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

data analytics

It’s possible to look at what Tamr is trying to do for procurement through multiple lenses. From one angle, Tamr is bringing a revamped approach to data management and data classification for basic procurement analytics. But from other angles, Tamr is pursuing a different end game entirely: attempting to expand procurement’s data-driven horizons from traditional spend analysis to broader supply analytics (which includes spend data). Supply analytics is about much more than looking at “how much we spent.” It’s about bringing in new datasets to procurement analytics and expanding the value procurement can deliver through: exploring drivers of activity, linking specific category-based datasets to measurement and strategy development, influencing future buying behavior, quantifying the strategic value of spend and supplier relationships and much more.

This is a significant shift. We like to joke around the Spend Matters office that traditional spend analysis approaches should really be called forensic “spent analysis.” This statement can be, of course, read in two ways. Literally, spent analysis is rear-facing — and of diminishing value over time. But one can also read the phrase as an indictment of the actual benefit of most spend analysis today, especially when compared to its true potential. After all, if our analytics approaches are “spent,” then maybe procurement’s value-add is similarly at risk.

This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering Tamr offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other spend analytics providers, as well as enterprise business intelligence vendors that are actually a better basis of comparison (if we want to move beyond “spent” analysis). 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 Tamr.

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

It’s an unfortunate fact that the procurement industry rarely gets to take advantage of leading edge technologies before other functions. Sales, marketing, IT, HR and supply chain/operations are often the first within companies to play in the technology innovation sandbox. Consider customer data integration (CDI) technology, other big data applications (e.g., complex entity management/collaboration, optimization/solvers and workforce planning and measurement as just a start. Yet Tamr is helping to buck this trend, bringing one of the most powerful machine learning-based analytics platforms for managing structured and unstructured content to procurement (and other value chain areas) to show the power of the technology applied to spend, suppliers, categories and any other datasets where data complexity can drag down any procurement analytics efforts. Providing a technology vote of confidence, Google, Thomson Reuters and HP are all investors in Tamr.

This Spend Matters PRO vendor snapshot explores Tamr’s strengths and weaknesses in the spend analysis and supply analytics areas, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide if they should shortlist Tamr 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 Tamr. 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.

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


Tamr, founded in 2013, is an analytics platform and applications provider that, in its own words, “combines machine learning software with data science expertise so analysts can breakthrough the data quality and preparation bottlenecks that prevent fast, accurate analysis.” But since nearly all procurement organizations buy procurement applications, not true platforms, Tamr offers a suite of procurement analytics that is understandably anchored in spend analytics. Spend analysis is not just part of sourcing but also part of a broader supply analytics.

The founding team of Tamr leveraged their background (e.g., Dr. Michael Stonebreaker is actually a Turing Award winner) to create an artificial intelligence-based probabilistic machine learning engine that can match the cleansing and classification capabilities of the other best-of-breed spend analysis providers in the market. Yet, Tamr is really something more, at least as we see it. It is one of the first “supply management” analytics providers that bridges procurement and supply chain at the core (and of course finance and other functions) rather than the general-purpose mega analytics platforms out there (e.g., Tableau, Qlik, SAS, IBM, Informatica, etc.).

Tamr’s early stage traction working with a select group of Fortune 500 customers shows that its current functional capabilities within procurement are at least close enough to other established providers that have been delivering spend analysis solutions for over a decade. Yet these organizations are also looking for next level supply-centric opportunities beyond simple spend visibility alone. This Spend Matters PRO vendor snapshot provides a history and overview of the Tamr’s AI and spend analysis platform, including how it can support both core spend analysis requirements as well as advanced use cases beyond the realm of how typical procurement organizations are deploying analytics solutions 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.