Invoicing Content

Negotiatus: Vendor Introduction (Part 2 — Product Strengths and Weaknesses, SWOT, Selection Checklist) [PRO]

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In our last Spend Matters PRO brief, we introduced you to Negotiatus, an upstart P2P provider out of New York City that’s offering a fresh take on how to solve the root causes of common purchasing headaches. Taking the view that procurement should route users and payments through one (consolidated) invoice approach, Negotiatus aims to help its customers drastically reduce the number of transactions they need to process. In this view, purchasing automation represents a symptom of dysfunction rather than a panacea to inefficient business processes, and many of Negotiatus’ strengths thus reflect its guiding philosophy of simplicity and elimination of unnecessary work.

This approach, complemented by its supporting technology and rapidly growing client base, was a central reason we named Negotiatus to this year’s inaugural Future 5 list, which highlights standout start-up companies in procurement technology. 

But such a philosophy may not be a fit for every procurement organization, and by its own admission, Negotiatus is often a better fit with younger, more “forward-thinking” procurement organizations than corporate stalwarts. Its functionality lags accordingly when compared with peers that strive to “check the box” on requirements expected by a more classically minded procurement group.

Part 1 of this brief provided some background on Negotiatus and an overview of its offering — from ordering/shopping and catalogs to invoicing and payment.

In Part 2, we will provide a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a high-level SWOT analysis and a short selection requirements checklist that outlines the typical company for which Negotiatus might be a good fit. We also give some final conclusions and takeaways.

Ivalua: What Makes It Great (Supplier Relationship Management and Risk SolutionMap Analysis)

Having reached “unicorn” status as of May 2019, Ivalua is no longer a vendor that needs thorough introduction. In fact, the solution provider with European roots now has almost 50% of its the customers and employees based in North America and is likely one of the fastest growing privately held source-to-pay procurement suites in the market.

This is thanks in large part to its engineering approach: Its entire suite was built in-house on a single platform over the last 19 years, placing it in a small group of providers that offer an end-to-end solution on a single technology stack. And the benefits of this philosophy are perhaps nowhere better illustrated than in Ivalua’s supplier management capabilities, which because of the platform’s common data model can capture, manage and integrate not only core supplier information but also the entire lifecycle of supplier activity from a truly 360-degree perspective.

As of Q2 2019, the Spend Matters SolutionMap contains functional and customer satisfaction benchmarks on more than 50 providers within the procurement technology landscape. But where does Ivalua stand out most and help “set the bar” in supplier management, and why should this matter for procurement and finance organizations?

Let’s delve into the SolutionMap benchmark to find out where Ivalua 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.

Symbeo: Vendor Introduction (Part 2 — Solution Strengths and Weaknesses) [PRO]

In Part 1 of this two-part Spend Matters PRO series, we introduced you to Symbeo, a long-established company based out of Portland, Oregon, that offers invoice conversion services and AP automation technology globally. By deploying not only its SaaS solution for managing AP processes but also handling the full scope of invoice receipt, capture and validation, Symbeo covers a gaping hole in the AP cycle that most businesses need help addressing — especially when it comes to handling paper invoices. And while its approach and capabilities apply more to one side of the market than the other, the depth of its processes and technology leave a lot to be admired. Whether Symbeo is a fit for a procurement or AP organization’s unique challenges and needs, however, will come down to how exactly the AP cycle is perceived.

Part 1 of this brief provided some background on Symbeo and an overview of its offering. In Part 2, we provide a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a high-level SWOT analysis and a short selection requirements checklist that outlines the typical company for which Symbeo might be a good fit. We also give some final conclusions and takeaways.

A look into the future: AP automation and Basware’s roadmap

AP automation holds a lot of promise for businesses that want to reduce manual tasks, improve insights into transactions and create value for customers. But the choices of procurement software can be dizzying. In a previous article in this series, we looked at how and why digital transformation will vastly reshape procurement and finance roles. In this article, we’ll examine how one provider is addressing that change.

We asked Basware’s analysts relations specialist Jeff Meredith to discuss what future capabilities the suite provider sees on the horizon. Basware’s roadmap includes more developments in spend analytics, better ways to identify risks, and an increased focus on the supplier experience. Spend Matter’s procure-to-pay specialist Xavier Olivera offers a market perspective afforded by assessing demos and doing interviews for SolutionMap, which ranks more than 50 procurement providers.

