Featured SolutionMap Article Content

Allocation: What Makes It Great (Sourcing SolutionMap Analysis)

Direct materials procurement technology has always been a bit of a blind spot for North American manufacturers. Many such businesses are already using indirect materials-centric and services-centric applications (e.g., procure-to-pay, vendor management systems), but few also have specialized direct materials-centric procurement tools as a part of their solution belt. A host of factors, however, is starting to change this, to include recent trade volatility, digital transformation of manufacturing alongside business in general, and increasingly complex supply chains that demand a more advanced approach to sourcing and supplier management.

Well-poised to address these drivers is Allocation, a German solution provider that, based on its performance for the past year in our Sourcing SolutionMap vendor rankings, offers one of the broadest and deepest platforms for direct supplier management and direct material sourcing on the market today. With a strong customer base in discrete manufacturing, Allocation can walk into just about any automotive, aerospace, CPG or other manufacturing-based procurement organization and talk the talk, backing up its knowledge with a set of specialized capabilities.

But where does Allocation stand out most and help “set the bar” in sourcing, and why should this matter for procurement and finance organizations? Let’s delve into the SolutionMap benchmark to find out where Allocation is great.

“What Makes It Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider subscribers. Based on both our rigorous evaluation process and customer reference reviews, each brief offers quick facts on the provider, describes where it excels, provides hard data on where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark and concludes with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider it.

E-Procurement Tech Selection and the Deep Persona: Analysis & Commentary [PRO]

The e-procurement solutions market has been growing for the last seven years. Because of this rapid growth, the market is also fragmented, with numerous vendors competing for procurement organizations’ attention. Yet no one vendor is an ideal fit for all companies, due to the unique requirements of different organizations’ sizes, industry/vertical and prior technology investments (or lack thereof).

So how can companies with different needs evaluate procurement solutions amid an array of vendors with different capabilities?

Spend Matters’ vendor rankings in SolutionMap account for these differences using a persona-based approach. Each SolutionMap persona is calibrated to weight evaluation requirements so that it reflects the profile of certain kinds of buyers. For example, the “Nimble” persona reflects small and medium-size businesses that prioritize fast time-to-value and ease of use in the selections; the “CIO Friendly” persona emphasizes technical foundation and interoperability with other enterprise systems to make for a straightforward implementation.

So what do SolutionMap personas look at for e-procurement, and how can they help your organization make better technology decisions?

In a series of PRO articles, we’ll analyze the market according to the different e-procurement personas: Nimble, Deep, Turn-key, Configurator and CIO Friendly. (See persona definitions* below.)

This review is organized just like the RFI for SolutionMap, according to these topics: platform capabilities, features & functionalities, and customer value.

Now let’s look at the e-procurement features and vendors as viewed by the Deep persona.

Customer reviews for Determine (Corcentric) are in the new SolutionMap Customer Insights report

This week’s SolutionMap Customer Insights report focuses on customer reviews for the suite  provider Determine, a Corcentric company.

The applicable SolutionMap categories for this report are Source-to-Pay, Procure-to-Pay, and Strategic Procurement Technologies (SPT includes Sourcing, Analytics, CLM and SRM). Determine has been bought by Corcentric. Integrations between the two provider platforms are not factored into the Customer Insights analysis, which is entirely based on Determine’s capabilities.

SolutionMap Insider members can read about Determine in our latest report.

In each Customer Insights report, we provide a one-page summary of details from the SolutionMap peer review process. It includes ratings on how well the vendor meets its customers' expectations, three key differentiators for the vendor and a list of quotes from customers about the vendor’s greatest strengths.

What Makes It Great: The Procurify Customer Experience (E-Procurement SolutionMap Analysis)

If you’re going to invest in an e-procurement solution, you’d at least hope that your employees use it. But this is often easier said than done. The usability of enterprise software like e-procurement has been low more often than not, and end users from procurement and other functions alike have not always been keen to requisition, punch out and slog through approvals in systems that recall the days of Windows 2000.

Fortunately, a new breed of procurement solutions is rectifying these past missteps, offering simple, intuitive user experiences that remind users more of the applications they use in their daily lives than at the office. The benefits are attractive: higher solution adoption, faster realization of the benefits of technology and greater overall ROI from the technology investment.

