The Analytics Category

How AI Will Help Procurement Overcome the Historical Flaws of Spend Analytics

spend analytics

Spend analytics technology is not new to procurement. Yet a significant number of practitioners report feeling overwhelmed by the amount of data they have to handle, let alone knowing how to make sense of it all in a meaningful way. How can this be when the technology to solve such problems has existed for several decades? The answer lies in the historical flaws of the spend analytics market. Up until now, the dirty secret is that analytics technology has actually performed worse than humans at classifying spend data. But with advances in machine learning, particularly the power of deep learning, the gaps in analytics offerings are beginning to narrow.

Dhatim Conciliator: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary & Competitive Analysis [PRO]

For most procurement organizations, artificial intelligence (AI) technology in 2017 is similar to what online marketplaces and B2B exchanges were to purchasing teams in 2000. In other words, more of a curiosity — and a place to potentially make investments — than a proven thing. But the similarity ends there.

AI is very much real — and early adopters in procurement, finance and supply chain are already taking advantage of its benefits. And perhaps most important for skeptical procurement functions more interested in containing technology risk than fully embracing digital capabilities, there is no chance that the AI movement will implode, like the majority of B2B exchanges from the turn of the last millennium — it’s too far along for that already and the benefits are all too real.

If you’re not yet convinced, use cases from providers like Dhatim will help you make you a believer. While not a traditional source-to-pay modular or suite provider, Dhatim brings adjacent AI-led spend, invoice, broader P2P and payment classification, analytics and proactive opportunity identification capabilities that are complementary to existing systems and the data they produce.

Today’s third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering Dhatim provides an objective SWOT analysis of the provider and offers a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as alternative vendors to Dhatim and offers provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides summary analysis and recommendations for companies considering the vendor. Part 1 provided an in-depth look at Dhatim as a firm and its specific solutions, and Part 2 gave a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses and a review of the product’s user experience.

Dhatim Conciliator: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses [PRO]

“Cognitive” procurement has a ring to it. Enough so that any CPO who works for an organization with a broader digital transformation mandate just might pick up the old handset when a new technology provider that uses artificial intelligence (AI) in new ways decides to call. And Dhatim’s Conciliator, one of the first entrants into the cognitive sourcing market that uses AI and customized learning models to identify and predict savings opportunities, classification errors, and even individual (and theoretically supplier/vendor) performance/quality, may very well be the one on the other end of the line.

Conciliator is not the first “next generation” integrated AI-based solution that we have seen with true cognitive procurement (or sourcing) capabilities. LevaData (see our Vendor Snapshot series here, here and here) takes that prize. But Conciliator is one of the first true cognitive platforms on the market with an ability to do deep predictive analytics on certain categories in certain verticals in ways that go beyond basic AI applications to spend classification, fraud detection, predictive risk scoring and other established use cases alone.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Conciliator’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 recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering Conciliator. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Dhatim Conciliator: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview [PRO]

You might not know it, but France has a great history of building outstanding, engineering-led procurement technology firms. Ivalua and b-pack (now Determine) stand out for different reasons, but both have achieved varying degrees of success globally. Dhatim, founded in 2007, stands to follow in their footsteps — and potentially create an even larger imprint. While not a new technology provider in the procurement space, Dhatim, and its solution named Conciliator, is relatively new outside of its home country. Like others that have expanded outside the French market before it, Dhatim is looking to build a global presence, first in Europe and the UK, and then beyond.

Dhatim’s Conciliator is not a procurement suite. In fact, it would misleading to view the provider as a module-centric vendor only. Rather, it has developed an artificial intelligence (AI)-centered suite of applications that leverage the underlying learning and analytics capability to solve specific procurement, finance and even HR business challenges as well as shared services end-to-end processes operational challenges, primarily centered on automated compliance. Many of Conciliator’s large customers are keen to take advantage of digital initiatives that center on “cognitive procurement” and related areas. Conciliator not only checks the box but also delivers against use cases in which other, non-AI based solutions would have a much more difficult time — if they could do it at all.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement and finance organizations make informed decisions about whether they need a solution like Conciliator alongside or as an adjunct to other analytics and data classification technologies. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Conciliator. 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.

