Solution Providers Content

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

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

To start, let’s look at the e-procurement features and vendors as viewed by the Nimble persona.

Online Platform RigUp Raises $300 Million: Maybe Not Just Another Unicorn? [PRO]

Online marketplaces for connecting workers and businesses have been around since the early-to-mid 2000s. But it has only been in the past eight years that larger organizations have begun to take notice of them (more, perhaps, as curiosities than as full-fledged, digitally enabled suppliers of workers and services). The reality is that few, if any, of the top 5,000 private employers in the world have established compliant, online marketplace sourcing channels that would account for more than 1 or 2% of their contingent workforce spend. Whether or not this is changing in any significant way is open to debate.

However, something does seem to be happening, if not on the large-enterprise demand-side, then on the supply-side, where, over the past year or so, significant capital has been flowing into some business-focused (versus consumer-focused) online marketplaces. That includes Austin-based RigUp, which recently announced a $300 million series D round. With a $60 million Series C round in January 2019 and four earlier financing rounds since its launch in 2014, RigUp’s financing now totals $423.8 million. According to the Wall Street Journal, the most recent “financing brings the valuation of the startup aimed at energy contractors to $1.9 billion.”

Unlike its white collar, online freelancer, global marketplace cousins, Upwork and Fiverr (which completed their IPOs in October 2018 and June 2019, respectively), RigUp has been focused on mostly blue collar workers deployed on the ground in the U.S. energy sector. At of the close of trading on Oct. 25, Upwork (which is more or less the same size as RigUp in terms of gross services volume) had a market value of $1.64 billion.

In this Spend Matters PRO brief, we will take a look at RigUp, and we'll examine where it fits into the broader landscape of digital platforms for work and services platforms. We will also discuss reasons why RigUp might be a different type of animal and how that might affect the thinking of procurement practitioners pondering the viability of online work/services platforms as sourcing options.

Workday: Procurement Rising? 5 Scenarios Explored

Procurement is taking on increased importance for Workday’s growth. In a recent Seeking Alpha column highlighting some of the takeaways from Workday’s financial analyst day at its Workday Rising customer conference, the author notes that Workday suggested it will have four drivers of sustained growth in the quarters and years to come: international expansion, financials, old customers — and, drumroll please, procurement!

According to the column, the focus on procurement appears in part driven out of the success of Coupa, which validates the “the considerable potential in this market.” Further, according to Workday, “procurement would serve to expand focus, with the potential to sell the product on a standalone basis in the future. Workday shared that more than 650 WDAY customers used procurement and highlighted that the attach rates for procurement is 85% for the core financials segment.”

Of course that says nothing for the breadth, depth and capability of what Workday is building for customers at this stage in the area (right now, things look somewhat bare bones). Cynically, we could argue that Workday Procurement is still two-steps removed from the mainstage. After all, the product line appears to fold into the supply chain product line, which does not even get a mention as one of the Product Strategy and Vision Keynotes at Workday Rising.

Procurement also takes a backseat role at other cloud-based ERP vendors as well ...

Customer reviews for Allocation are in the new SolutionMap Customer Insights report

This week’s SolutionMap Customer Insights report focuses on customer reviews for Allocation, a specialist in technology for direct materials sourcing and supplier management for manufacturers and producers who have complex processes.

The applicable SolutionMap categories for this report are Sourcing and Supplier Relationship Management & Risk. SolutionMap Insider members can read about Allocation in our latest report.

In each Customer Insights report, we provide a one-page summary of details from the SolutionMap peer review process. It includes ratings on how well the vendor meets its customers' expectations, three key differentiators for the vendor and a list of quotes from customers about the vendor’s greatest strengths. (The users’ names and companies are kept anonymous.)

Wax Digital: What Makes It Great (Sourcing SolutionMap Analysis)

While plenty of vendors like to wax poetic about how complete or end-to-end their procurement solutions are, few of these ballads stand up to critical scrutiny. Many vendors that tout their “unified platform” often cannot deploy their solutions with as seamless of a module integration as initially claimed.

