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iPayables: Vendor Analysis — Overview of AP automation solution, roadmap, iPayables competitors, strengths/weaknesses

iPayables solution

As Spend Matters’ PRO analysis of AP automation solutions continues, we examine iPayables.

Its solution, InvoiceWorks, connects buyers with their suppliers via a portal to automate the invoicing process. iPayable’s focus is on North America, where the AP process remains relatively immature in terms of invoice digitization due to the lack of a regulatory mandate to implement electronic invoicing.

This PRO Vendor Analysis will give readers an overview of iPayables’ AP solution, a look at its platform and services, a brief description of its solution functionalities, a vision of its roadmap, a description of iPayables’ competitors and market graphic, and some key analyst takeaways.

SAP Ariba vs SirionLabs: Contract lifecycle management head-to-head technology evaluation and comparison

head-to-head

The contract lifecycle management (CLM) space is exceptional because best-of-breed vendors definitively define what leading functionality is. Whereas, in other areas, suite players often perform at parity or stronger than standalone vendors — and, in the case of sourcing optimization especially, outperform the market. In CLM, the standalone vendors are the ones that set the current “bar” for the technology.

At the same time, CLM is also a less fully adopted solution area, and the offerings available from suite and ERP vendors can still deliver strong improvements compared with using no system at all. Contract management maturity is a key consideration, as some organizations simply need to start or hit moderate maturity levels before they can even think about optimizing their relationships and contract language.

The question then becomes: What is the value of using the CLM module from a suite or ERP provider vs. a standalone specialist, and which option is the best for my organization?

A matchup that encapsulates this scenario well is SAP Ariba vs. SirionLabs. Indeed, many customers that provided references for SirionLabs said they often considered SAP Ariba alongside their current vendor during selection, and both vendors have experience serving enterprise customers with complex requirements. We feel that merits a round in the Spring 2021 CLM SolutionMap head-to-head evaluation ring for our content subscribers.

Not yet a Spend Matters PRO or Insider member? Here’s a preview of today’s comparison.

In multiple CLM categories — which include contract information management, contract process management, CLM analytics and underlying technology — SirionLabs comes out on top. But in at least one other, SAP Ariba provides an impressive counterblow. And in specific functional matchups, SAP Ariba comes out swinging with unique strengths that illustrate its ability to address specific customer types.

Spend Matters’ head-to-head columns share the insights of each fall and spring SolutionMap update. Subscribers to our PRO analyst content and SolutionMap Insider content can read the head-to-head columns, which provide comparative cuts of SolutionMap benchmark data for two solutions. For each column, we provide comparisons against the S2P-wide benchmarks, comparative scoring of vendors across dozens of functional requirements, and our analysts’ take on how each solution holds up in the competitive ring.

EcoVadis targets net zero with Carbon Action Module: Vendor Analysis Update

EcoVadis Carbon Action Module

Sustainability is a broad term that encompasses numerous subtopics. But increasingly, considerations of sustainability center around a pivotal topic: carbon emissions.

As the world grapples with the best ways to balance trade-offs between decarbonizing economies with the expectations of economic growth, corporations, investors and governments have all begun to take stock of their current carbon footprints, in an effort to better prioritize how to reach net zero emissions by their own stated goals.

And if you’re familiar with the ways that corporations go about calculating their carbon footprints, then you know that supply chains account for 80% of greenhouse gas emissions — which means that procurement has a significant role to play in the process of reducing global emissions.

That’s why, perhaps unsurprisingly, the best-known provider of sustainability data and tools in the procurement tech space, EcoVadis, recently released its Carbon Action Module, a toolkit to help organizations prioritize, engage and drive emissions reductions to meet decarbonization goals.

In this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis, 2021 Update, we review EcoVadis’ Carbon Action Module and explain how the solution for sustainability rating and monitoring is tackling the challenge of collecting and analyzing carbon emissions data. This post is an addendum to our 2020 reviews and analyses of EcoVadis:

SAP Ariba: Procure-to-Pay Vendor Analysis (Part 1) — Company background, P2P solution overview, SWOT, competitors/market analysis

SAP Ariba strengths weaknesses

SAP Ariba was arguably the first ever source-to-pay (S2P) suite. Its history stretches back to 1996, when it was founded and quickly built a reputation for its downstream procure-to-pay (P2P) product. And while the history of Ariba before it became SAP Ariba is complex, there is little doubt today that if you’re a procurement organization evaluating P2P offerings, you’re almost certainly going to put SAP Ariba on your longlist, and likely your shortlist too — especially if you’re an SAP shop already.

