The Technology Category

Coupa Buys Aquiire, Adding to Its Lead in Catalog Search and Front-End Shopping Usability

Coupa is buying Aquiire, a provider of e-procurement software that brings notable capabilities in real-time search and catalog management, for an undisclosed sum, the company announced Monday. In purchasing Aquiire, Coupa gains not only additional modern front-end shopping capabilities (some might argue among the most advanced) but also a complement to the industry-leading catalog management technology it gained from acquiring Simeno in December 2017.

Direct Material Sourcing and Supplier Management Platforms (Part 2) [Plus+]

In the first installment of this series, I introduced six distinct platform areas that manufacturers are making investments in as part of core efforts to drive more successful savings, efficiency, compliance, collaboration and supplier engagement programs. The first, design/engineering and sourcing enablement solutions, represents a new class of direct materials e-sourcing toolsets that attempt to accomplish numerous objectives. Why are all of these areas so essential, especially in concert together? This Spend Matters Plus analysis examines why.

An Introduction to Sourcing Business Intelligence (Part 2): The Leap from Sourcing Analytics to Supply Intelligence [PRO]

data analytics

In Part 1 of this Spend Matters PRO research series, we defined and explored the concept of sourcing business intelligence (BI), an emerging focus area for an increasing number of procurement organizations. Sourcing BI is not a “tool” like a spend analysis application module or a general purpose BI tool — like the visualization tools Qlik, Tableau or Sisense. Rather it is an enabling approach to sourcing, supplier management, total cost modeling/should cost analysis and related initiatives like clean sheeting that focus on the ability to incorporate increasingly rich external market, commodity, category and supplier intelligence with existing internal data sets, process flows and activities to enhance savings, compliance and organizational resilience.

Much of this activity is occurring within category management where managers are trying to move from historical descriptive analytics to “outside-in” predictive/prescriptive analytics that yield true intelligence rather than just subscribing to tribal best-practices sharing and generic data-as-a-service (DaaS) offerings in the marketplace.

In Part 2 of exploring sourcing business intelligence, we first will set some context about how to make the leap from sourcing analytics to broader supply intelligence. “Supply management” is bigger than “sourcing management” — and similarly — “intelligence” is bigger than “analytics.” By understanding this evolution, it helps us set up a deeper discussion into how artificial intelligence relates to analytics — with an immediate focus on sourcing, but a longer-term focus on broader spend/supply.

ADP and the Future of Work (Part 2) — Innovation R&D, Acquisitions [PRO]

interest rates

In Part 1 of this PRO series, we laid out ADP’s business characteristics, its market and financial strength, and its increased investment in innovation R&D as a backdrop and foundation for its pursuit of its future of work strategy. In this second part of the series, we examine the significant technology developments and recent strategic acquisitions that make up key execution components of the strategy. Part 3 will bring the pieces together to describe this strategy and what it may mean in a broader industry context.

ADP and the Future of Work (Part 1) — The Foundation [PRO]

Spend Matters’ coverage of ADP — the global payroll, human capital management (HCM) solution and HR managed services provider — had been infrequent since mid-2015, when ADP sold its procure-to-pay business to Oildex. That made sense since Spend Matters tends to focus on technology and innovation from the procurement perspective, and (given ADP’s traditional focus on internal employees), there was not even much of a link to the contingent workforce area.

But that changed in early 2018, when ADP acquired the freelancer management system (FMS) WorkMarket, and it soon became clear that something larger was brewing at ADP. In fact, we have since looked more closely and found that the company is not only executing a strategy to address needs related to the growing freelancer or independent contract workforce (ICW) — but it also is making a great leap forward in rolling-out a leading-edge core technology platform for its payroll and HCM solutions and services, something that will no doubt play a role in the company’s freelancer/ICW, agile total workforce and overall future of work strategy.

The future of workforce sourcing, engagement, management and compensation is that of human capital management as well as payment “platforms” and digital ecosystems that bring together businesses (large and small), ecosystem technology and services partners and, last but not least, workers of different generations, localities, economic strata and types of work arrangements. That includes dynamic arrangements: part-time or temporary employment, on-demand intermittent gigs or moonlighting, and freelance/independent contract worker engagements.

