Supplier Management Content

3 More Ways Procurement Can Transform with CRM

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Sean Harley, co-founder and CEO of LUPR.

In his recent Spend Matters post, Stan Garber described how sales organizations have leveraged customer relationship management (CRM) platforms from providers like Salesforce to achieve higher levels of success. We would like to suggest three more features of CRM that are transformative for supply management.

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

Zycus is part of an exclusive club.

It is one of the few source-to-pay suite vendors on the market that can offer at least adequate functional support across all six modular areas that Spend Matters tracks for S2P using only its internally developed capabilities. This stands in contrast to several of its biggest competitors, which have to varying degrees of success acquired and integrated best-in-class vendors or other suites to bolster their own capabilities.

And while Zycus cannot today claim its technology runs its suite of applications on a single data model, more than 95% of the solution is unified, and when compared against the market, it generally presents broad-based and out-of-the-box capability. Its solutions not only provide strong baseline (sometimes above-the-benchmark) functionality but they come from a single provider that is responsible for making it all work together.

This Spend Matters SolutionMap analysis examines Zycus’ solutions by modular and suite view to help interested parties understand the best components that make up the vendor’s end-to-end offering. It provides insight into which areas Zycus is strong in (and where it lags), how competitive individual modules are compared with best-in-class alternatives, and how combinations in the form of procure-to-pay (P2P), strategic procurement technology (SPT) and source-to-pay (S2P) suites stack up in comparison to Zycus’ broader peer group, including Coupa, Jaggaer, SAP Ariba, Ivalua and SynerTrade.

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, also called the Solution scoring, 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 SynerTrade 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. Previously, we covered the suite performances of Jaggaer, SAP Ariba, Ivalua and Coupa.

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L’Oreal Finds the Beauty of Bonfire’s Solution: Stakeholder Buy-in and Better Supplier Relations

Every growing company reaches a point when transaction volumes overwhelm misapplied IT systems and manual business processes. When that happens and the risks rise, businesses have to begin the necessary task of identifying a better way forward. For many organizations, that means automating and optimizing the sourcing process with dedicated e-sourcing software — ideally a setup that’s easy to use and gives your company a competitive edge.

As a division of the beauty products maker L’Oreal found out, the strategic sourcing platform from Bonfire could resolve many of these issues.

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

It is impossible today to discuss procurement and finance software solutions without mentioning Coupa. Since its founding in 2006, Coupa has grown into one of the best-known providers of technology for corporate purchasing as well as invoicing and payments, sourcing, and spend analysis. And its philosophy of business spend management (BSM) resurrected — and improved upon — the original premise that gave rise to Spend Matters back in 2004 (spend does matter).

The awareness of Coupa in the market is due in no small part to its 2016 IPO, which brought the provider into the wider public eye while also providing it with the balance sheet to support an aggressive M&A program. The result is that Coupa can now claim some of the most advanced procurement-specific capabilities in multiple technology areas, as it has acquired several market-leading vendors and integrated their functionality into its own platform.

But where does Coupa excel the most, and where do its comparatively few weaknesses lie, measured against both best-of-breed vendors for standalone technology areas (e.g., contract lifecycle management) and competing suite providers (e.g., procure-to-pay, source-to-pay)?

 This Spend Matters SolutionMap analysis examines Coupa’s solutions by modular and suite view to help interested parties understand the best components that make up the vendor’s end-to-end offering. It provides insight into which areas Coupa is strong in (and where it lags), how competitive individual modules are compared with best-in-class alternatives, and how combinations in the form of procure-to-pay (P2P), strategic procurement technology (SPT) and source-to-pay (S2P) suites stack up in comparison to Coupa’s broader peer group, including Jaggaer, SAP Ariba, Ivalua, Oracle, SynerTrade and Zycus.

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 SynerTrade, Zycus 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. Previously, we covered the suite performances of Jaggaer, SAP Ariba and Ivalua.

What the Heck are Companies Buying When They Purchase Accounts Payable Technology?

