Archives

Zycus update: Basics, BOTs and Beyond (Part 2: AI, MERLIN Roadmap and Summary)

Artificial intelligence capabilities are central to Zycus’ product roadmap. This Spend Matters PRO brief provides an overview of MERLIN (Zycus’ AI underpinnings and platform) and how it ties to Zycus’ overall product strategy and release schedule. MERLIN's main concept is based on autonomous procurement (the tailored bots that it builds are called BOTs), with a focus on automating all the routine, repetitive tasks of purchasing processes, especially transactional and manual ones. For an overview of the company and a product update, read Part 1.

Zycus

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 Zycus, a SolutionMap-ranked provider.

Zycus Sourcing: What Makes It Great (Analysis)

Zycus got its start in spend analytics. But over the past decade, it has quietly become one of the largest independent source-to-pay providers. Within its broader suite, Zycus sourcing is a stand-out capability, where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark average score for the majority of capabilities.

Zycus has taken a modular approach to how it sells and positions its sourcing capabilities on top of its underlying architecture. And it’s gaining traction in the procurement technology suite market not only due to its functional breadth and depth — but also because it offers some of the most attractive pricing in the market today (despite that it delivers materially greater functionality than the majority of its peers).

As of Q3 2018, Spend Matters SolutionMap contains functional and customer satisfaction benchmarks on more than 50 providers within procurement technology and related markets. At present, Spend Matters maintains a solution benchmark on 17 sourcing providers, spanning some 125+ requirements. The Sourcing SolutionMap has some of the toughest requirements in any SolutionMap area — putting this highly competitive technology “supply” market to the test.

But how does Zycus sourcing comparatively stack up in the functional and capability weeds? It turns out Zycus performs strongly and is a recommend fit for all core sourcing SolutionMap personas. To understand where Zycus stands out — and why this matters for sourcing and category teams — let’s dive into the fields that comprise the sourcing benchmark and explore exactly what makes Zycus great.

“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.

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.

Zycus: Vendor Analysis (Part 3) — Summary and Competitive Analysis

Oracle

For many years, Zycus’ self-proclaimed corporate objective was to become a “top three” procurement technology solutions provider. The irony of this goal was that it would ultimately — at least until Q2 2018 — prove elusive, not because of a failure to execute on objectives but rather how the market (e.g., Jaggaer’s strategy of combining multiple larger vendors and niche specialists under a single roof) moved against Zycus through unexpected actions. But more important than this is what Zycus’ initiatives actually mean for customers, based on the underlying current capabilities of the provider’s modules, suite and ecosystem today — and its planned enhancements for tomorrow. In these areas, fortunately, Zycus’ approach to meeting its business goals proved more important than the initial objective itself.

The third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot series covering Zycus offers a SWOT analysis of the provider and a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as alternative vendors to Zycus and offers provider selection guidance. Previous installments provided an in-depth look at Zycus as a firm and its specific solutions (Part 1) and a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses, as well as a review of the product’s user experience (Part 2).

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

Zycus is one of roughly half-a-dozen true source-to-pay (S2P) platform providers that offer more than lip service across all of the elements that comprise this solution area. In some modular areas, however, its technology is deeper than others.

For example, while Zycus has the RFX and auction functionality found in just about every sourcing platform, it also brings sourcing project management, spend analysis, a supplier network with supplier relationship management functionality and contract lifecycle management. Zycus also brings significant support for downstream procurement with its own native catalog management, requisition management, purchase order management, e-invoicing, payment support and dynamic discounting capability. And threaded throughout the platform is S2P project management support, organizational “ask procurement” support, integrated search and suggest functionality, and the capability to run end-to-end performance metrics.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot continues our exploration of Zycus’ source-to-pay offering by diving into the platform’s strengths, weaknesses and user interface. In Part 1 of this series, we provided an overview of Zycus as an organization, its primary platform modules and key considerations that will help an organization decide whether or not it should be investigating Zycus to meet its source-to-pay needs. In Part 3, we will conclude our coverage with a SWOT assessment, a detailed user selection guide, competition overview and our expert analysis.

Zycus: Vendor Analysis (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview

procurement software

Aatish Dedhia, Zycus’s founder, has long preached the benefits of technology provider self-sufficiency, including management-driven investment, profitable growth and organic, suite-based product development. It is based on these principles that Zycus “grew up” from a razor-focused pioneer in the spend classification sector nearly 20 years ago into a strategic procurement technologies suite and, eventually, a full end-to-end source-to-pay (S2P) suite provider. While Zycus has strong comparative solutions depth and capability in certain areas, part of its broader market appeal has been often comparatively low pricing, which we view as a value-based feather in its cap.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement and finance organizations make informed decisions about whether a provider like Zycus, either on a modular or source-to-pay suite basis, is likely to be a strong shortlist candidate for their needs. 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 Zycus for their S2P needs. The remainder of this multipart research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, user selection guides, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.