In this three-part PRO brief, we will provide a refresh on ADP and how it is strategically addressing the “future of work” head-on. Part 1 will provide a summary overview of ADP and how the company has been strategically investing in innovation and technology to address the future of work. Part 2 will identify and discuss significant technology developments and recent strategic acquisitions, key execution components of ADP’s future of work strategy. Finally, Part 3 will bring many of the pieces together to form a picture (or more accurately, a sketch) of how ADP is moving forward to address a future of workforce management that is increasingly digital and decentralized, and where the needs and expectations of client businesses AND workers are already diverging from those that were stable for decades.

Upwork Enterprise: What Makes It Great (Independent Contract Workforce Analysis)

Coworks

Upwork, the well-known, global online freelancer marketplace, is increasingly becoming known for its Upwork Enterprise solution, a combination of technology and managed services designed to enable enterprises to source and engage freelance talent. Upwork Enterprise was recently evaluated in Spend Matters’ SolutionMap framework with the Independent Contract Workforce (ICW) enterprise solution category. The ICW solution segment is the most dynamic part of the contingent and workforce and services (CW/S) procurement technology market, which also includes the Temp Staffing (Vendor Management Systems/VMS) and Contract Services/Statement of Work solution segments.

Today’s ICW enterprise solutions — many originating, like Upwork, as online marketplaces — have their roots (or at least their impetus) in the so-called gig, freelance and peer-to-peer “economies” (the new world of Uber and Airbnb versus the establishment world of enterprise software applications inhabited for decades by providers like SAP and Oracle). Some of these “gig economy” solution providers have been clawing their way into larger enterprises with new technology platforms to allow those organizations to scale up their use of freelancers sourced through online platforms. This is what Upwork has been doing with Upwork Enterprise, which goes go market now as a combined managed services and technology solution (analogous, up to a point, of traditional managed service providers with their own VMS technology).

In the ICW solution segment, Upwork Enterprise is a unique solution that provides a set of functionality and services that organizations of any size can use to source, engage and pay remote, online freelancers and agencies from Upwork’s global marketplace. It provides clients with robust capabilities that includes management of SOW projects and the organization of preferred providers (freelancers/agencies) in private talent pools. And the value of the platform also is being amplified by a growing set of managed services and solution offerings.

Where does Upwork Enterprise fit into the burgeoning ICW market? As of September 2018, the Spend Matters SolutionMap contains functional and customer satisfaction benchmarks on over 50 providers within the procurement technology landscape, including six providers within the ICW segment. But where does Upwork Enterprise stand out most and help “set the bar” in for the ICW segment? And why should this matter for procurement and HR organizations? Let’s delve into the SolutionMap benchmark to find out where Upwork Enterprise 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.

LexisNexis Entity Insight: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary and Competitive Analysis [PRO]

The supplier risk management market includes a highly diverse set of providers, many of which are difficult to compare on an “apples to apples” basis with each other — unlike just about every other procurement technology segment. Within this market — which also can extended deeper into the tiers of a supply base in the form of supply chain risk management — more organizations are seeking to automate the management of risk as much as possible, as accurately as possible. And arguably, LexisNexis Entity Insight (LNEI) is better positioned than many of its peers to have deep, methodologically-driven conversations based on how it adjudicates data and verifies document integrity to drive risk analysis.

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering LexisNexis 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 LexisNexis and offers provider-selection guidance. Finally, it gives summary analysis and recommendations for companies considering the vendor. Part 1 provided an in-depth look at LexisNexis as a supply risk provider 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.

With Business Up But Politics Volatile, Uncertainty Is the New Certainty for Procurement

Deloitte Global CPO Survey 2016

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Naseem Malik, managing partner at TYGES International.

Life should be good for procurement professionals these days, if conventional wisdom is to be believed. Companies are hiring, spending and facing growth-related opportunities/challenges not seen in almost two decades. There’s renewed confidence with the business-friendly policies, and there’s a sense that a 4% GDP growth can be the new normal for the U.S. economy. But reality is not quite as rosy. From vitriolic trade negotiations to overnight tariffs, sanctions and currency fluctuations, companies are facing levels of volatility not seen in decades.

