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SpendHQ Vendor Analysis 2020 Update: Part 3 (SWOT, Vendor Comparisons, Selection Tips, Analysis)

Part 3 of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot 2020 Update on SpendHQ will have a company-level SWOT analysis, vendor comparisons, a user selection guide, and insider evaluation and selection considerations. The update series builds on our 2016 review of the spend analytics firm started by Insight Sourcing Group (ISG).

Part 1 provided a history and overview of the SpendHQ spend analysis platform. Part 2 focused on the strengths and weaknesses of SpendHQ’s solution.

Now let’s look at more analysis and see how SpendHQ compares in the market to vendors and solutions like Coupa Spend360, Jaggaer, GEP, Synertrade, AnyData, Orpheus IT, Sievo, Simfoni and Suplari.

SpendHQ Vendor Analysis 2020 Update: Part 2 (Strengths & Weaknesses)

Part 2 of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot 2020 Update focuses on the strengths and weaknesses of SpendHQ’s solution and builds on our 2016 review of the spend analytics firm started by Insight Sourcing Group (ISG).

Spend Matters has described SpendHQ’s capabilities as quite unlike any other spend analysis solution in the market today. Since the launch of its initial spend visibility product, SpendHQ has added compliance management, supplier information management and visibility, do-it-yourself reporting and opportunity insights — the latter capabilities being quite unique and one of the few tools that can enable procurement organizations to avoid the need to invest in all but the most complex gain share recovery audits after the fact, a topic we will discuss in Part 2 in this series.

And, this year, SpendHQ released its second major revamp to the SpendHQ platform where it improved the core and completely redid the UX to provide buyers with the insights they need to make more meaningful decisions front-and-center immediately upon login. In addition, the new UX supports best-in-class do-it-yourself report building on par with the best stand-alone spend analysis and BI tools and real-time drill down that can take a buyer to just the data and/or transactions they want to see when they want to see it — from anywhere in the product.

Part 1 provided a history and overview of the SpendHQ spend analysis platform. And Part 3 >Part 3 will have a company-level SWOT analysis, competitive alternatives, a user selection guide, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Now let’s look at the strengths and weaknesses.

SpendHQ Vendor Analysis 2020 Update: Part 2

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot 2020 Update builds on our 2016 review of SpendHQ. Part 1 of this update provides a history and overview of the SpendHQ spend analytics platform, and can begin to help procurement organizations decide whether SpendHQ is a good shortlist candidate for their analytics needs. Part 2 Part 2 will focus on product strengths and weaknesses. will focus on product strengths and weaknesses. And Part 3 Part 3 will have a company-level SWOT analysis, competitive alternatives, a user selection guide, and insider evaluation and selection considerations. will have a company-level SWOT analysis, competitive alternatives, a user selection guide, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

SpendHQ’s parent company, Insight Sourcing Group (ISG), was founded in 2002. ISG has its roots in delivering savings to clients on a consulting basis through strategic sourcing and related procurement transformation, category management and operational cost-reduction programs. It has always had a unique approach to driving category savings, and has, for example, eschewed reverse auctions and traditional e-sourcing tools throughout its past (and this despite a strong technology prowess).

Spend analytics would prove different than e-sourcing technology, however. Yet ISG did not set out to build a standalone analytics package from the start — it began by building an application for its internal use, in large part because third-party spend analysis tools did not meet its requirements. Yet rather quickly, the internal would become the external. The story follows a logical progression:

* As more and more customers saw the reports (developed internally with the tool), and results and reporting they delivered, they requested access directly. After prodding, ISG built a viewer that clients could use to track and keep on top of their spend.
* When customers saw the data and the insights that could be derived if their buyers could drill in and explore in-house, they asked if they could leverage the technology themselves to drive their own sourcing and category management efforts. Finally, in 2012, ISG decided to productize the solution and SpendHQ was formed — and, of course, they brought in developers with expertise in analytics to help them build the application.
* SpendHQ became a complete cloud-based SaaS spend analysis and visibility offering that was being used by a number of clients, including some Fortune 500/Global 2000 companies out of the gate.
* By 2016, SpendHQ appeared to be winning as many spend analysis deals (if not more) than other procurement technology firms …
* … but the do-it-yourself reporting capability was extremely limited (to customizing what SpendHQ had already produced), opportunity insights were limited to pre-defined categories, and mapping fixes still required SpendHQ. … SpendHQ was starting to fall behind in technology, so they brought in a platform/product management expert in 2017 (in the form of David Bush, former CEO of Iasta that sold to Selectica and then became part of the Determine platform) to help them build a product, with a company behind it, to rival its current, and future, best-of-breed peers.
* Now, in 2020, they have released a complete overhaul of the platform that has most of the benefits the platform had before with best-of-breed do-it-yourself reporting, opportunity insights across the entire spend-base, and better AI categorization with the ability for users to define overrides on supplier and transaction mapping.

