Technology Content

SIG Executive Summit: Partnerships, Pashmina Rebellions and Polish

Three members of the Spend Matters crew came down to Carlsbad, California, for SIG’s Global Executive Summit. Pierre Mitchell, Sheena Smith and I have all enjoyed our time (and this gorgeous Southern California sunshine) so far. As the first day of the Summit kicked off Tuesday, I took the stage for a couple of minutes to announce Spend Matters’ partnership with SIG (later, I’ll share a bit more on the session that Pierre and I presented).

It was a true honor to announce the relationship to SIG members alongside my longtime friend and SIG Founder Dawn Tiura, but I had to ask why they only provided silky pashminas to delegates who get chilly vs. a slightly more masculine tweed scarf. Alas, this inspired a few of my fellow manly delegates to take the stage during a lunchtime panel in a pashmina rebellion, usurping the silky garments in a dapper manner.

In all seriousness, SIG thinks of EVERY detail for delegates. And our first day included a lot of insights.

Customer reviews for SynerTrade are in the new SolutionMap Customer Insights report

This week’s SolutionMap Customer Insights report focuses on customer reviews for SynerTrade, a source-to-pay suite provider. The applicable SolutionMap categories for this report are Source-to-Pay, Procure-to-Pay, and Strategic Procurement Technologies (SPT includes Sourcing, Analytics, CLM and SRM).

SolutionMap Insider members can read about SynerTrade in our latest report.

In each Customer Insights report, we provide a one-page summary of details from the SolutionMap peer review process. It includes ratings on how well the vendor meets its customers' expectations, three key differentiators for the vendor and a list of quotes from customers about the vendor’s greatest strengths.

Procurence Vendor Introduction (Part 2: Strengths/Weaknesses, SWOT, Selection Checklist and Market Overview) [PRO]

In Part 1 of this two-part Spend Matters PRO series, we introduced you to Procurence — a relatively new entrant to the global direct material supplier management space, based out of Warsaw, Poland. It’s a recent entrant to our SolutionMap ranking of vendors, where its scores make it a customer leader in the SRM category. While still a small player, its solution already has a lot of the breadth of more established players like Jaggaer Direct (Pool4Tool), Ivalua (Directworks) and Allocation Network. Procurence’s utilization has been growing tenfold year-over-year by its buy-side user base of over 10,000 users and supply-side user base of over 30,000 users. Whether it has everything your organization needs, however, will come down to your mix of direct vs indirect, and how similar your needs are to its existing client base, which it has been developing its Meercat solution with for the past seven years.

While Part 1 of this brief provided some background on Procurence and a high-level overview of its offering, Part 2 will provide a breakdown of what is good (and not so good) about the solution, a high-level SWOT analysis and a short selection requirements checklist that outlines the typical company for which Procurence might be a good fit.

SIG news: Sourcing Industry Group and Spend Matters announce global partnership

Today, SIG, the premier membership organization for sourcing, procurement and outsourcing executives, and Spend Matters, the leading source for procurement solutions intelligence, announce a new partnership to provide SIG buy-side members with procurement solutions intelligence and services to help them advance their digital procurement efforts.

“Spend Matters is a trusted resource among procurement professionals,” says Dawn Tiura, President and CEO of SIG, the Sourcing Industry Group. “As the procurement technology marketplace becomes increasingly crowded, this partnership will provide valuable, time-saving market intelligence to SIG members who are looking to find the best vendors to meet their organization’s specific technology needs.”

Use of eProcurement software evolves to mitigate costs, risks and add strategic insights, report says

As business executives become more interested in the use of electronic procurement software — or eProcurement — as a means to bring about more proactive results, industry leaders have begun to use the technology to target new methods of cost reduction and to yield growth and insights amid evolving industry standards.

In a recent report by Levvel Research, “2019 Procurement Insight Report,” experts discuss industry trends and business spend management strategies, which were collected in a market-wide survey conducted in April 2019. The research, sponsored by Coupa, evaluates how procurement automation software is being implemented and its effects throughout the industry. In Part 1 of this series, the report said one trend is that more business that are smaller and mid-size companies are considering the switch to digital procurement solutions.

