Procurement Systems & Architecture Content

Ivalua: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Downstream Solution Overview [PRO]

supplier network

Ivalua has been growing steadily since Spend Matters’ comprehensive update in 2016, with the suite provider adding clients, offices, employees and capability around the globe. After we provided an updated background in Part 1, we delved into Ivalua’s primary upstream solution components around spend analysis, strategic sourcing, direct sourcing and contract management in Part 2.

Today, this seven-part Spend Matters PRO series will continue our solution overview with a look at the downstream components — namely catalog management, e-procurement and order management, e-invoicing, expense management, payment management and IVA for guided buying. After we review these downstream components, we’ll finish up our solution review with a couple of the cross-platform capabilities around risk and performance management, supplier information management and master data management (MDM). After we finish with our solution overview, in Parts 4 and 5, we will dive into Ivalua's particular strengths and weaknesses from a solution perspective.

Ivalua: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Upstream Solution Overview [PRO]

gig economy

In Part 1 of Spend Matters' seven-part PRO series, we provided an updated background on Ivalua, which has been growing steadily since our last Vendor Snapshot in 2016, adding clients, offices, employees, customers and capability around the globe. No longer the Rodney Dangerfield of procurement, Ivalua is finally getting some real respect, having just reached unicorn valuation status in its last funding round.

There are a number of reasons for this, some of which revolve around services and global support capability, and others that revolve around its extensive solution platform. The latter is the subject of our articles today and tomorrow, where we will overview all of the major components, starting with the upstream ones today. Then, after we review the downstream components in Part 3, we will dive into Ivalua's particular strengths and weaknesses from a solution perspective in Parts 4 and 5.

The Artful Design of Procurement (Part 2) [PRO]

Spend Matters 50/50 2016

As noted in our last post, as I was writing up some notes from the Ivalua NOW 2019 conference, which it gave the theme “The Art of Procurement,” and which probably seemed more artistic when it was held at Le Carrousel Du Louvre, and not the Renaissance Chicago (but you’ll have to ask my colleagues Michael Lamoureux and Peter Smith, who attended the Paris event and posted their notes here, there and everywhere). But at the end of the day, since the better theme is not so much just about art (even though there is a definite craft/“art” to doing procurement transformation — and using digital as part of that transformation), but about the proper design of procurement and the procurement process, I decided to pen these pieces.

In Part 1 of this provocative PRO analysis, after setting the stage, I tried to really define what art vs. design was in a procurement context. Today, I’m going to try and build on that to describe:

* Design-centered procurement and platform design rather than just product design
* Platform enablement of the “participative art” of procurement
* A counter-intuitive palette: low code software platforms
* The procurement practitioner as artist

And I hope to inspire you to be a better artist, who paints a more impressive picture in your daily professional life.

The Artful Design of Procurement (Part 1) [PRO]

In a previous post, I was writing up some notes from the Ivalua NOW 2019 conference, which it themed “The Art of Procurement.” That theme is fun, and although it tempts me to bring in Zen analogies in archery, martial arts or even motorcycle maintenance, I think the better theme is not so much just about art (even though there is a definite craft/“art” to doing procurement transformation — and using digital as part of that transformation), but also about design.

In this multi-part Spend Matters PRO series, I’ll cover the following topics:

* Art vs. design within a procurement context
* Design-centered procurement and platform design rather than just product design
* Platform enablement of the “participative art” of procurement
* A counter-intuitive palette: low code software platforms
* The procurement practitioner as artist

I won’t be laying out a paint-by-numbers prescription for procurement excellence, but art does hold some lessons: not so much as art as expressing an aesthetic, but more as a practice and expression of mastery.

Some have applied Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” to business, and of course to trading partner negotiations, but Picasso is perhaps a better example. He was hugely prolific and cut his teeth mastering all the traditional artforms before creating his unique cubist style. Procurement practitioners similarly must have a baseline mastery of basic commercial knowledge (legal, finance, negotiations, etc.), change management, etc., but also be adept at picking up new techniques and tools and applying them to the task at hand. For example, many progressive procurement practitioners haven’t just learned Lean/6Sigma, but also Design Thinking and Agile software development principles that can be applied to collaboration beyond just software development — including procurement.

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

In our last Spend Matters PRO brief, we introduced you to GoProcure, a four-year-old provider based out of Duluth, Georgia, that is deploying a B2B marketplace and platform for tail-spend management. Bringing together basic RFQ and requisitioning tools, a marketplace for procuring goods and services, and complementary services like a buying desk, GoProcure is positioning itself as capable of covering the full range of tail spend in a market where most vendors address some but not all of the tail. And while its coverage is not necessarily exhaustive, GoProcure’s current iteration does encompass a lot of capabilities — albeit in a bit of a fragmented manner. Whether it’s a fit for a procurement organization’s unique challenges and needs, however, will come down to how exactly one conceives and chooses to tackle the tail.

Part 1 of this brief provided some background on GoProcure 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 GoProcure might be a good fit. We also give some final conclusions and takeaways.

What to Expect from a P2P Implementation — Benefits and Costs [Plus+]

P2P implementation

While the benefits of adopting a purchase-to-pay (P2P) solution seem clear on paper, just about everyone who has been around the market on either the procurement, consultant or vendor side has heard horror stories of implementations gone wrong — or horribly wrong, in certain cases. Of course the culprit is usually staring the organization in the mirror. But more importantly, this line between success and failure, as measured by hard dollars, led us to ask a two-part question: What really is the price and when is it worth paying that price to implement a P2P solution?

Q2 2019 SolutionMap Source-to-Pay Release Notes

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider release note provides insight into the Q2 2019 SolutionMap release for Source-to-Pay, reviewing the process that we followed for this quarter’s release.

