The Technology Category

Ivalua vs. SAP Ariba: E-Procurement Head-to-Head Technology Evaluation and Comparison

Few procurement organizations evaluate Ivalua only from an e-procurement angle. Most prospective customers are looking for integrated suite capabilities that the uber configurable and increasingly industry-specific procurement provider can bring. Moreover, Ivalua has unfortunately remained somewhat of a “best kept” secret in the procurement tech community, especially in the procure-to-pay (P2P) area, owing in part to the double-whammy negative combination of less brand awareness than others like Coupa as well as having a smaller systems integrator community to recommend it (although it has a long standing and close relationship with KMPG).

Yet overall Ivalua does very well in the Spend Matters SolutionMap. As of Q2 2018 Ivalua delivers the highest ranked source-to-pay suite on a functional basis (across spend analytics, sourcing, contract management, supplier management and procure-to-pay). But how does Ivalua stack up to the biggies like SAP Ariba in e-procurement specifically? Curious? So were we.

Join us as we put Ivalua’s e-procurement capabilities to the test against SAP Ariba. Today, we offer a preview of the Q2 dataset (also see the Q1 2018 E-Procurement SolutionMap) and pit Ivalua head-to-head against SAP Ariba. These recurring columns share insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider Subscribers, providing unique comparative cuts of SolutionMap benchmark data, along with the trademark quips that have defined Spend Matters analysis since its inception.

So prepare for some real data and expect at least a modicum of salty opinion. Here’s a preview: across certain e-procurement functional requirements — which span catalog management, shopping/requisitioning, ordering, receiving, supplier network, configurability, technology (overall), general services and a summary e-procurement average — SAP Ariba, not surprisingly, comes out on top. But Ivalua more than holds its own in most areas and convincingly wins in one.

But real world procurement technology decisions are more complex that just module-by-module comparisons and geeking out over functional battles between two finalists across sets of hundreds of requirements. And this is where customers will likely gravitate to one solution over the other. So join us as we explore how each provider stacks up on a direct competitive basis and share our perspectives on which is likely a better fit in real-world circumstances.

The Q2 2018 E-Procurement SolutionMap benchmark is now based on an underlying dataset featuring 21 separate providers, including all of the “biggies” procurement organizations can expect to consider in a typical selection process. Whether you’re in the market for a new e-procurement product or want to know if you made the right decision for your organization, our SolutionMap analysis and benchmark data can tell you the answer. Curious to learn more? Don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Next-Generation Digital Service Providers: The Who, What and Why for Services Procurement [Plus+]

An increasing number of digital, platform-based service providers are appearing today, and while they now represent a small category far outside the scope of most contingent workforce and services (CW/S) procurement programs, the spend they account for is growing.

Back around 2010, traditional BPO providers sought to introduce clients to digitally turbo-charged offerings. Though similar in concept, the providers appearing today represent a whole new generation of platform-based service providers, many of which were startups or didn’t exist in 2010. They did not arise with the scale and legacy of the BPO providers, nor did they occupy the category of major service providers of which procurement was aware and already oversaw.

Far from a passing fad, these next-generation digital service providers will become an increasingly significant segment of services consumption and spend over the next 10 years. We base our projections on solid, long-term trends evidenced in both the consumer and business sectors.

This Spend Matters Plus article defines this new generation of digital service providers and poses the entirely open question of whether they require the attention of procurement organizations tasked with managing services spend at this time. This question may be especially pertinent, given the significant similarities of digital service providers and traditional ones.

Catalog Management: Technical and Functional Component Requirements (Part 5) — Catalog Contracts and Marketplace/Internet Search [PRO]

Today we conclude our multi-part research brief exploring catalog management functional and technical requirements with an emphasis on the last two requirements we consider in our SolutionMap functional requirements for e-procurement.

The first requirement that we analyze is what we term “catalog contracts,” capability which focuses on pre-negotiated pricing through group purchasing organization (GPO) arrangements, leveraged buying or otherwise third-party negotiated typically contracts outside of what a procurement organization would negotiate itself. The second area, marketplace / internet search and catalog visibility, extends the scope of catalog management capability to integration with online marketplaces (e.g., Amazon Business) and electronic commerce storefronts on the Internet, a requirement which is increasingly becoming more important in the evaluation of e-procurement solutions overall.

If you’re new to the series, check out Part 1 (overall definition/background and supplier network intersections), Part 2 (catalog creation, supplier onboarding and data quality control) and Part 3 (maintenance, workflow and analytics) and Part 4 (catalog objects/methods and catalog mobility capabilities, expectations and requirements).

