Spend Matters Premium Content:
Procurement Technology

What is Your Procure-to-Pay Persona? Understand Your Requirements and Mass Customize Your Vendor Shortlist [PRO]

No two procurement or finance organizations are alike. Each has its own persona that reflects not only its own value proposition and engagement approach but also the stakeholders it serves — and its supply base. The same principle holds true of procure-to-pay (P2P) application providers. Each has a persona (or more than persona) that reflects its value proposition, solution strategy and targeted customer segments. Therefore, companies should seek providers whose personas best align to theirs. In other words, there is no “magic” solution provider, and finding the right fit is critical, because a P2P application represents the main interface for most of procurement’s internal customers — and a common face to suppliers, as well.

To that end, we are excited to break down our approach to Spend Matters SolutionMapTM, a comparative analytical framework for practitioners to evaluate relevant solutions to meet their procurement needs. Our SolutionMap initiative depicts vendor rankings based on specific buyer personas to reflect the unique value proposition, solution strategy and customer segments served by a vendor. Participating vendors are scored both on their solution as well as on customer value, based on in-depth tech reviews (including live demos) by the Spend Matters analyst team and aggregated direct customer input from surveys. Each SolutionMap is updated quarterly rather than in 12-month (or longer) cycles, to accurately reflect the pace of market developments.

As part of our Spend Matters SolutionMap vendor comparison ranking, for procure-to-pay solutions (publishing in the coming days, with subsequent quarterly updates), the Spend Matters analyst team has dedicated considerable time to developing the unique organizational “personas” that we’ve most often seen in our decades of experience working with procurement organizations. We have used these personas to weight the requirements that we used in solution scoring, which includes customer satisfaction scoring by solution customers.

Trade Extensions and Coupa Acquisition Analysis: Customer and Partner Recommendations [PRO]

Tradeshift Baiwang

This Spend Matters PRO brief, part of a series analyzing Coupa’s acquisition of Trade Extensions (see also here and here), provides recommendations for Trade Extensions and Coupa customers and partners surrounding the acquisition. 

Spend Matters has spoken or met with many of Trade Extensions’ largest customers in recent years (most of which prefer to remain unnamed) and the most advanced organizations view it as the tool that affords the highest degrees of competitive advantage across the procurement technology spectrum relative to peers in as much as how it is used than what it has the potential to do. This is key. In fact, there are material levels of diversity among Trade Extensions users even in the same industry. Many customers expose some parts of Trade Extensions’ potential yet could get away with another optimization solution for at least some of their events, if not all. Yet best-in-class procurement organizations unleash its full potential to drive competitive sourcing and supply chain advantage.

Whether you view Trade Extensions and sourcing optimization at this level or more tactically, this Spend Matters PRO brief provides insight and recommendations into the combination of the two providers. It is divided into three sections: Trade Extensions customer recommendations, Coupa customer recommendations and partner recommendations.

Defining Blockchain For Procurement (Part 1): Background and Use Cases [PRO]

blockchain

For procurement, finance and supply chain organizations, blockchain has the potential to revolutionize different areas of supplier engagement, collaboration, traceability and management. But how (and when) it ultimately changes the way we use technology in such areas as supplier networks/supplier enablement, supplier management, contract lifecycle management, payables (and trade financing) and commodity management, among other areas, remains to be seen.

This multipart Spend Matters PRO series aims to both demystify (and explain) blockchain architectures while putting it in the context of procurement, providing a roadmap for practitioners to consider as they think about adopting the technology in the years to come.

Part 1 of this series starts by defining and explaining blockchain for a “non-technologist” and providing use cases for procurement organizations as they consider how they might adopt blockchain alongside their existing applications and supplier connectivity solutions. Part 2 and 3 will provide additional insight into early blockchain deployments and how providers, including both vendor upstarts as well as established providers such as SAP Ariba, may include blockchain as an integral component (or alongside) existing application and network architectures.

