The eProcurement / Procurement Category

Live Contracts: How Next-Gen CLM Solutions Will Make Contracts More Than Merely ‘Smart’

Enterprise contract management has become one of the hottest areas for digital investment, and rightly so. Because contracts form the foundational system of record for all commercial relationships, it stands to reason that, as business becomes increasingly digital, the foundation must also become digital to keep up.

Yet as companies move from storing contracts in filing cabinets to dedicated contract management software, another question arises: What next?

The advent of artificial intelligence-based technology offerings has promised procurement organizations an era of automated, “smart” contracts that execute predetermined actions when specified conditions are met. Such functionality is attractive, to be sure, but the scope of the smart contract concept is also inherently limiting.

To attain the true benefits that digital transformation is bringing to contract management, procurement organizations must go beyond simply making their contracts smart. Instead, they should strive for a more powerful paradigm: “live” contracts that convert their documents into living, adaptable tools for transaction acceleration, risk management and value creation.

A Look at Barclaycard’s Virtual Card for Coupa’s Business Spend Management Platform

Small Business Credit

Last year, Coupa unveiled its vision for business spend management (BSM), and it added products throughout the year. One of those was a virtual credit card with international reach that’s from Barclaycard, a Coupa partner. We recently caught up with Barclaycard to get a look at the offering and find out more about the deal. In an interview, Barclaycard's Rob Tuckwell walked us through the partnership and talked about how the card works. Spend Matters UK/Europe recently caught up with Barclaycard to get a look at the offering and find out more about the deal. In an interview, Barclaycard Rob Tuckwell walked us through the partnership and talked about how the card works.

Tuckwell, the director of partnerships & B2B at Barclaycard Commercial Payments, said the first thing to know is that this service shouldn’t be confused with P-cards, the physical cards used for procurement purchasing. He said Coupa is using virtual cards that generate a one-time credit card number that’s specific to the purchase order, not a person — allowing greater control and reconciliation benefits.

“This is a much more efficient way of dealing with high-volume, low-value, and one-off suppliers,” he said.

How to Succeed with Systems Integrators and Procurement Technology Implementation: Lessons From Spend Matters UK/Europe and Determine [PRO]

e-procurement

In too many cases, system integration (SI) and consultancy partnering decisions take a back seat to technology selection and related business process considerations when in fact all three areas are important to consider in equal measures as parts of source-to-pay and procure-to-pay deployments. This misstep is often one of the root causes of procurement organization dissatisfaction with technology decisions and adoption.

In this PRO brief, Jenny Draper, Spend Matters’ managing director for UK/Europe, shares her experience and best practices on the topic from serving as a procurement consultant over two decades before recently joining Spend Matters.

This best practice essay includes Jenny’s lessons learned on the importance of systems integration partners and how to set them up for success (and get the most out of a relationship). It covers such topics as when (and why) superior technologies fail, change management missteps, the role of the modern SI and finding the right fit partner. She then explores specific lessons learned from Determine’s boutique partner ecosystem in Europe.

Throughout, the brief also includes key takeaways and summary recommendations for procurement organizations going through procurement technology selections and deployments.

ERP vs. Best-in-Class Spend Management Solutions: Making the Tough Choice

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from RiseNow Managing Partner Matt Stewart.

With an endless list of options in the procurement software space, how is it possible to choose between spend management solutions like Ariba, Basware, Coupa and Jaggaer? Should you even consider such options when your existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is capable of handling basic spend management needs?

If you’re reading this, you’ve likely considered or are considering whether best-in-class source-to-pay (S2P)/procure-to-pay (P2P) solutions are worth your time, money and effort. You’ve probably wondered how the benefits compare between the solutions, whether one far exceeds another in ROI, what is best for your end users and suppliers, and if the rate of adoption is greater with one solution over another.

This story offers a few good places to start when determining whether your ERP provider or a best-in-class spend management solution is best for your organization.

BirchStreet Systems: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary and Competitive Analysis [PRO]

The hotel, hospitality, restaurant, casino and food manufacturing industries have a range of specialized procurement technology requirements, especially in the procure-to-pay area. But what are these, and more important, how does the market leader in the sector, BirchStreet Systems, stack up to alternatives in the market?

Part 1 of Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provided a company and detailed solution overview, as well as a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering BirchStreet. Part 2 focused on its strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the vendor.

In our third and final installment, we provide a SWOT overview of BirchStreet as a whole, a comparative and competitive market overview, and provide some final summary analysis and recommendations for organizations that might consider BirchStreet as a potential solution partner.

BirchStreet Systems: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses [PRO]

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

BirchStreet Systems: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview [PRO]

services sector

While BirchStreet Systems, a 16-year-old provider of purchase-to-pay solutions, is best known as a provider with deep expertise in the hospitality industry, followers of Spend Matters SolutionMap know the company offers more than just vertical-specific functionality. In fact, based on its performance in the Q4 2018 E-Procurement and Procure-to-Pay SolutionMaps, BirchStreet consistently holds its own, from a feature/function perspective, with other solutions taking a more horizontal approach, including SAP AribaCoupaDetermineGEP, Ivalua, Jaggaer, SynerTrade and Zycus.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides an overview of the BirchStreet Systems, along with facts and expert analysis to help buying organizations evaluate the vendor. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations might want to consider BirchStreet. The rest of this multipart research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitors and SWOT analysis, user selection guides, insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Top P2P Articles of 2018: Technological Leapfrogs, Market Forecasts and New Frontiers

The procure-to-pay area may seem straightforward. Procurement primers on the subject often segment the P2P process into seven or nine steps, making its components easy to grasp even for the uninitiated. Yet go one layer deeper and numerous complexities emerge — to be followed by still more as one peels the process architecture and technology onion. (Consider, for example, our multiple stories on the intricacies of catalog management.)

