider Aquiire. The remainder of this multipart research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analysis, user selection guides, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Program Management: The Missing Link in Procurement Technology Modules and Suites (Part 10: E-Procurement Components, Continued)

In this series, we have been discussing the glue that binds together different areas of procurement workflow: the overall program management of both individual tasks and collective activities across the source-to-pay continuum, along with the technology components that support this end-to-end perspective. As a whole, this Spend Matters PRO series provides deep insight into what effective program management technology capabilities encapsulate from a design, platform and functional perspective.

We started this series by exploring design principles on which effective program management technology is based across the source-to-pay continuum. We then provided insights into the building blocks of effective program management technology components including best-of-breed project management, performance management, program compliance, program collaboration and other areas. We then highlighted specific examples of category management requirements and supplier management requirements before our series wrap-up with e-procurement and broader P2P.

In our last article (Part 9 — E-Procurement Components), we defined the P2P program counterparts to the sourcing-centric programs and began a deep dive into the platform components required to support the programs covered in our last entry. In this final installment on P2P, we conclude the platform components required to support modern procurement programs.

Program Management: The Missing Link in Procurement Technology Modules and Suites (Part 9: E-Procurement Components)

BuyerQuest

In these articles on program management, we have been discussing the glue that binds together different areas of procurement workflow: the overall program management of both individual tasks and collective activities across the source-to-pay (S2P) continuum. This Spend Matters PRO series, as a whole, provides deep insight into what effective program management technology capabilities encapsulate from a design, platform and functional perspective.

We started this broad series by exploring design principles on which effective program management technology is based within source-to-pay. We then provided insights into the building blocks of effective program management technology components today, including best-of-breed project management, performance management, program compliance and program collaboration. We also dove into category management requirements and supplier management requirements before beginning to wrap up the series with e-procurement (and broader P2P).

In our last article, an introduction to e-procurement programs, we defined the P2P program counterparts to the sourcing programs. In this, the first of our final two entries in the series, we begin a deep dive into the platform components required to support these procurement programs covered in our last entry.

Yooz: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses

improper payments

Yooz is a specialized middle-market software provider in the accounts payable automation sector with particular expertise in rapid deployment and broad-based support for payables processes. Its capabilities include invoice capture, ERP integration, AP workflow and payment integrations. (Given its focus on the middle market, areas such as supplier portal, global compliance and supplier financing are not yet a focus.)

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Yooz’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the provider. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview and a recommended fit list of criteria for firms considering Yooz. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Yooz: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview

e-invoicing

Primarily targeting the middle market, Yooz is a specialized accounts payable automation software provider that also offers adjacent capabilities in e-invoicing. It supports 2,000 customers in a subset of the broad-based procurement software category Spend Matters describes as invoice-to-pay (I2P). Yooz competes in the diverse, sometimes confusing and overlapping procure-to-pay (P2P), e-invoicing and accounts payable automation ecosystems — with an emphasis on the latter.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot offers an introduction to Yooz, providing facts and expert analysis to help accounts payable and procurement organizations make informed decisions about whether they should explore this software provider within these ecosystems. Part 1 of our analysis offers a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Yooz as a complement to other procurement and finance solutions. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Program Management: The Missing Link in Procurement Technology (Part 8: An Introduction to E-Procurement)

If there is a glue that binds together different areas of procurement, it is the act of transformation to make end-to-end processes more efficient and effective across the source-to-pay continuum.  This transformation isn’t about making minor enhancements here and there; rather, it is about broader programs that can take the form of digital transformation, process re-engineering, shared services, “one company” initiatives or or a technology-triggered program such as implementing a new cloud-based procurement software platform. This Spend Matters PRO series provides insight into what effective program management technology capabilities encapsulate from a design, platform and functional perspective. We’ll explore both what represents best-in-class program management components today and what users should expect tomorrow.

Part 1 of this series explored technology design principles on which effective program management technology is based, with a focus on strategic procurement processes such as sourcing and SRM. Part 2 provided insight into the functional (technology product) building blocks of effective program management technology components today including best-of-breed project management, goal management, program auditing/audit trails and prepackaged initiative enablement. Then in Part 3 we defined the standard category-management sourcing programs a buyer needed to execute and what they involved, as well as followed that with a deep dive into the supporting platform components required in Part 4.

But, as we all know, sourcing is only half the battle. P2P is the other half. The best sourcing plan, even backed up by a detailed contract, is worthless if the plan is not executed to spec.  This is where P2P comes in. Therefore, in the last parts of this extensive program management series, we’ll turn our attention to P2P.

Coupa: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses (2018 Update)

Coupa has become the provider “to beat” for procurement software suite customers who want a streamlined deployment effort, a simplified user experience and the ability to capture, manage and influence spend and services. Compared with peers, Coupa excels as a buying front-end for companies, intercepting users when they need to purchase something and processing spend of all types, including highly strategic spend that needs to be optimized. This is different from offering just an e-procurement application — a key point we explore in this Vendor Snapshot.

