Market Intelligence Content

We have some hard questions about (and a soft spot for) Coupa’s new Business Spend Index (BSI)

Coupa recently released its Q4 Business Spend Index (BSI). Indexes such as ISM’s PMI and NMI can be helpful tools for procurement — not to mention economists, investors and policymakers — to gauge overall economic trends as well as underlying supply, demand and inventory conditions.

Coupa is a relative newcomer to publishing an index, but it offers a potentially promising approach based on underlying transactional data flowing through the Coupa system — as opposed to the polling data that is used for the ISM indexes, for example — to complement other economic indicators.

Still, we recommend that firms not read too much into the BSI for making procurement, economic or investment decisions without some additional details.

There are a few issues we’d like to see addressed if Coupa truly wants to make this a useful planning tool and not just a marketing vehicle for its community intelligence strategy:

Why would Medius buy Wax Digital? (Part 3: Strategy and competitive landscape analysis for AP automation and invoice-to-pay)

This Spend Matters Nexus research brief explores the potential competitive impact of the Medius and Wax Digital combination on the AP automation and invoice-to-pay markets. It also explores the strategies that some providers within these groups are already pursuing (or may pursue) in response to customer requirements, competitive pressures and the desire to expand the overall total addressable market, or TAM, for the AP automation sector and related opportunities.

AP automation and invoice-to-pay vendors compete in a market that is growing and changing by the day. This market counts AP specialists such as Accrualify, AvidXChange, Beanworks, SAP Concur, Symbeo, MineralTree, Medius, Yooz and dozens of others, as well as broader procure-to-pay providers such as Basware, Corcentric, Coupa, Oracle, SAP Ariba and Tradeshift. I previously described this market as “hot, hot, hot.” And I stand by that hyperbole.

Some of these providers have chosen to focus on the core of AP workflow and invoice processing; others have coupled AP automation with adjacent areas (e.g., payments and/or financing); and still others are more dramatically attempting to expand the value proposition that links AP to broader finance (and even procurement) functions through expanded modules and capability, including to procurement.

If you are just coming up to speed on the Wax Digital-Medius combination, start here with this Nexus series — (Part 1: Company backgrounds, product strengths/weaknesses, deal rationale) and (Part 2: Wax strengths, customers, integration considerations). Free Spend Matters’ news coverage of the deal can be found here and here.

Jason Busch serves as Managing Director of Spend Matters Nexus, a research and advisory group that works with sponsors, CEOs and boards on due diligence, M&A strategy and product strategy. Spend Matters and Spend Matters Nexus are owned by Azul Partners. Disclosure: Azul Partners served as an adviser to Marlin Equity in the Wax-Medius transaction.

What’s the Price: Vendor Introduction (Part 2 — Product Strengths and Weaknesses) [PRO]

In our last brief we introduced you to What’s the Price, a five-year-old Dutch vendor that offers should-cost modeling tools for supplier negotiations. Born out of the frustrations of two procurement professionals who wanted to get faster, more accurate price estimates to counteract supplier quotes, WTP makes smart use of publicly available big data to drastically cut the time and effort in building should-cost models. The solution is notably easy to use and provides a lot of guidance for users along the way, allowing WTP to get organizations up and running with just a two-hour training session. But as with all younger solution providers, there areas for growth, as well, including a few opportunities that could further support WTP’s preference for a self-service deployment approach.

Part 1 of this brief provided some background on What’s the Price 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 WTP might be a good fit. We also give some final conclusions and takeaways.

Why would Medius buy Wax Digital? (Part 1: Company Backgrounds, Product Strengths/Weaknesses, Deal Rationale)

Earlier today, Medius announced it is joining forces with Wax Digital. Specifically, Medius, a Nordic-based provider of AP automation solutions with a growing presence in North America, is acquiring Wax Digital, a UK-based source-to-pay suite provider.

The entity will be owned by Marlin Equity Partners, a private equity firm, which purchased Medius in 2017. For those like me who have been around this sector for too long, you might remember Marlin for its purchase of Emptoris (before IBM acquired the provider from Marlin).

Flash forward exactly one decade from that buyout, and the combination of Medius and Wax brings together two providers with different geographic and product strengths with a combined emphasis on targeting finance and procurement organizations.

As we kick off our analysis in this Spend Matters Nexus series analyzing the transaction, we’ll focus this first brief on providing a quick overview of Medius and Wax Digital, and graphically explain how both fit into the source-to-pay landscape. We’ll also offer up high-level strengths and weaknesses on the solution level (for Wax) and a detailed introduction to the Medius AP footprint. Finally, we’ll begin to explore the rationale for the combination.

