Vendor Snapshots Content

What’s the Price: Vendor Introduction (Part 1 — Background and Solution Overview) [PRO]

Successful supplier negotiations begin long before a category manager sits down at the negotiating table, physical or virtual. Effectively sourcing a product or component requires an understanding of the fundamentals driving a category, the competitive dynamics in a given industry, and a negotiation strategy based on realistic prices or savings that procurement hopes to attain.

But more often than not, determining how much something should cost — that is, what procurement should realistically pay for goods or services — is a process supported more by guesswork than by data science. And building such models can be time-consuming: Cost engineers creating clean-sheet calculations of a product’s likely cost often take weeks before coming back with an estimate.

What’s the Price, in contrast, can deliver an estimated price in less than five minutes — for any category, industry or product.

That may sound a bit like magic, and from an end user’s perspective, it can feel that way. But beneath the hood, WTP, a five-year-old Dutch vendor founded by two former senior procurement professionals, relies on a straightforward approach, underpinned by a smart application of big data.

WTP aggregates prices and cost drivers across hundreds of thousands of mostly public data sources to produce top-down estimates for commodity prices, industry cost structures and product cost models. The result is a fast and reasonably accurate expected market price that procurement can use to set the stage in supplier negotiations, putting the buy side on stronger footing against price increases or “black box” quotes from sales reps.

Part 1 of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers an overview of What’s the Price and its capabilities. Part 2 includes a look at WTP’s product strengths and weaknesses, a company SWOT analysis, and a selection requirements checklist for those that might consider the provider.

Tradeshift: Vendor Snapshot Update (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview [PRO]

Tradeshift is a cloud platform that connects buyers and suppliers with the goal of digitizing supply chain relationships, processes and information, while also enabling everyday procure-to-pay activities. Its capabilities span the buying of goods and services through to financing and payment — and significant capability in between, especially in the invoice-to-pay area.

In addition to providing its own procure-to-pay modules, Tradeshift offers an open integration framework that allows other technology firms (and customers) to integrate and/or development third-party apps, primarily centered on supplier connectivity, transaction enablement and collaboration. Tradeshift can even integrate alternative procure-to-pay providers in cases where specific enabling capability is desired.

This three-part Spend Matters PRO analysis provides an update on Tradeshift capabilities, both as a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) provider and as an e-procurement and invoice-to-pay technology vendor.

The updates since last year's review include information about real-time collaboration; a single sign-on; centralized access to POs, invoices, etc.; an AI-assisted chatbot named Ada; buying topics about GPOs and direct materials; global support; and new sections on payments/trade financing, analytics, services, integration and technology like blockchain.

The PRO analysis is designed to provide facts and expert analysis to help procurement and finance organizations make informed decisions about whether they should consider Tradeshift for both traditional “in-the-box” procure-to-pay requirements as well as unique marketplace/platform-type digital initiatives.

Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Tradeshift as a complement to other procurement and finance solutions. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Givewith: Vendor Introduction (Background, Solution Overview, SWOT, Checklist) [PRO]

wind power

Givewith and SAP Ariba announced a partnership today for Givewith to integrate with Ariba’s sourcing module so companies can find nonprofit groups that can help improve the companies' corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability efforts.

In this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction, let’s see what Givewith’s solution has to offer and why it’s important now.

Consumers, investors and governments are pushing businesses to consider the larger social impact of their operations. And corporations, for their part, are starting to evaluate the ways they can respond. The August 2019 Business Roundtable restatement on the purpose of a corporation is one prominent example, in which multiple CEOs affirmed that a company’s mission should include not only increasing shareholder value but also betterment of customers, employees, suppliers and communities.

Such declarations are noble on paper, but they also have profit-focused incentives behind them. ESG ratings (environmental, social and governance) are becoming more relevant in investor decisions, so corporations are finding investments in programs for sustainability and CSR are now required to attract funding. Similarly, a strong corporate responsibility vision and track-record of action on social issues is becoming a selling point with consumers, as well as a reason for those consumers to consider working for (and remaining employed at) those businesses.

So where does procurement fit into all of this? According to the thinking behind Givewith, B2B transactions represent a major opportunity to generate funding for nonprofit programs. If procurement can recommend a slate of potential CSR or sustainability initiatives to fund during an RFI (or, if a supplier can do the same when constructing a bid response, to create a unique selling point), the business can use existing sourcing processes to yield operational and social impacts.

It’s a unique concept in the B2B space, and one that Givewith aims to scale quickly via its major initial partnership: A prebuilt integration directly into SAP Ariba’s sourcing module.

This Vendor Introduction offers a deep look at Givewith and its capabilities. It includes an overview of Givewith’s B2B offering (Givewith Enterprise), a SWOT analysis and a selection requirements checklist for companies that might consider the provider.