In this article, we’ll look at what the study found about companies that have already adopted digital procurement.

What is a VMS today? Spend Matters’ SolutionMap helps define it 

work intermediation platform

Vendor management system (VMS) solutions have been synonymous with contingent workforce technology for the past two decades, but the functions associated with it have been evolving.

It began as a fit-for-purpose software application for managing temporary staffing suppliers and temporary workers, but over the past 10 years, most of these solutions have added functionality or modules to manage contract services/SOW suppliers and service delivery engagements. In the past five years, some providers of these solutions have grappled with the VMS term and concept. Today, most providers of these types of solutions still refer to themselves as VMS solutions, although their solution footprints vary.

When Spend Matters introduced its first SolutionMap for Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) enterprise technology in Q2 2018, it decided to forgo the use of the term VMS in favor of developing separate SolutionMap rankings for distinct technology solutions that addressed three extended workforce categories: (1) Temp Staffing, (2) Contract Services/SOW and (3) Direct Sourcing of Workforce/Services (formerly named “Independent Contract Workers”). This was done in part to sidestep the growing variability of the meaning of the term VMS. But more importantly, it was done based on the belief that the three categories provided a more accurate way to analyze and compare solution capabilities (to be discussed further below).

This SolutionMap Insider brief examines the current status of VMS and how Spend Matters draws a tentative line around what constitutes a VMS solution today. It also provides a high-level view of the “VMS” capabilities and an anonymized analysis of corresponding SolutionMap scores. Lastly, it concludes with questions posed to practitioners and providers about the validity of the definition and concept of VMS presented in this brief.

Procurence Vendor Introduction (Part 1: Background and SRM Solution Overview) [PRO]

direct materials sourcing

Supplier management is one of the most misunderstood terms in the procurement solution space, especially since the exact scope of processes supported by such systems varies by analyst, vendor and customer interpretation. In order to clarify, or at least differentiate, many vendors have begun slicing and dicing the SXM solution space to offer the likes of:

* Supplier Discovery Management: that help an organization identify potential new suppliers that can help it meet its products, services, diversity and/or sustainability requirements
* Supplier Information Management: that can help a supplier track all of the information it collects on a supplier, including locations, employees, products, services, certifications and certificates
* Supplier Performance Management: that can track not only supplier information but also relevant performance data on quality, reliability, delivery, invoice accuracy and sustainability
* Supplier Relationship Management: that includes not only performance data but also functionalities to manage the relationship, such as capabilities for supplier development, collaboration and innovation management
* Supplier Network Management: that can support supplier discovery but are primarily designed to support transactions (through e-document and e-payment exchange) with suppliers on the network
* Supplier Quality Management: that includes specialized capabilities to support direct materials procurement, including the management of non-conformance cost of poor supplier quality, and general quality management
* Supplier Risk Management: that includes the capability to gather multiple sources of risk data (financial, environmental, regulatory, geographic, etc.) and provide an overall risk profile

Very few vendors do more than half of this, at best, so when evaluating a supplier management software vendor, it's important to understand what fraction of this they do and whether that fraction is relevant to your business.

We'll take, for example, supplier quality management — this goes well beyond supplier performance management because it's not just tracking defect rates, uptime / reliability statistics, etc. but managing the quality process from the beginning of production to delivery of the product to the consumer. Ensuring the materials that are being sourced are of the appropriate standards and tested on receipt, that the appropriate production process is followed, that the machines are regularly tested, that the outputs are spot tested, securely packaged, and delivered to spec. Such a system should support ISO (International Standard Organization), ASQ (American Society for Quality) processes, Six Sigma, 8D Reports (based on Eight Disciplines methodology), and/or QDX (Quality Data eXchange). Very few solutions come close to this, even if they are designed for supporting direct procurement.