Later this week, we’ll delve more deeply into a particular strength of Wax based on Spend Matters’ SolutionMap data showing it has happy customers, explore the benefits of bringing together finance and procurement solutions to drive a larger total accessible market (TAM), and offer deeper insight into the potential integrations/touchpoints between Medius and Wax Digital. Finally, we will share an analysis of the impact on the competitive landscape, exploring how the combination may impact competitive AP automation and invoice-to-pay vendors as well as procure-to-pay and source-to-pay suites.



Jason Busch serves as Managing Director of Spend Matters Nexus, a research and advisory group that works with sponsors, CEOs and boards on due diligence, M&A strategy and product strategy. Spend Matters and Spend Matters Nexus are owned by Azul Partners. Disclosure: Azul Partners served as an adviser to Marlin Equity in this transaction.

SAP Ariba and Givewith partner on social-impact matching service

SAP Ariba and Givewith today announced a partnership where Givewith’s social impact solution will be available on the SAP App Center, giving SAP clients access to a matching service that allows them to find nonprofits to give donations.

Businesses increasingly are concerned with sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR), and Givewith analyzes thousands of nonprofits to match with businesses’ needs to improve their social standing, which studies have shown helps the bottom line as well as aids reputations with the public and improves worker recruiting and retention.

“If just 8% of the nearly $3 trillion transacted by buyers and suppliers across the Ariba Network included Givewith, we would generate over $3 billion in funding for nonprofits,” said Paul Polizzotto, Givewith’s founder and CEO, in a press release. “As we look to tackle some of today’s most pressing social, economic and environmental challenges, we see SAP Ariba as a strong partner in unleashing the power of business transactions as an agent for social change. Together, we’re elevating the role of procurement by turning sourcing into a key component of the company’s larger business and CSR strategies.”

In a Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction post, our analyst Nick Heinzmann shares what he learned after spending time evaluating Givewith’s solution, Givewith Enterprise.

Catching up on Corcentric, which has been on Spend Matters’ radar for years

Corcentric — a source-to-pay provider targeting procurement and finance groups with various software, services and capital/payment offerings — has been on Spend Matters’ radar for years as the New Jersey-based company has acquired and created solutions for the procurement technology market.

Converged source-to-pay models similar to Corcentric’s are thriving.

"Like GEP, Corcentric proves that you don't need to be a pure-play cloud software provider alone to carve out a material chunk of the fast-growing procurement solutions market," said Jason Busch, managing director of Spend Matters Nexus, which advises sponsors, boards and CEOs on M&A in the procurement sector. “Corcentric is a successful amalgam of procurement services, payment/financing, group purchasing solutions and source-to-pay technology. While the capital markets were previously confused by everything it did — including leasing — the value proposition for customers today is much clearer."

Mintec: Vendor Introduction (Part 2 — Positives and Negatives, SWOT Analysis, Selection Checklist) [PRO]

As we indicated in Part 1 of this Spend Matters Vendor Introduction of Mintec, there is no WaaS (weather-as-a-service) and, as a result, commodity price volatility in the agricultural sector is here to stay for the foreseeable future. But procurement professionals have to manage it somehow, and the only solution they have now is commodity market intelligence, of which Mintec is one of the largest, and oldest, market-intelligence providers in the sector.

With a database of over 14,000 unique market data sets across 20+ commodity categories and truly global geographies, Mintec is the go-to source for many large agricultural buying organizations around the world.

Should they be your go-to source too?

In this second part of our introduction, we’ll look at the positives and negatives and provide an overall SWOT and a selection checklist — all of which can help you make an informed decision.

Catching up on Agiloft: Watch Pierre Mitchell present on CCLM at their Summit 2019

EC Sourcing

Agiloft, a contract lifecycle management (CLM) specialist and one of Spend Matters’ 50 Providers to Watch in 2019, recently hosted their inaugural Summit 2019, at which several speakers — including Spend Matters’ own chief research officer Pierre Mitchell — discussed emerging industry trends. Watch Pierre's video, then catch up on previous coverage of the provider — both one of the highest-performing contract management software vendors based on demonstrated technology capability in Spend Matters’ CLM SolutionMap and a customer favorite for multiple buying personas.

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

No matter how well they prepare, commodity buyers can do nothing about the weather. So until a supervillain decides to make a mid-life career shift to be a SaaS vendor — weather-as-a-service (WaaS), anyone? — procurement organizations buying in the food & beverage categories will have to manage commodity price volatility as it happens.

