The Sourcing Category

eBid Systems: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary & Competitive Analysis [PRO]

contract

Spend Matters has often noted that the market for strategic sourcing solutions is highly fragmented, with no clear leader or collection of leaders. This stands in contrast to the e-procurement and invoice-to-pay markets, where best-of-breed vendors are still thriving but consolidation among larger providers is influencing industry dynamics and many selection processes. Yet within the strategic sourcing market, it is difficult to point to any single vendor or set of vendors, look at any metric and say anything but vendor fragmentation is the rule.

This is both a positive and negative for providers like eBid Systems, given the challenge of competing against so many providers rather than aiming at a single target. Within this competitive environment, this final installment of our Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering eBid Systems offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other strategic sourcing providers for shortlist consideration. It also includes a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provided a company and deep dive solution overview, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider eBid Systems.

Shining a Light on Dark Procurement: Getting Complex Categories Under Control

category management

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Brian Miller, vice president of services at Proactis.

“Dark” procurement, a new label for a well-known challenge in the discipline, is elevating concerns over purchasing waste and threatening efficient, optimized procurement. This is especially apparent in complex spend categories, particularly business services. Characterized by a lack of procurement awareness and process transparency in these categories, “dark” purchases leave organizations exposed to inefficiencies, greater costs and more risks.

eBid Systems: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses [PRO]

RFP

eBid Systems is one of more than 30 technology providers that Spend Matters tracks that provide strategic sourcing solutions to private firms and public sector organizations around the globe. eBid Systems recently re-platformed its solution, an effort which included enhancing a range of modular and functional areas — as well as the user interface — making it more competitive with other solutions in the global market. Over 50% of eBid System’s 300-plus customers are public sector organizations, almost entirely at the smaller state and municipal level, but private sector companies may also value the combination of low-cost licensing, core e-sourcing, full audit trails, rules-driven compliance, vendor management and associated capabilities provider offers.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores eBid System’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider it for their needs. The first installment of our analysis provided a company and solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering eBid Systems. Part 3 will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

eBid Systems: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview [PRO]

Oracle

There is no shortage of strategic sourcing technology vendors in the market today. Customers have choices ranging from per-event pricing with smaller providers to integrated solutions that combine rich supplier management, contract management and transactional procurement capability — not to mention specialty solutions that bring generalized technology differentiation, category-specific or other unique capabilities.

Within this smorgasbord of choice — and yes, there are even vendors that started in the Scandinavian market to chose from globally now — one provider from the Pacific Northwest, eBid Systems, has carved out a distinct customer niche in state/local publication sector and higher education sourcing. Nearly 20 years since its founding, it counts 200 public sector customers and 100 private sector organizations using its technology.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about eBid Systems strategic sourcing technology capabilities. 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 eBid Systems in the procurement technology area. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Consumer Buying Power: A New Meaning in the Age of Trump?

retail

A report by Trade Extensions titled “Consumers’ Attitudes Toward Manufacturers, Retailers and Suppliers” has implications for many facets of the CSR trend — from brand reputation, to ethical sourcing, to the classic “what does it mean for the bottom line?” One finding from the report indicates that the retailer is the most important entity (above manufacturers and suppliers) that U.S. and U.K. consumers think about when buying something — which is perhaps related to why the recent Nordstrom firestorm was more about Nordstrom, not who makes Ivanka Trump's clothing line or how it sells. But the survey’s more interesting findings touch on fair treatment of suppliers.

Top 10 Ways to Radically Expand Category Management Value Creation [Plus+]

category management

In the never-ending quest to deliver more value, procurement organizations are trying to squeeze more savings and innovation out of spend categories. But, eventually the well starts to run dry, and when that happens, you need to either get more out of that well (fracking for spend savings, perhaps?), dig a deeper well, find another place to dig, or find another way to get the water.

My point? To improve category management, which we sometimes affectionately refer to as CatMan, you sometimes have to expand it or blow it up completely. Here are some ideas that I’ve seen work elsewhere that can hopefully give you some inspiration and raise your category management game.

ERP or Best-of-Breed? (Part 2): Look to Sourcing Best Practices for Best Software

In our opening salvo on the latest and greatest edition of the “ERP vs. Best-of-Breed?” issue, I mentioned that baseline definitions are critical to understanding the deeper problems inherent in the debate. Defining “best-of-breed” (What does best mean? What breed are we talking about? Must the breed be apps-only?) and “app suites” (Single app? Or a ‘sweet suite’?) is the first step of the process. That’s because there are multiple options between these two ends of the spectrum. And, it’s really important to understand that a single ERP provider (or even BoB suite provider) doesn’t equate to an integrated solution set, a single architecture or a common support model, among other things. So let’s start with how to optimally source this technology (and/or broader XaaS services) — by looking to strategic sourcing.