Whether you’re a procurement organization, supplier, software provider or consultancy, our goal with this series is to provide the bill of materials to allow the assembly of the best possible catalog management solution, either on a unified basis with the same e-procurement platform or integrated with a broader solution.

Beyond Contingent Workforce Management: Embracing an Agile Workforce

Today, when it comes to talent — especially highly skilled or expert talent — organizations are at the beginning of a new phase of workforce innovation. In the coming years, organizations will be going beyond the now well-established practice of sourcing external contingent workforce to augmenting or even replacing parts of their “permanent” employee workforce. The next phase of workforce organization innovation is embracing an agile workforce model.

Spend Management Versus E-Procurement: Is There a Philosophical Difference?

Editor’s note: This is part of the Ask Spend Matters series, where readers send in their burning questions about procurement and supply chain.

What is the difference — philosophically — between spend management software and e-procurement software? One of our readers recently posed the above question, noting the amount of noise out there over spend management and the general sense of confusion as to what constitutes spend management and what constitutes e-procurement. We’re always fond of these fun philosophical questions, so we asked our own Spend Matters analysts and editors for their opinions on this one.

Building the Business Case for SRM (Part 4): Reducing Supplier Risk

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

In this post in our series on developing the business case for investing in supplier relationship management (SRM) capabilities, we focus on reducing supplier risk. Supplier qualification (SQ), a subcomponent of SRM, enables your organization to identify suppliers with weak quality management processes, thereby minimizing your exposure to supplier noncompliance with safety, insurance, environmental and security requirements. In addition, SQ facilitates root cause analysis with suppliers performing poorly.

Catalog Management: Technical and Functional Component Requirements (Part 4) — Catalog Objects and Mobility [PRO]

on-demand workforce

It’s possible to build or use a “good” e-procurement solution that has rudimentary catalog management. But it’s impossible to deliver or leverage a great one, unless its catalog management capabilities are best in class compared with the rest of the e-procurement and procure-to-pay (P2P) pack.

Based on our SolutionMap functional requirements for e-procurement, this multipart Spend Matters PRO research brief defines all of the elements of catalog management. It also provides a feature checklist of the elements that comprise each component, defining what constitutes best in class performance in each case. Today, in Part 4, we flesh out catalog objects and mobility capabilities, expectations and requirements.

Those new to this series can catch up with Part 1 (background and supplier network intersections), Part 2 (catalog creation, supplier onboarding and data quality control) and Part 3 (maintenance, workflow and analytics). Whether you’re a procurement organization, supplier, software provider or consultancy, this series provides the bill of materials to inform the assembly of the best possible catalog management solution, either on a unified basis with the same e-procurement platform or integrated with a broader solution.

Cognitive Sourcing Provider LevaData Completes $12 Million Series B

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LevaData announced Tuesday it had completed a $12 million Series B financing round, led by Tola Capital. The sourcing technology provider plans to use the funding to deepen the capability of its platform, further innovations in engineering and data science, and expand into new industry verticals, according to a press release. Since 2014, LevaData has raised close to $20 million in venture capital, including $5 million in August of last year from its Series A round, also led by Tola Capital. 

3 Surprising Ways the Procurement Technology Market Has Changed in the Past Year

In the year since we launched our first SolutionMap, the procurement technology space has evolved considerably. Between product updates, the rise of new solution areas and increasing provider consolidation, the technology landscape is changing every day. Procurement professionals no doubt have found it harder than ever to keep track of which solutions offer what capabilities, which companies are still independent and which have become part of a suite, and what technologies they need know to stay ahead of the competition. And just as the provider space is changing, so too has our approach to evaluating and ranking vendors.

From blur to Maistro: Can Services Procurement Get a Life? [PRO]

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We recently had a briefing and demo by U.K.-based Maistro, which describes itself as “an AI powered platform and dynamic B2B Marketplace that optimizes the way companies buy business services.” Formerly blur Group, the company became Maistro following a significant restructuring that took place over the second half of 2017. Spend Matters has followed the company since 2013, but our coverage tapered off over the last two years as the company's condition worsened. However, since Maistro has been operating under new leadership for almost a year now, it may be time to turn the page and start a new chapter in our coverage.

With a new tagline, “Accelerated Procurement,” Maistro goes-to-market as a procurement-oriented “managed services” solution with an integrated online marketplace that consists exclusively of vetted service supplier businesses (not freelancers). While Maistro does participate in the workforce/services game, its combined characteristics differentiate it from other online freelancer/services marketplaces, such as Upwork, Freelancer, Fiverr and others.

