Procurement Systems & Architecture Content

CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE: Advanced Procurement Analytics — find the risks hiding in your data, prioritize and take action [PRO]

In our response to the coronavirus outbreak, this Spend Matters PRO “Coronavirus Response” series is continuing its mission to examine categories of relevant solutions (and example providers) that professionals in procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should investigate to reduce, and even mitigate, coronavirus supply risk. And even if the solutions are only addressing a subset of the issues, the ability to respond intelligently in the short term can also help set organizations up for the future when sanity returns to the world.

Today’s brief focuses on solutions for advanced procurement analytics — the third category shown below in the seven solution categories that we’re covering:

1. Supply risk management solutions that include supply chain risk, CSR risk, supplier financial risk, etc.
2. Sourcing and commodity management, including advanced sourcing, direct sourcing, automated supplier discovery, and commodity management to help dynamically plan and source. (Read about the direct sourcing solutions here.)
3. Advanced procurement analytics to enable direct procurement and/or to perform “spend planning” when demand drops out or spikes.
4. P2P that emphasizes working capital, dynamic discounting, payment control and related finance priorities to help inject cash into the P2P process — especially for many cash-starved suppliers. (This category is discussed in-depth here.)
5. Fraud, P2P and vendor management safeguards when new suppliers need to be set up quickly, and also when lowlife fraudsters try to use the pandemic as a way to steal money and IP.
6. Providers with deep contract analytics that can analyze a contract portfolio for affected contracts from suppliers (and customers) for not just force majeure clauses, but other related clauses that tie to the multiple risks popping up at once in the pandemic.
7. Contingent Workforce and Services solutions that are able to, at a minimum, help rapidly ramp up on-demand workers to deal with massive resource shortfalls. We are looking at four categories of solutions for sourcing remote/online work; solutions for sourcing and managing contract workers at geo-specific capabilities; solutions to “direct source” and manage contract workers; solutions for data management and analytics. (The first PRO brief from this category, about sourcing remote/online work, can be read here.)

Owing to the magnitude of the crisis, Spend Matters recently made the series introduction available for free to all readers. PRO subscribers can see our follow-up pieces that profile the other categories and their solutions in that market. We will include a lot of information on each category PRO brief that readers can see without hitting a paywall, but since we also draw heavily from our existing deep-dive analysis of the providers from our SolutionMap database, some information will be available only to our PRO subscribers.

Today, we start our coverage of advanced procurement analytics and three solutions from LevaData, Sievo and Suplari with particular strengths in direct material and commodity analysis — because shortages of direct materials and components will have the most immediate effect on your supply chain.

We do acknowledge that long-term unavailability of certain direct materials and components will in turn produce unavailability in indirect products down the line, but stage one of any crisis response must be to keep critical production lines running and focus on direct. Similarly, if an unavailability of supply looks to be permanent, you will need to do some supply chain redesign, and we’ll cover that use case in an upcoming sourcing and commodity management piece in this series.

We also will be covering other analytics and will likely launch new categories — like indirect spend planning in the context of integrated business planning, financial planning & budgeting, insourcing/outsourcing decision support, and so on.

The initial three vendors we are profiling here are all unique in the spend analytics space and all have deep capabilities in the analysis of direct material and commodity spend. If any other practitioners, providers or consultants would like to contribute to this coverage, please let us know about solutions that are helpful related to advanced procurement analytics useful within the current COVID-19 crisis.

If your organization doesn't have an advanced sourcing and procurement analytics platform, one of these three platforms could be the most fit-for-purpose, off-the-shelf platforms to help your direct material/commodity-heavy organization analyze its way through the COVID-19 crisis.

Each category-specific PRO piece in this series will have three sections:

* Problems and Use Cases. We’ll highlight the problems in force (which will vary through different phases of the crisis) and the various scenarios where solutions can provide deeper insights, intelligence and scalable workflows.
* Solution Rationale and Value. We’ll outline how various solutions can help solve the problems and the specific questions that they’ll help answer.
* Example Providers. We’ll highlight the solution providers that can support the problems and deliver some value.

Some providers are offering COVID-specific programs and “freemium” commercial offers, and we’ll note those whenever we update this piece. We’ll also start the series with providers that we already have deep knowledge on, but we’ve been seeking information from other vendors too.


OK, let's dive into advanced procurement analytics.

Through April 2020, a special PRO Expert Survival Pack is available to procurement practitioners only* at up to 50% off — Learn more

Spring/Q1 2020 SolutionMap Source-to-Pay release notes

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider release note provides insight into the Spring/Q1 2020  SolutionMap release for the Source-to-Pay suite category, reviewing the process that we followed for this release.