12 Ways E-Catalogs Can Enhance Your E-Procurement Mojo [Plus +]

E-catalogs (catalog management) are a key part of any e-procurement solution. For e-procurement, catalogs provide more than just a list of items. They enable the loading of prices, and they enable features of products and services to be approved and integrated into an e-marketplace in order to purchase against.

Catalogs are a living, often-changing and integrated source of information (within a single database) that enable all purchasing scenarios. Combined with the support of a robust e-marketplace — advanced search engine; advanced purchasing mechanisms such as e-forms, lists, kits, etc.; a powerful workflow engine and flexible system integration capability — they provide key support for buying requirements.

As I’ve been known to say, I consider e-catalogs the “fifth element” of procurement. “The fifth element” comes from the eponymous 1997 fiction action film starring Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich. In the movie, earth is considered "north," fire is "south," air is "east," water is "west" and the fifth element is the "spirit" or "soul” — the "spiritual force" that earth, air, fire and water descend from.

Although they may not be truly spiritual in nature, I think that e-catalogs are a sort of hidden force that breathes new power into broader e-procurement. In this Spend Matters Plus brief, we give procurement practitioners 12 ways e-catalogs can do just that.

Need an e-procurement and invoice-to-pay primer before reading or subscribing to Plus for the first time? Download this free report.

Our Portfolio of Procurement Stocks Responds Well to Seismic Events in November [Plus +]

procurement solutions stocks

November 2016 will not go down in history for anything to do with business, procurement or share prices. The election of Donald Trump certainly seemed to be a seismic event, although we will have to wait and see. Perhaps the biggest shock of all will be if he turns out to be an OK sort of president – not too bad, not brilliant either. Given that one camp has absurdly high expectations of him (“draining the D.C. swamp”) whilst another believes he will lead the world to Armageddon, wouldn’t that be the real surprise?

Stock Portfolio for September – And It’s Goodnight from Me, and It’s Goodnight from Him* [Plus +]

stocks

* As for that headline, Google it if you aren’t British and over 40. It's time for news about our portfolio of stocks from publicly quoted companies who are all or partly focused on procurement solutions and services. We have 20 firms represented in our portfolio, from huge to small, and we report on overall portfolio performance every month, picking out a few firms to focus on more closely. September was — well, how can we put this gently — a somewhat boring month, at least if you look at the headline stock prices at both individual company level and overall for the portfolio. BUT if we look more carefully, we can find some points of interest, including two high-profile CEO departures. So what did the behind-the-scenes goings-on look like?

August Was a Quiet but Generally Hot Month for our Portfolio [Plus +]

stock prices

Did you have a good summer? Weather good, we trust? Too hot in some parts of the world, while in the U.K. – actually, it wasn’t too bad after a cool start. And now we’re writing this on a beautiful early September day, as the kids get their books and uniforms out ready for back to school this coming week. Yes, you might have guessed from the chat. August’s stock market movements of our portfolio of procurement-related companies did not give us the most exciting range of topics to cover. The weather is probably more interesting. It was a month where generally markets seemed to take a breather after a year so far in which there have certainly been plenty of events for them to think about, from the rise of Trump to the U.K.’s Brexit vote. However, the overall performance of our procurement stock portfolio was very good overall, up some 6% on the month, and it now stands some 10% above the beginning of the year level. That means for the first time this year it has moved clear of the overall market performance. U.K. markets are up 7% on the year, U.S. 6% and the global index about 5%, so procurement-related stocks are now ahead of that.

Coupa: A Pre-IPO Primer for Investors & Procurement [Plus +]

stock prices

P2P provider Coupa filed preliminary paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Thursday to go public, a move many in the procurement technology space had anticipated this year. The San Mateo, California-based company plans to raise up to $75 million with its initial public offering and would be the second unicorn to be newly listed this year.