The providers in the Q2 2019 Source-to-Pay SolutionMap include Coupa, Determine, GEP, Ivalua and SynerTrade. 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.

The five providers above have updated their RFIs and received 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.)

SAP Ariba and Zycus 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. These providers requested a short-term delay because of the intensive nature of the expanded RFI (with nearly 800 requirements for Source-to-Pay), but we expect them to participate in upcoming 2019 releases.

The Source-to-Pay customer data set is composed of a subset of the 792 individual organization references included in the overall SolutionMap scoring as of Q2 2019*.

This SolutionMap Insider research note provides insight into the nature of the expanded RFI, methodology, customer references and additional changes in the Q2 2019 SolutionMap release.

*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).

Q2 2019 SolutionMap Release Notes: E-Procurement, Invoice-to-Pay and Procure-to-Pay

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider Release Note provides insight into the Q2 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 Q2 2019 SolutionMap features the release of a new and improved RFI to providers, including new scoring scales resulting in important changes. The E-Procurement, I2P and P2P customer reference set added 73 new individual customer references in Q2. Just one new provider was added for Q2 — Procurify for E-Procurement.

Most of the providers participating in the Q2 2019 SolutionMap release for E-Procurement, I2P and P2P have updated their RFIs and received updated scoring following the submission and demonstration of new and updated capabilities based on production releases of their platform, including Basware, Coupa and Ivalua. (Non-GA capabilities are not considered in SolutionMap scoring.) A handful of other providers did not update their scoring in Q2 2019.

This SolutionMap Insider research note provides insight into these and additional changes in the Q2 2019 SolutionMap release.

Accrualify: Vendor Introduction (Part 3) — SWOT, Competitive Placement and Customer Recommendations [PRO]

Accrualify is a new breed of finance-oriented solution that targets a range of procurement and payables processes. It is one of a handful of vendors that, especially within the middle market, can offer solutions that solve the needs of finance and procurement organizations directly. While Accrualify’s AP automation and procurement capabilities are not as robust as some, the overall package and approach could present a more attractive use case for nimble solution buyers with specific requirements in mind.

In Part 3 of Spend Matters’ PRO series examining Accrualify, we turn our attention to placing the provider in a competitive context of a new breed of solutions targeting finance and procurement, offer a strengths/weaknesses/opportunities/threats (SWOT) framework and conclude with recommendations for potential customers. (See Part 1 for an introduction to the provider as well as Part 2 for its solution strengths and weaknesses.)

NPI: Provider Introduction, Summary and SWOT [PRO]

In a world where everything is rapidly digitizing and moving to a services-based delivery model, there is perhaps no category more difficult for businesses to manage than IT services. The more operations move to the cloud and businesses rely on major IT services providers like Microsoft, SAP and Oracle to get work done, those in charge of IT sourcing, whether that be procurement, IT or a dedicated team in a center of excellence, are encountering a higher volume of IT services purchases, more complex offerings and pricing structures to negotiate, and more risk inherent in making the wrong choice. And with worldwide IT spend projected to reach $3.8 trillion by the end of 2019, all of these issues are only expected to build on themselves.

Helping manage this situation is exactly what NPI, a consulting firm based in Atlanta, does for IT sourcing organizations. Founded in 2003, NPI helps businesses identify and eliminate overspending on IT purchases, as well as provides vendor-specific intelligence on a range of topics, including risk reduction efforts, licensing program optimization and negotiation playbooks. Its services span subscription pricing intelligence to renewal process advisory and IT sourcing transformation consulting, and the firm counts businesses as varied as Morgan Stanley, the Social Security Administration, Denver Health and Norfolk Southern as clients.

This Spend Matters PRO Provider Introduction offers an overview of NPI, including quick facts on the provider. The brief also has an introduction to each of NPI’s six business lines, an overall SWOT analysis comparing it to other procurement consultancies and a selection checklist for companies that may consider the provider.

Accrualify: Vendor Introduction (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses [PRO]

In our initial research brief on Accrualify, we introduced the four-year-old provider based out of San Mateo, California. The upstart procurement and finance technology vendor offers a unique set of technology capabilities to manage specific components of the invoice-to-pay cycle, as well as adjacent areas like basic requisitioning and broader accruals management.

The first part of this brief provided an overview of Accrualify’s offering and a short selection requirements checklist that outlined the typical company for which Accrualify might be a good fit. In today’s installment (Part 2), we provide a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, exploring Accrualify’s “positives” and “negatives.”

3 Reasons to Love ‘Nimble’ Procurement Technology Providers

Spend Matters’ analysts have been writing personal essays on their favorite SolutionMap personas: Nimble, Deep, Turn-Key, Configurator and CIO Friendly, as well as Optimizer for sourcing providers and Global for CWS vendors. The personas help companies select which solution provider is right for them. This week’s essay is by Nick Heinzmann, an associate analyst and a former editor of Spend Matters.

Let’s be blunt: If you’re going to pay five or six figures for a software license, you’d better hope your employees actually use it. But can your technology provider guarantee that everyone who uses the system — from admins to power users to the everyday requisitioner or collaborator — will adopt it? What about enjoy it, willingly log in and encourage everyone to collaborate on the platform?

For many companies, this is easier said than done. Implementations that seem well planned on paper can quickly become nightmares. Systems with deep, powerful functionality but archaic user interfaces can scare less ambitious users back to the warm embrace of Excel.

Issues like the above and others are why I love the Nimble persona — that best at understanding the “millennial” mindset when it comes to technology. Why can’t procurement software be as fun and easy to use as apps like Instagram, Venmo and Slack?