Spend Matters recently ran two surveys (one to procurement/finance practitioners and one to technology providers) in preparation for the launch of the Spend Matters Accounts Payable Automation SolutionMap later in 2019. Many of our questions focused on how users and providers define the bounds of AP automation solutions since there is often a disconnect even within the vendor community — let alone the user community. Accounts payable technology covers many business areas, so the market for the solutions is confusing. It's hard to compare them apples to apples.

Q4 2018 SolutionMap Sourcing, Spend and Procurement Analytics, Supplier Relationship Management & Risk, Contract Lifecycle Management and Strategic Procurement Technology Suite Release Notes

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider release note provides insight into the Q4 2018 SolutionMap release for Sourcing, Spend and Procurement Analytics, Supplier Relationship Management & Risk, Contract Lifecycle Management, and Strategic Procurement Technologies Suite SolutionMaps, reviewing the process we follow and highlighting what has changed since the last release.

Within the individual areas covered in this brief, the following providers have been added to the Q4 2018 release:

  • Coupa is now participating in Supplier Relationship Management & Risk and Contract Lifecycle Management
  • SourceMap is participating in Supplier Relationship Management & Risk
  • Wax Digital is participating in Sourcing


Additionally, providers such as AnyData, Determine, Exari, Ivalua, Jaggaer Advantage and Jaggaer Indirect, Keelvar, Scanmarket, Scout RFP and Sievo have received updated scoring following the submission and demonstration of new capabilities based on production releases of individual modules. (Non-GA capabilities are not considered in SolutionMap scoring.) Perhaps most important, over 67 new or refreshed customer references (and over 100+ modular references) were added in the Strategic Procurement Technology areas for Q4.

Focus on Supply Risk Management Can Aid Supplier Relationships, State of Flux Reports

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Positioning supplier relationship management (SRM) programs as a way to ensure broader supply risk management is an untapped opportunity for businesses looking to address sustainability challenges, according to a recent State of Flux report.

As we’ve reported on the “Sustainable SRM: Nurturing Growth in a New Climate” report from State of Flux, sustainability is becoming a greater consideration when it comes to supplier relationships, due to increasing demand from consumers for ethical products and pressure from governments and investors to consider environmental factors in production. The report highlights a number of challenges facing organizations as they integrate sustainability into their procurement goals, including buy-in up and down the organization, proper segmentation of suppliers and others.

While setting up a proper governance structure, getting buy-in throughout the entire organization and deepening relationships with suppliers takes time, companies can also assess their level of SRM, determine how they manage risk, evaluate their staff’s skills and resources, and ensure their technology is working for them.

AdaptOne: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary and Competitive Analysis [PRO]

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The supplier management technology market is among the most fragmented of those in the procurement technology landscape.

It comprises multiple segments (and sub-segments), and Spend Matters now tracks approximately 50 providers that compete within niche segments of it. One of these providers is AdaptOne, a vendor specializing in supplier information management that perfectly matches Spend Matters’ SolutionMap “Turnkey” persona for supplier management. This Spend Matters PRO report provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about AdaptOne’s solution — and whether its “turnkey” services-driven approach is right for them.

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 AdaptOne in the procurement, supply chain and finance technology areas. Part 2 covered product strengths and weaknesses. This final installment offers SWOT analysis, explores competitive alternatives to AdaptOne and provides insight into evaluation and selection considerations, including a prioritization/fit checklist.

Supplier Relationship Management Needs a Jolt of Technology, State of Flux’s SRM Summit Finds

Procurement has made significant strides in supporting supplier relationship management initiatives, but poor investment in technology could limit the potential benefits those programs can deliver in the years to come, according to State of Flux, a consulting firm that specializes in SRM and which held its annual SRM summit in Chicago on Oct. 23. Over the decade that State of Flux has monitored SRM maturity, procurement organizations have made considerable improvements in several areas — but not in adopting and using technology dedicated to SRM.