The SAP Ariba of 2021 is not, however, the same as the Ariba of 1996. In fact, it’s not even the same SAP Ariba of even a few years ago. The product continues to undergo significant development, and the solution’s overall roadmap increasingly intersects with those of other SAP products. This context in the long-term strategy of an enterprise software behemoth is critical to consider when evaluating SAP Ariba for P2P. It’s also important to not only consider factors around classic end-user-focused e-procurement — including usability, configurability and access to multiple sources of content — but also those around supply chain collaboration, integration with other SAP solutions (e.g., ERP and treasury) and the draw of the vendor’s globally known supplier network.

Because SAP Ariba offers a broad suite, Spend Matters will write multiple posts that focus on three distinct areas: the downstream P2P offering (today’s posts), the upstream source-to-contract offering, and a summary look at the S2P product as a whole.

In today’s three-part PRO Vendor Analysis series on SAP Ariba’s P2P offering, Part 1 provides a company background and high-level solution overview, gives a company SWOT analysis and discusses SAP Ariba competitors. The next two parts focus on product strengths/weaknesses and tech selection tips as well as an in-depth look at the P2P solution (platform, e-procurement, AP automation, SAP Business Network, analytics) and our analyst summary.

SAP Ariba: Procure-to-Pay Vendor Analysis (Part 2) — P2P product strengths and weaknesses, tech selection tips

SAP Ariba P2P

In this series on SAP Ariba’s procure-to-pay (P2P) offering, Part 2 provides an assessment of the P2P solution’s strengths and weaknesses, based on both quantitative data gathered through our SolutionMap benchmark and our analysts’ informed qualitative analysis. It also offers tech selection tips.

Comparing major procure-to-pay (P2P) vendors is no simple task. While many solutions have strived in recent years to deliver what they describe as “Amazon-like” or even “Google-like” experiences for end users making daily purchases, the underlying technology enabling those experiences is anything but simple. And especially when you shift your reference from indirect, shopping-based experiences to direct materials purchasing and global e-invoicing compliance, the complexity of how to execute efficient yet compliant P2P processes at the enterprise level can quickly become overwhelming.

SAP Ariba is intimately familiar with both of these end-user challenges and these multinational-size P2P puzzles. The vendor has for many years held top-tier functionality scores in our P2P SolutionMap. SAP Ariba is, of course, well-known among procurement organizations, and for firms already using SAP products like ECC or S/4HANA, the option to standardize within the SAP ecosystem can be appealing.

But how exactly does SAP Ariba stack up against competitors offering enterprise-focused P2P solutions, and when exactly is the vendor the ideal “fit” for your business requirements?

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis series helps procurement organizations and the firms that support them evaluate SAP Ariba as it stands today.

Part 3 of today’s series will provide a detailed overview of each component of the SAP Ariba P2P product and a final analyst summary. Part 1 offers company background information, a SWOT and a list of SAP Ariba competitors.

Future three-part posts will cover the vendor’s source-to-contract (S2C) offering, as well as a summary look at its source-to-pay (S2P) product as a whole.

Now, let’s look at SAP Ariba’s P2P strengths and weaknesses.

SAP Ariba: Procure-to-Pay Vendor Analysis (Part 3) — In-depth P2P solution details, analyst summary

SAP Ariba solution

In this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis series on SAP Ariba’s procure-to-pay (P2P) solution, Part 3 provides an in-depth solution overview — looking at the platform, e-procurement, AP automation, the SAP Business Network, analytics and more. It concludes with an analyst summary.

For organizations evaluating procure-to-pay solutions, the decision process is about far more than considering features like requisitioning, ordering, invoice processing and payment approvals. More likely than not, buyers of P2P are evaluating a range of business, technical and enterprise IT strategy factors in addition to what the tool “does.” This means that getting a full accounting of the underlying platform and the larger solution strategy is key to making an informed P2P selection.

SAP Ariba exemplifies these considerations perfectly. When organizations are considering SAP Ariba for P2P, they are not just getting a cloud-based set of purchasing, invoicing and payment approval features. They are also evaluating fit to geographic scope, integration into current and potential future IT environments, and of course, the option of accessing a network of more than 5 million suppliers to facilitate multiple business processes.

All of this is why, in this final installment analyzing SAP Ariba’s P2P solution, we go deep on all the details: platform; implementation and support services; e-procurement for indirect, direct and services considerations; global invoicing/AP automation requirements; payment connectivity and financial ecosystem partner options; and underlying P2P analytics.

The previous two parts offered a company background, a SWOT analysis and an overview of SAP Ariba competitors as well as a look at P2P product strengths and weaknesses and tech selection tips.