Behind the Scenes: Interpreting Q4 2017 SolutionMap Results With Jason Busch — Jaggaer (and Jaggaer Direct) [PRO]

Today I’m wrapping up my series of observations on Q4 2017 SolutionMap suite providers with perhaps the most fun vendor of all to opine on beyond the data alone: Jaggaer. (Be sure to check out the previous installments covering SAP Ariba, Basware and CoupaDetermine, GEP and Ivalua; and BravoSolution and Zycus, too.) When I think of potential — using the truest sense of the word — in the procurement technology market, there is no provider more underutilized than Jaggaer, especially in scenarios where it can serve industry segments and geographies that have not previously embraced solutions designed for them. Below I share my thoughts on this opportunity and how Jaggaer did in the Q4 2017 SolutionMaps, with maybe a few Jägerbomb(shells) tossed down the thirsty Friday throat for good measure. Whether your mixer is a Red Bull or Heineken, sit back and enjoy.

Vendor Summary Report: Strategic Procurement Technology Suites SolutionMap℠ Q4 2017 [PRO]

category management

This SolutionMapSM analyzes a select group of strategic procurement technology suite providers (inclusive of spend analytics, sourcing, supplier management and contract lifecycle management). It is part of our Q4 2017 SolutionMap report series, individually featuring spend analytics, sourcing, contract management, supplier relationship management and risk (SRM), e-procurement and invoice-to-pay providers. SolutionMap also features procure-to-pay technology suites. Spend Matters tracks more than 100 individual strategic procurement technology providers today. This analysis features many of the largest suite providers, including BravoSolution, Determine, GEP, Ivalua, Jaggaer, SAP Ariba and Zycus. Among these providers, the Strategic Procurement Technology SolutionMap features select industry/specialty capability of providers, although it does not highlight them in a specific persona, a change from our last SolutionMap release.

Behind the Scenes: Interpreting Q4 2017 SolutionMap Results With Jason Busch — BravoSolution and Zycus [PRO]

Today I continue to offer my observations on technology providers that participated in the Q4 2017 SolutionMaps by turning to two suite providers: BravoSolution and Zycus. During the course of our analysis, I was struck by how different both providers are overall in what they actually serve up to customers and how they fit into the market, despite having similar product footprints. Comparing the two is like comparing apples to oranges, which actually sums up quite well the odd, diverse and certainly complex category we today call procurement solutions. So sit back, relax and enjoy. And do drop me a line or post a comment if you want to add anything else to the discussion.

What is Your Strategic Procurement Technology (Suite) Persona? Understand Your Requirements to Find the Best Technology Provider [PRO]

tech

No two procurement or supply chain organizations are alike. Each has its own persona that reflects not only its own unique requirements but also the stakeholders it serves when providing timely and accurate spend, procurement, supply and broader analytics.

The same principle holds true when analyzing strategic procurement technology suites. Each provider has a persona — or set of personas — that reflects its value proposition, solution strategy and targeted customer segments. Therefore, procurement organizations should seek providers whose personas best align to theirs. In other words, there is no “magic” solution provider, and finding the right fit is essential, because supplier management applications are critical for not only identifying savings opportunities but also the effective management of the procurement function.  

SolutionMap depicts vendor rankings based on specific buyer personas to reflect the unique value proposition, solution strategy and customer segments served by a vendor. Participating vendors are scored both on their Solution capability as well as on Customer Value, based on in-depth tech reviews (including live demos) by the Spend Matters analyst team and aggregated direct customer input from surveys. Each SolutionMap is updated quarterly rather than in 12-month (or longer) cycles, to accurately reflect the pace of market developments.

As part of our Spend Matters SolutionMap vendor comparison ranking for strategic procurement technology suites, the Spend Matters analyst team has dedicated considerable time to developing the unique organizational personas that we’ve most often seen in our decades of experience working with procurement organizations.

We have used these personas to weight the requirements used in solution scoring, which includes customer satisfaction scoring by solution customers. Having collected feedback from hundreds of procurement organizations in recent months as part of our SolutionMap research, we see these personas as useful starting points for procurement organizations to classify themselves before looking at solution rankings of providers in the market.

This Spend Matters PRO analysis shares five of the most common customer personas for strategic procurement technology suites buying requirements. Aimed at practitioners as well as vendors and the consultants advising them, this research brief will be helpful to drive the type of mass customization of strategic procurement technology solutions needed to meet specific organizational needs.

Below, we present our five personas for strategic procurement technology suites. For each, we include full definitions, typical organizational priorities (based on each persona), modular component weightings (and links to other PRO reports for detailed Solution and Customer value weightings) and recommended selection processes.