This is not the case with Wax Digital, a UK-based provider that offers a relatively complete, integrated source-to-pay solution on one code base that is already used globally in more than 100 countries. This approach allows Wax Digital to claim numerous strengths for sourcing capabilities that its competitors cannot, such as the ability to connect with adjacent suite areas like supplier onboarding/management or easily integrate third-party applications and data. And, as the SolutionMap benchmark demonstrates, its backbone in sourcing capabilities (e.g., RFX construction, surveys, opportunity analysis) are often above average, too, making a strong case for Wax Digital to be considered for competitive shortlists where true end-to-end S2P capabilities are desired.

But where does Wax Digital stand out most and help “set the bar” in sourcing, and why should this matter for procurement and finance organizations? Let’s delve into our SolutionMap benchmark to find out where Wax Digital 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.

20 Tips to Maximize Private Equity, Investment and Strategic Buyer Outcomes (Part 6: Acquisition Strategy and the ‘End Game’) [PRO]

In this Spend Matters Nexus series, we’ll go over Tips 14 and 15 as we continue to explore the ways for sellers to maximize private equity, investment and strategic buyer outcomes in the procurement solutions market and others. Now, let’s turn our attention to two areas: the importance of fleshing out an acquisition strategy and roadmap — and “knowing the end game” in terms of likely future buyers after the next phase of the company’s growth. In our exploration, we share the best practices and not-so-best practices that we have observed across the hundreds of transactions we have been involved in.

So far in this Nexus series, we’ve covered the initial 13 of 20 tips (see Part 1 , Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5). Let’s check out Tips 14 and 15 now.

Jason Busch is the 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).

Procurence Vendor Introduction (Part 2: Strengths/Weaknesses, SWOT, Selection Checklist and Market Overview) [PRO]

In Part 1 of this two-part Spend Matters PRO series, we introduced you to Procurence — a relatively new entrant to the global direct material supplier management space, based out of Warsaw, Poland. It’s a recent entrant to our SolutionMap ranking of vendors, where its scores make it a customer leader in the SRM category. While still a small player, its solution already has a lot of the breadth of more established players like Jaggaer Direct (Pool4Tool), Ivalua (Directworks) and Allocation Network. Procurence’s utilization has been growing tenfold year-over-year by its buy-side user base of over 10,000 users and supply-side user base of over 30,000 users. Whether it has everything your organization needs, however, will come down to your mix of direct vs indirect, and how similar your needs are to its existing client base, which it has been developing its Meercat solution with for the past seven years.

While Part 1 of this brief provided some background on Procurence and a high-level overview of its offering, Part 2 will provide a breakdown of what is 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 Procurence might be a good fit.

Procurence Vendor Introduction (Part 1: Background and SRM Solution Overview) [PRO]

direct materials sourcing

Supplier management is one of the most misunderstood terms in the procurement solution space, especially since the exact scope of processes supported by such systems varies by analyst, vendor and customer interpretation. In order to clarify, or at least differentiate, many vendors have begun slicing and dicing the SXM solution space to offer the likes of:

* Supplier Discovery Management: that help an organization identify potential new suppliers that can help it meet its products, services, diversity and/or sustainability requirements
* Supplier Information Management: that can help a supplier track all of the information it collects on a supplier, including locations, employees, products, services, certifications and certificates
* Supplier Performance Management: that can track not only supplier information but also relevant performance data on quality, reliability, delivery, invoice accuracy and sustainability
* Supplier Relationship Management: that includes not only performance data but also functionalities to manage the relationship, such as capabilities for supplier development, collaboration and innovation management
* Supplier Network Management: that can support supplier discovery but are primarily designed to support transactions (through e-document and e-payment exchange) with suppliers on the network
* Supplier Quality Management: that includes specialized capabilities to support direct materials procurement, including the management of non-conformance cost of poor supplier quality, and general quality management
* Supplier Risk Management: that includes the capability to gather multiple sources of risk data (financial, environmental, regulatory, geographic, etc.) and provide an overall risk profile

Very few vendors do more than half of this, at best, so when evaluating a supplier management software vendor, it's important to understand what fraction of this they do and whether that fraction is relevant to your business.