To do that, many businesses in the food retail, food manufacturing and hospitality industries turn to Mintec. Founded in 1982, Mintec is a UK-based provider of commodity data and analytics tools for the food and drink vertical. It collects, validates and organizes data across hundreds of agricultural commodities and related inputs (e.g., packaging, plastics, labor), which it then distributes via a SaaS platform designed for category planning and analysis.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on Mintec and its capabilities. It includes an overview of Mintec’s SaaS offering (Mintec Analytics). Part 2 will offer a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about its solution, a SWOT analysis of Mintec, and a selection requirements checklist for businesses that might consider the provider.

This week, Spend Matters Nexus starts with a bang! Thank you, Workday and Scout RFP

Today was supposed to end a relaxed week, with two days of PTO for a variety of family activities. Instead, the week went wild — when Workday caught everyone slightly off-guard Monday as it announced that it would acquire Scout RFP.

That news launched a flurry of activity here, because I love real-time coverage of procurement sector M&A.

And with the investment-focused Spend Matters Nexus officially launching the same day as that breaking news, the timing, except for my scuttled plans to relax a bit more than usual, could not have been more perfect. This week I also ended up having some meetings with clients. And the lessons from the Workday and Scout news have resonated in many of the meetings. (See our Nexus coverage from this week that led to the insights.)

Workday acquiring Scout RFP (Part 4: Potential Areas of Solution Integration)

integration

Our final Spend Matters Nexus brief for the week analyzing Workday’s acquisition of Scout RFP focuses on potential product and workflow integration touchpoints between the providers, based on activities that Workday and Scout worked on while “partners only” as well as more strategic considerations. (See the first three installments here, here and here, covering general deal analysis, Scout capabilities + strengths/weaknesses, and competitive sector analysis.)

Today’s analysis begins with a list of generic sourcing integration touchpoints with broader source-to-pay and procurement technology capabilities.

As our Nexus coverage has shown, we tend to look at the acquisition of Scout as a clever, innocuous way for Workday to get into the edges of procurement with a standalone, crowd-pleasing solution. But we also think there’s much more to come from a Workday product roadmap perspective — and that this move is only one of the first acts of a much longer play.

Note: This analysis will be updated next week based on a briefing call with Workday.

 Jason Busch serves as Managing Director of Spend Matters Nexus, a membership, research and advisory organization serving technology acquirers (private equity, corporate development, etc.) and CEOs in the procurement and finance solutions marketplace (including contract management, B2B marketplaces/connectivity, indirect procurement, services procurement, direct procurement, commodity management, payment, trade financing, GRC/third-party management and related adjacent sectors).

Workday’s acquisition of Scout RFP (Part 3: Suite and Best-of-Breed Competitor Analysis and Recommendations)

Earlier in the week, the finance and HR solutions provider Workday announced it was buying Scout RFP, a sourcing solution for those who would rather use Uber than maintain an old car (I make this observation with full cynicism intended because my 25-year-old car has been in the shop for three of the past six months ).

You can find previous free coverage of the transaction news on Spend Matters here and here. In our first Nexus subscriber brief covering the procurement technology sector’s M&A news, we offered background on Scout RFP, explored the provider’s strengths and weaknesses, and gave our initial insights into the rationale for the transaction. The second brief explored the competitive implications of the transaction on Workday’s ERP competitors.

As we continue our analysis on Spend Matters Nexus, we turn our attention to landscape implications of the transaction that may affect other, specialized procurement technology providers. We also offer lessons learned for this group as well in terms of what really matters with driving customer success, growth and, subsequently, valuation. Today’s research brief provides a competitive analysis for the source-to-pay suite market segment (e.g., Corcentric, Coupa, Ivalua, Jaggaer, SAP Ariba, SynerTrade, Wax Digital and Zycus) as well as specialty providers that emphasize the sourcing area. U.S. and European sourcing specialists include Allocation Network, Bonfire, EC Sourcing Group, K2 Sourcing, Keelvar, MarketDojo, Promena and ScanMarket and my favorite, at least for its name, SourceDog.



Since the other dog is my car right now and I’m late for a meeting, let me call that proverbial Uber and get on with this analysis.

Jason Busch serves as Managing Director of Spend Matters Nexus, a membership, research and advisory organization serving technology acquirers (private equity, corporate development, etc.) and CEOs in the procurement and finance solutions marketplace (including contract management, B2B marketplaces/connectivity, indirect procurement, services procurement, direct procurement, commodity management, payment, trade financing, GRC/third-party management and related adjacent sectors).