The Technology Category

What is Your Spend Analytics Persona? Understand Your Requirements to Find the Best Technology Provider [PRO]

Analytics

No two procurement, finance, supply chain or IT organizations are alike. Each has its own persona that reflects not only its own unique requirements but also the stakeholders it serves when providing timely and accurate spend, procurement, supply and broader analytics.

The same principle holds true when analyzing spend analytics solutions. Each provider has a persona — or set of personas — that reflects its value proposition, solution strategy and targeted customer segments. Therefore, procurement organizations should seek providers whose personas best align to theirs. In other words, there is no “magic” solution provider, and finding the right fit is essential, because spend analytics applications are critical for not only identifying savings opportunities but also the effective management of the procurement function.

SolutionMap depicts vendor rankings based on specific buyer personas to reflect the unique value proposition, solution strategy and customer segments served by a vendor. Participating vendors are scored both on their Solution capability as well as on Customer Value, based on in-depth tech reviews (including live demos) by the Spend Matters analyst team and aggregated direct customer input from surveys. Each SolutionMap is updated quarterly rather than in 12-month (or longer) cycles, to accurately reflect the pace of market developments.

As part of our Spend Matters SolutionMap vendor comparison ranking for spend analytics and other strategic procurement technologies, the Spend Matters analyst team has dedicated considerable time to developing the unique organizational personas that we’ve most often seen in our decades of experience working with procurement organizations.

We have used these personas to weight the requirements used in solution scoring, which includes customer satisfaction scoring by solution customers. Having collected feedback from hundreds of procurement organizations in recent months as part of our SolutionMap research, we see these personas as useful starting points for procurement organizations to classify themselves before looking at solution rankings of providers in the market.

This Spend Matters PRO analysis shares five of the most common customer personas for spend analytics buying requirements. Aimed at practitioners as well as vendors and the consultants advising them, this research brief will be helpful to drive the type of mass customization of strategic procurement technology solutions needed to meet specific organizational needs.

Below, we present our five personas for spend analytics. For each, we include full definitions, typical organizational priorities (based on each persona), functional/solution and customer value emphasis, and recommended selection processes.

ICYMI: SolutionMap Q4 Release is Here

In case you were looking for a new analyst framework by which to compare procurement technology solutions for your organizational needs — in a more customized way than ever before — boy do we have something refreshing for you. Enter the Q4 release of Spend Matters SolutionMap. In a video, we take you on a '50-cent overview tour' of how SolutionMap works, what it contains, and how it's created.

Why IC-SOW May Be the First Step Toward SOW Lite: An Interview with Michael Matherly

road

In our previous article, we posted a question to services procurement practitioners: Is it time for “SOW Lite”? Simply put, businesses do not currently have the tools they need to take advantage of the badly needed talent available that the gig economy, freelancers, independent professionals and small, specialized service providers offer. The concept of SOW Lite proposes a lifecycle process that “runs from sourcing, through contracting, on-boarding, project management, and all the way to invoicing and payment.” To help take this concept from question to practice, I reached out to Michael Matherly, CEO of Sourcing for Services LLC, to continue the discussion on the next stage for SOW and how technology providers could support the area.

The First Row Seat: Interpreting Q4 2017 SolutionMap Results With Jason Busch — SAP Ariba, Basware and Coupa [PRO]

The Q4 2017 SolutionMap was a major product release for Spend Matters. It included six individual functional product types, two suite areas and spanned 32 vendors. Despite our marketing claims of having invested “hundreds of hours” of analyst time in the process, the actual number felt like more in the thousands, by my own accounting. I told one of my colleagues I felt like I was “in the Matrix” at one would point when looking at technology provider demonstrations.

It was a Herculean effort here on the Spend Matters side by roughly a dozen people. I played my part, but so did so many others. And now we start all over again working on the Q1 2018 release, adding new providers and updating current participants. (We encourage existing participants to update their RFIs and provide new product demonstrations twice per year, although this is just a recommended level. As for submitting additional customer survey participants, we always welcome new ones on a quarterly basis and will be “self-sourcing” validated reviews starting in Q1, as well.)

While I have not yet fulfilled all of my own deliverable obligations for SolutionMap to our trusty editorial team — the final three pieces are coming by tomorrow, I promise! — I could not wait any longer to share my own interpretation of some of the results.

This Spend Matters PRO Research Note does not necessarily represent the views of Spend Matters or my colleagues. But as the founder of this thing, please grant me the license to share some personal opinions on what the results may tell us, including insights into some of the providers that are on the rise (and others potentially on the fall). Today I’ll share insights into three providers: SAP Ariba, Basware and Coupa. For each, I’ll provide SolutionMap interpretation, opinion, analysis and some succinct recommendations to customers, prospects and partners.