How to Use SolutionMap Buying Personas

The needs of each procurement organization — as well as procurement-solution providers’ organizations — are too nuanced for “one size fits all”-style rankings and recommendations from other industry intelligence firms and experts. That’s why Spend Matters ranks procurement and supply chain software providers through the prism of buying personas. With the Q3 2019 SolutionMap released today, let's revisit why this is an essential approach to the procurement technology market.

Q3 2019 Invoice-to-Pay (I2P): Provider Scoring Summary

This SolutionMap scoring summary analyzes a select group of invoice-to-pay solution providers. It is part of our Q3 2019 SolutionMap report series, also featuring spend analytics, sourcing, supplier management, contract management and e-procurement providers. Our Q2 release also features a SolutionMap for procure-to-pay and strategic procurement technology suites.

SolutionMap: 56 Procurement Software Companies Ranked (Q3 2019 Update)

Spend Matters today released its Q3 2019 SolutionMap, ranking 56 procurement software companies across 12 solution categories, including E-Procurement, Sourcing, Spend Analytics, Supplier Relationship Management, Contract Lifecycle Management and Contingent Workforce & Services. Click on this article to see which new providers joined the rankings, and to see how to access rankings for free!

Q3 2019 SolutionMap Release Notes: Source-to-Pay Suites

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider release note provides insight into the Q3 2019 SolutionMap release for Source-to-Pay, reviewing the process that we followed for this quarter’s release.

The providers in the Q3 2019 Source-to-Pay SolutionMap include Coupa, Determine, GEP, Ivalua, SynerTrade and Zycus. All of these providers were required to participate in SolutionMap for each underlying module, as well. These individual areas include Sourcing, Spend and Procurement Analytics, Supplier Relationship Management & Risk, Contract Lifecycle Management, E-Procurement and Invoice-to-Pay. All of these providers are also included in the individual Strategic Procurement Technologies (SPT) and Procure-to-Pay (P2P) suite views.

SAP Ariba did not update their scoring and, as a result, had their scores adjusted based on a common shift factor (that preserves positional integrity relative to peers) and any platform updates, or lack thereof, that the analysts have received since the last time the RFIs were filled out. We expect them to participate in upcoming releases.

The Source-to-Pay customer data set is composed of a subset of the 831 individual organization references included in the overall SolutionMap scoring as of Q3 2019*.

This SolutionMap Insider research note provides insight into the nature of the expanded RFI, methodology, customer references and additional changes in the Q3 2019 SolutionMap release.

(SolutionMap Insider members: access the Q3 Provider Scoring Summary reports right here.)

*Customers using more than one module that a vendor provides can opt to fill out a single survey within each individual suite area (e.g., a customer using two modules for P2P and four modules for SPT would need to fill out only two surveys).

Q3 2019 SolutionMap Release Notes: E-Procurement, Invoice-to-Pay and Procure-to-Pay

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider Release Note provides insight into the Q3 2019 SolutionMap release for E-Procurement, Invoice-to-Pay (I2P) and Procure-to-Pay (P2P), reviewing the process that we follow and highlighting what has changed since the last release.

The E-Procurement, I2P and P2P customer reference set added 19 new individual customer references in Q3. There were no new providers added for Q3, although Zycus has successfully been scored against the new Q2 2019 RFI requirements for the first time.

As Jaggaer has unified three of its product lines — Jaggaer Indirect, Jaggaer Direct and Jaggaer Advantage — into Jaggaer One, which allows customers and prospects to select the best modules from each offering to fit an organization’s unique needs, Spend Matters has broken out the naming convention for the Jaggaer offerings more specifically for Q3 2019 SolutionMap in the persona ranking graphics. This means that in the E-Procurement category this quarter, the solution/product formerly known as Jaggaer Indirect is now listed as: Jaggaer eProcurement.

Please note: as none of the Jaggaer product lines have yet been evaluated against Q2 2019 RFI requirements by the Spend Matters analyst team, they are not able to appear in this quarter’s editions of the Provider Scoring Summaries. Please refer to the Q1 editions for their latest scoring.