What is Supplier Management? Here’s a Primer

suppliers

This may seem like a ridiculously simple question whose answer comes embedded in the term itself (“Managing suppliers!”), but it can be tricky. Supplier management is a broad term, and it has become ever broader in its evolution from a post-contract area to include also strategy and planning and other pre-contract activities. In other words, supplier management has become supplier lifecycle management. But to nail down a pithy definition for supplier management, it is “simply the management of supplier-facing business processes throughout the lifecycle of a supplier,” as Spend Matters analysts Michael Lamoureux and Pierre Mitchell put it in their Supplier Management 101 series.

Sustainable Nutella: A New Report on Palm Oil Supply Chain Transparency

supply chain visibility

It’s been a difficult few years for Nutella, that delicious chocolate hazelnut spread made by Ferrero. First, it was linked to the loss of critical natural habitat for orangutans, due to one controversial ingredient: palm oil. Then, more recently, dramatic headlines claimed Nutella consumption have bigger health implications than ingesting all that sugar. “Could Nutella give you CANCER?” screamed the Daily Mail. And that was also due to one controversial ingredient: palm oil.

Scanmarket: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Commentary and Summary Analysis [PRO]

Today’s landscape for e-sourcing (RFX, auction, category management, sourcing optimization, etc.) is highly fragmented. There is not a single market-share leader or “dual” leadership in this sector (as is the case with Coupa and Ariba for procure-to-pay). However, there has been one trend when it comes to consolidation, and that is providers focused on the “upstream” areas inclusive not only of sourcing, but also supplier management, contract management and analytics, either building or buying their way into the procure-to-pay sector — or merging their capabilities with other solution providers in this market.

Yet one nearly full “upstream” provider focused on this market remains independent: Scanmarket. (We say “nearly full” because it remains dependent on a partner for spend classification, and it has some functional gaps in the supplier management and contract management areas.) Of course Scanmarket faces competition from different segments of providers with either more targeted or overlapping functional footprints. But its commitment and focus on strategic sourcing technology and adjacent capabilities at a global scale remains singular today, at least as independent vendors go.

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering Scanmarket provides an objective SWOT analysis of the provider and offers a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as alternative vendors to Scanmarket and offers provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides summary analysis and recommendations for companies considering the vendor. Part 1 provided an in-depth look at Scanmarket as a firm and its specific solutions, and Part 2 gave a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses and a review of the product’s user experience.

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

Scanmarket is one of the last remaining independent “upstream” procurement technology suite providers. While it brings particular capability and expertise in running both simple and complex RFX and auction processes (and formats), it also offers a range of adjacent capabilities in project management, supplier management and contract management. On many levels, Scanmarket is one of the heirs apparent to the specialized e-sourcing capability pioneered by firms like FreeMarkets and Procuri — and it also represents a targeted and cost-effective alternative to full-suite providers (as well as deeper sourcing capability than procure-to-pay specialists in the market today).

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Scanmarket’s product strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should shortlist the vendor. It also offers a critique (pros/cons) of the user interface. 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 Scanmarket in the procurement technology area. The final installment in this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

SciQuest: Solution Review & Analysis [Plus+]

SciQuest is arguably the most challenging procurement technology suite vendor to compare directly to the competition. This perhaps explains why it has tended to surface less in competitive procure-to-pay (P2P) or source-to-pay (S2P) suite opportunities outside of its traditional key vertical sectors for transactional procurement (e.g., higher education, laboratory/research, life sciences, public sector) in the past. While it is possible to label SciQuest as a procurement technology suite vendor (source-to-pay, source-to-contract and procure-to-pay), the reality is that to date, the provider has competed in multiple, infrequently overlapping segments of the procurement technology market.

Historically, SciQuest has generally had different sets of customers, prospects and competitors for its core P2P product and its sourcing optimization, spend/supply analytics and contract lifecycle management solutions. This stands in contrast to many of its peers, which have generally chosen to focus on fewer market segments (e.g, eProcurement, invoice-to-pay, etc.) rather than more as primary entry points to customers.

Yet after being acquired by Accel-KKR last year, SciQuest has started an accelerated strategic and marketing transformation process that is uniting its disparate suite elements. Today’s Spend Matters Plus analysis provides an introduction to SciQuest for procurement organizations looking to understand whether they should consider adding the provider to their shortlists for consideration, as well as competitive alternatives.