We'll take, for example, supplier quality management — this goes well beyond supplier performance management because it's not just tracking defect rates, uptime / reliability statistics, etc. but managing the quality process from the beginning of production to delivery of the product to the consumer. Ensuring the materials that are being sourced are of the appropriate standards and tested on receipt, that the appropriate production process is followed, that the machines are regularly tested, that the outputs are spot tested, securely packaged, and delivered to spec. Such a system should support ISO (International Standard Organization), ASQ (American Society for Quality) processes, Six Sigma, 8D Reports (based on Eight Disciplines methodology), and/or QDX (Quality Data eXchange). Very few solutions come close to this, even if they are designed for supporting direct procurement.

And while Procurence may not do all of this, it is one of the few supplier management solutions on the market that tackles quality management in addition to information, performance and risk, as well as aspects of relationship management.

Procurence was founded in 2009 in Warsaw, Poland, to provide tools to help buyers achieve transparency in their supply base, decrease supply risk, and streamline internal supplier management and communication processes.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on Procurence and its supplier management capabilities. (Non-supplier management specific capabilities are excluded.) Part 1 includes a short company overview and a detailed look at Procurence’s offering. Part 2 will provide a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a high-level SWOT analysis, a short selection requirements checklist that outlines the typical company for which Procurence might be a good fit, and some market implications and takeaways.

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...

Procurement Consulting Analysis: A review of KPMG’s procurement systems/technology practice [PRO]

consulting

KPMG is a noted procurement solutions and technology consultancy, with a large, mature and experienced global practice for systems integration (SI). It has developed working relationships with a range of technology firms, including Coupa, Ivalua, SAP Ariba, Oracle and most recently GEP. It has hundreds of customer deployments under its belt.

This Spend Matters PRO analysis provides background on KPMG’s systems integration/technology practice in the procurement solutions market. It includes facts and figures, like a list of how many people at KPMG are trained to implement each tech firm’s solution. But, primarily, this PRO analysis highlights the voice and experience of KPMG’s clients. We also offer data-driven recommendations and analysis for organizations considering KPMG as a systems implementation and consulting partner.

This report is based on extensive primary research by our Spend Matters team and from our SolutionMap’s customer reference process, where real-life customers share their vendor experiences and help us rank vendors. Spend Matters surveyed a range of KPMG clients in Q2 and Q3 2019, collecting qualitative and quantitative insights from organizations that had gone through implementations, change management, transformation and related initiatives as part of procurement technology deployments. KPMG also provided facts and figures about its practice directly to Spend Matters.

Utmost’s Extended Workforce System: What’s Behind It, What Is It and What Does It Mean for Enterprises? [PRO]

It is important for enterprises to have a handle on the whole of their contingent (or extended) workforce. Not just temporary workers supplied by staffing firms, but also workers that are engaged through service providers (ranging from building maintenance companies to management consulting firms and BPOs ). And then there are the independent and freelancer workers of all kinds, however they are classified.

A new workforce technology start-up, Utmost, thinks it’s very important to enterprises — and workers too. The company recently announced the launch of its core platform, Utmost Extended Workforce System, and an $11 million series A round led by Greylock Partners and a partnership with Workday Ventures. The company, with offices in San Francisco and Dublin, was founded by two former Workday executives and a former Groupon technologist.

With respect to where there is a critical gap in the solution marketplace, the co-founder and CEO of Utmost, Annrai O’Toole, said in a recent announcement: “With hundreds of millions of extended workers engaged with companies today, there is an undeniable shift happening, yet it is clear that businesses need new, seamless solutions to transparently manage this population.”

Greylock partner Sarah Guo offered a starker assessment of the gap in the market: “Companies in every sector engage with an extended workforce, but the rigid and clunky systems used to manage that workforce are stuck in the past. Utmost is a cloud solution for the modern, flexible enterprise, and offers a worker-centric approach to manage this population that enterprises previously lacked.”

To be clear, Utmost is building an advanced open-technology platform that will be valued by enterprises right out of the gate. But, just as important (if not more so), the company is also taking a “worker-centric” approach, starting with easy-to-use mobile apps and efficient engagement workflows for external workers (and it is also working on delivering a set of enabling services to these often severely underserved workers).

In this PRO brief, Spend Matters examines the conditions that are creating a demand for a solution like Utmost Extended Workforce, provides an explanation of the solution and looks at what it means for enterprises.

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.