In a follow-up piece, I’ll share my thoughts on other providers. Finally, in the coming weeks, I’ll also offer my opinion about how to interpret the overall SolutionMap results and cases where practitioners really need to unpack each persona to identify the best-fit providers to support a given initiative.

SolutionMap is in many ways the new Spend Matters, and while it is designed to be data driven and equal parts expert and customer led, I built a large chunk of the original site on opinion. (And, I admit, sometimes gossip, though most of it proved true!) After all, Spend Matters was a blog for so long. So let me opine and share what I really think.

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Procurement Digital Transformation: The Top 10 Ways Real-Time E-Procurement Matters

The Hackett Group’s 2017 reportRaising the World-Class Bar in Procurement Through Digital Transformation cited that 84% of procurement leaders believe that digital transformation will profoundly transform the way they deliver their services over the next three to five years. Conversely, only 32% have developed a strategy for getting there. The report finds that typical procurement organizations can reduce procurement process costs by up to 24% by implementing cloud-based procurement applications, robotic process automation (AI), advanced analytics and other digital transformation approaches. At Aquiire, we have found that even more untapped savings can be achieved by introducing real-time data into the purchasing and procurement processes.

What is Your Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) Persona? Understand Your Requirements to Find the Best Technology Provider [PRO]

No two contracts are alike, nor are organizations’ requirements for managing those contracts. It stands to reason then that there’s no single contract management application that will magically meet all procurement organizations better than another. This philosophy underpins our approach to the Spend Matters SolutionMap, a comparative analytical framework for practitioners to evaluate relevant solutions to meet their needs.

Our SolutionMap approach depicts vendor rankings based on specific buyer personas to reflect the unique value proposition, solution strategy and customer segments served by that provider. Participating vendors are scored both on their Solution Value, which is technology based in this case, as well as on Customer Value, based on in-depth tech reviews (including deep dive demonstrations) by the Spend Matters analyst team and aggregated from direct customer feedback. Each SolutionMap is updated quarterly rather than in 12-month (or longer) cycles, to accurately reflect the pace of market developments.

As part of the first release of the contract lifecycle management (CLM) SolutionMap, the Spend Matters analyst team has developed unique organizational personas that we’ve most often seen in our decades of experience working with procurement organizations. We have used these personas to customize the weightings of the requirements that we used in the weighting of solution scoring (which is graphically depicted as the y-axis SolutionMap) and also of customer satisfaction scoring (the x-axis) by end user organizations.

Having collected feedback from hundreds of CLM users, vendors and consultants in recent months as part of our SolutionMap research, we developed these personas to serve as useful starting points for procurement organizations to classify themselves and help them gain more insightful solution rankings of providers in the market. As in some other areas, baseline functionality is fairly undifferentiated. All the providers will have decent support for contract clauses, templates, amendments, version/change control, access control, audit trails, file attachments, flexible workflow engines, role-based dashboards, modern IaaS infrastructure and partnerships with popular digital signature vendors.

As such, this Spend Matters PRO analysis describes the CLM-focused requirements from these personas that differentiate the relevant solutions in the market. For each persona, we include full definitions, typical organizational priorities (based on each persona), functional/solution, and customer value emphasis and recommended selection processes. Comparative vendor rankings will be published for each persona next week on Spend Matters and updated quarterly.

Vendor Summary Report: Spend Analytics SolutionMap℠ Q4 2017 [PRO]

This SolutionMapSM analyzes a select group of spend analytics providers. It includes coverage of spend analytics capabilities that encourages subscribers to “peel the onion” beyond cleansing, classification, enrichment and reporting capabilities alone. It is part of our Q4 2017 SolutionMap report series, also featuring sourcing, supplier management contract management, e-procurement and invoice-to-pay providers. Our Q4 2017 release also features SolutionMaps for procure-to-pay and strategic procurement technology suites.

Spend Matters tracks more than 50 analytics providers with offerings targeting the procurement market today. This analysis features many of the largest spend analytics providers including AnyData Solutions, BravoSolution, Determine, GEP, Ivalua, Jaggaer, SAP Ariba, Sievo, Spendency, SpendHQ and Zycus. Among these providers it features select category, functional and industry capability of providers, although it does not highlight them in a specific persona.

SolutionMap ratings provide comparative rankings and insight into how each provider scored from a Solution perspective and Customer Value perspective.

Dive deeper with our full analysis.

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Driving Sustainability and Compliance (Part 2): The Power of Social Media Voices in the Supply Chain

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This post is the second in a three-part series. Click here to read Part 1.

Social media gives voice to anyone looking for a platform: consumers and corporates, individuals and organizations. By enabling the democratization of instant worldwide communications, services such as Facebook and Twitter have created an overwhelming volume of unstructured data in a short period of time. While the development of social media voices is dynamic and continues to evolve without pause, businesses have yet to tap into its true power. What happens to these spontaneously created bits of data? Who is listening? Is there actionable value in the voices?

