The Contract Management Category

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

contract

There is more than meets the product and functional eye when it comes to evaluating independent contract lifecycle management (CLM) providers. Spend Matters research, including our recently published Q4 2017 CLM SolutionMap, suggests this is a technology market where it is easier to define what makes individual vendors different than what makes them similar. This is even the case where just about every best-of-breed (i.e., non-suite) vendor ticks the baseline contract management checklist boxes across all key areas including core modeling, extended contract modeling/analytics, expiration/renewal, creation/authoring, collaboration, and implementation, compliance, obligation and performance management.

Exari is one such provider in this specialized and diverse segment of the procurement technology market that stands out based on its current intellectual property and software development focus. Consider, for example, Exari’s data architecture, built on what the provider describes as a universal contract model (UCM) that can encapsulate all of the elements, relationships and actions in a contract. Exari can use this abstracted contract data structure to guide a user through contract creation, identify potential issues and raise alerts based upon data elements or events or (unexpected) actions. It can even analyze third-party documents and convert external contracts into a document within Exari or into its UCM-based canonical contract data model through other artificial intelligence (AI) and semantic parsing capabilities in its broader solution portfolio.

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering Exari 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 Exari 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 Exari as a technology provider 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.

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

Even among specialist contract lifecycle management (CLM) providers, those that go below the surface in evaluating functional capabilities will discover that there is significant differentiation of both absolute functional capability and focus among vendors. The former point may be obvious, but the latter point is especially nuanced within the best-of-breed CLM market.

Exari is a perfect example. Comparing Exari even with its specialist contract management peers is like comparing apples to oranges. It stands apart from others that appear to tick similar functional boxes for many reasons and is likely a better fit for certain legal and procurement organizations over others, based on both their specific goals in deploying a CLM solution and their overall approach to enterprise contract management.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Exari’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 Exari. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

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

A few years ago we could have divided the contract lifecycle management (CLM) technology provider market into two segments: providers that delivered CLM as part of integrated source-to-pay suites and standalone CLM providers, including those owned by suite vendors but that were not fully integrated as part of a source-to-pay platform, which offered significantly greater capability. But in our recent Q4 CLM SolutionMap, we learned this segmentation is no longer accurate. Select standalone CLM providers have begun to distanced themselves considerably, on a function scoring (Solution) basis, from the previous generation of best-of-breed providers that were part of suite vendor offerings (e.g., Selectica/Determine, Upside/Jaggaer).

One of these independent providers that is pulling away from the suite crowd is Exari. Like other CLM specialists, Exari not only focuses on procurement contracts but also enterprise contracts, including sales contracts, leases, partnership agreements, employment agreements and other contracts that fall outside the realm of the procurement.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement and legal organizations make informed decisions about whether Exari, as a standalone CLM solution, is a better fit than using a suite-based contract management provider. 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 Exari. 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.

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.

Vendor Summary Report: Buy-Side Contract Lifecycle Management SolutionMap℠ Q4 2017 [PRO]

This SolutionMapSM analyzes a select group of Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) providers. It is part of our Q4 2017 SolutionMap report series, also featuring spend analytics, sourcing, supplier management (including supplier information management, performance management and risk management), e-procurement and invoice-to-pay providers. SolutionMaps also feature “composite” market views of procure-to-pay (the last two above) and strategic procurement technology suites (the first three above combined with CLM).

Summary

Spend Matters tracks CLM solution providers today — primarily from the “buy side” (i.e., procurement and supply chain), but also select best-of-breed enterprise CLM providers that can meet complex buy-side needs and broader enterprise requirements. This inaugural solution analysis features many of the largest providers, including source-to-pay application suite vendors BravoSolution, Determine, GEP, Ivalua, Jaggaer, SAP Ariba, and Zycus — as well as two best-of-breed CLM leaders, Exari and Icertis. This report provides details on the key CLM requirements and buying considerations for this critical area.

