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 Ivalua, a SolutionMap-ranked provider.

Ivalua Has Been on Spend Matters’ Radar for Years

Long before becoming a $ 1 billion "unicorn" company, Ivalua has been a procurement software provider that’s consistently shown up on the radar of Spend Matters’ analysts for years. We’ve introduced subscribers to an array of Ivalua’s developments for about the last 10 years, including how the spend management provider matches up against the biggest names in the industry.

Check out our coverage, which features SolutionMap data, head-to-head comparisons with its competitors, and PRO analysis over the years. (Some of our first coverage of Ivalua was done in 2010 before we even had subscribers!)

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.

Ivalua’s Workflow Engine: The Connective Tissue of a Standout Source-to-Pay Capability

procurement software

Editor’s Note: This article is part of our series The Featured Feature, where we explore unique technology capabilities that differentiate procurement solution providers. Read our introductory post to learn more.

Behind every module in a source-to-pay suite is a business process that organizations want to improve. Standout software offerings, therefore, do much more than merely digitize processes such as sourcing or invoice validation. At their best, these tools enable entirely new ways of managing actions and communicating throughout the source-to-pay process, both internally between procurement and its stakeholders and throughout the supply chain with various third parties. It’s no surprise, then, that when comparing features that differentiate source-to-pay table stakes from the winning hand, Ivalua’s workflow engine is a frequent mention.

Almost Famous: Ivalua Acquires Directworks

Confirming the spend management industry rumor mill, Ivalua today announced its acquisition of Directworks. The deal lends serious credence to Ivalua’s tag line — “One Suite. Infinite Possibilities” — as it has the potential to establish Ivalua as the market’s only native, end-to-end S2P solution.

In terms of indirect spend know-how, Ivalua is a thought leader and its software is top drawer. On the direct side, Directworks goes deep, delivering Ivalua an arsenal of hard-won intellectual property based on battle-tested experience.

Ivalua: Vendor Analysis (Part 3) — Commentary and Summary Analysis

With apologies to the late comic, Ivalua is the Rodney Dangerfield of procurement suites (that is, if Rodney Dangerfield had an IQ of 160 and was a software engineer). If we add up the differentiated combination of its architecture/platform, industry enablement, functional/modular capability (across the source-to-pay continuum), analytics and “overlay” process support capabilities, the sum of the Ivalua package stands out from all others in a true “deadpan” way – albeit with no laughing involved. In short: Ivalua deserves much more respect than it gets from a market that is typically less familiar with it compared to larger peers such as Ariba, Coupa, GEP and BravoSolution.

Not that the parts are bad! There are even surprises. For example, there is unexpected capability, including bill of material management, asset and tooling management, accruals, and procurement project management. The cost breakdown analytics, new product introduction (NPI) management and the ability to get data in and out of the platform on a daily basis is deeper than one might expect. Granted, Ivalua is not perfect: the user interface and experience may leave the business (or the average procurement user) wanting. But anyone who invests the time to get to know the solution on a product level will come away very impressed if they have the same technology-centric proclivities as the Spend Matters team (even if it’s not the right “fit” for some, as we explore in this series).

This third and final installment of the Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot on Ivalua provides an objective SWOT analysis of the company and offers a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as alternative vendors to Ivalua and offers provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides summary analysis and recommendations for companies that may consider Ivalua’s suite or individual modules. Part 1 provided an in-depth look at Ivalua 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.

Ivalua: Vendor Analysis (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses

What Ivalua lacks in brand and market awareness along with sales/marketing infrastructure and prowess, it makes up for by delivering a source-to-pay platform designed to emphasize functional depth, suite-based capabilities and industry-specific enablement scenarios. Ivalua delivers a no-compromise set of capabilities and an underlying platform that is most likely to appeal to procurement and IT organizations that want greater flexibility in executing a procurement technology architecture and strategy than what is offered by standard suites.

Those reading Part 1 of Spend Matters’ Vendor Snapshot on Ivalua (which includes a detailed solution overview, company overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering it) and those demoing the suite on their own will likely either be attracted to the solution or overwhelmed by it – with very few opinions in the middle. By way of contrast, Ivalua offers a counter suite approach to Coupa, its neighbor in the Bay Area, in both philosophy and capability, and it is likely to appeal to a different set of organizations that might consider both.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Ivalua’s product strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should shortlist the vendor. It also offers a critique (pros/cons) of the user interface. Later in this multi-part series, we will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

In this analysis, Spend Matters explores Ivalua’s platform strengths and weaknesses in depth to further flesh out whether the solution is a likely fit for your procurement technology requirements.

