Industry News Content

Norway tops annual FM Global Resilience Index of 130 nations’ business climates

Global Risk Management Solutions (GRMS)

The mutual insurance firm FM Global this week released its 2019 Resilience Index, examining economic indicators, risk factors and supply chain issues in 130 countries around the world — ranking the nations by the resilience of their business environments. The index is meant to be a tool for senior executives to conduct “vulnerability assessments and build their companies’ resilience around the world,” according to FM Global, which focuses on property loss issues. Norway topped the list, and Haiti came in last. Read on to find out about the U.S., China and Russia.

SAP Intelligent Spend Group is future for Ariba, Fieldglass, Concur (Part 1): Customer Analysis, Solution Integration, Roadmap [PRO]

Late in April, SAP announced that it was bringing its procurement assets under a single operating umbrella. The announcement of the new business unit, tucked into the body of a press release with the headline of a leadership promotion, notes that the “SAP Intelligent Spend Group” will be “comprised of SAP Ariba, SAP Fieldglass and SAP Concur.” The group, according to the announcement, would be headed by SAP Ariba and Concur veteran Barry Padgett, but this week we learned that Padgett left SAP. Regardless of leadership, the Intelligent Spend Group will move forward. This Spend Matters PRO brief provides an analysis of what the creation of a single organization within SAP for these solutions may mean for each individual solution line and customers.

If Ivalua is now a yardstick, how do competitors like Coupa, SAP Ariba, Oracle measure up to it? [PRO]

At Spend Matters, most of our time is spent actually looking at solutions and evaluating and validating detailed RFI responses. So when a procurement organization asks us, for example, “how does SAP Ariba compare to Coupa for source-to-pay,” we can provide a detailed explanation across hundreds of different functional specifications and customer satisfaction benchmarks about how the two precisely compare and differentiate. We get questions on these two providers a lot.

Technology vendors reach a milestone when other providers (as well as practitioner and consultants) start using them as a yardstick to measure and compare capabilities. And now with Ivalua reaching unicorn status and sharing current growth metrics that generally dwarf that of its larger peers — based on organic product growth — we expect to hear more and more procurement organizations ask about Ivalua in the same way they ask about SAP Ariba and Coupa. And of course from a SolutionMap perspective when it comes to technology selection, we can answer that question with hard, objective data on a capability-by-capability basis (now mapped to procurement business requirements).

But off-the-cuff, how does Ivalua and its unified suite compare to others?

I asked my colleagues on the Spend Matters analyst team who know different areas of Ivalua (and its peers) to comment not using the SolutionMap benchmark, but their own opinion.

So without further adieu, let’s read the Spend Matters analyst team’s candid take of how Ivalua’s source-to-pay competitors measure up to it (including positives and negatives comparisons for each). Our analysis explores, on an overall company basis, subjective views about how the following vendors compare to Ivalua: Coupa, Determine (now part of Corcentric), GEP, Jaggaer, SAP Ariba, Oracle, SynerTrade and Zycus.

Do you want the objective, hard comparative data on a functional and product basis to understand how Ivalua stacks up to peers? Check out SolutionMap Insider.

With $60 million funding round, Ivalua reaches ‘unicorn’ status of $1 billion valuation

Ivalua, likely the fastest growing privately held source-to-pay procurement suite technology provider, announced Tuesday morning that, with its latest funding round, it has gained “unicorn” status for start-ups by reaching $1 billion in valuation.

It raised $60 million from a new investor, Tiger Global Management, and Ardian Growth, one of Ivalua’s early investors that raised its investment level. Tiger Global joins Ivalua’s founders, KKR and Ardian as shareholders, the announcement said.

Commodities Roundup: Steel Prices, Sustainable Mining and U.S.-China Tariffs

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. We scour the landscape for what matters — from price movements to policy decisions. This week: Domestic steel price weakness, sustainable mining, and U.S-China trade tariffs and talks fallout.

Upwork’s Share Price Slumps, But Online Staffing Platform Soldiers On (Part 1) [PRO]

Being a public company is not always easy, with performance vs. market expectations being put under the microscope every quarter. And Upwork (NASDAQ: UPWK), the global online freelancer marketplace and managed services provider, found that out Wednesday, May 9, after it announced its Q1 2019 financial results, which seemed to pack few, if any, surprises.

