The Sourcing Category

Coupa R20: Incremental Disruption in Action [PRO]

The Spend Matters analyst team recently spent some time going through a deep dive demo on Coupa R20 and found it to be a solid incremental product release. But in this brief, we wanted to discuss the “revolution through evolution” we saw in addition to the new product details that we cover. Coupa’s product releases are now running about three times per year, and it’s refreshing to see more than 500 clients quickly moving through these releases. Such is the promise of SaaS, right?

R20’s main improvements are focused on services procurement and community-based intelligence, which allows users to extract insights from the B2B data generated within the Coupa buyer and supplier base. The disruptive aspect of R20 is twofold: its attempt to tackle the big nut of services procurement with Services Maestro and its efforts to derive intelligence from its installed base through what it calls "community intelligence."

This last trend is really the most disruptive aspect of what’s happening in digital value chains. It changes the provider value proposition from serving up “empty apps” that process the data of a single customer enterprise to one that provides a collective intelligence derived and captured from mass adoption of cloud-based tools that generate the data used to drive key insights.

There are some potential risks that companies face, however, when platform providers attempt to monetize (directly or indirectly) proprietary commercial information between buyers and sellers. Just as Facebook is not really free to the users who themselves are the “product” sold to advertisers, there’s a similar effect happening with suppliers who can use business networks for free but whose data is aggregated and repackaged in ways they aren’t necessarily aware of.

In this Spend Matters PRO analysis, we explore these topics and more, as well as share our initial thoughts on some of the more interesting features in R20.

Zycus: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview [PRO]

Aatish Dedhia, Zycus’s founder, has long preached the benefits of technology provider self-sufficiency, including management-driven investment, profitable growth and organic, suite-based product development. It is based on these principles that Zycus “grew up” from a razor-focused pioneer in the spend classification sector nearly 20 years ago into a strategic procurement technologies suite and, eventually, a full end-to-end source-to-pay (S2P) suite provider. While Zycus has strong comparative solutions depth and capability in certain areas, part of its broader market appeal has been often comparatively low pricing, which we view as a value-based feather in its cap.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement and finance organizations make informed decisions about whether a provider like Zycus, either on a modular or source-to-pay suite basis, is likely to be a strong shortlist candidate for their needs. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Zycus for their S2P needs. The remainder of this multipart research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, user selection guides, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Word of Mouth May Dominate Legal Services Procurement, But Practitioners Want Better Options

When it comes to legal services procurement, a contradiction emerges in what businesses want and what they do. Although in-house lawyers at companies across the globe value sector breadth and expertise most in a search for law firms, the majority still make their choices based on personal connections rather than a neutral assessment of skill and fit, according to Global Trends in Hiring Outside Counsel: Exploring the Need for a Better Way to Identify and Appoint Law Firms, a new report commissioned by Globality.

Investigative Report Details Toxic Gas Poisoning and Other Serious Labor Violations at Key Apple Supplier

China Labor Watch released a lengthy report Tuesday detailing appalling work conditions at Catcher Technology, a supplier of computers, digital cameras and other products to Apple, Dell, HP, IBM and Sony. The factory under investigation, however, is primarily an Apple supplier, producing iPhone frames and MacBook components. Among many other labor violations, China Labor Watch found toxic gas poisoning, unsanitary food, inadequate protective gear and excessive pollution during its investigation of the Catcher factory in Suqian, China, conducted from October 2017 to January 2018.

A Revamped Operating Model is Key to Alleviating Retail’s Sourcing Woes, Report Suggests

As countries continuously replace one another on the list of new, promising apparel sourcing destinations, a report from Kurt Salmon, part of Accenture Strategy, suggests that this is but a short-term fix. The report, “From Cost-Cutting to True Value Creation — On the Road to Analytical Sourcing and Supply Chain,” proposes a smarter long-term strategy that would require retail to adapt its operating model.

Survey: Many Law Firms’ Procurement Organizations Still Crawling Toward Maturity, While Some Have Begun Walking

forced labor

HBR Consulting held its third-annual Law Procurement Roundtable last October, where law firm procurement leaders can break bread, talk strategy and do some peer benchmarking of their firms’ performance. The event also both drives and supplements the firm’s Law Firm Procurement Survey, the high-level results of which the firm released just before the new year. Spoiler alert: many of the same issues that we spoke about with HBR’s Managing Director Lee Garbowitz in the past have cropped up again.

Sourcing Head-to-Head Technology Evaluation and Comparison: Coupa and Jaggaer (BravoSolution) [PRO]

When it comes to functional capability, BravoSolution (now Jaggaer) and Coupa are the two providers to beat.

Jaggaer’s sourcing strengths should come as no surprise to those familiar with its history. Coupa’s rapid e-sourcing ascent, however, will surprise many. It went from laggard to leader in the sourcing technology sector when the ink dried on its agreement to acquire Trade Extensions. Regardless, both providers excel on a functional basis and lead in many of the buying personas for our Q4 2017 SolutionMap.

