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EC Sourcing: Vendor Analysis 2020 Update (Part 3) — SWOT, Competitors, Recommendations, Summary Analysis

There is a lot of competition in the e-sourcing and strategic sourcing suite marketplace today.

Granted, while new market entrants have largely if not entirely replaced some of the legacy providers from a decade or more ago, the amount of choice procurement organizations have in selecting a provider has never been greater.

EC Sourcing is one such provider that companies — especially those in the middle market — may wish to add to their shortlists, not just for core sourcing and negotiation but to enable basic category management support and upstream (non-transactional) suite capability.

This final installment of our updated three-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series provides a SWOT analysis, a look at EC Sourcing’s competitors and how EC Sourcing compares to vendors that customers may wish to shortlist. This post also includes a user selection guide and summary evaluation. Part 1 and Part 2 of this analysis provide a company and solution overview, product strengths and weaknesses, and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider EC Sourcing.

EC Sourcing: Vendor Analysis 2020 Update (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses

complex sourcing

Many procurement organizations at larger firms will soon be on their second (or even third) set of e-sourcing technologies, with many using multiple solutions. The middle market is different, with scattered adoption and a much more recent track record of “sourcing” tools for the first time, if at all. Both trends favor lesser-known providers like EC Sourcing, a closely held technology and solutions firm that has compiled a commendable e-sourcing package and various components of a broader “upstream” suite — albeit with strengths and weaknesses in different areas.

EC Sourcing built out its suite from an e-negotiation core, and now it has a range of surprisingly deep capabilities that go beyond modular capability alone, including workflow management. On a functional basis, the provider offers e-sourcing, basic contract management, supplier management (including supplier corrective action reporting, or SCAR).

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores EC Sourcing’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations determine if they should shortlist the vendor as a potential provider. Since our last three-part Snapshot in 2016, EC Sourcing has addressed a number of the weaknesses we pointed out. It has built a reporting module and partnered with BidMode to add an optimization module to its offering. It also has updated its UI.

Part 1 of our 2020 Update provided a company and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for what types of organizations should consider EC Sourcing. Part 3 of this series will offer a SWOT analysis of the company, a discussion of competitors, selection recommendations and a summary analysis.

Let’s look at the strengths and weaknesses.

EC Sourcing: Vendor Analysis 2020 Update (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview

PaaS

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot 2020 Update offers a refresh of our 2016 review of EC Sourcing’s solution. EC Sourcing is one of a select group of procurement technology providers targeting the middle market with an e-sourcing platform. It happens to be one of the most mature in capability, with a set of clever features that only comes from the battle scars of years of managing sourcing events. Spend Matters' analysis of the EC Sourcing platform positions it as a solid contender to fill the sourcing needs of middle-market procurement organizations looking for technology to transform their sourcing efforts. That said, the solution could also be a fit for larger organizations looking for a more specialized sourcing solution.

Since our last three-part Snapshot, EC Sourcing has addressed a number of the weaknesses we pointed out. It has built a reporting module and partnered with BidMode to add an optimization module to its offering. It also has updated its UI. That means its solution now consists of modules for e-sourcing, process management, supplier management, contract management, spend analysis, optimization, and intelligence reporting.

This update will provide facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations determine if EC Sourcing solution is the right fit for their needs, and it will offer perspectives on alternative providers to consider in an evaluation alongside it. Part 1 will include a company and detailed solution overview. Part 2 will focus on product strengths and weaknesses. Part 3 will offer a  company-level SWOT analysis, a look at competitors, selection considerations and a summary analysis.

EC Sourcing

As part of the SolutionMap RFI process, Spend Matters continuously solicits customer references to determine a procurement technology provider’s placement on the ranking graphics. This is a Spend Matters curated summary of verified customer feedback for EC Sourcing, a SolutionMap-ranked provider.

EC Sourcing: What Makes It Great (Sourcing SolutionMap Analysis)

The sourcing technology market would seem to be won more on two of the three “M”s  (marketing and momentum) than the third (merit), which we usually lump together in the same list of characteristics that separate fast growing tech companies from the rest. This is a shame, because sometimes the best vendors for the task don’t get invited to bid.

EC Sourcing is one such example. The vendor functionally outperforms many other sourcing providers in the Q2 2018 Sourcing SolutionMap benchmark, yet it is seen in fewer deals than direct peers, creating an information asymmetry in the market that is limiting customer choice — a triumph of marketing and momentum without balancing merit.

EC Sourcing’s Q2 2018 SolutionMap performance provides compelling evidence, based on both analyst ratings and customer reference scoring, that the provider is a must-shortlist candidate for most standalone sourcing scenarios, especially those situations in which a Nimble provider is desired. Join us in exploring what make EC Sourcing great, based on the latest functional and customer SolutionMap benchmarks from Q2 2018.

“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 explains how the provider excels and where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark, concluding with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider the vendor.

Sourcing Provider Head-to-Head Comparison: Scout RFP vs. EC Sourcing

The boom of the “Nimble” buying persona first started in e-procurement and coincided with the momentum that gave rise to Coupa’s leadership position as a “must shortlist” candidate for procure-to-pay (P2P). Spend Matters describes the Nimble buying persona as typifying companies with often early formalization of process, limited technology investment to date and potentially decentralized operations. Middle-market companies are also quite often Nimble buyers. But regardless of size, procurement organizations that fit the Nimble persona look to cloud-based technologies that can deliver on speed, efficiency, low price and quick value.

Anecdotally, Nimble is the most common buying persona Spend Matters sees today.(We will have data to corroborate this in later in 2018.) Even highly complex procurement organizations are often willing to trade off unique requirements to conform to the Nimble norm. And Nimble is not just a top buying persona for e-procurement. Nimble-minded procurement organizations are increasingly looking at solutions that meet similar criteria in other technology domains, including sourcing solutions. Based on Spend Matters Q4 2017 SolutionMap for North America customers, two of the top performing sourcing technology providers for the Nimble persona are Scout RFP and EC Sourcing.

But these providers could not be more different when it comes to outlook, motivations, management style and, most important, technology and solution strengths and weaknesses. Join us as we take off the gloves and based on Q4 2017 SolutionMap data, put Scout and EC Sourcing “head to head” into the Spend Matters evaluation ring. We’ll start by providing a technology summary comparative rating of each provider and then explore business requirements and scenarios, calling out the winner in each circumstance. PRO customers with advisory can reach out for us to comment on non-functional/technical considerations.

Granted, there’s not a bad choice among the two for the Nimble buyer. But let’s put them to the Spend Matters test and see which is the best fit for different requirements. If you’re considering either vendor or sourcing competitors, including other ranked SolutionMap providers Coupa, Determine, GEP, Ivalua, Jaggaer, Jaggaer Direct, Keelvar, Market Dojo, SAP Ariba, Scanmarket or Zycus, look no further for a head-to-head evaluation and comparison that you can’t get anywhere else.