And while Procurence may not do all of this, it is one of the few supplier management solutions on the market that tackles quality management in addition to information, performance and risk, as well as aspects of relationship management.

Procurence was founded in 2009 in Warsaw, Poland, to provide tools to help buyers achieve transparency in their supply base, decrease supply risk, and streamline internal supplier management and communication processes.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on Procurence and its supplier management capabilities. (Non-supplier management specific capabilities are excluded.) Part 1 includes a short company overview and a detailed look at Procurence’s offering. Part 2 will provide a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a high-level SWOT analysis, a short selection requirements checklist that outlines the typical company for which Procurence might be a good fit, and some market implications and takeaways.

Smaller, mid-size businesses now looking to digital procurement solutions to cut costs, bolster strategy and growth, report says

Business leaders in the supply chain procurement space are continually seeking out ways to streamline procurement methods and cut costs. As the possibility of a looming recession remains on the minds of decision makers, procurement-minded industry members are considering how electronic procurement software — aka digital procurement or eProcurement — can ease these efforts.

Levvel Research recently launched its “2019 Procurement Insight Report,” which evaluates current industry trends and spend management strategies following a market-wide survey conducted in April 2019. The report, sponsored by Coupa, examines the ways in which procurement automation software is being implemented as procurement teams continue to shift.

VectorVMS: What Makes It Great (Temp Staffing/VMS SolutionMap Analysis)

workers

VectorVMS, previously known as PeopleFluent, delivers software and services that support businesses in the management of their contingent workforce programs.

Acquired by publicly traded Learning Technologies Group (LTG) in 2018, VectorVMS now operates as a separate business unit focused on providing contingent workforce and services (CW/S) technology solutions. VectorVMS' clients today are using its technology solution that enables organizations’ sourcing and management staffing suppliers and temp workers.

VectorVMS offers businesses what may be a unique blend of (i) solid Temp Staffing sourcing /management functionality, (ii) established domain expertise and experience and, last but not least, (iii) a set of a la carte services that (for internally managed programs, for example), can even substitute for some processes that MSPs traditionally offer. It therefore holds a unique place in Spend Matter’s SolutionMap lineup.

Spend Matters segments the evolving CW/S enterprise technology solution market into Temp Staffing and two other main categories:
* Temp Staffing (Temp), the historical focus and largest category of spend under management for established VMS providers (e.g. Beeline, Coupa-DCR Contingent Workforce, SAP Fieldglass, etc.)
* Contracted Services/SOW (SOW), the spend on services provided by organized suppliers (e.g., professional services, etc.), the sprawling category of spend now contributing the highest growth to some VMS providers’ spend under management.
* Direct Sourcing of Workforce/Services (DSW/S), the spend on directly-sourced individual external workers and very-small-scale services providers, a category of spend that is becoming more relevant to many businesses.

At the time of the Q3 2019 Solution Map RFI submission, VectorVMS reported providing temporary staffing solution capabilities to nearly 200 clients in various private sector verticals (such as healthcare) as well as government. While VectorVMS did demo an appreciable set of capabilities addressing Complex Services/SOW, it is not represented in that SolutionMap this quarter (but may be in a subsequent quarters).

The Spend Matters SolutionMap contains functional and customer satisfaction benchmarks on more than 50 technology providers within the broad procurement solution landscape, including 14 providers within the CW/S segment. But where does VectorVMS stand out most and help “set the bar” for the Temp Staffing solution segment? And why should this matter for procurement and HR organizations? Let’s delve into the SolutionMap benchmark to find out where VectorVMS is great.

“What Makes It Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider subscribers. Based on both our rigorous evaluation process and customer reference reviews, each brief offers quick facts on the provider, describes where it excels, provides hard data on where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark and concludes with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider it.

Oracle Procurement Cloud Update — The Sleeping Giant is Waking Up [PRO]

Spend Matters attended Oracle’s recent OpenWorld conference to see the latest developments in its cloud ecosystem, especially within Oracle Procurement. Oracle continues to make progress in its strategy of transforming from a technology and products company to one of cloud services. It was a decision that has taken time to develop, but without a doubt this vision is beginning to crystallize as a unified solution within the Oracle Cloud (aka Oracle Fusion) technology platform.