Embedding Procurement Across the Enterprise

category management

Has procurement reached a point where it can be trusted with measuring its own performance? Notwithstanding the need for practical checks and balances, is your procurement organization looking through the lens of its own performance microscope or is it pacing the halls of finance, waiting for validation? As procurement becomes increasingly responsible for non-traditional areas of spend and building business cases supporting change, its organizational importance will continue to soar. But cost control is a shared responsibility. And unfortunately, sinking your teeth into the myriad complexities related to measuring a procurement department’s performance often yields more questions than answers.

What is Your Spend Analytics Persona? Understand Your Requirements to Find the Best Technology Provider [PRO]

Analytics

No two procurement, finance, supply chain or IT organizations are alike. Each has its own persona that reflects not only its own unique requirements but also the stakeholders it serves when providing timely and accurate spend, procurement, supply and broader analytics.

The same principle holds true when analyzing spend analytics solutions. Each provider has a persona — or set of personas — that reflects its value proposition, solution strategy and targeted customer segments. Therefore, procurement organizations should seek providers whose personas best align to theirs. In other words, there is no “magic” solution provider, and finding the right fit is essential, because spend analytics applications are critical for not only identifying savings opportunities but also the effective management of the procurement function.

SolutionMap depicts vendor rankings based on specific buyer personas to reflect the unique value proposition, solution strategy and customer segments served by a vendor. Participating vendors are scored both on their Solution capability as well as on Customer Value, based on in-depth tech reviews (including live demos) by the Spend Matters analyst team and aggregated direct customer input from surveys. Each SolutionMap is updated quarterly rather than in 12-month (or longer) cycles, to accurately reflect the pace of market developments.

As part of our Spend Matters SolutionMap vendor comparison ranking for spend analytics and other strategic procurement technologies, the Spend Matters analyst team has dedicated considerable time to developing the unique organizational personas that we’ve most often seen in our decades of experience working with procurement organizations.

We have used these personas to weight the requirements used in solution scoring, which includes customer satisfaction scoring by solution customers. Having collected feedback from hundreds of procurement organizations in recent months as part of our SolutionMap research, we see these personas as useful starting points for procurement organizations to classify themselves before looking at solution rankings of providers in the market.

This Spend Matters PRO analysis shares five of the most common customer personas for spend analytics buying requirements. Aimed at practitioners as well as vendors and the consultants advising them, this research brief will be helpful to drive the type of mass customization of strategic procurement technology solutions needed to meet specific organizational needs.

Below, we present our five personas for spend analytics. For each, we include full definitions, typical organizational priorities (based on each persona), functional/solution and customer value emphasis, and recommended selection processes.

Vendor Summary Report: Spend Analytics SolutionMap℠ Q4 2017 [PRO]

This SolutionMapSM analyzes a select group of spend analytics providers. It includes coverage of spend analytics capabilities that encourages subscribers to “peel the onion” beyond cleansing, classification, enrichment and reporting capabilities alone. It is part of our Q4 2017 SolutionMap report series, also featuring sourcing, supplier management contract management, e-procurement and invoice-to-pay providers. Our Q4 2017 release also features SolutionMaps for procure-to-pay and strategic procurement technology suites.

Spend Matters tracks more than 50 analytics providers with offerings targeting the procurement market today. This analysis features many of the largest spend analytics providers including AnyData Solutions, BravoSolution, Determine, GEP, Ivalua, Jaggaer, SAP Ariba, Sievo, Spendency, SpendHQ and Zycus. Among these providers it features select category, functional and industry capability of providers, although it does not highlight them in a specific persona.

SolutionMap ratings provide comparative rankings and insight into how each provider scored from a Solution perspective and Customer Value perspective.

Dive deeper with our full analysis.

Q4 SolutionMap℠: 32 Procurement Technology Solution Providers, Ranked

With Major League Baseball playoffs in full swing, we're reminded of the fitted ballcaps some of us used to wear when we were kids, just like the pros wore. Then at one point, companies introduced some fitted caps that were incongruously labeled “One Size Fits All.” That promise didn’t hold up. One size never really fits all (some of us have bigger noggins than others, for example), so ballcaps promoting themselves as such miss the mark. The same can be said for traditional analyst rankings of procurement technology solutions. Behold, Spend Matters Q4 SolutionMap℠ — where we leave the “one fits all” approach behind.