Further analyses will cover the vendor’s source-to-contract (S2C) offering, as well as a summary look at the source-to-pay (S2P) product as a whole.

Now, let’s dig into the deeper details of the SAP Ariba P2P solution.

Transparency-One: Vendor Analysis, 2021 update — Supply chain visibility and responsible sourcing solution overview, strengths/weaknesses, competitors, tech selection tips

Prior to the Covid pandemic, supply chain visibility might have been considered either a growing interest or merely a “nice to have” level of data. In today’s world, however, that mindset has completely flipped. Organizations that have not already begun exploring the deeper tiers of their supply chain and assessing their resilience soon will be, not only to proactively manage risk but also to counter increasing scrutiny from governments, investors and consumers about where raw materials come from, the labor that went into producing products and the environmental effects a product’s journey from source to store entails.

Pre-empting this trend toward greater visibility and responsible sourcing capability was Transparency-One, a solution that enables procurement groups driving responsible sourcing efforts to report accurate supplier and compliance data to sales, marketing and regulatory compliance functions about what’s happening in their supply chains end to end, as well as to map product tracking and quality information down to the lot/batch level. Transparency-One provides a supply chain network approach to enabling supply chain visibility, complemented by deep expertise in supplier requirement gathering and, in new capability developed since our initial review, in 2019, a set of responsible sourcing dashboards that consolidate internal data and with external feeds to enable geographic analysis of supply vulnerability to sustainability concerns, including human rights risks, water stress and deforestation.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis offers an update on our 2019 look at Transparency-One and its capabilities. It includes an overview of Transparency-One’s solution, a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and continuing to improve) about the solution, a competitive segmentation and analysis, and a tech selection checklist for those that might consider the provider.

Basware: What Makes It Great (AP Automation SolutionMap Spring 2021 analysis)

The accounts payable (AP) automation market holds a variety of solution providers specializing in elements of invoice management. But few have a history that stretches as far back as Basware’s, which has been serving finance and procurement organizations since 1985.

Basware is a Finland-based technology company that specializes in global procurement and AP automation solutions. What started as a smaller, region-specific company has grown to become a global solution processing $789.30 billion annually. It’s home to one of the largest e-invoicing and B2B commerce networks in procurement.

The SolutionMap Spring 2021 launch reinforces this position, putting Basware in the top for functional scores. The company was named a solution leader by Spend Matters’ analysts in the AP Automation category.

So where does Basware stand out most and help “set the bar” in AP automation, and why should this matter for procurement organizations? Let’s delve into the SolutionMap benchmark to find out where Basware is 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.

SimplifyVMS: Vendor Analysis — Contingent workforce solution overview, competitors list/market analysis, tech selection tips, analyst summary

VMS

This one-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis of SimplifyVMS will provide a company background, a detailed solution overview, a market/competitor analysis, tech selection tips and an analyst summary with a strength/weakness section.

As the use of contingent workforce continues to expand and evolve among buying organizations, new ways of sourcing and engaging different kinds of contingent workers are becoming a focus of both established VMS providers as well as new technology solution providers. While staff augmentation/temp staffing remains the major core of contingent workforce management programs, new sourcing and engagement options are being developed. 

At this time, most VMS solutions are aiming to enable a multi-channel sourcing approach (that includes SOW and independent worker engagements). They are also looking to enable a more agile contingent workforce management solution for their customers, based significantly on modern technologies and architectures that afford greater flexibility to change and innovate.

It is here that the newer entrants to the VMS solution market, like SimplifyVMS, can have an advantage over their more established competitors that may have the same aims for their customers but must clear “technology debt” to get to the same place. 

Started in 2016, SimplifyVMS launched its early “simplified” VMS solution in 2017 focused on the market for small to midsize businesses, with the intent to not just repave the cow path but to build a flexible contingent workforce platform based on an open, unified, scalable architecture. Today, SimplifyVMS serves over 70 SMB and large customers with workers in 80 countries. It provides a robust solution that addresses the requirements for sourcing and managing temp workers sourced through staffing suppliers, workers of third-party contract services providers and directly sourced independent contract workers. 

Agiloft vs. Icertis: Contract lifecycle management head-to-head technology evaluation and comparison

head-to-head

The contract lifecycle management market is fascinating in its breadth. Since all businesses operate on contracts, the technology is highly applicable not only across industries but also across market segments in terms of customer size. Indeed, contract management solutions exist for businesses of all sizes, from SME-focused tools with simple repository or document generation capability to intricate, enterprise-wide CLM platforms that serve multinationals.

