Procurement Systems & Architecture Content

2020 Predicaments and Predictions in Procurement Analytics: What’s Likely, What’s Revolutionary [PRO]

It shouldn’t be a big shock to learn that procurement analytics is a big deal right now. After procurement organizations have built some basic spend cubes (or “spent cubes”) and dashboards, they’re looking for deeper predictive insights into spend, contracts, suppliers, costs, process improvements, supply risk and other areas. In fact, analytics was by far the most cited technology area expected to have a business impact within the next two years by CPOs surveyed in the recent 2019 Deloitte Global CPO Survey.

The biggest area of interest within analytics have been:

* Self-service analytics/visualization for business stakeholders and procurement staff
* Predictive analytics for power users (e.g., for price/cost/volume forecasting)
* Performance analytics and dashboards (e.g., supplier scorecarding, category dashboards, etc.)
* Support for digital initiatives such as AI/machine learning (which is usually about focused predictive analytics problems), RPA (that either requires some analysis within a process or conversely is about helping to automate the analytic workflows), or big data analytics (e.g., using IoT sensor data from the supply chain)

The Predicaments
However, while analytics are hot, the implementation barriers can be stone cold killers:

* Poor data quality. 40% of CPOs cited the inability to generate insights and analytics because an even greater number (60%) cited poor master data quality, standardization, and governance.
* The master data quality problem is very familiar to practitioners who run any type of analytics that have to do with suppliers, items and contracts — i.e., most of them!
* Some ERP suites and procurement suites have fragmented master data within their product lines, and nearly all these solutions don’t have master data that can be used as part of an MDM-type solution (e.g., having a supplier master that can serve a true SIM solution from an MDM standpoint rather than just creating another vendor master file to add to the heap).
* Generating forward-looking insights based on external data and intelligence rather than just simple spend forensics — especially category-specific insights that are typically built from scratch.
* The struggle to create analytics that go beyond off-the-shelf operational reports from the various modules/tools in the market.
* Dashboards that are attractive, but can be visually overwhelming and not help you prioritize where the key opportunities are.
* IT organizations that may be pushing legacy data warehouses and BI tools that don’t allow more democratized analytics to be developed with an increasingly digitally savvy generation of business users and tools (that might also need to get adopted by an older generation of procurement practitioners). Data visualization and predictive analytics were the top two digital skills prioritized for procurement technology training over the next year.

In the rest of this Spend Matters PRO brief, we’ll dive into the current and future state of the procurement analytics area, and make some predictions about what we expect to see in 2020 from a market standpoint, but also a more detailed technical standpoint.

Invoice-to-Pay Tech Selection and the Turn-Key Persona: Analysis & Commentary [PRO]

The market for invoice-to-pay solutions, much like e-procurement, has grown in size and relevance to procurement organizations in recent years. We even expect the I2P market will begin to rival the EDI-based world in the 2020s, eventually overtaking it.

Despite this rapid growth, the total number of providers in this space will likely remain relatively small. As leading I2P solutions continue to grow their supplier networks, their increased clout, based on their ability to connect more and more buyers and suppliers, will impede new providers from breaking into the larger I2P market.

Yet competition will come from other fronts.

Procure-to-pay solution vendors, for example, have begun to invest significantly in developing the I2P half of their suites, rounding out transactional shopping/ordering capabilities with functionality for invoice processing and, in some cases, basic payments support. This could create competitive pressure on I2P specialists in tech selection scenarios where access to end-to-end P2P capabilities are an important criterion.

Similarly, AP automation solutions are taking a bite out of a different customer base altogether: the long underserved middle market. Small and medium-size businesses are increasingly seeing benefits to adopting software that automate invoice receipt, capture and validation processes (sometimes inclusive of payments execution), yet these customers also seem to be satisfied with an 80%, “good enough” solution in terms of functionality. This creates a new competitive dynamic for I2P solutions looking to move down market, as decisive tech selection criteria may revolve more around usability and collaboration features than supplier network breadth.

Given these different competitive fronts and the evolving needs of this market, how can companies with different technology requirements evaluate invoice-to-pay solutions amid an array of vendors with varying degrees and kinds of capabilities?