This is exactly what attracts customers to a company like Procurify.

Based in Canada, but with clients around the world, Procurify is an e-procurement solution designed for the needs of small and medium-size businesses. This is most visible in its best-in-class UX/UI, which along with other factors helped Procurify claim the highest customer satisfaction scores in our E-Procurement SolutionMap.

But where does Procurify stand out most and help “set the bar” in e-procurement, and why should this matter for procurement and finance organizations? Let’s delve into the SolutionMap benchmark to find out where Procurify is great.

“What Makes It Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider subscribers. Based on both our rigorous evaluation process and customer reference reviews, each brief offers quick facts on the provider, describes where it excels, provides hard data on where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark and concludes with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider it.

E-Procurement Tech Selection and the Nimble Persona: Analysis & Commentary [PRO]

The e-procurement solutions market has been growing for the last seven years. Because of this rapid growth, the market is also fragmented, with numerous vendors competing for procurement organizations’ attention. Yet no one vendor is an ideal fit for all companies, due to the unique requirements of different organizations’ sizes, industry/vertical and prior technology investments (or lack thereof).

So how can companies with different needs evaluate procurement solutions amid an array of vendors with different capabilities?

Spend Matters’ vendor rankings in SolutionMap account for these differences using a persona-based approach. Each SolutionMap persona is calibrated to weight evaluation requirements so that it reflects the profile of certain kinds of buyers. For example, the “Nimble” persona reflects small and medium-size businesses that prioritize fast time-to-value and ease of use in the selections; the “CIO Friendly” persona emphasizes technical foundation and interoperability with other enterprise systems to make for a straightforward implementation.

So what do SolutionMap personas look at for e-procurement, and how can they help your organization make better technology decisions?

In a series of PRO articles, we’ll analyze the market according to the different e-procurement personas: Nimble, Deep, Turn-key, Configurator and CIO Friendly. (See persona definitions* below.)

This review is organized just like the RFI for SolutionMap, according to these topics: platform capabilities, features & functionalities, and customer value.

To start, let’s look at the e-procurement features and vendors as viewed by the Nimble persona.

Customer reviews for Beeline are in the new SolutionMap Customer Insights report

This week’s SolutionMap Customer Insights report focuses on customer reviews for Beeline, an independent provider of solutions for sourcing and managing contingent labor.

The applicable SolutionMap categories for this report are in all three of our contingent workforce areas: Temp Staffing, Contract Services/SOW and Direct Sourcing of Workforce/Services.

SolutionMap Insider members can click here to read about Beeline in our latest report.

In each Customer Insights report, we provide a one-page summary of details from the SolutionMap peer review process. It includes ratings on how well the vendor meets its customers' expectations, three key differentiators for the vendor and a list of quotes from customers about the vendor’s greatest strengths.

Elevated Resources: What Makes It Great (Temp Staffing/VMS SolutionMap Analysis)

ELEVATE VMS — a product of Elevated Resources Inc., a contingent workforce services provider — is something of a new kid on the block in the evolving contingent workforce and services (CW/S) enterprise technology solution market. So it’s likely that few practitioners have heard of this VMS. But that’s because ELEVATE was not typically marketed as a technology solution separate from the Elevated Resources MSP and other service offerings.

This changed in early 2019 when Elevated Resources experienced a large increase in interest and demand for the ELEVATE VMS solution apart from the company’s service offerings. So while ELEVATE is a new face in the VMS solution market, it is actually a sophisticated technology platform and SaaS application that has been developed over a period of years within Elevated Resources.

Right out of the blocks, ELEVATE’s target market is almost exclusively mid-size organizations with $1 million to $100 million in contingent workforce spend. Today, it is true that ELEVATE might not stand up competitively to a top-tier VMS for the use case of, say, a 50,000-employee organization operating in 25 countries. But it can very well stand up as a robust, truly cost-effective solution for midsize organizations with a predominant presence in the U.S. (though the solution’s geographic footprint is being expanded). In addition, ELEVATE VMS has the experience and know-how of Elevated Resources standing behind it; and in the Spend Matters SolutionMap, the company has achieved outstanding client survey scores.