In this Spend Matters PRO article, we will discuss:

* Oracle’s overall cloud strategy and its relevance to procurement
* Latest Oracle procurement product updates and plans
* Analysis of Oracle’s methodical progress in a dynamic market, and what it can teach SAP Ariba (and vice versa)
* Opportunities and emerging progress in platforms and “business networks”

Application-wise, Oracle is a slow and steady provider of cloud-based procurement applications, with a strength in P2P (as evidenced in its performance in our most current P2P SolutionMap ranking). And it’s making progress in its strategic procurement application areas — especially in contract management, where its solution is surprisingly strong relative to non-best-of-breed CLM players. But the game in the market is shifting beyond applications toward open platforms and ecosystems.

Can Oracle seize the opportunity? We’ll discuss...

Procurement Consulting Analysis: A review of KPMG’s procurement systems/technology practice [PRO]

consulting

KPMG is a noted procurement solutions and technology consultancy, with a large, mature and experienced global practice for systems integration (SI). It has developed working relationships with a range of technology firms, including Coupa, Ivalua, SAP Ariba, Oracle and most recently GEP. It has hundreds of customer deployments under its belt.

This Spend Matters PRO analysis provides background on KPMG’s systems integration/technology practice in the procurement solutions market. It includes facts and figures, like a list of how many people at KPMG are trained to implement each tech firm’s solution. But, primarily, this PRO analysis highlights the voice and experience of KPMG’s clients. We also offer data-driven recommendations and analysis for organizations considering KPMG as a systems implementation and consulting partner.

This report is based on extensive primary research by our Spend Matters team and from our SolutionMap’s customer reference process, where real-life customers share their vendor experiences and help us rank vendors. Spend Matters surveyed a range of KPMG clients in Q2 and Q3 2019, collecting qualitative and quantitative insights from organizations that had gone through implementations, change management, transformation and related initiatives as part of procurement technology deployments. KPMG also provided facts and figures about its practice directly to Spend Matters.

Utmost’s Extended Workforce System: What’s Behind It, What Is It and What Does It Mean for Enterprises? [PRO]

It is important for enterprises to have a handle on the whole of their contingent (or extended) workforce. Not just temporary workers supplied by staffing firms, but also workers that are engaged through service providers (ranging from building maintenance companies to management consulting firms and BPOs ). And then there are the independent and freelancer workers of all kinds, however they are classified.

A new workforce technology start-up, Utmost, thinks it’s very important to enterprises — and workers too. The company recently announced the launch of its core platform, Utmost Extended Workforce System, and an $11 million series A round led by Greylock Partners and a partnership with Workday Ventures. The company, with offices in San Francisco and Dublin, was founded by two former Workday executives and a former Groupon technologist.

With respect to where there is a critical gap in the solution marketplace, the co-founder and CEO of Utmost, Annrai O’Toole, said in a recent announcement: “With hundreds of millions of extended workers engaged with companies today, there is an undeniable shift happening, yet it is clear that businesses need new, seamless solutions to transparently manage this population.”

Greylock partner Sarah Guo offered a starker assessment of the gap in the market: “Companies in every sector engage with an extended workforce, but the rigid and clunky systems used to manage that workforce are stuck in the past. Utmost is a cloud solution for the modern, flexible enterprise, and offers a worker-centric approach to manage this population that enterprises previously lacked.”

To be clear, Utmost is building an advanced open-technology platform that will be valued by enterprises right out of the gate. But, just as important (if not more so), the company is also taking a “worker-centric” approach, starting with easy-to-use mobile apps and efficient engagement workflows for external workers (and it is also working on delivering a set of enabling services to these often severely underserved workers).

In this PRO brief, Spend Matters examines the conditions that are creating a demand for a solution like Utmost Extended Workforce, provides an explanation of the solution and looks at what it means for enterprises.