Spend Matters’ SolutionMap accounts 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 in the Invoice-to-Pay rankings, and how can they help your organization make better technology decisions?

In this Spend Matters PRO series, we’ll analyze the invoice-to-pay market using our five I2P personas: Nimble, Deep, Turn-Key, Configurator and CIO Friendly. (See persona definitions* below.)

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

Let’s look at the invoice-to-pay features and vendors as viewed by the Turn-Key persona.

Invoice-to-Pay Tech Selection and the Configurator Persona: Analysis & Commentary [PRO]

The market for invoice-to-pay solutions, much like e-procurement, has grown in size and relevance to procurement organizations in recent years. We even expect the I2P market will begin to rival the EDI-based world in the 2020s, eventually overtaking it.

Despite this rapid growth, the total number of providers in this space will likely remain relatively small. As leading I2P solutions continue to grow their supplier networks, their increased clout, based on their ability to connect more and more buyers and suppliers, will impede new providers from breaking into the larger I2P market.

Yet competition will come from other fronts.

Procure-to-pay solution vendors, for example, have begun to invest significantly in developing the I2P half of their suites, rounding out transactional shopping/ordering capabilities with functionality for invoice processing and, in some cases, basic payments support. This could create competitive pressure on I2P specialists in tech selection scenarios where access to end-to-end P2P capabilities are an important criterion.

Similarly, AP automation solutions are taking a bite out of a different customer base altogether: the long underserved middle market. Small and medium-size businesses are increasingly seeing benefits to adopting software that automate invoice receipt, capture and validation processes (sometimes inclusive of payments execution), yet these customers also seem to be satisfied with an 80%, “good enough” solution in terms of functionality. This creates a new competitive dynamic for I2P solutions looking to move down market, as decisive tech selection criteria may revolve more around usability and collaboration features than supplier network breadth.

Given these different competitive fronts and the evolving needs of this market, how can companies with different technology requirements evaluate invoice-to-pay solutions amid an array of vendors with varying degrees and kinds of capabilities?

Spend Matters’ SolutionMap accounts 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 in the Invoice-to-Pay rankings, and how can they help your organization make better technology decisions?

In this Spend Matters PRO series, we’ll analyze the invoice-to-pay market using our five I2P personas: Nimble, Deep, Turn-Key, Configurator and CIO Friendly. (See persona definitions* below.)

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

Let’s look at the invoice-to-pay features and vendors as viewed by the Configurator persona.

2019’s top 10 PRO briefs from Spend Matters’ analysts: Insights across all procurement technology

magnifying glass analysis

Spend Matters’ PRO subscription content reflects the insights of our analysts: Jason Busch, Pierre Mitchell, Magnus Bergfors, Nick Heinzmann, Andrew Karpie, Michael Lamoureux and Xavier Olivera. Their analysis results in Vendor Snapshots, product reviews, deep dives into SolutionMap data and more. Here is a countdown of the top 10 most-viewed PRO briefs from 2019:

Invoice-to-Pay Tech Selection and the Deep Persona: Analysis & Commentary [PRO]

The market for invoice-to-pay solutions, much like e-procurement, has grown in size and relevance to procurement organizations in recent years. We even expect the I2P market will begin to rival the EDI-based world in the 2020s, eventually overtaking it.

Despite this rapid growth, the total number of providers in this space will likely remain relatively small. As leading I2P solutions continue to grow their supplier networks, their increased clout, based on their ability to connect more and more buyers and suppliers, will impede new providers from breaking into the larger I2P market.

Yet competition will come from other fronts.

Procure-to-pay solution vendors, for example, have begun to invest significantly in developing the I2P half of their suites, rounding out transactional shopping/ordering capabilities with functionality for invoice processing and, in some cases, basic payments support. This could create competitive pressure on I2P specialists in tech selection scenarios where access to end-to-end P2P capabilities are an important criterion.

Similarly, AP automation solutions are taking a bite out of a different customer base altogether: the long underserved middle market. Small and medium-size businesses are increasingly seeing benefits to adopting software that automate invoice receipt, capture and validation processes (sometimes inclusive of payments execution), yet these customers also seem to be satisfied with an 80%, “good enough” solution in terms of functionality. This creates a new competitive dynamic for I2P solutions looking to move down market, as decisive tech selection criteria may revolve more around usability and collaboration features than supplier network breadth.

