Strategic Sourcing Content

Is Direct Materials Procurement a Separate Technology Market in North America? (Part 1: Introducing a Decision Framework)

Germany, Austria and some adjacent markets have something North America doesn’t — a distinct technology market for direct materials procurement. In Europe, Pool4Tool (now Jaggaer Direct), Allocation Network, SynerTrade, SupplyOn and a range of other solution providers succeeded in creating a distinctive European direct materials procurement solutions market that exists outside the generic source-to-pay realm.

But in North America, as these providers — also joined by Ivalua and SAP Ariba, and specialists like SourceDay and Supply Dynamics, as well as the offspring of the original MFG.com, LiveSource — attempt to reach customers, I question if all of these providers are selling to individual buyers rather than a clear market segment in which procurement organizations know they need a specialized solution set.

For the sake of argument, let’s define the “bounds” of direct materials procurement solutions as encompassing any or all of the following technology areas:

Public Spend: A Look at 4 Value Levers for Public Procurement

It’s time to check in with Public Spend Forum, a sister site, to see what’s happening in public procurement. This week, we’ll focus on an article that offers some in-depth tips on four value levers for public spend. PSF offers a simple list — and then a lot of detail about each item. Click above for the highlights.

Sponsored Article

Long-term ROI from Spend Analytics: 3 Places to Think Outside the Box

Spend analytics solutions often get passed over when it comes to claims of ROI. But spend analysis can provide just as much value as better-explored options like e-procurement or sourcing systems, sometimes providing ROI immediately after being turned on. Yet quick wins and short-term value are only the starting point.

To help procurement pull its head out of the past and begin to see (and plan for) the future, here are three outside-the-box areas where spend analysis can unlock new sources of long-term value.

Jaggaer ONE: A Comparative Analysis of the S2P Suite (Source-to-Pay SolutionMap Analysis)

tech

When source-to-pay suite provider Jaggaer announced in early February the release of Jaggaer ONE, a platform that unifies the provider’s acquired solutions into a single offering, it took a big step forward in clarifying the firm’s strategy. Using a services-oriented architecture (SOA) that allows users to select discrete business processes (i.e., modules) from Jaggaer’s portfolio of technology solutions, Jaggaer ONE has articulated a vision for the company beyond bringing the code and customers from SciQuest, Pool4Tool and BravoSolution under one roof.

Jaggaer noted with the release of Jaggaer ONE that it is unifying three of its product lines — Jaggaer Indirect, Jaggaer Direct and Jaggaer Advantage — without moving them onto a single code base, allowing customers and prospects to select the best modules from each offering to fit an organization’s unique needs. It’s a cafeteria approach that allows clients to assemble a “synthetic” source-to-pay suite rather than wrestle with a patched-together “Frankensuite” (or “Frankensuite’s monster,” if you have to be that guy).

But with three distinct product choices that each cover some or all areas of the source-to-pay cycle, Jaggaer ONE presents opportunities for too much choice. How can current Jaggaer clients, prospective customers, systems integrators and consultancies determine which modules to select from the Jaggaer ONE portfolio, and how do the best-performing modules from Jaggaer ONE fare when compared against other market leaders for specific point or suite products?

This Spend Matters SolutionMap analysis examines Jaggaer’s solutions by modular and suite view to help interested parties understand the best components that make up Jaggaer ONE. It offers insight into which areas Jaggaer is strong in (and where it lags), and how competitive this SOA-unified suite is compared with other procure-to-pay (P2P), strategic procurement technologies (SPT) and source-to-pay (S2P) in comparison to its broader peer group including Coupa, Ivalua, Oracle, SAP Ariba, Synertrade and Zycus.

Overall, the results paint a comparatively promising picture for Jaggaer ONE on a functional basis, and our hats go off to the Jaggaer team for assembling such a robust set of suite building blocks — with additional enabling solutions for specific industries that extend beyond what SolutionMap even prioritizes as key ranking criteria.

For this analysis, our report uses the aggregate results of nine SolutionMaps from Q4 2018 (the most recent in our quarterly update cycle), comparing a total of 58 solution providers across more than 600 granular functional benchmarks, which are aggregated into more manageable, tiered buckets for the purpose of this analysis. (Those procurement organizations leveraging SolutionMap for a software selection process gain insight into comparative performance at a significantly more granular level of detail that maps business requirements to functional performance.) The SolutionMap analyst ratings used in this analysis are based on more than 3,000 hours of live product demonstrations and validated vendor RFI responses.

In subsequent briefs exploring Coupa, Ivalua, SAP Ariba and others, we will take a similar approach to analyzing source-to-pay providers, breaking down where end-to-end platforms excel (or fall below the functional benchmark) on module and suite bases.

Need to Gain a Competitive Edge? Find Procurement Software That’s Easy to Use

If stakeholders across the company don’t have procurement software that lets them complete sourcing activities quickly or whenever they want and with ease, then they can’t support the procurement workflows — and effectively, the business. It’s not only the procurement team that experiences friction and frustration, the entire business can feel the impact of not getting the best value or vendor. For this reason, stakeholders for procurement activities need a means of adopting, engaging and participating in workflow activities that is easy to learn, easy to use and is collaborative.