Spend Matters breaks down the broadening and evolving CW/S enterprise technology solution market into three main categories. Those are solutions to manage:

* Temp Staffing, the primary historical focus and largest category of spend under management for established VMS providers (e.g., Beeline, Coupa-DCR Contingent Workforce, SAP Fieldglass, etc.)
* Contract Services/SOW (Statement of Work), the spend category now contributing the highest growth to VMS providers’ spend under management.
* Direct Sourcing of Workforce/Services (DSW/S), while the largest volume of spend under management and numbers of users lie in the Temp Staffing solution category, top VMS providers have been evolving and increasingly providing capabilities to enable clients to directly source and engage contingent workers and manage the corresponding spend and risk.

At the time of our Q3 2019 Solution Map RFI submission, ELEVATE provided solution capabilities for temporary staffing to a handful of clients (these have been validated through client references). While Elevated Resources was able to demo a substantial range of SOW management capabilities, the rollout of that part of the solution was early stage and no client references were submitted. Therefore, for the Q3 SolutionMap, ELEVATE was only evaluated in the Temp Staffing category.

So where does Elevated Resources and its VMS fit into the burgeoning CW/S solution market? As of Q3 2019, the Spend Matters vendor ranking system, SolutionMap, contains functional and customer satisfaction benchmarks on more than 50 providers within the overall procurement technology landscape, including 14 providers within the CW/S segment. But where does Elevated Resources stand out most and help “set the bar” for the Temp Staffing segment? And why should this matter for procurement and HR organizations? Let’s delve into the SolutionMap benchmark to find out where Elevated Resources is great.

“What Makes It Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider subscribers. Based on both our rigorous evaluation process and customer reference reviews, each brief offers quick facts on the provider, describes where it excels, provides hard data on where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark and concludes with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider it.

Customer reviews for Allocation are in the new SolutionMap Customer Insights report

This week’s SolutionMap Customer Insights report focuses on customer reviews for Allocation, a specialist in technology for direct materials sourcing and supplier management for manufacturers and producers who have complex processes.

The applicable SolutionMap categories for this report are Sourcing and Supplier Relationship Management & Risk. SolutionMap Insider members can read about Allocation in our latest report.

In each Customer Insights report, we provide a one-page summary of details from the SolutionMap peer review process. It includes ratings on how well the vendor meets its customers' expectations, three key differentiators for the vendor and a list of quotes from customers about the vendor’s greatest strengths. (The users’ names and companies are kept anonymous.)

Wax Digital: What Makes It Great (Sourcing SolutionMap Analysis)

While plenty of vendors like to wax poetic about how complete or end-to-end their procurement solutions are, few of these ballads stand up to critical scrutiny. Many vendors that tout their “unified platform” often cannot deploy their solutions with as seamless of a module integration as initially claimed.

This is not the case with Wax Digital, a UK-based provider that offers a relatively complete, integrated source-to-pay solution on one code base that is already used globally in more than 100 countries. This approach allows Wax Digital to claim numerous strengths for sourcing capabilities that its competitors cannot, such as the ability to connect with adjacent suite areas like supplier onboarding/management or easily integrate third-party applications and data. And, as the SolutionMap benchmark demonstrates, its backbone in sourcing capabilities (e.g., RFX construction, surveys, opportunity analysis) are often above average, too, making a strong case for Wax Digital to be considered for competitive shortlists where true end-to-end S2P capabilities are desired.

But where does Wax Digital stand out most and help “set the bar” in sourcing, and why should this matter for procurement and finance organizations? Let’s delve into our SolutionMap benchmark to find out where Wax Digital is great.

“What Makes It Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider subscribers. Based on both our rigorous evaluation process and customer reference reviews, each brief offers quick facts on the provider, describes where it excels, provides hard data on where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark and concludes with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider it.

Customer reviews for SynerTrade are in the new SolutionMap Customer Insights report

This week’s SolutionMap Customer Insights report focuses on customer reviews for SynerTrade, a source-to-pay suite provider. The applicable SolutionMap categories for this report are Source-to-Pay, Procure-to-Pay, and Strategic Procurement Technologies (SPT includes Sourcing, Analytics, CLM and SRM).

SolutionMap Insider members can read about SynerTrade in our latest report.