Nonetheless, the work/services platform space is emergent and consists of hundreds of providers, with many well-financed and still searching for the path that will lead to scale adoption by large enterprises. Consequently, it is difficult to predict which providers may find the cure or end up in a platform graveyard, if or when there is a market shakeout. One thing, however, can be said about Maistro: Despite having many near-death experiences over the last four years, it appears to be rallying — albeit with an uncertain prognosis.

Coupa’s Customer Conference and Earnings Continue to ‘Inspire’ — But a New Competitive Battle is Looming [PRO]

A few weeks back we attended Coupa Inspire 2018. The event left us with a perspective that Coupa is not only doing some things extremely well but also that it would do well not to make the same mistakes of those that came before it with a similar rise to fame (i.e., a healthier dose of competitive paranoia is always more effective than getting punch-drunk on the fame of continued growth and capital market success).

In this Spend Matters PRO research brief, we provide a summary of a number of key announcements made during Coupa Inspire 2018 and over the past 18 months at Coupa. In addition, we’ll trace the history of Coupa’s product launches and introductions to provide context on how new offerings may evolve.

We’ll also offer perspective and opinions on the trajectory Coupa has been on — including whether it is sustainable — and conclude with comments on what has become arguably the most important procure-to-pay (P2P) battleground on which Coupa is positioning itself against competitors: how to enable as close to 100% of spend under management as possible with a P2P solution at the core. Incidentally, this is a topic that Oracle and SAP (inclusive of SAP Ariba, SAP Fieldglass and Concur) also have been doing quite a bit of thinking on of late — not to mention Coupa’s partner, customer and frenemy Amazon Business.

As a follow-on to this research brief, we will later share our thoughts on Coupa’s Q1 2019 earnings report from earlier in June, including how traction (and competition) in the market is translating both to wins and losses depending on customer requirements, channel/partner influence and competitive price pressure in select circumstances. Yet it would not be the Spend Matters way unless we wrapped this commentary around five reasons to bet for or against Coupa to maintain a “top three” position in the market.

For those wanting a primer on Coupa, we encourage you to check out our Vendor Snapshot on the provider (see Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3) as well Coupa’s latest Q1 2018 SolutionMap performance in the e-procurement, invoice-to-pay, procure-to-pay and sourcing areas.

Jaggaer Indirect vs. Coupa: E-Procurement Head-to-Head Technology Evaluation and Comparison (Q2 2018 Preview)

Following the Jaggaer name change, some folks may have forgotten about the tech provider’s deep roots in the e-procurement sector. And no, we’re not talking about some evil clown-esque 6-foot walking beaker — sorry, Questie, SciQuest’s former somewhat loveable mascot, was just creepy — who had some superpowers over laboratory P2P enablement alone. We’re talking about the depths of catalog management, supplier enablement and other elements of e-procurement that made the original SciQuest stand out from the original e-procurement pack, albeit with a focus on specific market segments at the time.

But how well does Jaggaer’s e-procurement capability differentiate itself in 2018 on an overall functional basis? We’re excited to feature Jaggaer’s e-procurement module (for the first time) in the Spend Matters Q2 2018 E-Procurement SolutionMap, publishing in the coming weeks. Today, we offer a preview of the Q2 2018 dataset (also see the Q1 2018 E-Procurement SolutionMap) and pit Jaggaer Indirect head-to-head against Coupa. These recurring columns share insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider Subscribers, providing unique comparative cuts of SolutionMap benchmark data, along with the trademark quips that have defined Spend Matters analysis since its inception.

So prepare for some real data and expect at least a modicum of salty opinion as we pit Jaggaer and Coupa head-to-head in the Spend Matters evaluation ring. Here’s a preview: In certain e-procurement capabilities — which span catalog management, shopping/requisitioning, ordering, receiving, supplier network, configurability, technology (overall), general services and a summary e-procurement average — Coupa convincingly dances on Questie’s grave.

But in others, the victor is not as cut and dried, and certain use cases illustrate when Jaggaer can be particularly attractive, especially when coupled to the vendor’s integrated suite value proposition in areas such as supplier information management (SIM) and contract management. Moreover, Jaggaer Indirect is one of the higher performing providers overall in the Q2 2018 E-Procurement SolutionMap and bests the majority of other SolutionMap participants in many of the functional areas in which Coupa comes out on top in a direct comparison.

The Q2 2018 E-Procurement SolutionMap benchmark is now based on an underlying dataset featuring 21 separate providers, including all of the “biggies” procurement organizations can expect to consider in a typical selection process. Whether you’re in the market for a new e-procurement product or want to know if you made the right decision for your organization, our SolutionMap analysis and benchmark data can tell you the answer. Curious to learn more? Don’t hesitate to get in touch.