While this is only the second real “deep dive” that the author has written about SpendHQ, the Spend Matters team can vouch that the product is solid. Both the author and Spend Matters Founder Jason Busch have been evaluating release versions since SpendHQ’s very early days, tracing its evolution and providing critical feedback in its early years. We’ve also written about it on a regular basis since 2014, the year that SpendHQ was first named to the Spend Matters 50/50 list.

Since the launch of its initial spend visibility product, SpendHQ has also added compliance management, supplier information management and visibility, do-it-yourself reporting and opportunity insights — the latter capabilities being quite unique and one of the few tools that can enable procurement organizations to avoid the need to invest in all but the most complex gain share recovery audits after the fact, a topic we will discuss in Part 2 in this series.

And, this year, SpendHQ released its second major revamp to the SpendHQ platform where it improved the core and completely redid the UX to provide buyers with the insights they need to make more meaningful decisions front-and-center immediately upon login. In addition, the new UX supports best-in-class do-it-yourself report building on par with the best stand-alone spend analysis and BI tools and real-time drill down that can take a buyer to just the data and/or transactions they want to see when they want to see it — from anywhere in the product.

Over three updated installments, we will dive deep into the new platform, its strength and opportunities for improvement, and how SpendHQ compares to other vendors in the market.

SpendHQ

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 SpendHQ, a SolutionMap-ranked provider.

The SpendHQ Customer Experience: What Makes It Great (Spend and Procurement Analytics SolutionMap Analysis)

data analytics

Spend and procurement analytics solutions are fundamentally  designed for business users rather than IT organizations — or should be. Why? Because procurement is their master.

But all too often, IT-led business intelligence initiatives — or spend analytics solutions built on the premise of BI-centric reports rather than a design-centric philosophy around procurement and category management needs — end up becoming the vehicle by which an organization looks at its spend and supplier data. The result? Some of the most salient potential insights go unfound.

SpendHQ, a solution built “by procurement and for procurement users,” takes a different approach entirely to the spend analytics process and the presentation of spend and category intelligence. This is reflected in what its customers have to say about its solution and how their experience compares to users of more traditional, BI-centric spend analytics.

As of December 2018, the Spend Matters SolutionMap contains functional and customer satisfaction benchmarks on more than 50 providers within the procurement technology landscape. But where does SpendHQ stand out most and help “set the bar” in spend analytics from a customer-ratings perspective, and why should this matter for procurement and finance organizations?

Let’s delve into the SolutionMap benchmark to find out where SpendHQ is great, sharing both customer anecdotes and ratings.

“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.

Simfoni vs. SpendHQ: Spend Analysis Head-to-Head Technology Evaluation and Comparison

Simfoni and SpendHQ have both common and different DNA, particularly in how they originally built and delivered their spend analysis software.

Simfoni initially designed its spend analysis tool to enable the success of other consultancies delivering procurement and spend analytics. Similarly, SpendHQ was born out of Insight Sourcing Group, a consultancy itself.

Although in a matter of years Simfoni has evolved dramatically, it has remained true to its roots, delivering a spend analysis tool that serves both consultants working with end users and procurement organizations directly. And while ISG at first used SpendHQ as both an internal tool and as a leave-behind for procurement organizations, today SpendHQ operates as a standalone company, with a growth rate that is outpacing the market, making it one of the two largest — if not the largest — standalone spend analysis software providers.

Simfoni and SpendHQ have rarely encountered each other in the market to date, given Simfoni’s global focus and SpendHQ’s North America-centric orientation. Still, since both beat the average functional benchmark score in the Spend Matters Q2 2018 Spend and Procurement Analytics SolutionMap, we thought a comparison was in order. Because a collision course is inevitable at some point.

Join us in this unfiltered SolutionMap results analysis from our Q2 2018 dataset, along with the commentary of the Spend Matters analyst team. These Head-to-Head columns share the insights of each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider Subscribers<, providing comparative cuts of SolutionMap benchmark data along with the trademark quips that Spend Matters was better known for in its early years. So buckle your seat belt, prepare for some real data and expect a few sparks to fly as we pit Simfoni and SpendHQ against each other in the spend analysis software evaluation ring.