Mintec: Vendor Introduction (Part 2 — Positives and Negatives, SWOT Analysis, Selection Checklist) [PRO]

As we indicated in Part 1 of this Spend Matters Vendor Introduction of Mintec, there is no WaaS (weather-as-a-service) and, as a result, commodity price volatility in the agricultural sector is here to stay for the foreseeable future. But procurement professionals have to manage it somehow, and the only solution they have now is commodity market intelligence, of which Mintec is one of the largest, and oldest, market-intelligence providers in the sector.

With a database of over 14,000 unique market data sets across 20+ commodity categories and truly global geographies, Mintec is the go-to source for many large agricultural buying organizations around the world.

Should they be your go-to source too?

In this second part of our introduction, we’ll look at the positives and negatives and provide an overall SWOT and a selection checklist — all of which can help you make an informed decision.

Mintec: Vendor Introduction (Part 1 — Background and Solution Overview) [PRO]

No matter how well they prepare, commodity buyers can do nothing about the weather. So until a supervillain decides to make a mid-life career shift to be a SaaS vendor — weather-as-a-service (WaaS), anyone? — procurement organizations buying in the food & beverage categories will have to manage commodity price volatility as it happens.

To do that, many businesses in the food retail, food manufacturing and hospitality industries turn to Mintec. Founded in 1982, Mintec is a UK-based provider of commodity data and analytics tools for the food and drink vertical. It collects, validates and organizes data across hundreds of agricultural commodities and related inputs (e.g., packaging, plastics, labor), which it then distributes via a SaaS platform designed for category planning and analysis.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on Mintec and its capabilities. It includes an overview of Mintec’s SaaS offering (Mintec Analytics). Part 2 will offer a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about its solution, a SWOT analysis of Mintec, and a selection requirements checklist for businesses that might consider the provider.

Orpheus: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — SWOT, Competitive Analysis and Summary [PRO]

Spend Analysis. Every company needs it, but not every company knows what they need or how to use it. As per our first post, it could be defined as:

* An extensive set of canned reports across a defined data set
* User Defined Reports and Views on a static ROLAP Cube
* Dynamic Cube Construction and View Creation on a predefined data set
* Dynamic Cube Construction and Federation on an extensible, user-defined data set

Depending on the provider, it may or may not include:

* Data Consolidation and Cleansing
* Data Enrichment
* Data Classification and Categorization
* Data Synchronization with Source Systems

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg on what one has to consider before even inviting a pool of candidates to an RFI, yet alone whittling down to three that all have the core capabilities the organization needs and that can all, more-or-less, be compared apples-to-apples when the RFIs come in.

That’s why in the first part of this three-part series we took our time to define Orpheus and its solutions, including components and capabilities not offered by every spend analysis vendor on the market. Then, in Part 2, we dove deep into the solution, highlighting particular strengths and bringing to light some of the weaknesses compared to peers (which may or may not matter depending on what your organization is looking for). Now, in our third and final part, we will provide a SWOT analysis, a competitive market analysis and a summary with commentary.

Orpheus: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses [PRO]

In Part 1 of Spend Matters’ three-part PRO Vendor Snapshot on Orpheus, we started out by explaining how the definition of spend analysis differs from client to client and how it is a buyer-beware market — as not all vendors have the same technological capabilities, and you can’t compare their quotes as apples-to-apples. That’s why it’s important to understand what a vendor can do, and what it can’t, before whittling down to the final three and definitely before making a selection — because not all vendors will have what Oprheus has to offer.

While many vendors can slice and dice, cube and derive, and find opportunities on the fly — not all have initiative tracking, not all have AI, and not all have the experience of classifying over half a billion transactions across 4 million suppliers for 15 years of operation. This is pretty distinctive, and we’ve only completed the introduction so far.

In today’s post, we will dive into the strengths and weaknesses, giving you deep insight into the platform.

In Part 3, we will provide a SWOT analysis of Orpheus and discuss the competitive market that surrounds it. We will conclude with some commentary and hopefully will leave you with deep insights into who Orpheus is and what it can do.

Orpheus: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview [PRO]

procurement

“Spend analysis” is one of the most misused terms in the solution space, especially since the exact scope of what a vendor offers with respect to spend analysis varies by vendor and the scope of what a buyer expects when they buy a spend-analysis solution varies by the buyer. You see, what a vendor offers depends upon their philosophy to analysis and where they are on the development curve with respect to that. What a buyer expects depends upon their level of procurement maturity, what they are aware of as being possible with a modern spend analysis tool, and their level of master data maturity.