An Introduction to Sourcing Business Intelligence (Part 3): Analytics and AI in a Sourcing Context [PRO]

In the third installment of this Spend Matters PRO series, we turn our attention to how traditional human intelligence and artificial intelligence intersect with sourcing business intelligence (BI), leading to a new type of cognitive procurement built on larger and larger data foundations.

We trace the evolution of select artificial intelligence (AI) applications in procurement that are generally available today and provide examples of models that are just becoming mainstream in select markets.

But most important, we show how it is possible to let a combination of off-the-shelf capabilities and “as a service” providers do the heavy lifting in the journey toward sourcing (business) intelligence and more broadly toward supply (business) intelligence.

On Scanmarket sale, co-founder Ole Nielsen says goal was ‘staying true to our mission’

contingent workforce

After Scanmarket announced last week that it had sold its e-sourcing business to an equity partner, co-founder Ole Nielsen spoke with Spend Matters UK/Europe Editor Nancy Clinton.

In a Q&A, Nielsen touches on the 1999 origins of the company (making one of the first online B2B marketplaces), he delves into the reasons behind the sale and displays the personal attention to detail that has made the sourcing provider known for its ease of use.

“We were more concerned with staying true to our mission of getting the right fit,” he says. “That’s why we chose to partner with Verdane; they were like-minded in our business plan and direction of the company.”

Scanmarket Sells the Strategic Sourcing Vendor to Verdane

Global Risk Management Solutions (GRMS)

Scanmarket, a strategic e-sourcing provider, announced it has sold a 90% stake in its source-to-contract (S2C) company to private equity firm Verdane. The founders of Scanmarket, CEO Betina Nygaard and CCO Ole Nielsen, will retain a 10% share and continue to lead development at the Denmark-based software firm, according to the announcement. Spend Matters lead analyst Michael Lamoureux said the company has “a lot of potential, and a track record to back it up.”

The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insider’s Hot List: January 2019 (Special Focus Edition on Services) [Plus+]

Welcome to the January 2019 edition of Spend Matters’ monthly feature “The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insider’s Hot List,” available to PLUS and PRO subscribers. For those new to the Hot List, each edition covers the prior month’s important or interesting technology and innovation developments within the CW/S space, where change may be accelerating or at least becoming more pervasive.

This edition also marks the first 12 months of Hot List coverage, launched in the February 2018 inaugural edition (and covering January 2018). Our goal was to show that under the surface of the obtuse, clinical label of “contingent workforce and services” (CW/S) was a hotbed of technologically driven innovation. We sought to set the record straight, perhaps turn a few heads (maybe even provoke a double-take) and possibly prevent some unwary practitioners from getting burned. Hopefully we have fulfilled our promise.

To mark the first anniversary of the Hot List series, this month we will leave the usual format behind and seek a glimpse of the CW/S elephant in the room: complex services spend.

The real features of this spend category have (strangely enough) been obscured in the shadow cast by contingent workforce. And while there has been lots of talk about SOW spend in the CW/S world, in reality, that’s been a little bit like lighting a match in the dark to survey the full enormity of the elephant (possibly only seeing a foot or a tusk).

With that, we will now begin our safari, turn our searchlight toward the relatively unexplored territory of services spend and wrestle with questions like: What is it? How is it being addressed in different sectors? Is there a pattern emerging that may mean more and more effective ways for businesses to source and manage complex services?

Strategic Sourcing’s Evolution: A Roadmap For Improvement (Part 2) [Plus+]

SciQuest

Editor's note: This is a refresh of our 2012 series on strategic sourcing's evolution over the last and next decade, which originally ran on Spend Matters PRO. Click here for Part 1 in this analysis.

In providing a more complete picture and set of working hypotheses in terms of where strategic sourcing is headed in the coming decade, we should first look at the practitioner view of where adoption and usage is headed. We’ve tracked well over 100 companies that are using advanced scenario building and/or optimization features today, for example in their strategic sourcing tool arsenal (monthly or more frequently) outside of just the transportation area for identifying optimal lane award scenarios.

AI In Procurement Tomorrow (Part 2): Ninjabots and Augmented Intelligence [PRO]

In this series we are discussing artificial intelligence, with AI touted by many a salesperson. Virtually every vendor is claiming AI, even though it’s a stretch to promote having a fully functioning model. However, if you are willing to settle for “assisted intelligence,” that AI exists today (as per our precursor series that you can read here: AI in Procurement Today, Part 1 and Part 2), and it won't be long before we have the “augmented intelligence” that we are discussing in this series, as some vendors already have limited beta capabilities (that are typically restricted to a subset of categories) in many of these areas. In our last article, we discussed how tomorrow's systems are going to help considerably with overspend protection. In today's article, we'll consider “ninjabots” and dive into invisible buying, automatic buying and automatic opportunity identification.

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

In Part 1, we introduced you to Wax Digital, a source-to-pay provider from the UK that you may not be familiar with, especially since it has not yet participated in Solution Map (although that changes this quarter). Wax Digital is a provider of note as it is one of the few providers that has a relatively complete, integrated, source-to-pay offering on one code base that is already used globally in over 100 countries. In our last article, we overviewed some of the key parts of Wax Digital’s platform. In this post, we dive into its strengths and weaknesses.