Traditional Workforce Models are Constraining Business Growth — But New Models Have Arrived

As discussed in Part 1 of this series, traditional models of workforce engagement continue to dominate and constrain organizations’ access to the talent they need. To break through this barrier, organizations must embrace and support innovation — doing new things. Increasingly, the place to turn for talent, growth and innovation exists outside of the four walls of the enterprise, and goes beyond traditional categories of consulting and contingent labor. This is especially true when it comes to tapping into specialized skills and expertise, many of which are required only for a limited time in targeted projects. But the landscape of new solutions is evolving rapidly. To see how, we provide some examples of different types of innovative human capital sourcing and discuss how procurement can use these tools to drive innovation and long-term growth.

What is Your Sourcing Persona? Understand Your Requirements to Find the Best Technology Provider [PRO]

No two procurement or supply chain 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 — and its supply base.

The same principle holds true of sourcing application providers. Each has a persona — or set of personas — that reflects its value proposition, solution strategy and targeted customer segments. Therefore, procurement organizations should seek providers whose personas best align to theirs. In other words, there is no “magic” solution provider, and finding the right fit is critical, because sourcing applications are critical to create value through savings, cost avoidance, risk management and value contribution to the business.

To that end, we are excited to preview our approach to Spend Matters SolutionMapSM, a comparative analytical framework for practitioners to evaluate relevant solutions to meet their procurement needs.

Our SolutionMap initiative depicts vendor rankings based on specific buyer personas to reflect the unique value proposition, solution strategy and customer segments served by a vendor. Participating vendors are scored both on their Solution capability as well as on Customer Value, based on in-depth tech reviews (including live demos) by the Spend Matters analyst team and aggregated direct customer input from surveys. Each SolutionMap is updated quarterly rather than in 12-month (or longer) cycles, to accurately reflect the pace of market developments.

As part of our second Spend Matters SolutionMap vendor comparison ranking for sourcing and other strategic procurement technologies, the Spend Matters analyst team has dedicated considerable time to developing the unique organizational “personas” that we’ve most often seen in our decades of experience working with practitioner organizations. We have used these personas to weight the requirements that we used in solution scoring, which includes customer satisfaction scoring by solution customers.

Having collected feedback from hundreds of sourcing users in recent months as part of our SolutionMap research, we see these personas as useful starting points for procurement organizations to classify themselves before looking at solution rankings of providers in the market. This Spend Matters PRO analysis shares six of the most common customer personas for sourcing buying requirements. Aimed at practitioners as well as vendors and the consultants advising them, this research brief will be helpful to drive the type of “mass customization” of strategic procurement technology solutions needed to meet specific organizational needs.

Below, we present our six personas for sourcing. For each, we include full definitions, typical organizational priorities (based on each persona), functional/solution and customer value emphasis and recommended selection processes. Comparative vendor rankings are published for each persona separately on Spend Matters (and updated quarterly).

Vendor Summary Report: Sourcing SolutionMap℠ Q4 2017 [PRO]

This SolutionMapSM analyzes a select group of sourcing providers. It is part of our Q4 2017 SolutionMap report series, also featuring spend analytics, contract management, supplier relationship management and risk (SRM), e-procurement and invoice-to-pay providers. SolutionMap also features procure-to-pay and strategic procurement technology suites.

Spend Matters tracks more than 40 sourcing solution providers today. This analysis features many of the largest sourcing providers, including BravoSolution, Coupa, Determine, EC Sourcing, GEP, Ivalua, Jaggaer, Jaggaer Direct (formerly Pool4Tool), Keelvar, SAP Ariba, Scout RFP and Zycus. Among these providers, the Sourcing SolutionMap features select industry/specialty capability of providers, although it does not highlight them in a specific persona, a change from our last SolutionMap release.

SolutionMap ratings provide comparative rankings and insight into how each provider scored from a Solution perspective and Customer Value perspective.

Dive deeper with our full analysis.

Q4 2017 SolutionMap E-Procurement, Invoice-to-Pay and Procure-to-Pay Release Notes [PRO]

The Q4 2017 SolutionMap release for E-Procurement, Invoice-to-Pay (I2P) and Procure-to-Pay (P2P) saw a number of changes from the Q2 2017 release. This includes the addition of new providers and updated buying personas.

In addition, as new providers joined the process, solution innovation increased among existing participants and the number of customer references grew — approximately 150 customers in total for E-Procurement, I2P and P2P are now included in the SolutionMap benchmark — the overall SolutionMaps and scores changed considerably.

This Spend Matters PRO Release Note provides insight into the Q4 2017 SolutionMap release for E-Procurement, I2P and P2P, focusing on what changed from the previous release, including detailed analyst insights, updated persona definitions and vendor scoring criteria.