But are they the right fit for your organization?

Join us as we put on the gloves and pit Coupa and Jaggaer “head-to-head” in the Spend Matters evaluation ring. We’ll start by providing a technology summary comparative rating of each provider and then explore business requirements and scenarios, calling out the winner in each match up. If you’re considering either vendor or other sourcing competitors, look no further for an evaluation and comparison you can’t get anywhere else. This is the first in a series of “head-to-head” evaluations based on our SolutionMap data, and more matchups will follow as additional providers step into the ring and seats to these SolutionMap subscriber-specific events become available (in addition to our usual vendor deep dives on Spend Matters PRO, of course). Stay tuned!

As Sessions Tries to Kill the High, Cannabis Industry’s Domestic — and Global — Aspirations Continue Speeding Up

The new year began with a bang — especially for those in the U.S. Pacific Time Zone. That’s because the entire contiguous western seaboard has now officially legalized and instituted recreational marijuana sales and consumption, with California joining Oregon and Washington on Jan. 1 as the latest state to open dispensary doors for rec sales. Many in the pot press were quick to point out that with more than 50 million people, California represents the single-biggest individual market for recreational cannabis as the world’s sixth-largest economy. Various analysts estimate the state’s total value of the pot market will eclipse that of all other U.S. states with recreational markets combined in just a few years or less. But everything that goes up (in smoke), must come down (from its high).

It’s 2018: Do You Know Where Your Aluminum Products Are (Coming From)?

With the Section 232 investigation serving as a prompt, you definitely should know. If your organization sources aluminum or aluminum products: time to pay attention. Our sister site MetalMiner shines a light on the aluminum industry in the latest episode of their podcast series, "Manufacturing Trade Policy Confidential." Guest Heidi Brock, president and CEO of the Aluminum Association, gives listeners a sense of what matters to the aluminum industry — and what could be at stake for aluminum buyers in 2018.

Self-Sourcing Contingent Workforce: What it is and Why it Matters Now [Plus+]

Many services procurement and contingent workforce managers in mid-to-large enterprises are already at various stages of implementing supplier and spend management programs to control and enable their businesses’ consumption of the contingent workforce. These programs typically allow business users to submit a request specifying the characteristics of the kind of worker(s) or business outcome(s) they desire. From that point, it is typically the program — and its rules, processes and systems, like a vendor management system (VMS) — that will source the specified worker(s) or project(s) from third-party supplier firms, which are almost always temp agencies or statement of work (SOW) suppliers, and hopefully deliver what the business user specified and desired.

In effect, it is the program, not the business user, that sources the worker(s) or project(s) for the business user. And the business user directly engages with the worker(s) or project resources at the end of the sourcing process, which can go on for weeks, often with many repeated cycles, until the business user is satisfied with the program’s deliverable.

By contrast, self-sourcing, which will be discussed in this Spend Matters Plus brief, allows the business users to identify, engage, select and procure labor resources (today typically independent workers) on their own, directly. Self-sourcing will increasingly become a contingent workforce buying channel, driven by user demand and enabling technology, and procurement and contingent workforce managers must now begin to understand it and prepare to management it.

Comparing Jaggaer and BravoSolution: Sourcing [PRO]

The combination of Jaggaer and BravoSolution certainly brings together the broadest — and in nearly all areas the deepest — sourcing technology capabilities in the market today. This includes functionally best-in-class integrated sourcing, analytics, category and supplier management capability on the BravoSolution side, as well as Jaggaer ASO, one of the top-performing sourcing optimization solutions. Finally, even though much of the North American market is blissfully unaware of the manufacturing procurement capabilities of Jaggaer Direct, this solution tops the functional charts in specialized capabilities and adds to the unique sourcing footprint Jaggaer will have when the ink is dry on the transaction.

In this research brief, we will answer the following questions:

  • How does each respective sourcing module compare on a capability basis?
  • What are the functional strengths of each sourcing module under the surface?
  • What are the “best fit” SolutionMap personas for each sourcing module?
  • Who are alternative sourcing providers?
  • What are disruptive forces in the sourcing market (e.g., artificial intelligence, low-cost solutions) that could affect both providers?
  • Is there a disadvantage to “going non-suite” in the sourcing area?
This Spend Matters PRO brief is based on the following inputs: Q4 SolutionMap datasets (analyst scoring) based on our SolutionMap methodology, demonstration notes and Spend Matters PRO research on alternative suppliers (Vendor Snapshots).

Ask Spend Matters: Is a Group Purchasing Organization (GPO) Right for Me?

A reader recently wrote in with a question about how to find group purchasing organizations (GPOs) or purchasing consortia. This individual is a U.S.-based sourcing manager at Heidelberg, a multinational company that provides equipment and services for the print media industry. The reader told us that his company is thinking about bidding out for copiers next year, and he became interested in looking into GPOs after hearing about them at a local ISM meeting. However, a casual internet search for GPOs yielded no shortage of results.