Ivalua: Vendor Analysis (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview


Ivalua is one in a very small group of providers that has built an end-to-end solution on a single technology stack (from the ground up) with sufficient breadth and depth across all key functional areas to enable it to serve as a single technology suite for procurement organizations. Its entire suite was built in-house on a single platform over the last 16 years. For organizations looking to improve overall procurement performance beyond sourcing-led savings and P2P-led compliance, a single platform approach, which goes beyond just functional enablement, can be a major advantage.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Ivalua's source-to-pay capability, its suitability for specific industry segments, and other offerings that an organization may want to consider as an alternative (or alongside). 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 Ivalua in the procurement technology area. The rest of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analysis, user selection guides, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Directworks: Vendor Analysis (Part 3) — Competitive & Summary Analysis


While the number of providers in the generic sourcing platform market is overwhelming, the universe of direct materials procurement technology vendors, especially in North America, is small. Directworks is one of a handful of firms specializing in supporting manufacturing procurement activities, from design and engineering collaboration with suppliers to bill of material-based strategic sourcing activities to joint cost take out initiatives in the supply chain.

This final installment of this multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering Directworks offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other direct materials procurement providers as well as alternative solutions (and vendors) that manufacturers may wish to consider. It also includes a user selection guide, user interface and user experience (UI/UX) analysis and summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provide a company and deep dive solution overview, a SWOT analysis, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider Directworks.

Directworks: Vendor Analysis (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses


The market for direct materials procurement technology and suites is well established in Western Europe. In North America, manufacturing is a component of a more complex GDP equation. Perhaps this is more of a political statement than anything else: Countries like Germany depend on manufacturing as the basis of their economy, the US less so today. Yet Directworks is one of a small number of providers attempting to create a separate market in North America that carves out source-to-contract (S2C) — and in the case of competitors, source-to-pay (S2P) — capabilities for direct spend from generic procurement technology providers.In many areas, direct procurement solution providers are as different from regular procurement technology suite vendors as a vendor management system (VMS) is from e-procurement. Granted, in certain components, there is material overlap with generic tools. But manufacturers will understand the difference between purpose-built solutions and regular procurement suites immediately (although whether they will budget for a specialized solution is a different question entirely).

This Spend Matters PRO vendor snapshot explores Directworks’ strengths and weaknesses in direct materials sourcing and related areas, providing facts and expert analysis to help manufacturers and procurement organizations decide if they should shortlist the provider. Part 1 of our analysis comprised a company and detailed solution overview and a SWOT analysis, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for what types of organizations should consider Directworks. The remaining parts of this multipart series will offer a user selection guide, user interface and experience (UI/UX) analysis, competitive alternatives and evaluation and selection considerations.

Directworks: Vendor Analysis (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview


In North America, the vast majority of procurement technology expenditure, by Spend Matters estimates, has been focused primarily on automating indirect and services procurement activities spanning from strategy to payment. It’s worth noting that the opposite is true in countries such as Germany, where manufacturing is the focus of the economy. This has made it challenging for direct materials-focused technology providers like Directworks (and competitors such as Pool4Tool and SynerTrade, both of which have a strong base among European manufacturers) to be seen as a “must have” toolset compared with areas like indirect procure-to-pay (P2P) solutions and even more targeted modular areas like contract lifecycle management (CLM).

Directworks, along with its peers, is hoping to change this. Founded as Co-eXprise in 2004 with a goal of building a new type of direct sourcing solution not yet available in the North American marketplace, Directworks has since evolved since. What started as a solution to integrate the new sourcing tools of the day (e.g., RFX, auctions, project management, dashboards) with bill of materials, supplier management and collaborative workflow management has been evolving into a direct materials sourcing workbench.

Since then, Directworks has replatformed with an emphasis on being purpose-built for direct materials sourcing and cost management. There are gaps: auctions and sourcing optimization are absent, user-based workflow configuration is limited and product information management (PIM) is minimal. But the sum of how the parts interoperate is of more pragmatic value than before and should capture the attention of manufacturers.

This Spend Matters PRO vendor snapshot provides a history and overview of the Directworks platform, including how it can support direct materials procurement efforts today. This multi-part research brief comprises a company and solution overview, company-level SWOT analysis, product strengths and weaknesses, competitive alternatives, a user selection guide and insider evaluation and selection considerations.