Also, SolutionMap is shifting from quarterly updates to spring and fall updates. This is the last quarterly release and the first spring release, so you’ll see it labeled “Spring/Q1.”

The providers in the Spring/Q1 2020 Source-to-Pay SolutionMap include Coupa, Determine, GEP, Ivalua, Jaggaer One, 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, their scores were 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 936 individual organization references included in the overall SolutionMap scoring as of Q1 2020*.

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

Get a first look at the Spring/Q1 2020 SolutionMap comparative quadrant graphics here.

Insider members: Access the latest Provider Scoring Summary reports right here.)

Spring/Q1 2020 SolutionMap release note: Sourcing, Spend and Procurement Analytics, Supplier Relationship Management & Risk, Contract Lifecycle Management and Strategic Procurement Technology Suites

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider release note provides insight into the Spring/Q1 2020 SolutionMap release for the following five categories: Sourcing, Spend and Procurement Analytics, Supplier Relationship Management & Risk, Contract Lifecycle Management, and Strategic Procurement Technologies Suite. The note reviews the process we follow and highlights what has changed since the last release.

Also, SolutionMap is shifting from quarterly updates to spring and fall updates. This is the last quarterly release and the first spring release, so you’ll see it labeled “Spring/Q1.”

Changes to Spring/Q1 2020 SolutionMap

In the above individual areas, the following providers have been added for this release:
* Conga is a new participant in the Contract Lifecycle Management SolutionMap category.
* Rosslyn Analytics is a new participant in the Spend & Procurement Analytics SolutionMap category.
* Suplari is a new participant in the Spend & Procurement Analytics SolutionMap category.
* Xeeva is a new participant in the Spend & Procurement Analytics SolutionMap category.

Wax Digital, has changed its name to Wax Digital / Medius, and Orpheus was acquired by McKinsey. Their offering is now “Spend Intelligence by McKinsey.

In addition, 72 new or refreshed customer references (and 60 individual map references) were added in the Strategic Procurement Technology areas.

Get a first look at the Spring/Q1 2020 SolutionMap comparative quadrant graphics here.

SolutionMap Insider members: Access the latest Provider Scoring Summary reports right here.

Spring/Q1 2020 SolutionMap E-Procurement, Invoice-to-Pay and Procure-to-Pay release note

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider release note provides insight into the Spring/Q1 2020 SolutionMap release for three categories: E-Procurement, Invoice-to-Pay (I2P) and Procure-to-Pay (P2P). The note reviews the process that we follow and highlights what has changed since the last SolutionMap release.

Also, SolutionMap is shifting from quarterly updates to spring and fall updates. This is the last quarterly release and the first spring release, so you’ll see it labeled “Spring/Q1.”

What’s new in the Spring/Q1 2020 E-Procurement, Invoice-to-Pay and Procure-to-Pay SolutionMap?

One new provider joined SolutionMap: Xeeva is now participating in the E-Procurement category.

Wax Digital has changed its name to Wax Digital / Medius.

The E-Procurement, I2P and P2P customer reference set added 60 new individual customer references in Spring/Q1 2020.

Get a first look at the Spring/Q1 2020 SolutionMap comparative quadrant graphics here.

Insider members: Access the Provider Scoring Summary reports right here.

SolutionMap update for Spring/Q1 2020 ranks 69 procurement technology vendors and adds AP Automation category

Spend Matters today has updated its free SolutionMap benchmark rankings for the new Spring/Q1 2020 release. The latest SolutionMap compares 69 procurement technology providers across 13 categories — which includes a new ranking map for Accounts Payable (AP) Automation vendors.

Six providers are featured in the first AP Automation category, which reflects the growing importance that vendors are placing on payments.

SolutionMap began in 2017 and has become the definitive procurement technology benchmark. It will now be updated in the spring and fall instead of each quarter.

Click on the headline above to find out which vendors are in the new AP Automation category — and to learn about new vendors to SolutionMap.

Currencycloud: Vendor Introduction (Background and Solution Overview) [PRO]

Supplier compliance

The era of decoupled procure-to-pay processes and technology — including B2B payments — within finance are coming to an end. But integration is not just happening within the four walls of an organization (e.g., API-based integration between SAP and Kyriba or Oracle and Basware). It’s happening between bank and non-bank providers and their customers, and customer systems. Specifically, areas such as supply chain finance, foreign exchange (FX), cross-border payments, invoicing and related solutions are increasingly moving from independent applications to ones that are integrated into bank and non-bank partner technology environments.