But just because there are distinct segments in this market does not mean that vendors always stay in their lane. Far from it. As many providers pursue growth, the lines between mid-market and enterprise specialists have increasingly blurred. This has put multiple providers on a collision course, with enterprise providers moving down market and mid-market specialists climbing up into the enterprise space.

Agiloft and Icertis encapsulate this trend perfectly. Agiloft has a broad customer base, with approximately 630 customers on its CLM product ranging from SMEs to enterprises with more than $2 billion in revenue. Icertis has a more focused customer count (more than 225) and historically has served large global businesses. Yet recent funding rounds and product developments have positioned both to extend into each others’ home territories — which merits a round in the Spring 2021 CLM SolutionMap Head-to-Head evaluation ring.

Not yet a PRO or Insider member? Here’s a preview.

In multiple CLM categories — which include contract information management, contract process management, CLM analytics, configurability and underlying technology — Icertis comes out on top. But in at least one other, Agiloft provides an impressive counterblow, and in specific functional matchups Agiloft comes out swinging with unique strengths that illustrate its ability to address specific customer types.

Spend Matters’ head-to-head columns share the insights of each fall and spring SolutionMap update. Subscribers to our PRO analyst content and SolutionMap Insider content can read the head-to-head columns, which provide comparative cuts of SolutionMap benchmark data for two solutions. For each column, we provide comparisons against the S2P-wide benchmarks, comparative scoring of vendors across dozens of functional requirements, and our analysts’ take on how each solution holds up in the competitive ring.

Siemens acquires electronics supply chain provider Supplyframe: Rapid analysis

Siemens AG, a global technology provider, announced the acquisition of Supplyframe, a provider of the Design-to-Source Intelligence (DSI) platform for the global electronics value chain.

In a press release announcing the acquisition, the companies said the $700 million deal will allow customers access to both Siemens’ offerings and Supplyframe’s market intelligence. The companies will aim to help clients reduce costs, increase agility and make informed decisions. The deal strengthens Siemens’ portfolio with new capabilities in SaaS.

Supplyframe’s DSI platform is home to over 10 million engineering and supply chain professionals worldwide, providing options for businesses to design, source, market and sell products in the global electronics supply chain. Its expected revenue for 2021 is $70 million.

"We are very pleased to welcome Supplyframe’s highly innovative and talented team to the Siemens family. Supplyframe will be the nucleus to accelerate our overall digital marketplace strategy,” Cedrik Neike, member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG, said in the press release. "Supplyframe’s ecosystem and marketplace intelligence complements our industrial software portfolio perfectly and strengthens our capabilities for the growing market of small- and mid-size customers.”

This Spend Matters Rapid Analysis research brief explores valuation considerations, the rationale for the combination, the increasing intersection between product lifecycle management (PLM) and direct materials procurement, and the rise of supplier/product intelligence as a critical required capability for procurement organizations — and by extension design engineering and supply chain teams. This brief also explores broader market and supply chain implications of bringing the combined assets togethers. To learn more about Supplyframe’s direct materials procurement capabilities, we recommended starting with a recent PRO Vendor Analysis on the provider which you can find here and here.

Coupa vs. GEP: Procure-to-pay (P2P) head-to-head technology evaluation and comparison

The procure-to-pay (P2P) marketplace holds a wide net of solution providers that offer their own unique take on P2P. Within this group, Coupa and GEP are two of the best representatives. In our SolutionMap comparison of P2P solutions, both have attained analyst (functionality) scores for years that surpass suite vendors and other specialists alike.

But what exactly differentiates the two vendors, and how do each one’s relative strengths factor into customer shortlist creation and ultimate selection?

Join us in this unfiltered SolutionMap results analysis from our Spring 2021 dataset to find out.

Not yet a PRO or Insider member?

Here’s a preview: In several P2P categories — which include catalog management, receiving, and payments and financing — Coupa comes out on top, with particular strengths in areas that tend to drive end user adoption for e-procurement and streamlining of invoice-to-pay processes. But in at least one other, GEP provides an impressive counterblow with a superior score, and in sum approaches the P2P process from a broad, holistic perspective incorporating supply chain and financial planning consideration.

Spend Matters’ head-to-head columns share the insights of each fall and spring SolutionMap update. Subscribers to our PRO analyst content and SolutionMap Insider content can read the head-to-head columns, which provide comparative cuts of SolutionMap benchmark data for two solutions. For each column, we provide comparisons against the benchmarks, comparative scoring of vendors across dozens of functional requirements, and our analysts’ take on how each solution holds up in the competitive ring.