Most of the providers participating in the Q3 2019 SolutionMap release for E-Procurement, I2P and P2P will fully update their RFIs in next quarter’s cycle (Q4 2019) and receive updated scoring following the submission and demonstration of new and updated capabilities based on production releases of their platform. (Non-GA capabilities are not considered in SolutionMap scoring.)

This SolutionMap Insider research note provides insight into these and additional changes in the Q3 2019 SolutionMap release.

(SolutionMap Insider members: access the Q3 Provider Scoring Summary reports right here.)

7 Simple Ways to Control, Automate Your Accounts Payable

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Finly, a provider of business spend solutions.

Accounts payable involves a lot of challenges, like providing payment approvals on time, budgetary restrictions, ensuring policy compliance and keeping the accounting systems up to date. Organizations reach a saturation level where manually processing all these becomes increasingly tedious and difficult to maintain.

An automated accounts payable system is a great way to overcome these issues and increase effective communication as well as employee productivity. To control your accounts payable, let’s understand the bottlenecks involved in the manual process of accounts payable.

Symbeo: Vendor Introduction (Part 1 — Background and Solution Overview) [PRO]

AP automation can be a nebulous term. The exact scope of what business processes that a solution provider intends to automate, as well as whether automation covers truly hands-off processing or mere acceleration through digitization, can vary by the vendor. Generally, no vendor does everything comprehensively from end to end. Some can check the boxes in every part of the AP cycle, but none can check every box across the board.

Take, for example, paper invoice processing. Today’s major procure-to-pay solutions will tell procurement and AP organizations they can process all of their invoices digitally, using OCR-based technology and, in some cases, AI-based correction of that capture. But those invoices need to be captured by the P2P solution in a digital format, and then corrected by a human, as OCR accuracy rates, while admittedly improving, are still far from perfect. So if those organizations still receive invoices as paper — which, depending on the source, still can account for as much as 75% of all invoices sent — a standard SaaS AP automation solution would be insufficient to truly automate the AP cycle.

For small and mid-size businesses that don’t receive a large volume of invoices, an internal mailroom and a set of scanners may be enough to account for this imbalance. But for a large multinational corporation, manually scanning and capturing data from thousands of invoices a day quickly becomes a cost center.

This is the point where many multinational corporations call in a company like Symbeo.

Founded in 1983, Symbeo is a provider of invoice conversion services and AP automation technology. The Portland, Oregon-based company exhibits particular strengths in the receipt, capture and processing of manual invoices, including fax, email and paper-based invoices, using a comprehensive “human in the loop” process to maximize efficiency and accuracy. It also provides a SaaS solution for AP automation with an emphasis on exception handling, approvals and invoice collaboration, which depending on organizational requirements can be more than enough or just a starting point.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on Symbeo and its capabilities. The first part of this brief includes a company history and an overview of Symbeo’s offering. The second part of this brief provides a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a high-level SWOT analysis, a short selection requirements checklist that outlines the typical company for which Symbeo might be a good fit, and some market implications and takeaways.

GEP: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Solution Overview (Midstream and Downstream) [PRO]

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As we highlighted in Part 1 of this seven-part Spend Matters PRO series, GEP is a diverse company that is a provider of source-to-pay solutions, BPO services and consulting. In Part 2, we discussed how SMART by GEP is a unified S2P solution platform built from the ground up as a cloud-based solution, with full integration capabilities into back-end systems, built and hosted on the Microsoft Azure infrastructure. From both platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and hosting perspectives, this brings the same advantages of Amazon Web Services virtualization (e.g., ability to rapidly “scale up” and “scale down” at any layer in the architecture). But further, the entire GEP platform is Microsoft native, which theoretically means tighter integration into the Microsoft ecosystem of products (e.g., SharePoint, Office, etc.) than competing products. The Azure platform and hosting model provides another layer of scalability insurance for GEP customers.

In Part 3, we’ll look at the midstream and downstream functional S2P capabilities — contract management, supplier management, procure to pay (P2P) — that GEP offers within SMART by GEP. We also take a critical look at GEP’s emphasis on user experience.