Given these different competitive fronts and the evolving needs of this market, how can companies with different technology requirements evaluate invoice-to-pay solutions amid an array of vendors with varying degrees and kinds of capabilities?

Spend Matters’ SolutionMap accounts 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 in the Invoice-to-Pay rankings, and how can they help your organization make better technology decisions?

In this Spend Matters PRO series, we’ll analyze the invoice-to-pay market using our five I2P personas: Nimble, Deep, Turn-Key, Configurator and CIO Friendly. (See persona definitions* below.)

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

This brief looks at invoice-to-pay features and vendors as viewed through the Deep persona.

Invoice-to-Pay Tech Selection and the Nimble Persona: Analysis & Commentary [PRO]

The market for invoice-to-pay solutions, much like e-procurement, has grown in size and relevance to procurement organizations in recent years. We even expect the I2P market will begin to rival the EDI-based world in the 2020s, eventually overtaking it.

Despite this rapid growth, the total number of providers in this space will likely remain relatively small. As leading I2P solutions continue to grow their supplier networks, their increased clout, based on their ability to connect more and more buyers and suppliers, will impede new providers from breaking into the larger I2P market.

Yet competition will come from other fronts.

Procure-to-pay solution vendors, for example, have begun to invest significantly in developing the I2P half of their suites, rounding out transactional shopping/ordering capabilities with functionality for invoice processing and, in some cases, basic payments support. This could create competitive pressure on I2P specialists in tech selection scenarios where access to end-to-end P2P capabilities are an important criterion.

Similarly, AP automation solutions are taking a bite out of a different customer base altogether: the long underserved middle market. Small and medium-size businesses are increasingly seeing benefits to adopting software that automate invoice receipt, capture and validation processes (sometimes inclusive of payments execution), yet these customers also seem to be satisfied with an 80%, “good enough” solution in terms of functionality. This creates a new competitive dynamic for I2P solutions looking to move down market, as decisive tech selection criteria may revolve more around usability and collaboration features than supplier network breadth.

Given these different competitive fronts and the evolving needs of this market, how can companies with different technology requirements evaluate invoice-to-pay solutions amid an array of vendors with varying degrees and kinds of capabilities?

Spend Matters’ SolutionMap accounts 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 in the Invoice-to-Pay rankings, and how can they help your organization make better technology decisions?

In this Spend Matters PRO series, we’ll analyze the invoice-to-pay market using our five I2P personas: Nimble, Deep, Turn-Key, Configurator and CIO Friendly. (See persona definitions* below.)

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

This first brief looks at invoice-to-pay features and vendors as viewed through the Nimble persona.

E-Procurement Tech Selection and the Turn-Key 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 SolutionMap E-Procurement personas: Nimble, Deep, Configurator, Turn-Key and CIO Friendly. (See persona definitions* below.)

This review is organized just like our RFI sent to vendors that are ranked in SolutionMap, according to these topics: platform capabilities, services, features & functionalities, and customer value.

Let’s look at the e-procurement features and vendors as viewed by the Turn-Key persona.

Basware: Vendor Snapshot Update (Part 3) — Competitive and Summary Analysis [PRO]

Basware faces significant competition from multiple segments of the procure-to-pay market. It competes against a range of vendors, including ERP providers that offer e-procurement and supplier network capabilities (along with varying degrees, based on vendor, of e-invoicing capabilities). It also competes against e-invoicing and supplier enablement specialists, regional supplier network/e-invoicing providers, independent e-procurement providers and traditional AP automation and scan/capture providers.

As a trend, competition is increasing (not decreasing) for Basware, which represents a challenge given the lack of brand awareness within procurement and P2P. Further, the marketing effort it has expended thus far in the trade financing area (which has not yet resulted in material payables or receivables financing volume) and the fact Basware is largely unknown in North America as an e-procurement provider also represents hurdles from a competitor perspective.

This final installment of our three-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot Update series covering Basware offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other procure-to-pay, AP automation and supplier network providers. It also includes a SWOT analysis and summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this Update series provided a company and deep-dive solution overview, product strengths and weaknesses, and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider Basware’s product line.

