The Industry News Category

Commodities Roundup: Auto Sales, Construction Spending and China’s Rare Earth Output

Toyota supply chain

For the buyers and category managers out there, especially those of you deep in the weeds of buying and managing commodities, here’s a quick rundown of news and thoughts from particular commodity markets. From price movements to policy decisions, we scour the landscape for what matters. This week: auto sales, copper prices, China's rare earth output and more.

Why Community Intelligence is the Leading Coupa Value Proposition

Brexit

The Spend Matters team is on the ground at Coupa Inspire 2018 EMEA, in London, where Coupa CEO Rob Bernshteyn kicked off the event by reiterating the company’s vision through a letter-by-letter explanation of Coupa’s name. We’ve covered this approach to defining Coupa before, and while the attributes of openness, usability, prescriptive and acceleration are all of course applicable, we respectfully disagree with choice for “C.” While Coupa is indeed “comprehensive,” there is a better choice: community.

Supplier Relationship Management Needs a Jolt of Technology, State of Flux’s SRM Summit Finds

Procurement has made significant strides in supporting supplier relationship management initiatives, but poor investment in technology could limit the potential benefits those programs can deliver in the years to come, according to State of Flux, a consulting firm that specializes in SRM and which held its annual SRM summit in Chicago on Oct. 23. Over the decade that State of Flux has monitored SRM maturity, procurement organizations have made considerable improvements in several areas — but not in adopting and using technology dedicated to SRM.

Business Talent Group: A Specialist in Sourcing High-end Independent Talent [PRO]

Business Talent Group (BTG), which launched in late 2007, is a unique direct-sourcing, flexible talent intermediation solution focused specifically on “high-end” business talent and the organizations that need to engage this talent on a project basis. Over the past several years, online platform intermediaries of various kinds have captured the spotlight.

But BTG has not been trying to be one of the cool kids. Instead, it has been quietly refining its own talent sourcing and engagement model, its special blend of personal curation services and proprietary technology, which was designed from the start to service the unique needs of its F1000 client base.

Rather than being a “technology first” player in the developing segment of “next-gen alternative intermediaries” (i.e., neither a staffing supplier nor a professional services or consulting firm), BTG has maintained a primary focus on meeting the specific needs of hiring managers and organizations, on the one hand, and the specific expectations of highly skilled — often expert — independent professionals, on the other. For BTG, technology is critical, but always as a means to an end, like optimizing its specialized service and business models for clients and talent. And, more recently fueled by an $8 million funding round led by Next Equity in late 2016, BTG has been ramping up its investment in technology to create applications and tools to improve client and talent experiences and results.

At this time, BTG seems to have begun sharing the spotlight, recently attracting a minority investment from Kelly Services and becoming a part of SAP Fieldglass’ digital network. In this article, we try to provide some insights into where BTG is today and where it fits into the bigger picture.

Zycus Horizon Dispatch: Product Strategy Emphasizes 3 Key Areas

As the second day of Zycus’ Horizon customer event kicks off in Virginia (see day one coverage: Facts/Investment/New AI Direction and Building the Partner Ecosystem) we thought it would be useful to distill what we’ve learned so far as the global provider (now with about 1,000 employees) continues to build out its procurement technology suite. From the various main stage sessions and conversations we had with key Zycus personnel, we can segment Zycus’ product/solution strategy into three areas.

Concord Raises $25 Million for its CLM Platform

The contract lifecycle management vendor Concord announced Tuesday morning that it has raised $25 million in a second round of funding that will be used to further develop its CLM platform, hire more workers across several departments and grow internationally, the San Francisco-based company said in a press release. Tenaya Capital led this round of investment, and one of its partners, Paul Drews, will join the Concord board, the statement said.

Zycus Horizon Dispatch: Building the Partner Ecosystem

Earlier Monday at Zycus’ Horizon annual customer event in Virginia, CEO and founder Aatish Dedhia provided significant evidence that his source-to-pay firm has responded to the need to build out a global partner ecosystem, especially one centered on local customer implementation and enablement. Zycus global implementation/enablement partners now include over 35 organizations.

Zycus Horizon Dispatch: Facts, Investment and a New Artificial Intelligence (AI) Direction

Fellow Spend Matters analyst Xavier Olivera and I touched down last night in Leesburg, Virginia, to attend Zycus’ annual customer event, Horizon. It feels like the source-to-pay provider’s largest annual conference yet. In a series of posts today and tomorrow, the Spend Matters team will provide live coverage from the event. Zycus CEO Aatish Dedhia kicked off the morning keynote session with an update on the firm he started. Here are some of the highlights.

Trade Wars, China Hack and Fast Fashion Put Reshoring of Jobs in Spotlight

sustainability

The likelihood of reshoring jobs to the U.S. or Europe from places like Asia seems to be gaining momentum in light of ongoing trade wars, fears over the possible China microchip hack that attacked the U.S. supply chain, and the reality of market forces like “fast fashion” and customer demand that typically drive business decisions. Current events and a recent study of the apparel industry can help gauge the state of the world as it feels the push and pull of globalism versus the rise in national policies.

Coupa-Aquiire Deal Highlights Key Change: Marketplace E-Procurement Models Aren’t One-Size-Fits-All Anymore

marketing

Spend Matters’ recent coverage of Coupa’s purchase of Aquiire details Coupa’s acquisition rationale and the general wisdom of its decision — but the deal also calls attention to a useful context that evaluators of “Amazon-like” e-procurement systems would be well served to understand. As these systems are tailored for different industries, they should be evaluated for how they differ, not how they're the same. Let's look at three types of marketplaces spawned by the Amazon model.

Amazon Business Prime Is Updated to Improve Its E-Procurement Solution

Amazon Business

Amazon announced Tuesday a range of new capabilities added to Amazon Business Prime. The additions blur the line between extending the marketplace distribution aspects of the solution (e.g., same day, next day or two day fulfillment) and driving enhanced e-procurement, payment and marketplace technology components. Spend Matters believes that this release represents the most important set of enhancements to Amazon Business since the launch of the offering. Amazon Business is (still) not a replacement for the likes of Coupa or SAP Ariba in the upper-middle market or large enterprise customer segment for procure-to-pay. But the solution is increasingly morphing into what could become a primary procurement portal for small- and middle-market customers while still offering targeted value for larger organizations — in addition to serving in its role as a business-to-business marketplace and business products distributor.

Upwork Post-IPO Rising: A Next-Gen Staffing Industry Analysis [PRO]

On Oct. 3, 2018, Upwork became a public company listed on the Nasdaq exchange. Its stock was offered at $15 per share and has since been trading in the $19 to $21 range, giving it a market valuation on the order of $2 billion. This was a company that emerged from a new segment of innovative, online platform intermediaries, and just six years ago, was widely considered to be a non-starter, even dismissed as a “flash-in-the-pan,” by practitioners in the staffing industry. Now, based on gross revenue/gross services volume, it would rank among some of the world’s largest staffing companies. The Upwork IPO was not only an important milestone in the evolving and increasingly digitized contingent workforce space, it also presented an opportunity to look more clearly into the company and assess where it stands (and might eventually stand) in the space. In this Spend Matters PRO brief we take a look at both. We provide a snapshot of key Upwork information to highlight what the company actually is and what it represents in the industry vs. common industry perceptions.