Author Archives: Xavier Olivera



Accounts Payables Automation update (Part 1) — Re-evaluating the sector’s technology developments

Accounts payables is a business process with great operational workload that needs to be handled with great efficiency and effectiveness. If not done well, it might generate significant additional costs to the business and add risks like business fraud or damage commercial relationships with suppliers — all of which harm a company’s bottom line.

Although the pain points of the accounts payable process are the same today as in the past, the importance of its automation has become greater recently as businesses look for more value creation than just operational efficiencies. And that counts even more so with the arrival of COVID-19, which has shaken up the status quo of all companies’ processes.

Today, procurement technology providers have been funded with millions of dollars to create better solutions to automate this process and improve AP’s integration with other business processes, like procurement (2- and 3-way match), accounting (reconciliation), and treasury (cash flow optimization).

New technologies and the development of advanced solutions have made it possible for many more companies to have access to AP automation solutions that were previously unthinkable for an SME, and for large and global companies. Examples include the cloud, API integrations, artificial intelligence, RPA, digital payments, data extraction solutions, etc.

Therefore a year ago, we at Spend Matters started with a new SolutionMap category that compares AP Automation offerings.

However, the evolution of the AP automation solutions in 2020, and the sector’s push to include other business processes, has led us to rethink the approach we take toward the AP automation function and how we'll analyze it in 2021.

In this three-part Spend Matters PRO series, we will explain what we are seeing in the AP automation market, the components of our analytical approach and the state of the AP automation solution market.

Marketboomer: Vendor Analysis — P2P Solution Overview, Roadmap, Customer Feedback, Marketboomer Competitors, Analyst Insights 

This Spend Matters PRO will look at Marketboomer, a provider whose procure-to-pay offering is called Purchase Plus.

When we talk about P2P solutions, we normally refer to horizontal solutions — those that cover the requirements of a wide range of industries and markets. P2P vertical solutions, however, cover the requirements of specific industries, given their specializations in either processes or functionalities.

This is the case for Marketboomer, a P2P solution that is specific to the hospitality industry (mainly from Australia).

This industry requires very specific purchasing practices depending on the country or countries of operation, as well as product inventory management and just-in-time logistics. It also handles products like food and drinks, whose prices vary daily, and this industry also has the complexity of enabling local suppliers (sometimes for just one product) that have little digital or IT capabilities. Horizontal solutions hardly meet the needs of vertical industries, so it is necessary to have solutions like Marketboomer, at least for hotel purchasing.

This Vendor Analysis will give an overview of Marketboomer's Purchase Plus solution (just P2P), a look at its platform and services, and a brief description of its solution functionalities. Then we’ll examine the company roadmap, assess a verified customer reference, do a market analysis of Marketboomer’s competitors, and give some key analyst takeaways.

Kissflow Procurement Cloud (KPC): Vendor Analysis — Solution Overview, Roadmap, Customer Feedback, Kissflow’s Competitors, Analyst Insights 

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis will give an overview of the Kissflow Procurement Cloud (KPC) solution.

Cloud-based solutions have been great at improving accessibility in the market because they lower the total cost of ownership (TCO) and speed up implementation of business solutions like e-procurement or procure-to-pay.

However, cloud platform technology and solutions have limited the ability to develop custom functionalities or processes that are still required or used in some businesses and specialized industries. This isn’t about configuration capacity, but custom developments.

Solutions with a PaaS model offer the advantages of a cloud-based solution, and the ability to carry out customized functionalities or processes for their clients. This is a highly desirable value proposition for many organizations and industries.

Kissflow Procurement Cloud is one such platform solution that offers both benefits for its customers.

This Vendor Analysis also will offer a look at Kissflow’s platform and services, a brief description of its solution functionalities, a vision of its roadmap, feedback in a verified customer reference analysis, a competitive market analysis, and some key analyst takeaways.

Veriscape’s Symphonia: Vendor Analysis — Solution Overview, Roadmap, Customer Feedback, Symphonia Competitors, Analyst Insights 

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis will give an overview of Veriscape's Symphonia e-procurement capabilities, and we’ll also consider how ERP systems and e-procurement solutions have evolved.

A response to the rigid ERP systems to support the indirect purchasing function in the 1990s was the development of e-procurement solutions, which initially functioned more as a product catalog management solution. They had a buying front-end (e-store) to create a purchase requisition coupled with an approval process.

As we well know, these solutions have evolved significantly in order to meet more complex business requirements. But just because e-procurement solutions have evolved technologically and functionally does not imply that all organizations have evolved (matured) at the same rate.

We still see many organizations that focus on the challenges from 20 years ago, and not necessarily with high technology or great functionality, but only rely on an improved shopping front-end (e-store) for usability purposes (vs ERPs), and a content management solution that can handle the consolidation of all indirect product catalogs, some services (template-based) and the integration with punch-out catalogs (third-party websites).

This still is a huge market opportunity, and companies like Veriscape that began 20 years ago have managed to keep winning customers with this vision.

This review is about Veriscape’s latest product release, Symphonia. We will look at its platform and services, give a brief description of its solution functionalities and examine its roadmap. It also will include a verified customer reference analysis, a look at Veriscape’s competitors/market analysis, and some key analyst takeaways.

MineralTree: Vendor Analysis — Solution Overview, Strengths/Weaknesses, Tech Selection Tips, Commentary

Eliminating paper-based financial processes is the main benefit for payment automation solutions in the SME market. It is an important and growing area of opportunity that is generating efficiencies and savings for companies. MineralTree is a solution provider that is helping mid-market companies have greater control, visibility and certainty in their accounts payable process while generating AP process efficiencies and savings.