Why Platforms Need to Monetize Their Supplier Ecosystem

Because P2P solutions started giving away supplier portals, cash flow optimizers, analytics, support, etc., they closed a revenue door. Trying to build a sustainable business model when half your ecosystem is not monetized is very challenging, even as P2P platforms add features and functionality. Sure, many platforms are trying to figure out payments, and that is something that scares the bejeebers out of them due to regulations and compliance rules. (Don’t pay that blacklisted vendor or person, or else.) But payments is not a profitable business for platforms, it’s a service.

Ivalua vs. SAP Ariba: A Supplier Management ‘Battle of the Best’ for Q3 2018 SolutionMap

Our ongoing Head-to-Head comparison series has been immensely popular with members of our new SolutionMap Insider subscription service. But for Q3 2018 SolutionMap results, which have not yet published, we thought it would be fun to shake things up a bit. With functional scoring for supplier management solutions now finalized for the quarter (and due out in September), the Spend Matters analyst team thought we’d tweak the Head-to-Head format to create a “Battle of the Best,” pitting the two highest-ranked vendors in a given procurement software category against each other.

This week, using the latest SolutionMap data, we pit the two top-ranked supplier management solutions for Q3 2018 against each other: Ivalua and SAP Ariba. That’s right — two suite vendors are now officially eating the feature/function lunch of best-of-breed solutions for supplier management, at least on an aggregate scoring basis. (Aggregate is the operative term here. In specific functional areas, best-of-breed providers may still be stronger and, for specific buying personas, may be a better fit.)

To be sure, several best-of-breed solutions still come out on top for groupings of scored fields when it comes to targeted ratings in support of such areas as third-party management, supplier diversity and master data management. But even the third-ranked provider for Q3 supplier management functional scoring, Jaggaer Advantage, which is just a hair under Ivalua and SAP Ariba in terms of overall scoring, is also a suite provider.

When it comes to the Supplier Management SolutionMap overall — which includes both aggregate and atomic scoring for supplier enablement, performance management, risk management, collaboration, innovation, diversity, technology, configurability and services, among other areas — the suites are convincingly winning the Spend Matters analyst ratings battle for broad-based supplier management enablement.

Still, SolutionMap data suggest that the right solution will vary based on different initiative and organizational requirements — and how much “heavy lifting” a procurement, supply chain or finance organization wants to take on to enable different supplier management scenarios compared with choosing a partner that is expert in a single or handful of areas. But there’s no debate that supplier management processes will reward procurement organizations that tailor provider selection to their specific needs, even specific supplier management initiative requirements in cases where supplier management will not be at the core of a suite-based selection.

Not yet an Insider member? Contact Spend Matters to gain access to SolutionMap reports, ratings and associated content. Organizations in the midst of software selection that can’t wait for broader Q3 2018 data to be published can access the full Q2 2018 Supplier Management SolutionMap on demand or contact Spend Matters to access the Q3 2018 data in advance of release.  

Building the Business Case for Managing Suppliers With Technology: 7 ROI Levers (Part 1 — Active Supplier Management) [PRO]

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The return on investment (ROI) for supplier management does not have to be nebulous. With limited effort, procurement organizations can build a compelling business case for supplier management either as a component of broader source-to-pay implementations or on a standalone basis, as well as to develop specific KPIs to measure overall program savings and ongoing cost avoidance.

In the first two installments of this series, we introduce the primary ROI levers of supplier management technology initiatives. Our introduction to the topic explored the three levers at the front-end of the supplier lifecycle that can form the foundation of a business case. Today we continue our exploration of the seven primary ROI levers, with an emphasis on those in the “active” phase of supplier management efforts. These include contract compliance and enforcement, compliance and credentialing, and performance and risk management. Later in the series, we will provide more detailed ROI model inputs and ranges procurement teams can use in building a business case in each of these areas.

When you’ve got your supplier management business case ready, check out the latest Spend Matters Supplier Management SolutionMap to see how supplier management solutions such as Aravo, ConnXus, Determine, GEP, HICX, Ivalua, Jaggaer, SAP Ariba, State of Flux, SynerTrade and Zycus stack up in each of the areas we pinpoint as savings levers.

Spend Matters PRO practitioner clients can also contact their client services representative for an interactive Excel-based ROI model which can serve as one of the basis for building supplier management business cases.