Coupa: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Commentary and Summary Analysis (2018 Update) [PRO]

Since we last reviewed Coupa, the provider has continued to increase its market share within the source-to-pay technology segment, albeit with a primary focus on procure-to-pay (e-procurement and invoice-to-pay), spend analytics and sourcing. As we have noted in the past, numerous areas can be credited for its continued ascent, including a spend under management growth rate that continues to exceed revenue growth — a metric that shows the rapid manner in which customers are implementing and scaling Coupa implementations relative to first generation procure-to-pay (P2P) solutions. Coupa’s metrics-centric approach to measurable business value is an extension of its own culture, including an emphasis on rapid solution development based on listening to customers and creating accountability for results.

While Coupa is not an ideal fit for all procurement technology requirements, it has become the new benchmark by which other e-procurement and spend management technology suite vendors must measure themselves, or at least in comparison and differentiation. In many ways, Coupa’s initial public offering (IPO) established the first of a new generation of providers assuming a leadership position in the market.

From a competitive perspective, when we last wrote, we suggested that  Coupa had moved from the hunter to the hunted, although its competition remained fragmented, with the exception of SAP Ariba, which it continues to encounter most in shortlist and evaluation considerations, and Oracle, which is now its second largest competitor as it markets itself as the provider of “Business Spend Management” solutions. More recently, we also have seen Ivalua be considered in — and often win — a range of often large deals, with an emphasis on public sector, healthcare and manufacturing, in situations where Coupa, SAP Ariba and others might have been in the pole position in the past.

Regardless, Coupa competes against both a select few and many dozen of providers — depending on the situation and how fragmented the competition is for a given opportunity, geography, industry or modular need. Regardless, Coupa competes against both a select few and many dozen of providers — depending on the situation and how fragmented the competition is for a given opportunity, geography, industry or modular need.

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering Coupa provides an objective SWOT analysis of Coupa and offers a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison based on Q4 2018 information. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as alternative vendors to Coupa and offers provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides summary analysis and recommendations for companies considering Coupa. Part 1 provided an in-depth look at Coupa 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.

Upwork Is Now A Publicly Traded Company: The World of Work Is Indeed Changing

procurement solutions stocks

Upwork, the world’s largest online freelancer marketplace provider, went public today on the Nasdaq exchange. The IPO has been anticipated since Upwork announced its Form S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in early September. The opening share price today was set at $15, above the price range of $12–$14 noted in last week’s amended S-1. The proceeds of the sale of 12.48 million shares were $187 million, well above the $100 million anticipated in the S-1.

Exari: What Makes It Great (Contract Lifecycle Management SolutionMap Analysis)

Exari is a top-ranked functional provider within the contract lifecycle management (CLM) SolutionMap for Q3 2018, offering superior support for procurement and legal organizations compared with suite-based providers. In certain areas, Exari sets the bar for overall CLM capability (e.g., analytics) among its best-of-breed peers. Moreover, Exari’s unique approach to contract clause modeling through its Universal Contract Model (UCM) standard and artificial-intelligence (AI) analysis of contracts make it stand out for legal organizations seeking best-in-class capabilities.

As of Q3 2018, the Spend Matters SolutionMap contains functional and customer satisfaction benchmarks on more than 50 different providers within the procurement technology, finance and legal landscape. To date, 13 providers have been rated in contract lifecycle management (CLM), including Exari. But where does Exari stand out most? Why should this matter for procurement and legal organizations? Let’s delve into the SolutionMap CLM benchmark to find out.

“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.

An Introduction to Sourcing Business Intelligence (Part 1): Definition and Driving Forces [PRO]

The problem with the term “sourcing business intelligence” is that it can have vastly different interpretations. Yet sourcing BI is a concept that we’re increasingly hearing mention of with our procurement practitioner and consulting firm clients, albeit with different names attached to it.

Not to be confused with spend analytics, the concept of Sourcing BI could prove as important to the digital procurement organization of the future as category management did in the past decade — or perhaps even more invaluable. This Spend Matters PRO analysis provides an introduction to the concept of sourcing BI, starting first with a definition and an overview of the trends that are driving it.