In September, MineralTree closed a $50 million Series D investment round with Great Hill Partners, .406 Ventures and Eight Roads Ventures. And it is expanding its SME market share through its recent acquisitions of Inspyrus and Regal Software.

The focus of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis is to offer a candid take on MineralTree and its capabilities. The review includes a look at its solution set, a perspective on what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, and a selection requirements checklist for organizations that might consider the vendor.

Fraxion: Vendor Analysis — Background, Overview of P2P Solution, Strengths/Weaknesses, Tech Selection Tips

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis offers a candid take on the spend management provider Fraxion and its capabilities in procure-to-pay (P2P).

The coronavirus crisis has small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) scrambling for digital solutions, so the providers have to step up their game to stay competitive. The solution providers will have to invest in their capabilities and offer a solution that generates the expected value.

This review includes a look at Fraxion’s solution set, a perspective on what is comparatively good and not so good about the solution, and a selection requirements checklist for organizations that might consider Fraxion.

Infor Nexus: Vendor Analysis (Part 3) — In-Depth Solution Overview

In this final part of our Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis, we’ll do an in-depth look of the Infor Nexus solution overview, providing a complete look at its procurement offering for direct spend.

Part 1 of the series focused on Infor Nexus’s solution strengths and weaknesses, and Part 2 focused on Infor Nexus competitors and the technology market that they are in.

In this final section, we will look at the Infor Nexus solution, which covers the direct materials procurement process and supply chain collaboration — from orders through shipments, invoice, payments and supply chain financing, backed by its business network where buyers, suppliers, manufacturers, logistics providers and financial institutions collaborate and exchange documents.

Infor Nexus: Vendor Analysis (Part 2) — SWOT, Competitors & Market Overview, Selection Tips

e-invoicing

In Part 2 of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis, we’ll look at Infor Nexus’s competitors and market landscape, as well as provide a company SWOT assessment.

Infor Nexus’s value proposition is focused on the direct material purchasing space. Infor Nexus procurement’s business model starts from the PO reception (issued by the ERP) and goes up to the payment and financing process, passing through the matching, approvals and fulfillment processes.

In Part 1, we focused on Infor Nexus’ company details, a brief solution overview, and its solution’s strengths and weaknesses. The third and final installment provides a more in-depth overview of Infor Nexus procurement’s platform capabilities.

Infor Nexus: Vendor Analysis (Part 1) — Company & Solution Overview and Solution Strengths/Weaknesses 

direct materials sourcing

In this three-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis, we are first going to focus on Infor Nexus’s strengths and weaknesses in direct/supply chain procurement.

Infor Nexus also is a supply chain business network where buyers, suppliers, manufacturers, logistics providers and financial institutions can collaborate and exchange documents to automate its supply chain processes flowing between all stakeholders.

Its solution provides buyers and suppliers a single source for automated order management, collaboration and creation of fulfillment documents (invoice, packing list) with N-way document matching and flexible workflow to streamline the AP process.

Part 1 will have some company details, a brief solution overview, and Infor Nexus’s solution strengths and weaknesses. In Part 2, we provide a company SWOT assessment and look at Infor Nexus’s competitors as well as the overall market in which Infor Nexus plays. In our third and final installment, we provide a more in-depth overview of Infor Nexus’s platform capabilities.

Uppler: Vendor Analysis (Part 3) — In-Depth Solution Overview 

In this third and final part of our Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis, we provide a complete Uppler solution overview, looking at each main module in the Uppler offering.

Part 1 of the series focused on Uppler’s strengths and weaknesses, and Part 2 focused on Uppler’s competitors and the e-procurement technology market that they are in.

In this final section of our coverage, we will look at Uppler's solution, which offers a cloud-based software solution to create B2B marketplaces and e-procurement platforms backed by support services for a fast implementation and supplier onboarding. It also supports suppliers with fast enablement so they can quickly start doing business with buyers.

Let’s look at Uppler’s platform features, e-procurement features, and its capabilities for e-payments and services.

Uppler: Vendor Analysis (Part 2) — SWOT, Competitors & Market Overview, Tech Selection Tips

e-procurement

In Part 2 of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis, we'll look at Uppler’s competitors, examine the market in which they compete and provide a company SWOT assessment.

The e-procurement solution market is one of the more crowded, competitive and varied within procurement technology. According to our SolutionMap definition, we can find many Nimble types of solution that are local or regional well positioned such as Uppler. There are also those specialist eProcurement providers which are very deep in functionality , there are those that are part of a P2P or S2P suite or platforms, and also those more oriented to direct purchasing (order management) and those that can deliver private and public marketplaces (generic and industry specific); all of them competing for a very large and also diverse market of businesses and organizations.

In Part 1, we focused on company details, a brief solution overview, and the Uppler solution’s strengths and weaknesses. In our third and final installment, we will provide a more in-depth overview of Uppler’s platform capabilities.

Let’s now look at Uppler’s competitors — like Coupa, Vroozi and BuyerQuest — and examine more players in the e-procurement market. 

Uppler: Vendor Analysis (Part 1) — Company Background, Solution Details, Strengths/Weaknesses

In this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis, we will address Uppler’s strengths and weaknesses in its e-procurement solution.

Uppler, founded in 2014, is a software company that offers a cloud-based solution to create B2B marketplaces and e-procurement platforms. Although its headquarters is in New York, its roots are in France, with its parent company UPL France. Although its client base remains small and mostly based in France, Uppler has important clients in industries such as automotive, food and beverage, chemical and insurance.

Part 1 of this three-part series also will have some company details, a brief solution overview and Uppler´s strengths and weaknesses. In Part 2, we will provide a SWOT assessment and an overview of the competitive landscape in which Uppler plays. In our third and final installment, we will provide a more in-depth overview of Uppler’s platform capabilities.