FX and cross-border payments are two prime examples. Most cross-border payments occur primarily through a correspondent banking network. Yet sending payments through the network can be a costly proposition for fintechs, challenger banks, FX brokers and others that must use banks.

Typically, if you want to send money via such a network, a bank has to keep money on deposit at a Nostro account at a correspondent bank in that foreign country. The funds in the account are used to settle the payment, which is directed by a message sent over the SWIFT network. If the bank does not have a Nostro account directly, it must go through correspondent banks.

This model works. But it is antiquated and inefficient, often resulting in high costs and slow payments. There are a number of technology firms that are providing the infrastructure to upend this process, including Currencycloud.

This Spend Matters Vendor Introduction looks at Currencycloud’s capabilities as a cross-border payments provider, offering an overall introduction and summary, along with insight into how it handles foreign exchange transactions across specific use cases. Banks, non-banks and AP/P2P vendors building out global payment capabilities that are looking to OEM solutions in this area will find this analysis most relevant.

From ‘Ariba Live’ to SAP Ariba not-so-live: A dispatch in the coronavirus era

SAP Ariba launched the 19th annual version of its Ariba Live event today, but this year was a virtual event since the physical Las Vegas event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Las Vegas has plenty of microbes anyway, but not of this sort, and SAP Ariba was obviously right in canceling — like SIG, Basware and many other procurement conferences.

The first Ariba Live session was from Chris Haydon, who is “President of Procurement Solution Area,” which in German SAP speak means that he’s the senior product/strategy executive. Commercial operations have been folded into broader SAP, and there are many coordination/integration touchpoints across the SAP ecosystem too numerous to highlight, but Spend Matters’ PRO subscribers can get into the gory details here.

AppZen: Vendor Introduction — Strengths/Weaknesses, Company SWOT, Competitors, Selection Checklist [PRO]

The term “audit” usually implies a reactive activity. When something goes wrong, a business conducts an audit to find out what happened, then corrects its procedures to prevent the error from recurring. This approach is, of course, not ideal. Rather than spend time and energy retroactively correcting a problem, taking a proactive, preventative approach to auditing would be more efficient as this would allow businesses to stamp out potential risks before they became problems.

The idea that a business should proactively address risks may seem obvious, but for many accounts payable organizations this is easier said than done. The major barrier to doing so is one of prioritization. A Fortune 500 enterprise may process billions of transactions a year, many of which represent normal, expected spending. But a handful should raise flags — for potential instances of overpayment, duplicate payment or even fraud. The challenge of proactive auditing is not one of developing a proper mindset but of determining how best to find the needle in the expense and invoice haystack. AppZen is like a super magnet for those needles. Founded in 2010, AppZen is an expense and accounts payable auditing platform that uses AI to help businesses identify spending risks before they make payments. Its roster of more than 1,500 customers — including many of the top brands in industries from banking to media and pharma — use the solution to spot non-compliant employee expenses, duplicate charges and other anomalies (e.g., consistent overcharging from a supplier).

This Spend Matters Vendor Introduction provides an overview of AppZen’s solution set. It includes a perspective on what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a SWOT analysis, a look at competitors (or lack thereof) and a selection requirements checklist for organizations that might consider the vendor.

Also, we will post a profile of AppZen for our Coronavirus Response series, which highlights go-to vendors to help mitigate the business risks and aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Through April 2020, a special PRO Expert Survival Pack is available to procurement practitioners only* at up to 50% off - Learn more

CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE: Sievo — find the risks hiding in your data, prioritize and take action [PRO]

procurement

In our response to the coronavirus outbreak, this Spend Matters PRO series is continuing its mission to examine selected technology providers that professionals in procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider to reduce, and even mitigate, coronavirus supply risk — and then recover as fast as possible when sanity returns to the world.

The introduction to this series grouped the technology providers that we will (initially) cover into five specialty areas, with an example vendor for each.

1. Supply risk management (e.g., riskmethods.)
2. Sourcing and commodity management, including advanced sourcing, direct sourcing and commodity management to help dynamically plan and source (e.g., Jaggaer)
3. Advanced procurement analytics to enable direct procurement and/or to perform “spend planning” when demand drops out or spikes (e.g., Sievo)
4. P2P that emphasizes working capital, dynamic discounting, payment control and related finance priorities (e.g., Basware)
5. Fraud, P2P and Vendor Management Safeguards (e.g., APEX Analytix)

Owing to the magnitude of the crisis, we recently made the series introduction available for free, to all readers, to serve as a jumping off point. PRO subscribers can see our initial vendor profile of riskmethods and other profiles in this series. (All readers can get a lot of free information on each PRO brief before the analysis begins behind the paywall.)