The procure-to-pay (P2P) process is still very much a part of the Coupa experience, if not the core (even though the vendor does offer standalone sourcing and spend analytics technology that handily beat the SolutionMap benchmark). When it comes to corporate purchasing, Coupa focuses on delivering an “Amazon-plus” experience for users. (Spend Matters stands by its earlier analysis in which we suggested that Coupa delivers a better corporate buying experience than Amazon as a buying front-end, at least compared with Amazon Business.) But as with other e-procurement software companies, Coupa brings a hidden back office component that provides procurement and finance organizations with significant compliance controls, oversight and related capabilities to manage and even guide buyers down specific paths (e.g., procuring a given item from a preferred supplier within budget), integrated community intelligence and even real-time risk analysis while making the overall buying experience almost as painless as shopping on a consumer site — even if the buying experience demands a multi-round negotiation with optimization-backed analysis.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Coupa’s product strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide if they should shortlist the vendor. It also offers a critique (pros/cons) of the user interface. Part 1 of our analysis offered a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Coupa’s procurement software. The final installment of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Catalog Management: Technical and Functional Component Requirements (Part 5) — Catalog Contracts and Marketplace/Internet Search

Today we conclude our multi-part research brief exploring catalog management functional and technical requirements with an emphasis on the last two requirements we consider in our SolutionMap functional requirements for e-procurement.

The first requirement that we analyze is what we term “catalog contracts,” capability which focuses on pre-negotiated pricing through group purchasing organization (GPO) arrangements, leveraged buying or otherwise third-party negotiated typically contracts outside of what a procurement organization would negotiate itself. The second area, marketplace / internet search and catalog visibility, extends the scope of catalog management capability to integration with online marketplaces (e.g., Amazon Business) and electronic commerce storefronts on the Internet, a requirement which is increasingly becoming more important in the evaluation of e-procurement solutions overall.

If you’re new to the series, check out Part 1 (overall definition/background and supplier network intersections), Part 2 (catalog creation, supplier onboarding and data quality control) and Part 3 (maintenance, workflow and analytics) and Part 4 (catalog objects/methods and catalog mobility capabilities, expectations and requirements).

Whether you’re a procurement organization, supplier, software provider or consultancy, our goal with this series is to provide the bill of materials to allow the assembly of the best possible catalog management solution, either on a unified basis with the same e-procurement platform or integrated with a broader solution.

Catalog Management: Technical and Functional Component Requirements (Part 4) — Catalog Objects and Mobility

on-demand workforce

It’s possible to build or use a “good” e-procurement solution that has rudimentary catalog management. But it’s impossible to deliver or leverage a great one, unless its catalog management capabilities are best in class compared with the rest of the e-procurement and procure-to-pay (P2P) pack.

Based on our SolutionMap functional requirements for e-procurement, this multipart Spend Matters PRO research brief defines all of the elements of catalog management. It also provides a feature checklist of the elements that comprise each component, defining what constitutes best in class performance in each case. Today, in Part 4, we flesh out catalog objects and mobility capabilities, expectations and requirements.

Those new to this series can catch up with Part 1 (background and supplier network intersections), Part 2 (catalog creation, supplier onboarding and data quality control) and Part 3 (maintenance, workflow and analytics). Whether you’re a procurement organization, supplier, software provider or consultancy, this series provides the bill of materials to inform the assembly of the best possible catalog management solution, either on a unified basis with the same e-procurement platform or integrated with a broader solution.

Coupa’s Customer Conference and Earnings Continue to ‘Inspire’ — But a New Competitive Battle is Looming

A few weeks back we attended Coupa Inspire 2018. The event left us with a perspective that Coupa is not only doing some things extremely well but also that it would do well not to make the same mistakes of those that came before it with a similar rise to fame (i.e., a healthier dose of competitive paranoia is always more effective than getting punch-drunk on the fame of continued growth and capital market success).

In this Spend Matters PRO research brief, we provide a summary of a number of key announcements made during Coupa Inspire 2018 and over the past 18 months at Coupa. In addition, we’ll trace the history of Coupa’s product launches and introductions to provide context on how new offerings may evolve.

We’ll also offer perspective and opinions on the trajectory Coupa has been on — including whether it is sustainable — and conclude with comments on what has become arguably the most important procure-to-pay (P2P) battleground on which Coupa is positioning itself against competitors: how to enable as close to 100% of spend under management as possible with a P2P solution at the core. Incidentally, this is a topic that Oracle and SAP (inclusive of SAP Ariba, SAP Fieldglass and Concur) also have been doing quite a bit of thinking on of late — not to mention Coupa’s partner, customer and frenemy Amazon Business.

As a follow-on to this research brief, we will later share our thoughts on Coupa’s Q1 2019 earnings report from earlier in June, including how traction (and competition) in the market is translating both to wins and losses depending on customer requirements, channel/partner influence and competitive price pressure in select circumstances. Yet it would not be the Spend Matters way unless we wrapped this commentary around five reasons to bet for or against Coupa to maintain a “top three” position in the market.

For those wanting a primer on Coupa, we encourage you to check out our Vendor Snapshot on the provider (see Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3) as well Coupa’s latest Q1 2018 SolutionMap performance in the e-procurement, invoice-to-pay, procure-to-pay and sourcing areas.