Not yet an Insider member? Here’s a preview: In certain spend analysis categories — which include data layer, process support, technology, configurability and services — Simfoni convincingly comes out on top. But in others, it’s darn close, and in at least one area, SpendHQ delivers an unquestionably superior score.

SpendHQ: What Makes It Great (Spend Analytics SolutionMap Analysis)

Analytics

On its own, SpendHQ’s performance in the Q2 2018 SolutionMap for spend analytics technology and solutions is noteworthy (not only because it beats the functional benchmark for all five buying organization personas). But SpendHQ stands out even more from competitive spend analytics providers – and the broader procurement technology vendor crowd – because it has close linkages to its parent organization, Insight Sourcing Group.

This affiliation brings related capabilities, which expand on the value proposition of spend analysis to deliver rapid savings and continuous value creation opportunities (e.g., leveraged/GPO contracts and category specific solutions for energy), not to mention deep procurement transformation, strategic sourcing and category enablement services. As important, this relationship led to the design of a spend analysis solution which, on its own outside of ISG, is purpose-built to drive sourcing results and savings capture on a category-specific basis to clients.

In terms of targeted spend analytics technology and enabling services, as the Q2 2018 Spend Analytics SolutionMap benchmark provides evidence of, SpendHQ more than holds its own in a highly competitive market as a stand-alone provider. Its SolutionMap performance provides compelling evidence, based on both analyst ratings and customer reference scoring, that the provider is a “must” shortlist candidate for nearly all spend analytics buying scenarios. Join us in exploring what makes SpendHQ 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.

SpendHQ vs. Zycus: Spend Analysis Head-to-Head Technology Evaluation and Comparison

Two decades ago, Zycus pioneered the original spend classification and spend analytics sector, providing companies with an alternative to Excel and Access for cleansing, classifying, enriching and analyzing spend data. At the time, what Zycus came up with would become a huge step forward not just for procurement technology but for procurement overall.

But since Zycus got its start, dozens of new entrants have pursued the spend analytics market, both independently and as part of broader firms. One of these entrants, SpendHQ, grew out of a consultancy, Insight Sourcing Group. Originally, ISG used SpendHQ as both an internal tool (by the ISG team) and as a leave-behind for procurement organizations. But today, SpendHQ is a stand-alone solution in its own right, with a growth rate significantly outpacing the market that has made it the first or second largest stand-alone spend analytics vendor. (We don’t count Zycus in this area anymore, since it has graduated to a full-fledged source-to-pay suite vendor.)

Both SpendHQ and Zycus beat the average functional benchmark score in Spend Matters Q2 2018 Spend Analytics SolutionMap. But how do they stack up against each other in a head-to-head bout?

Join us in this unfiltered SolutionMap results analysis from our Q2 2018 dataset, along with the commentary of the Spend Matters analyst team. These “Head-to-Head” columns share the insights of each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider Subscribers, providing unique comparative cuts of SolutionMap benchmark data along with the trademark quips that Spend Matters was better known for in its early years. So buckle your seat belt, prepare for some real data and expect a few sparks to fly as we pit SpendHQ and Zycus against each other in the Spend analysis evaluation ring.

Not yet an Insider member? Here’s a preview: In certain spend analytics categories — which include data layer, process support, technology, configurability and services – SpendHQ comes out on top (sometimes convincingly so). But in others, Zycus delivers a superior performance (both by small and large margins, depending on area).

And overall, the results suggest that the right solution will vary based on different organizational requirements. There’s no debate that spend analytics selection processes will reward procurement organizations that tailor provider selection to their specific needs.

The Q2 2018 Spend and Procurement Analytics SolutionMap benchmark is now based on an underlying dataset featuring 11 separate providers, including nearly all of the must-shortlist invoice-to-pay technology providers procurement organizations can expect to consider in a typical selection process (as well as those they should consider but might overlook). Whether you’re in the market for a new invoice-to-pay product or just 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.

ISG SpendHQ: A Spend Analysis Tool Built by Sourcing Professionals for Sourcing Professionals — Year-End Tech Review

analytics

This post is part of our 2016 Year-End Procurement Tech Review series, in which we offer procurement practitioners a bird’s-eye view of some key vendors and their solutions in select categories. For the rest of this week, we’re highlighting companies in the risk management and spend analytics spaces.

SpendHQ, a spend analytics product born out of its parent company, Insight Sourcing Group (ISG), originated as an answer to many of the challenges its consultants faced in the field. Today, SpendHQ has evolved into a full-featured analytics platform that has the distinction of being one of the few spend analysis tools that was built by sourcing professionals for sourcing professionals, and it looks at procurement data the way these professionals want to see it. SpendHQ was built by people who knew exactly what kind of analytics they needed to identify everything from surface-level to buried savings opportunities.