At the same time, while the shares fell swiftly from just over $20 to under $17 in after-hours trading, it bears remembering that, just months ago at the start of October 2018, Upwork offered its IPO shares at $15. Though this may not be a consolation to investors who acquired shares when the stock was trading between $20 and $25 in February and March, it may be somewhat reassuring for more conservative investors that expect a company’s share price to be linked to its fundamentals, including uncertainty.

In Part 1 of this two-part Spend Matters PRO series, we attempt to understand what was revealed shortly after 4 p.m. Eastern time May 9, that caused such disappointment among investors. In Part 2, we will look at Upwork’s several updates to new growth initiatives in the business (e.g., the creation of four service/pricing tiers for buy-side businesses), and we will offer our own perspective on Upwork’s current position as a high profile player in the changing contingent workforce space.

GBI gems: 60 CPOs share procurement insights, war stories

Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of attending my first CPO event run by Global Business Intelligence. Some 60 chief procurement officers, many locals, gathered for the daylong GBI event at the W Union Square in New York to exchange thoughts on supplier collaboration, value engineering and procurement digitization — among other topics. Here’s what I saw and was of interest to me, as Spend Matters’ chief marketing officer.

An Interview with SAP Intelligent Spend Group’s Marcell Vollmer: From CPO to CDO

SAP recently has consolidated its separate business units SAP Ariba, SAP Fieldglass and SAP Concur under its new SAP Intelligent Spend Group division. So it seemed like a good time for me to catch up with an industry insider to shed light on the issues.

Dr. Marcell Vollmer is now the chief digital officer of the Intelligent Spend Group, after filling the CDO role for SAP Ariba since 2017, when I talked to him in a series of Spend Matters interviews about digital transformations and about his stint as the chief procurement officer for SAP.

Recently, he said one area of opportunity that he sees is in procurement, where CDOs should spend more time.

New Trump Tariffs Are a Top Issue for Supply Chains, Managers of ISM Economic Reports Say

With the Trump administration’s latest tariff increase on goods from China set to start Friday, the managers of ISM’s economic indexes spent part of their Wednesday webinar addressing concerns about the new levy’s effect on the economy, procurement and supply chains.

“I was hoping we wouldn’t still be talking about (tariffs), but alas we still are,” said Timothy Fiore, chair of the Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, which puts out the Production Manufacturing Index (PMI) on the first of every month.

“If we’d had this conversation two weeks ago, I would have been more optimistic,” he said. “With the news this week, I don’t know that I have an opinion. But people who know and that I’ve talked to expect the tariffs to go into effect Friday.”

Upwork’s Q1 Financial Results Are In — As Growth Continues

Upwork, a global online freelancer marketplace and managed services solution, on Wednesday announced its Q1 2019 financial results, which reflected continuing double-digit topline growth. Upwork’s shares on Thursday were trading early at $18.80, down from Wednesday’s high of $20.90. Upwork reported a gross services value of $487 million for the first quarter, up 21% period over period (Q1 2018). The company posted $68.9 million in revenue for an increase of 16% over Q1 2019 (and fitting nicely into last quarter’s guidance range).

Announcing SolutionMap Customer Insights: Reviews from Users of the Market’s Top Vendors

As part of the SolutionMap evaluation methodology of source-to-pay and services procurement technology providers, Spend Matters places a high emphasis on customer peer reviews.

Today, we are pleased to launch the Spend Matters SolutionMap Customer Insights, which initially will be a component of our SolutionMap Insider membership. In each Customer Insights report, we provide a one-page summary of insights from the SolutionMap peer review process. The Customer Insights summary includes ratings to what degree the vendor meets user expectations, three key differentiators for the vendor and a list of quotes about the vendor’s greatest strengths. (The users’ names and companies are kept anonymous.)

Read on to get the details. And later, we'll post Customer Insights from users of SAP Ariba, Coupa, Jaggaer and more.

50/50 Webinar: Lessons Learned from the 2019 Providers to Watch and Know

Now that Spend Matters’ 50 Providers to Know and 50 Providers to Watch lists have been released, we are diving deeper into the sets of honorees and examining the market trends they demonstrate. From A.T. Kearney through Zylo, there are plenty of intriguing tidbits and conclusions to draw.

Earlier this week, Spend Matters Chief Research Officer Pierre Mitchell hosted our annual Vendor Intelligence webinar exploring the 50 to Watch and Know (you can view the webinar on-demand here). Topics included the industry pace-setters, disruptive newcomers and how all the honorees are taking procurement to the next level. In the sixth year of the lists, there is still plenty to be learned.