The Technology Category

Getting the Most from Sourcing Optimization (Part 1): Lessons From Leaders [PRO]

Global Risk Management Solutions (GRMS)

The combination of Trade Extensions and Coupa may seem a curious one for those unfamiliar with either organization, and may even raise questions for those who know both. As Trade Extensions’ recent customer event showed (see our live coverage here, here and here), the sourcing optimization specialist and its customers continue to push the limits of what is possible with e-sourcing. In contrast, procurement organizations that gravitate to Coupa — even highly sophisticated ones — tend to do so because they want to avoid complexity for their users and make the transactional buying process as simple as possible, all the while guiding users to make the best decisions for the business.

This two-part PRO research note provides additional perspective from Trade Extensions’ customer event on how this spectrum of complexity and simplicity may not be incongruous in the future; rather, sourcing optimization could serve as a better mousetrap to identify complexity, deconstruct it and ultimately redefine procurement’s role in the business by changing how the function is conceived. But before that can happen, there’s a more important topic address: the fact that most firms using Trade Extensions (and other sourcing optimization technologies) have only begun to scratch the surface of embracing complexity — let alone containing, controlling, distilling and simplifying it.

Part 1 of this series explores how an organization can get the most from sourcing optimization once it has signed up for it, which is easier said than done. We explore three areas: selecting the right users and training them effectively to use optimization, leveraging a center of excellence (CoE) to scale efforts and thinking big (i.e., beyond category-driven events alone). Spend Matters would like to thank all of the conference attendees and Trade Extensions for sharing these ideas.

Trade Extensions Dispatch: Templates on Sourcing Steroids or Just An “App” By Another Name?

Trade Extensions co-founder Dr. Arne Andersson just previewed the next release of the Trade Extensions platform (TESS 6.0) this afternoon at the Trade Extensions U.S. customer event in Atlanta. TESS 6.0 (coming this spring or early summer) marks a giant step forward. The entire user experience is transformed. More on this from us later, but one aspect of the new release is “apps.” These are essentially templates on steroids. Yet they’re simple and powerful at the same time.

Trade Extensions Dispatch: Is The Supply Chain Ready to Be Defined by Sourcing?


Trade Extensions sells the most advanced sourcing optimization technology that Spend Matters has encountered on the market today (read our research, linked below, if you want to understand why). It’s capable of tackling extremely complex multitier sourcing challenges. This is one of the reasons Coupa is buying it. Yet today, most customers are just scratching the surface of what the tool can enable in the majority of their sourcing events (if not all).

Spend Matters 50 Providers to Watch/50 Providers to Know to be Released at ISM2017

Spend Matters will release its fourth annual “50 Providers to Know/50 Providers to Watch” lists on May 22 in conjunction with the annual ISM conference. In addition to taking an active role in the programming, the Spend Matters team will be handing out recognition plaques to vendors on the exhibition floor. Jason Busch and Pierre Mitchell will also also co-host a Q&A webinar on Wednesday, May 31, at 1 p.m. CDT, to explore what you should know about vendors on the 2017 lists.

Accenture Invests in and Partners with WorkMarket to Help Enterprises Address the Future of Work — Now

Professional services firm Accenture has taken a minority share in Work Market, a “work automation platform” business founded in 2010. Accenture and Foundry Group together invested $25 million in this most recent round. Between June 2010 and January 2015, Work Market raised $41 million in four rounds; this most recent round raises the cumulative total to $56 million.

Beeline Makes Another Leap into the New World of Augmented Intelligence With Beeline Assistant

Beeline, which refers to itself as a global leader in software solutions for sourcing and managing the extended workforce, announced earlier this week that it is introducing a new artificial intelligence (AI)-based “virtual assistant” feature called Beeline Assistant. Beeline and IQN, both recognized technology solution innovators in the space, merged earlier this year. Beeline Assistant has been implemented on both VMS software products.

Ivalua Raises $70 Million from KKR: First Take Analysis

Ivalua, a procurement technology suite vendor, announced Wednesday it had raised $70 million in a minority investment round from private equity firm KKR. Originally a France-based firm, Ivalua moved its headquarters to the U.S. in recent years and has continued to expand globally. While terms of the investment — nor Ivalua’s revenue — were not disclosed, Spend Matters estimates the transaction values the firm at less than the price/revenue multiple of Coupa and more than what Accel-KKR paid for Jaggaer (when it took SciQuest private).

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

For many industries and regions, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability are de rigueur. In several cases, there is also legislation to back them up, and there are no signs the resulting regulations are going away anytime soon.

Despite this, may companies pay CSR little more than lip service. There are numerous reasons for this. For one, CSR often has a hard time competing for budget and investments relative to other “hot” projects focused on short-term cost savings. This is a shame, because when CSR is extended to the supply base, it can actually be used to demonstrate not just regulatory/customer compliance but also to tap supplier innovation, lower costs, reduce supply risk and increase brand leverage.

The bigger tactical issue, however, is that extending CSR out to suppliers is simply hard to do cost effectively — especially if you want to do it properly. Getting hundreds (or thousands) of suppliers to adhere to basic contract terms and a vague supplier code of conduct document is one thing, but getting them to comply with more impactful and enforceable clauses for CSR/sustainability is even more challenging. If you’re a buying organization that’s truly concerned with de-risking your supply chain and looking beyond “check the box” compliance, you need to have a way to engage your suppliers in a more compelling way. Suppliers have many demands on their time and investments, too, so offering them something more than an edict is necessary.

But perhaps the most vexing question begins with measuring success. When you get down to it, how do you even define sustainability and responsibility? How do you measure it? And how do you know whether your performance against those measurements is good or bad for your industry or overall, especially when core requirements for CSR and sustainability differ across dozens of industries and hundreds of categories?