But what exactly is Coupa, and how does it stack up to competitors that offer similar software enabling procurement, accounts payable and other related business functions? This analysis provides an overview of Coupa and its solutions to help investors and procurement practitioners get up to speed on the provider. Included in this Spend Matters Plus+ brief are an overview of Coupa’s technology offerings, an evaluation of the sector it serves and a survey of the competitive landscape.

For an exhaustive report on Coupa and its prospects as a publicly traded company, complete with SWOT, functional support, user experience and competitive analyses, please see our Spend Matters PRO briefing document.

Procurement Agility Requires an Entirely New Platform-Based Approach [Plus +]

on-demand workforce

The single greatest consumer trend today is arguably the digitization of our everyday lives through cloud-based services served up over the internet to our mobile devices. This digitization trend has also worked its way upstream into B2B value chains, where cloud-based digital assets are increasingly wrapping themselves around physical assets and human assets to create new cloud-based services of all forms:

  • In the logistics supply chain, new platforms (e.g., Uber and Lyft) are disrupting how transportation assets are used
  • In the human value chain, new labor platforms are helping buyers discover and engage contingent workers across many channels
  • In the capital intensive asset supply chain, the internet of things (IoT) is developing new sensor-based architectures to intelligently monitor critical assets
  • In the financial supply chain, technology such as the blockchain will help create new levels of transparency in the flow of financial information


Business enterprises don’t want themselves to be “digitally disrupted” by others, so they are looking out for new supplier capabilities that they can serve up as new customer-facing services in this “everything as a service” (XaaS) world. This then becomes a defining moment for procurement, supply chain management and IT professionals who need to keep up with their internal stakeholders to become innovation-focused "gate openers" rather than control-focused "gatekeepers" — and do so with the same or less budget!

A Tradeshift Outlook: Go Big or Go Home [PRO]

road

Three years ago, Jason Busch and I attended Tradeshift’s analyst day and we were intrigued by the potential of this platform-based e-invoicing application and network provider, which our colleague Peter Smith first analyzed back in early 2011 in his piece “Tradeshift — a Game-Changer in E-Invoicing (and Beyond) or a Danish Flash in the Pan?” To follow up on our intrigue and answer Peter’s initial question, my fearless colleague and P2P global analyst leader from Mexico City, Xavier Olivera, attended a session to assess how far the firm has come since then.

This Spend Matters PRO research note provides our perspective on where Tradeshift stands today from overall business, strategy, architecture and modular perspectives, including an analysis of its current functional capabilities, strengths and gaps. There’s an awful lot to be excited about — and, of course, some elements we are cautious on, as well.

E-Catalogs: The ‘Fifth Element’ of Procurement [PRO]

elements

E-catalogs are still a key part of any e-procurement solution and e-marketplace. However, they are no longer simply a tool to load the prices and features of products and services for approval and then integrate into an e-marketplace to purchase against it. Today, e-catalogs are becoming an intelligent and integrated source of information that enable nearly all purchasing scenarios, with the support of a robust e-marketplace where requesters can search between e-catalogs (including punchouts or any other e-commerce site) — all while in compliance with the organization's business rules and standards.

Value as a Service: Buzzword or Game Changer? [PRO]

service

During the last few years, procurement technology provider Coupa has used the slogan “Savings as a Service,” a catchy phrase for a company serving procurement organizations. It has also been a smart slogan because it aligns to procurement’s primary mission — delivering savings. Delivering savings is also front-of-mind for mid-size companies as well as large ones. However, organizations that have identified procurement’s potential to adopt a more strategic role for the business beyond delivering savings are looking for a different type of conversation with their service providers (including SaaS providers like procurement technology providers), and how they can help support a broader missions of value beyond cost savings. So, Coupa has pivoted to the motto “Value as a Service.” But what does this mean and how can practitioners and providers learn from this? We previously wrote an article that touched upon Value as a Service, but this Spend Matters PRO brief explores how is Coupa is trying to deliver Value as a Service (including with its latest product release). And as (or more) important, we explore how others can learn from these efforts, including providers and practitioners alike.