Today we continue the series by a deep dive on Sievo, one of the analytics providers we mentioned in our introduction and a unique provider in the spend analytics space. In fact, it was the only provider called out by name by Spend Matters Founder Jason Busch on his recent Nexus piece on the McKinsey's acquisition of Orpheus because of the unique offering and value it brings to the space as one of the last turn-key, pure-play solutions and, now, the only such offering with a mature solution for community-based commodity/direct material insights and deep market intelligence.

If your organization doesn't have an advanced sourcing and procurement analytics platform, it's one of the most fit-for-purpose, off-the-shelf platforms to help your organization analyze its way through the COVID-19 crisis.

How? That's what this article will attempt to answer, double-clicking on one of the best-fit vendors for the job.

Let's dive into our look at Sievo and its ability to help during the coronavirus crisis.

Through March 2020, a special PRO Expert Survival Pack is available to procurement practitioners only* at up to 50% off - Learn more

Suplari: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — SWOT, Competitors, Selection Guide, Analysis [PRO]

Suplari faces significant competition from multiple market segments: S2P/P2P/S2C suites, best-of-breed spend analysis vendors, and generic best-in-class analytic and business intelligence (BI) solutions that are adding in a few spend/supplier-centric reports and touting themselves as solutions for back-office sourcing/procurement professionals. It's a very noisy, messy space, and it can be very confusing for an analytic novice to figure out which solutions are real and which are just the result of marketing mis-information.

And the trend is likely to continue. Competition will continue to increase as everyone jumps on the analytics bandwagon and peddles a platform that just might be free of any modern analytics capability whatsoever. And the relative lack of knowledge about Suplari, even compared to larger best-of-breed peers that have been around longer, as well as it's current lack of globalization puts it at a disadvantage, despite its focus on building a platform backed by machine learning and more advanced analytics than many second generation platforms out there.

In this final installment of our three-part Spend Matters Pro Vendor Snapshot on Suplari, we offer a competitive analysis and comparison with other providers of spend analytic solutions, like AnyData, Coupa, GEP, Jaggaer, Orpheus, Sievo, Simfoni and Xeeva. Part 3 also provides a SWOT analysis, selection considerations and final commentary. For an overview of the Suplari solution, see Part 1. For a deep dive into the platform's strengths and weaknesses, see Part 2.

Suplari: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Strengths and Weaknesses [PRO]

As indicated in Part 1, Suplari was formed to get the relevant purchasing data out of siloed enterprise systems and into the hands of procurement professionals who needed it to make decisions. Billing itself as “AI-Driven Analytics for Modern Procurement Teams,” Suplari was formed with the goal to use all of the available, disparate enterprise data, machine learning and a modern user experience to put the enterprise — and the employee — back in charge when dealing with their suppliers in negotiations.

The co-founders all had over two decades of experience in enterprise software, SaaS/Cloud, and data, so they realized this is no easy feat. Not only did they know that the data was usually dirty, and disparate, but that simply providing one view would result in a deluge that would be more than the average procurement professional could process, and that the professional would be no better off with too much data to try to make sense of in a limited time as they are when they have too little. To solve this problem, they decided they would apply machine learning and AI to identify patterns and simplify the processes of cleansing, classification and connection — the third being the more untapped need — and opportunity — in the procurement space today.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot will explore Suplari's strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help organizations decide if the vendor is the right one for their shortlist. For an overview of the provider and its platform, see Part 1. In Part 3, we will conclude with an analysis of Suplari’s competitors and offer a final summary.

Yooz: Vendor Snapshot 2020 Update — Part 3 (SWOT, Competitor Comparisons, Selection Tips) [PRO]

Yooz is one of the many providers that compete in the accounts payable automation market, and Spend Matters plans to launch its first AP Automation SolutionMap this spring. Combining a granular, AP-centric capability assessment with real-life customer reviews gives a deeper understanding of specialty vendors like Yooz. Initially, the AP Automation ratings will be published as a stand-alone benchmark ranking. The Invoice-to-Pay (I2P) SolutionMap rankings will eventually be enriched with AP Automation functional requirements as well.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series provides updates since our 2018 review of Yooz. The three-part series includes facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Yooz’s solution offering in payment automation and e-invoicing markets.

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 Yooz for finance technology. Part 2 covered product strengths and weaknesses.

This final installment offers a vendor SWOT analysis and competitor comparisons with vendors like Coupa, Basware, SAP Ariba, Oracle, Tipalti and Medius. It also includes more evaluation and selection considerations.