You see, "spend analysis" has been, is and will be defined in various ways by various vendors. Depending on the vendor, it could be defined as:

* An extensive set of canned reports across a defined data set
* User Defined Reports and Views on a static ROLAP Cube
* Dynamic Cube Construction and View Creation on a pre-defined data set
* Dynamic Cube Construction and Federation on an extensible, user defined data set

Depending on the provider, it may or may not include:

* Data Consolidation and Cleansing
* Data Enrichment
* Data Classification and Categorization
* Data Synchronization with Source Systems

And depending on the provider philosophy, the classification may be:

* Rules-based
* Automated using statistical / clustering / neural networks
* Machine learning that adjusts the rules to improve the classification over time
* Hybrid approach that does auto-classification and allows for pre-classification using fixed rules and post-classification for mapping corrections
* Machine learning that identifies fixed, deterministic classification rules that are applied with user defined rules for all classification

And the data may or may not be limited to:

* Integrated data sources in the platform that the analysis tool is integrated into
* Integrated data sources, pre-integrated ERP and select API feeds
* A data lake maintained by the provider
* Any data you can push into the data lake it is configured to work on

And so on. In other words, what a vendor offers when they offer spend analysis varies by the vendor, and what a buyer might get can vary widely.

So in this three-part Spend Matters Pro Vendor Snapshot on Orpheus, we will try to leave you with a clear understanding of exactly what Orpheus offers with respect to spend analysis and whether they might be the right provider for you.

In Part 1, we will provide a brief company overview and a look at Oprheus' main offerings.

For Part 2, we will provide a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and maybe not so good) about the solution.

In Part 3, we’ll offer a high-level SWOT analysis, some market implications and a summary.

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.

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.

Negotiatus: Vendor Introduction (Part 2 — Product Strengths and Weaknesses, SWOT, Selection Checklist) [PRO]

e-invoicing

In our last Spend Matters PRO brief, we introduced you to Negotiatus, an upstart P2P provider out of New York City that’s offering a fresh take on how to solve the root causes of common purchasing headaches. Taking the view that procurement should route users and payments through one (consolidated) invoice approach, Negotiatus aims to help its customers drastically reduce the number of transactions they need to process. In this view, purchasing automation represents a symptom of dysfunction rather than a panacea to inefficient business processes, and many of Negotiatus’ strengths thus reflect its guiding philosophy of simplicity and elimination of unnecessary work.

This approach, complemented by its supporting technology and rapidly growing client base, was a central reason we named Negotiatus to this year’s inaugural Future 5 list, which highlights standout start-up companies in procurement technology. 

But such a philosophy may not be a fit for every procurement organization, and by its own admission, Negotiatus is often a better fit with younger, more “forward-thinking” procurement organizations than corporate stalwarts. Its functionality lags accordingly when compared with peers that strive to “check the box” on requirements expected by a more classically minded procurement group.

Part 1 of this brief provided some background on Negotiatus and an overview of its offering — from ordering/shopping and catalogs to invoicing and payment.

In Part 2, we will provide a breakdown of what is comparatively 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 Negotiatus might be a good fit. We also give some final conclusions and takeaways.

Negotiatus: Vendor Introduction (Part 1 — Background and Solution Overview) [PRO]

The market for standalone e-procurement and P2P solutions appears to be entering a new act. After a wave of consolidation soaked up multiple best-of-breed providers (e.g., Verian, Puridiom, Aquiire), suite solutions took control, leaving only a handful of standalone alternatives. But now a new class of purchasing solutions is entering the market, each looking to disrupt the standard approaches to corporate procurement in their own way.

Some focus heavily on updating user experience and driving fast time-to-value. Others position their tools as a means to tackle specific problems (e.g., tail spend) or vertical-specific requirements. But generally the approach relies on a common theme: To win in the P2P market, new solutions need to do something different. Rather than accept the status quo of how procurement is done, many of these companies hope to offer a fresh take, whether that’s through how the technology is designed or how the business model can enable new approaches to purchasing.

This mindset applies to Negotiatus, the subject of this Spend Matters’ PRO Vendor Introduction. Based in New York City, Negotiatus is technically a P2P solution — that is, it supports ordering/shopping, catalogs, invoicing and payment, so in effect the whole P2P cycle — but it does not take a “check the box” approach to feature/function development. Instead, the founders decided to assess the root causes of common P2P problems and develop a solution that could eliminate them, rather than simply alleviate them. This approach works for some organizations better than others, but for clients such as Soul Cycle, Zeus Living and Cozen O’Connor, it’s a radical idea that can cut user ordering by as much as 75% and generate 8% median savings, according to Negotiatus.

This Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on Negotiatus and its capabilities. The first part of this series includes a company introduction and an overview of Negotiatus’ offering. The second part of this brief provides a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a high-level SWOT analysis, and some market implications and takeaways.