It takes expertise, and not just software. EcoVadis knows this, and that's why it has more than 150 CSR experts on staff to evaluate supplier profiles, documents and third-party audits to objectively gauge the corporate social responsibility of a company against a benchmarked numeric scale. It integrates this expertise into a unique combination of automated supplier surveys, certifications (gathering, analysis, validation, and publishing), benchmarking and training across 21 major CSR factors (with potentially hundreds of atomic level questions) derived from a combination of major global CSR standards — and augmented by best practice. It’s pretty cool when you see it in action.

In this Spend Matters PRO analysis, we’ll dive into EcoVadis’ company background, its solution offering and some recommendations on how the firm is best used to maximize value. Part 2 of this analysis will focus on strengths, weaknesses and production selection guidance. Part 3 will then wrap up with SWOT Analysis, competitive analysis, shortlist guidance and final commentary and recommendations.

Sponsored Article

12-Step Program for Implementing an Effective E-Procurement Strategy

Spend Matters welcomes this sponsored article from Paulie Anthony, director of marketing at Aquiire.

The cost of indirect spend can add up quickly. However, studies have shown that for a typical company, a 5% reduction in purchasing cost can improve the bottom line as much as a 30% increase in sales. But CPOs and other purchasing leaders face a tough battle to secure a budget for investing in vital e-procurement software unless they can show a strong proof of impact and a measurable ROI.

Procure-to-Pay (P2P) SolutionMap℠: 8 Vendors Ranked by Practitioner Persona

Huzzah! The rankings and comparative graphics for the third and final solution area — procure-to-pay (P2P) suites — of our SolutionMap℠ Q2 2017 report have finally arrived. With these last 6 'quadrant'-like comparisons, the Spend Matters Analyst team has now provided a holistic look at a number of technology vendors providing e-procurement and invoice-to-pay solutions, as well as procure-to-pay suites.

What You Need to Know About SolutionMap

  • Participating vendors are scored both on Solution Capability and on Customer Value.
  • SolutionMap features vendor rankings based on common procurement organization “personas” (more below).
  • The SolutionMap will be updated quarterly to actively reflect market developments.
  • SolutionMap graphics and high-level summaries are available for free and we encourage you to re-post and share them with your network.
  • If interested in digging deeper into the back-end data and listings of typical user requirements, vendor selection tips and background on the vendor rankings, subscribe to Spend Matters PRO for full access.

What Say? Personas?

No two procurement organizations are alike. Each has its own “persona” that reflects not only its own value proposition and engagement approach, but also the stakeholders it serves. The same principle holds true of procure-to-pay (P2P) application providers. Each has a persona that reflects its value proposition, solution strategy and targeted customer segments.

Procurement organizations should seek providers whose personas best align to theirs. Here are our six personas:

  • Nimble
  • Deep
  • DIY
  • Mega
  • ERP Wrapper
  • Industry

More detail on these in the full article — log in or sign up for FREE below.

The Procure-to-Pay SolutionMap – Q2 2017

Access the additional 5 graphics by persona (including an all-in-one PDF) and a summary of the personas' key criteria in the full article.

Vendor Summary Report: Procure-to-Pay SolutionMap℠ Q2 2017 [PRO]

This SolutionMap analyzes a select group of procure-to-pay solution providers. It is part of our Q2 2017 SolutionMap report series, also featuring e-procurement and invoice-to-pay solution providers individually (including an expanded set of providers in each area).

Spend Matters tracks more than 50 procure-to-pay solution providers. This analysis features many of the largest procure-to-pay providers, specifically Coupa, Determine, GEP, Ivalua, Pool4Tool, SAP Ariba, Vroozi and Zycus. We will be adding additional providers for the Q3 and Q4 2017 updates (as well as in 2018 and beyond).

SolutionMap ratings provide comparative rankings and insight into how each provider scored from a solution and customer value perspective. It provides a breakdown of solution scoring for each vendor on the category level (e.g., catalog management, shopping/requisitioning, ordering/order management, receiving, supplier network, configurability, technology/architecture and services, invoice structure/capture, invoice collaboration and compliance, additional invoicing technology components, financing/payment, supplier network, configurability, technology/architecture and services). It also provides insight into how customers scored procure-to-pay vendors (e.g., likelihood of recommending the provider, level of value perceived, business value, ability to meet expectations, deployment speed, ROI, TCO and innovation).

Solution scoring is based on analysis of individual vendor capability, including in-depth tech reviews, a highly detailed Spend Matters RFI, and live demonstrations and Q&A by the Spend Matters team. The Customer Value score stems from aggregated direct customer input (survey based).

While Spend Matters does not recommend that existing and potential customers of providers use technology and customer scoring alone to shortlist or evaluate technology providers, the insight, along with SolutionMap’s persona-based ratings, provides a point-in-time perspective that may be useful as either a starting point in an evaluation or a contributing factor to a formal software selection process.

More detailed information on comparative technology subcategory-level scoring can be found in individual Spend Matters PRO SolutionMap Vendor Analyses (publishing in April 2017). Spend Matters reserves its most granular level of scoring and analysis for its practitioner advisory clients, and we invite procurement organizations to contact us for more information.

How Automatable are Procurement and Supply Chain Jobs?


Last Tuesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to review the H-1B visa program, which brings 85,000 highly skilled foreign workers to the U.S. every year. The executive order was long coming. Critics of the current program argue that since workers under the H-1B visa cannot leave for another employer without starting the visa process over again, employers can give them lower wages than what American workers would receive. But what about the robots?