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 Keelvar, a SolutionMap-ranked provider.

Keelvar: What Makes It Great (Sourcing SolutionMap Analysis)

The e-sourcing software market is crowded and fragmented. In the Q2 2018 SolutionMap alone, Spend Matters featured 16 of the top strategic sourcing solutions. Yet within this supply base for e-sourcing tools, one of the areas few software providers have emphasized is sourcing optimization — a critical capability for unlocking new levels of value from procurement.

Businesses interested in engaging e-sourcing providers with optimization capability have historically faced steep pricing and a high usability bar as the cost of entry. But times are changing. New sourcing optimization solutions are coming into the market that balance capability, usability and price in a package that can augment or even replace other e-sourcing tools.

Keelvar, a relatively new entrant in the e-sourcing sector, is one such company. Within the Q2 2018 Sourcing SolutionMap, Keelvar stands out from the crowd on numerous fronts. It is both a high scorer across a range of technological capabilities and a customer favorite for multiple buying personas. Keelvar’s SolutionMap performance provides compelling evidence that the company is a must-shortlist candidate for every customer considering an e-sourcing solution — especially those considering sourcing optimization software.

“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 offers quick facts on the provider, describes where it excels, provides hard data on where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark and concludes with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider it.

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

When Keelvar launched, in 2012, the sourcing optimization technology provider competed in a sector with several providers offering more similar than different capabilities. At the time, sourcing optimization competitors included nearly every vendor with an e-sourcing tool and a solver — BravoSolution (VerticalNet originally), SciQuest (CombineNet originally), Determine (Iasta originally), IBM (Emptoris originally). But in 2016, Keelvar's most direct competitor that is focusing similar percentage investment levels in sourcing optimization as a percentage of overall R&D is Trade Extensions. This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering Keelvar offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other e-sourcing providers. 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 Keelvar.

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

Global Risk Management Solutions

From its roots in Irish mathematical academia, Keelvar has evolved in less than five years since launching to become the most user-friendly sourcing optimization solution in the market. It offers an advanced sourcing technology that a typical procurement team member can take full advantage of with minimal training and no special quantitative or analytical skillsets. In expanding the potential universe of advanced sourcing applications, Keelvar has brought a better approach to category sourcing and events that procurement would have previously negotiated in a manner that cost them potential implementable savings (and a chance to build better relationships with both internal stakeholders and suppliers).

Today, Keelvar regularly handles events with thousands of line items (and lanes, in the case of transportation). It also enables data gathering and scenario analysis in real time, just like its competitors. Plus, it now supports more than 40 of the most common constraints (e.g., split of business) that procurement organizations would apply to sourcing processes that take advantage of capabilities to optimize award decisions. More recently, Keelvar has expanded beyond the initial traction it built in public sector to retail, CPG and transportation companies, and is now even serving some Fortune 500 and Global 2000 manufacturers.

This Spend Matters PRO vendor snapshot explores Keelvar’s strengths and weaknesses in the e-sourcing and sourcing optimization areas, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide if they should shortlist Keelvar as a potential provider to replacement or use alongside other sourcing technologies. (Incidentally, Spend Matters research shows that Fortune 500 companies typically use at least three different sourcing solutions.) 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 Keelvar. The remaining parts of this multi-part series will offer a user selection guide, user interface (UI/UX) analysis, competitive alternatives and evaluation and selection considerations.

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

FM Global Resilience Index

The capability of most e-sourcing suites has evolved relatively slowly compared with other procurement technology areas in the past decade. Yet there is one exception to this rule: sourcing optimization or, as some label it, “advanced sourcing.” On the supplier side, these technologies encourage vendor creativity in bid responses and even allow alternative bids. For procurement, they enable the application of flexible constraints (not just weights) against supplier responses to create optimal bid award decisions that factor into account price and non-price factors.

While advanced sourcing technologies got their start supporting logistics procurement events across thousands of lanes, they have now evolved to support just about any strategic category of spend where a direct competition route that encourages apples-to-apples bids in a reverse auction manner will likely not yield the best result. Sourcing optimization solutions today have supported some of the largest and most complex sourcing events ever conducted — in some cases, single events spanning multiple tiers of the supply chain with more than $1 billion in expenditure being awarded. Yet overall, adoption has lagged the market for general-purpose e-sourcing tools and suites.

Keelvar, a four-year-old firm that started as a spinout from a research lab at a university, is hoping to change this. Incidentally, CombineNet (now SciQuest) and Trade Extensions, two additional providers in this sector, also share similar academic roots. Keelvar's primary differentiation is that, unlike the majority of sourcing optimization software providers, it realized from day one that the solution wasn't a better optimization module, it was a better sourcing platform where ease of use was the most important driver of adoption. This Spend Matters PRO vendor snapshot provides a history and overview of Keelvar’s sourcing technology. 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.