In each Customer Insights report, we provide a one-page summary of details from the SolutionMap peer review process. It includes ratings on how well the vendor meets its customers' expectations, three key differentiators for the vendor and a list of quotes from customers about the vendor’s greatest strengths.

What is a VMS today? Spend Matters’ SolutionMap helps define it 

work intermediation platform

Vendor management system (VMS) solutions have been synonymous with contingent workforce technology for the past two decades, but the functions associated with it have been evolving.

It began as a fit-for-purpose software application for managing temporary staffing suppliers and temporary workers, but over the past 10 years, most of these solutions have added functionality or modules to manage contract services/SOW suppliers and service delivery engagements. In the past five years, some providers of these solutions have grappled with the VMS term and concept. Today, most providers of these types of solutions still refer to themselves as VMS solutions, although their solution footprints vary.

When Spend Matters introduced its first SolutionMap for Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) enterprise technology in Q2 2018, it decided to forgo the use of the term VMS in favor of developing separate SolutionMap rankings for distinct technology solutions that addressed three extended workforce categories: (1) Temp Staffing, (2) Contract Services/SOW and (3) Direct Sourcing of Workforce/Services (formerly named “Independent Contract Workers”). This was done in part to sidestep the growing variability of the meaning of the term VMS. But more importantly, it was done based on the belief that the three categories provided a more accurate way to analyze and compare solution capabilities (to be discussed further below).

This SolutionMap Insider brief examines the current status of VMS and how Spend Matters draws a tentative line around what constitutes a VMS solution today. It also provides a high-level view of the “VMS” capabilities and an anonymized analysis of corresponding SolutionMap scores. Lastly, it concludes with questions posed to practitioners and providers about the validity of the definition and concept of VMS presented in this brief.

VectorVMS: What Makes It Great (Temp Staffing/VMS SolutionMap Analysis)

workers

VectorVMS, previously known as PeopleFluent, delivers software and services that support businesses in the management of their contingent workforce programs.

Acquired by publicly traded Learning Technologies Group (LTG) in 2018, VectorVMS now operates as a separate business unit focused on providing contingent workforce and services (CW/S) technology solutions. VectorVMS' clients today are using its technology solution that enables organizations’ sourcing and management staffing suppliers and temp workers.

VectorVMS offers businesses what may be a unique blend of (i) solid Temp Staffing sourcing /management functionality, (ii) established domain expertise and experience and, last but not least, (iii) a set of a la carte services that (for internally managed programs, for example), can even substitute for some processes that MSPs traditionally offer. It therefore holds a unique place in Spend Matter’s SolutionMap lineup.

Spend Matters segments the evolving CW/S enterprise technology solution market into Temp Staffing and two other main categories:
* Temp Staffing (Temp), the historical focus and largest category of spend under management for established VMS providers (e.g. Beeline, Coupa-DCR Contingent Workforce, SAP Fieldglass, etc.)
* Contracted Services/SOW (SOW), the spend on services provided by organized suppliers (e.g., professional services, etc.), the sprawling category of spend now contributing the highest growth to some VMS providers’ spend under management.
* Direct Sourcing of Workforce/Services (DSW/S), the spend on directly-sourced individual external workers and very-small-scale services providers, a category of spend that is becoming more relevant to many businesses.

At the time of the Q3 2019 Solution Map RFI submission, VectorVMS reported providing temporary staffing solution capabilities to nearly 200 clients in various private sector verticals (such as healthcare) as well as government. While VectorVMS did demo an appreciable set of capabilities addressing Complex Services/SOW, it is not represented in that SolutionMap this quarter (but may be in a subsequent quarters).

The Spend Matters SolutionMap contains functional and customer satisfaction benchmarks on more than 50 technology providers within the broad procurement solution landscape, including 14 providers within the CW/S segment. But where does VectorVMS stand out most and help “set the bar” for the Temp Staffing solution segment? And why should this matter for procurement and HR organizations? Let’s delve into the SolutionMap benchmark to find out where VectorVMS is great.

“What Makes It Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider subscribers. Based on both our rigorous evaluation process and customer reference reviews, each brief offers quick facts on the provider, describes where it excels, provides hard data on where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark and concludes with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider it.