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

Analytics

What happens when you cross the expertise and tenacity of one of the largest independent sourcing and procurement consultancies in North America with a long-enough time horizon to construct a purpose-built analytics application for both their own purposes and to serve their customers with a highly competitive streak that says, “We can do this differently and better that software companies.” You get SpendHQ, that’s what. SpendHQ is a spend analysis solution designed by sourcing and spend experts that blends a SaaS-based deployment model with managed services. SpendHQ manages the entire process of implementation, data integration, spend normalization, classification and enrichment, as well as regular refreshes and the creation and maintenance of savings opportunity reports.

SpendHQ designed its spend analytics as a complete package for procurement organizations that want third-party oversight, guidance and deep insight into “what to do with the data.” The provider’s parent company, Insight Sourcing Group, has been doing spend analysis projects for almost 15 years. While perhaps the largest differentiator of SpendHQ comes from how it unearths different types of savings opportunities and spoon feeds this information to users, the solution is particularly suited for those organizations with a “portfolio” of spend that want to be able to roll-up and roll-down different views of data (e.g., private equity firms, holding company structures, distributed P&Ls).

This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering SpendHQ offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other similar or related vendors that companies may wish to shortlist. 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 SpendHQ.

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

AnyData Solutions

It is the rare scenario that those using a purpose-built technology are the best ones to build it. But in the case of Insight Sourcing Group’s (ISG) SpendHQ solution for spend analytics, the influence of those who initially built it from the ground up to suit their own purposes is undeniable. SpendHQ needed a means of helping clients unearth, implement, track and manage different types of procurement savings opportunities in the most efficient manner possible. And they were not happy with fitting off-the-shelf spend visibility solutions to their own processes. Unsurprisingly, the final product, built by analytically-oriented sourcing professionals for analytically-oriented sourcing professionals, would end up beating to its own sourcing and cost reduction drum — and is quite unlike any other spend analysis solution in the market today.

In addition to offering a managed service for data cleansing, classification and enrichment, SpendHQ provides a core spend visibility engine, which provides an overall snapshot and drillable view into past expenditure and savings opportunities. The application also provides a module that offers enriched vendor detail information (with Hoover’s-level type information on suppliers) and a contract module, which stores all contracts, metadata, and allows for the creation of alerts and notifications around the metadata. Finally, SpendHQ also provides a compliance module, where the user can see for the selected categories, the addressable spend, the managed spend, the compliance rate and the impact rate (percentage of compliant spend against addressable spend) as categories with low impact rates have high opportunity category (savings) management, which, on a category basis, summarizes spend, managed, core list compliance and pricing accuracy.

This Spend Matters PRO vendor snapshot explores SpendHQ’s strengths and weaknesses in the spend analysis area, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide if they should shortlist the vendor as a potential 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 SpendHQ. The remaining parts of this multipart series will offer a user selection guide, user interface (UI/UX) analysis, competitive alternatives and evaluation and selection considerations.

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

data analytics

“Services oriented firms should not develop stand-alone software.” This was an adage that held true throughout the early years of source-to-pay (S2P) solutions, proven out by the inability of firms like AT Kearney (eBreviate) and FreeMarkets (QuickSource, ES, etc.) to develop profitable, commercially viable software products that could stand on their own two feet against the competition without support from the parent organization. But a number of changes occurred in the past decade that created a fundamental shift in this paradigm, allowing a new line to blur between services companies and product companies in the procurement sector. And one of the best examples of this is SpendHQ, a spend analytics product that was born out its parent company, Insight Sourcing Group (ISG), as an answer to many of the challenges its consultants faced in the field.

Today, SpendHQ has evolved to a full-featured analytics platform that has the distinction of being one of the few spend analysis tools that was built by sourcing professionals for sourcing professionals and that looks at procurement data the way sourcing professionals want to see it. Whereas many spend analysis tools were either built by analytics experts by procurement novices (and required heavy kludging to make initial releases work) or by traditional sourcing/procurement process experts but analytics novices (and just didn't have the power big organizations needed), SpendHQ was built by people who knew sourcing and knew exactly what kind of analytics they needed to identify everything from surface-level to buried savings opportunities.

This Spend Matters PRO vendor profile provides a history and overview of the SpendHQ spend analysis platform, and should prove more than sufficient in helping procurement organizations decide whether it is a good shortlist candidate for their analytics needs or not. This multipart 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.