This cascading complexity is one reason that P2P-related topics — like e-procurement, invoicing and payments — are consistently some of the most-read articles on Spend Matters. To see why, here are the top five posts that readers sliced, diced and consumed.

ConnXus Envisions a Next-Generation Supplier Network With myConnXion: Vendor Snapshot Update [PRO]

supplier management

ConnXus has grown in less than a decade from a specialized supplier diversity compliance tracking service to a notable provider of supplier relationship management solutions.

As Spend Matters’ Q4 2018 Supplier Relationship Management and Risk SolutionMap indicates, ConnXus offers mid- to top-tier functionality for capabilities including supplier performance management, risk management, configurability and services — making it a recommended fit for all five supplier management personas and a Value Leader in two personas: Nimble and Turn-Key. The Mason, Ohio-based solution provider has driven these results primarily by supporting procurement organizations in their efforts to identify, qualify and introduce the right suppliers, including the right diversity suppliers, into global supply chains.

Recently, however, ConnXus expanded the scope of its offering with the introduction of myConnXion, a platform that connects buyers and suppliers into a single network where both sides can create, edit and share their profiles with anyone (even users outside of the network). While myConnXion may appear to be an incremental evolution for ConnXus, filling in some of the core supplier information and master data management functional gaps that handicap it relative to other providers, the new platform is also more than that. Going forward, myConnXion will be the foundation for ConnXus to pursue all future innovations, including ambitions for a global e-sourcing capability and blockchain-based compliance tracking.

This Spend Matter Vendor Snapshot Update reviews ConnXus’ new myConnXion platform and explains why it’s more than just another supplier network concept for procurement organizations looking to tackle supplier diversity tracking. It is an addendum to our previous review and analysis of ConnXus.

Procurement Technology and Solutions M&A Outlook: 10 Predictions for 2019 (Part 2) [PRO]

In the first installment of our M&A predictions for 2019, I explored the deals that have happened already in 2018, as well as our first three of ten prognostications for next year. First, private equity firms will play an increased role in the sector. Second, valuations will be all over the map. And third, peripheral players will respond to the “Amazon” effect.

Our next three predictions have a common theme: modules and areas within the procurement technology spectrum that are heating up. (Incidentally, general situational awareness is more important than ever as more and more buyers — including strategic and financial, not to mention a new type: financial backing strategic — think about putting dry powder to work and sellers evaluate their options.) So, let’s dive right in.

Procurement Technology and Solutions M&A Outlook: 10 Predictions for 2019 (Part 1) [PRO]

It’s that time of year. And no, I’m not referring to eggnog (even the vegan sort, of which I’m partial to) and good holiday cheer alone. Nor am I referring to tech providers complaining about their latest SolutionMap scores (a byproduct of the fact that the real world is not “up and to the right”). Rather, the object of this statement is my old stomping ground — the original reason I got into this sector as junior corporate development runt at Freemarkets 20 years ago — and where I still spend too much time today: M&A.

Just as I’m about to take off and look forward to a few days in a warmer climate than Chicago with the family, sector M&A interest is heating up again from all sides and threatening the seasonal vacation. This seems to happen most Decembers as firms and companies begin to look at what’s on the potential table for the new calendar year (and realize just how fast that year is approaching).

But this year is different — there is more interest than ever from a demand perspective, and it’s coming from all angles at often very different sectors and targets. Despite this perhaps rational exuberance, I’m not letting it ruin my vacation. I’m getting too old for that stuff. So rather than go “one-to-one” in advice with my clients, in the spirit of the rise of many-to-many marketplaces again — remember the “fat butterfly” model from the original B2B.com implosion, anyone? — I thought I’d author an M&A outlook for 2019.

So read on. Today, I’ll start by providing a list of the M&A deals that occurred in 2018 and sharing our full Spend Matters coverage to date. And then I’ll tackle our first three of 10 M&A predictions for 2019 (with the remainder to follow in the coming week).

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Procurement Digitalization Has 2 approaches: All or Some

In an increasingly digital world where manual processes are transformed into bits and bytes, the challenge for Procurement Organizations is to stay relevant. Many companies struggle to decide whether a dedicated Procurement function is “good to have” or a “must have,” according to Rahul Devarakonda, Beroe Inc.’s head of product.

Procurement Digitalization” promises to offer an abundance of solutions to multiple problems. But the pressing question is: Can Procurement teams achieve the much-needed centrality if they jump onto the Digitalization bandwagon?

While expectations are high, so are the complexities in implementing digitalization in one’s organization. For example, questions could range from as simple as “where to start” to as complex as “what mix of solutions can bring in more value to operations.” There are solutions in the market that envisage complete overhaul of processes and systems, but Procurement Organizations also can take an alternate approach, which uses a plug-and-play model to digitize certain processes that otherwise consume too much time and effort.

Industry experts weigh in with their assessments for when to do a vast Digitalization switch and when it makes sense to digitalize parts of a company's operations.