Scoring and Ratings Inputs

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

It provides a breakdown of Solution scoring for each vendor on an overall category level. For CLM providers, this includes each provider’s comparative capability to support:

  • Contract Information Management (core contract modeling; extended contract modeling and analytics)
  • Contract Process Management (contract expiry & renewal management; contract creation and authoring; contract collaboration; and contract implementation, compliance and performance)
  • Analytics
  • Technology
  • Configurability
  • Services
For much more on solution and customer scoring methodology, and detailed scoring breakdowns by individual solution provider, read on.

Behind the Scenes: Interpreting Q4 2017 SolutionMap Results With Jason Busch — Determine, GEP and Ivalua [PRO]

We recently published the Q4 2017 SolutionMaps across six different product categories and two integrated suite areas: spend analytics, sourcing (e-sourcing), contract lifecycle management (CLM), supplier management (SxM), e-procurement and invoice-to-pay (plus “strategic procurement technology suites” and “procure-to-pay” suites). Three of the providers that participated in all six core categories and both suites were Determine, GEP and Ivalua (in fact, the only other provider that participated in both suites was SAP Ariba). The full results of each tell three very different stories, but even their individual solution (and customer) narratives do not begin to get at the “whole vendor” — and what’s really happening in the market.

Why IC-SOW May Be the First Step Toward SOW Lite: An Interview with Michael Matherly

road

In our previous article, we posted a question to services procurement practitioners: Is it time for “SOW Lite”? Simply put, businesses do not currently have the tools they need to take advantage of the badly needed talent available that the gig economy, freelancers, independent professionals and small, specialized service providers offer. The concept of SOW Lite proposes a lifecycle process that “runs from sourcing, through contracting, on-boarding, project management, and all the way to invoicing and payment.” To help take this concept from question to practice, I reached out to Michael Matherly, CEO of Sourcing for Services LLC, to continue the discussion on the next stage for SOW and how technology providers could support the area.

What is Your Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) Persona? Understand Your Requirements to Find the Best Technology Provider [PRO]

No two contracts are alike, nor are organizations’ requirements for managing those contracts. It stands to reason then that there’s no single contract management application that will magically meet all procurement organizations better than another. This philosophy underpins our approach to the Spend Matters SolutionMap, a comparative analytical framework for practitioners to evaluate relevant solutions to meet their needs.

Our SolutionMap approach depicts vendor rankings based on specific buyer personas to reflect the unique value proposition, solution strategy and customer segments served by that provider. Participating vendors are scored both on their Solution Value, which is technology based in this case, as well as on Customer Value, based on in-depth tech reviews (including deep dive demonstrations) by the Spend Matters analyst team and aggregated from direct customer feedback. Each SolutionMap is updated quarterly rather than in 12-month (or longer) cycles, to accurately reflect the pace of market developments.

As part of the first release of the contract lifecycle management (CLM) SolutionMap, the Spend Matters analyst team has developed unique organizational personas that we’ve most often seen in our decades of experience working with procurement organizations. We have used these personas to customize the weightings of the requirements that we used in the weighting of solution scoring (which is graphically depicted as the y-axis SolutionMap) and also of customer satisfaction scoring (the x-axis) by end user organizations.

Having collected feedback from hundreds of CLM users, vendors and consultants in recent months as part of our SolutionMap research, we developed these personas to serve as useful starting points for procurement organizations to classify themselves and help them gain more insightful solution rankings of providers in the market. As in some other areas, baseline functionality is fairly undifferentiated. All the providers will have decent support for contract clauses, templates, amendments, version/change control, access control, audit trails, file attachments, flexible workflow engines, role-based dashboards, modern IaaS infrastructure and partnerships with popular digital signature vendors.

As such, this Spend Matters PRO analysis describes the CLM-focused requirements from these personas that differentiate the relevant solutions in the market. For each persona, we include full definitions, typical organizational priorities (based on each persona), functional/solution, and customer value emphasis and recommended selection processes. Comparative vendor rankings will be published for each persona next week on Spend Matters and updated quarterly.

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.

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