Procurement Systems & Architecture Content

Oracle Procurement Cloud Update — The Sleeping Giant is Waking Up [PRO]

Spend Matters attended Oracle’s recent OpenWorld conference to see the latest developments in its cloud ecosystem, especially within Oracle Procurement. Oracle continues to make progress in its strategy of transforming from a technology and products company to one of cloud services. It was a decision that has taken time to develop, but without a doubt this vision is beginning to crystallize as a unified solution within the Oracle Cloud (aka Oracle Fusion) technology platform.

In this Spend Matters PRO article, we will discuss:

* Oracle’s overall cloud strategy and its relevance to procurement
* Latest Oracle procurement product updates and plans
* Analysis of Oracle’s methodical progress in a dynamic market, and what it can teach SAP Ariba (and vice versa)
* Opportunities and emerging progress in platforms and “business networks”

Application-wise, Oracle is a slow and steady provider of cloud-based procurement applications, with a strength in P2P (as evidenced in its performance in our most current P2P SolutionMap ranking). And it’s making progress in its strategic procurement application areas — especially in contract management, where its solution is surprisingly strong relative to non-best-of-breed CLM players. But the game in the market is shifting beyond applications toward open platforms and ecosystems.

Can Oracle seize the opportunity? We’ll discuss...

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

e-invoicing

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.

Zycus update: Basics, BOTs and Beyond (Part 2: AI, MERLIN Roadmap and Summary) [PRO]

Artificial intelligence capabilities are central to Zycus’ product roadmap. This Spend Matters PRO brief provides an overview of MERLIN (Zycus’ AI underpinnings and platform) and how it ties to Zycus’ overall product strategy and release schedule. MERLIN's main concept is based on autonomous procurement (the tailored bots that it builds are called BOTs), with a focus on automating all the routine, repetitive tasks of purchasing processes, especially transactional and manual ones. For an overview of the company and a product update, read Part 1.

Zycus update: Basics, BOTs and Beyond (Part 1: Company and Product Update) [PRO]

digital

A Spend Matters team attended the Zycus summit this summer in Utah that provided a deep dive into the firm’s latest developments and gave us a chance to talk to some customers. This two-part Spend Matters PRO briefing will highlight the results of that day, focusing on updates to Zycus’ business, product development and, most specifically, its innovation related to autonomous computing — particularly with its unique approach to bots that combines RPA, AI and a democratized platform approach. It could be a game-changer in the industry, but it’s also not very easy to execute. We’ll weigh in on both sides of this coin.

Part 2 will provide an overview of MERLIN (Zycus’ AI underpinnings and platform) and how it ties to Zycus’ overall product strategy and release schedule. MERLIN’s main concept is based on autonomous procurement (the tailored bots that it builds are called BOTs), with a focus on automating all the routine, repetitive tasks of purchasing processes, especially transactional and manual ones.

Jaggaer Preps for the Big Value Creation Hunt: 3 Takeaways from the REV 2019 Keynote Speeches

taken 10/2/1019

The Spend Matters analyst team is harbor-side in San Diego this week for REV, Jaggaer’s annual customer conference. The two-day event offers a strong focus on technology and roadmap topics, and executive keynote speakers this morning articulated the emerging vision for Jaggaer’s product suite. Clarity of vision is critical today for Jaggaer after the whirlwind of recent years. Here are three significant takeaways from this morning’s presentations:

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.

Tipalti and the Accounts Payable Automation Market: Now Officially Hot, Hot, Hot!

procurement

Earlier this week, you may have seen that Tipalti raised $76 million in a Series D funding round. For those who do not know Tipalti, it is one of a variety of accounts payable automation (and payment providers) in the B2B market.

With a primary emphasis on middle market companies, Tipalti’s AP automation competitors include both broader procure-to-pay vendors that also come down market (e.g., Basware, Corcentric, Coupa, SAP Ariba, Tradeshift, etc.) and a diverse set of accounts payable automation specialists, including Accrualify, AvidXChange, Beanworks, SAP Concur, Symbeo, MineralTree, MediusFlow, Yooz and dozens of others.

It’s our view that Tipalti’s funding round is proof positive that the AP automation market is truly hot.

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.

SynerTrade Paris: The Digital Procurement Revolution is Calling!

Last week, at the same time the new Digital Procurement Workshop was happening in Amsterdam, SynerTrade was holding its annual Digital Procurement Summit in Paris (at the Pavillion Royal, with the pre-conference tour and dinner at the Centre Pompidou — obviously to make the point that, while there is an Art to Procurement*, in today's digital world, you need to take a more modern approach to achieve success). And while the event might have flown under the radar with all the other events going on this month, it certainly over-delivered.

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 analyst 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 Matters' 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.

GEP: Vendor Snapshot (Part 7) — Competitive Landscape [PRO]

This final installment of our seven-part Spend Matters PRO series on GEP will look at how it compares to its competitors, like SAP Ariba, Coupa, Ivalua, Jaggaer, Corcentric’s Determine, SynerTrade, Wax Digital and Zycus.

Previous installments provided an in-depth look at GEP as a company (Part 1), its specific solutions (Part 2 and Part 3), and a detailed analysis of solution strengths (Part 4) and weaknesses (Part 5). A SWOT analysis and commentary followed in Part 6.

GEP competes in several market segments and brings varying degrees of capability, differentiation and strength in many areas. In certain segments of the market, it is more successful in positioning an overall suite value proposition rather than individual modules (individually or together) for several reasons. Clearly, GEP “keeps coming back to suite” as its technology mantra for good reason.

For example, Spend Matters’ analysis suggests GEP is stronger within the strategic sourcing services and solution areas than in the P2P components of its suite from an “absolute” functional capability perspective. Yet the provider is effective at selling both areas together when they are equally valued. GEP has indeed won some large-scale P2P customers, replacing other solutions, based on the integrated suite value proposition.

Or consider how GEP’s e-invoicing and e-payment capabilities are part of its integrated source-to-pay (S2P) suite solution but are not yet on par with specialist solutions. As another example, GEP has a strong analytics offering but typically positions it within the context of its suite, so while it could compete against specialists in this area, given its classification capabilities, it typically does not.

In this PRO analysis, we’ll set up our coverage primarily relative to technology application segments such as:
* Fully Integrated (and some “loosely coupled”) Source-to-Pay Suites
* Full P2P Suites
* End-to-End and best-of-breed strategic procurement technology (SPT) offerings
* e-invoicing and e-payment specialists
* Supplier and master data management (MDM) providers

But, we’ll also touch on major consultancies, BPO players and niche MSPs.

GEP: Vendor Snapshot (Part 6) — SWOT and Commentary [PRO]

Global Risk Management Solutions (GRMS)

For those procurement organizations that have not looked at GEP’s technology suite in recent years, they will likely be surprised when exploring its breadth of functionality, as well as the nuances associated with capabilities that differentiate it from other suites. These areas include clever takes on category management, integrated suite analytics, mobile support, and a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and cloud-native solution built and hosted on the Microsoft Azure platform.

This sixth installment of the seven-part Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering GEP provides an objective SWOT analysis of the company and offers our commentary on its platform. In our next installment, we will close out with a competitive market analysis, with recommended shortlist candidates as alternative vendors to GEP, and some recommendations and provider selection guidance for companies that may consider GEP’s suite or even individual modules and capabilities. Previous installments provided an in-depth look at GEP as a company (Part 1), its specific solutions (Part 2 and Part 3), and a detailed analysis of solution strengths (Part 4) and weaknesses (Part 5).