Basware: Vendor Snapshot Update (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview [PRO]

FM Global Resilience Index

Basware is one of the largest technology providers in the global procurement and accounts payable software market. Founded in 1985 in Espoo, Finland, as Baltic Accounting Systems to deliver enterprise finance software solutions, the company has grown from a small-country player to a global platform that processes over 650 billion euros annually (2018). It has been public since 2000 and is traded on the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki Ltd. as BAS1V.

The company also manages one of the largest e-invoicing and B2B commerce networks, and Basware supports its global customer base through an operational footprint that spans more than 175 countries on six continents and includes more than 100 partners and resellers. Yet while Basware has greatly improved its e-procurement capabilities, its great strength against peers remains its invoice-to-pay and business network capabilities, as we show in our SolutionMap vendor rankings. Basware also stands out in the procure-to-pay space, with its increased use of machine learning technology.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot Update looks at Basware’s developments since our 2016 series on it. It explores Basware’s P2P and network capabilities, including strengths and weaknesses in the market, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide if they should shortlist the vendor. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for what types of organizations should consider Basware. The remainder of this three-part series will offer details on strengths/weaknesses, a user-selection guide, user interface (UI/UX) analysis, competitive alternatives and evaluation, and selection considerations.

Tradeshift: Vendor Snapshot Update (Part 3) — Summary and Competitive Analysis [PRO]

Tradeshift embarked on building both an applications and platform technology business at the same time. Flash forward less than a decade since the provider launched, Tradeshift has remained true to this vision. But how does the provider stack up to others in the market given it can be difficult to compare it with traditional cloud applications providers without the platform element? And how should prospective customers know when to consider Tradeshift vs. others?

Part 3 of Spend Matters’ Vendor Snapshot Update series explores these questions and others. This PRO report provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Tradeshift’s solutions and products. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Tradeshift in the procurement, supply chain and finance technology areas. Part 2 covered product strengths and weaknesses, and this final installment offers a competitor and SWOT analysis, along with evaluation and selection considerations.

Tradeshift: Vendor Snapshot Update (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses [PRO]

FM Global Resilience Index

Besides the likes of “mega” players like Amazon Business, is there a market for marketplaces? When Tradeshift embarked on its journey to create a platform between organizations in 2010, it had to believe such a need would eventually become mainstream, otherwise its vision and reality would fail to intersect. Fortunately for those that backed Tradeshift’s initial hypothesis, less than a decade since launching, more companies — not just early adopters — are becoming aware of what a platform concept can deliver beyond business applications.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot Update adds to last year’s Tradeshift strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement and finance organizations decide whether they should consider the provider from both an applications and marketplace/platform perspective. Look for updates on global support, the AI-assistant Ada, analytics, channel/systems integration partner networks, and customer value.

Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview centered on Tradeshift’s business applications, as well as a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering the provider. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Why would Medius buy Wax Digital? (Part 2: Wax strengths, customers, integration considerations)

Yesterday, AP automation specialist Medius announced it was acquiring Wax Digital, the UK-based source-to-pay suite provider. Together, they hope to carve out a unique niche in targeting procurement and finance organizations primarily in Europe and North America (although both have global customers and users).

In Part 1 of this Spend Matters Nexus series, we provided an overview and introduction to Wax Digital and Medius, touched on the product strengths and weaknesses for Wax, and explored the rationale for the transaction.

As we continue our analysis today, we add in the customer voice to the mix, specifically focusing on Wax Digital’s economic buyers (e.g., CPOs, procurement VPs, etc.) and what they think about the solution, because customer feedback is one way we score solutions for our free vendor ranking system, SolutionMap. We also will go deeper on some of the more specific strengths of the solution at the platform and functional levels, and explore how this might affect users of the combined solution. And we’ll look at integration touchpoints for Wax and Medius.

Later this week and next, we will continue our exploration of the combination, delving into the impact on the competitive landscape, including an analysis of how the combination may affect competitive AP automation and invoice-to-pay vendors as well as procure-to-pay and source-to-pay suites. Finally we will explore how the total addressable market (TAM) expands when combining finance and procurement together. TAM is a key metric that sponsors use to analyze investment opportunities.

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.