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Medius buying Wax Digital: Customer recommendations after the deal [PRO]

M&A can sometimes be a threat to customer value. Even in the best situations, acquisitions can introduce uncertainty for customers in terms of pricing, support and related areas. And in the worst, M&A can put actual and implied contractual terms and supplier obligations (if not expectations) at risk come renewal time — and even threaten the underlying reasons for why a technology was selected in the first place. For customers, skepticism in vendor M&A is always better than the alternative. But we look at the combination of Medius and Wax Digital from a slightly different lens, as the combination under the backing of a growth-oriented private equity owner joins together two organizations that could, for a variety of reasons, bring benefits to customers with less potential for downside risk than many M&A transactions.

Regardless, the informed customer — the one that has every intent on getting the most out of their technology supplier after it is acquired or merged with another entity — will always invest the time to understand a combination from an objective lens, how it may benefit them above and beyond the current commercial relationship that is in place and their true BATNA (best alternative to negotiated agreement) for all current and potential engagement elements. Such insight, even if a transaction like Medius-Wax appears to benefit them on the surface, will always pay dividends, and will put procurement and finance buyers in the driver’s seat to make the best decisions for them.

This Spend Matters PRO analysis provides recommendations for customers of Wax Digital and Medius. If you are new to our coverage of the transaction, we recommend starting first with our free site coverage: here and here. Spend Matters Nexus subscribers (those within the M&A ecosystem including sponsors, CEOs, boards and corporate development leaders) can also read our deeper analysis of the combination here:

* Part 1: Company Backgrounds, Product Strengths/Weaknesses, Deal Rationale
* Part 2: Wax strengths, customers, integration considerations
* Part 3: Strategy and competitive landscape analysis for AP automation and invoice-to-pay.
* Part 4: Strategy and competitive landscape analysis for procurement and ERP vendors

We encourage all subscribers to reach out to us to understand how this and other transactions may impact where they sit in the market.

Disclosure: Azul Partners served as an adviser to Marlin Equity in the Wax-Medius transaction.

Tradeshift: Vendor Snapshot Update (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses [PRO]

FM Global Resilience Index

Besides the likes of “mega” players like Amazon Business, is there a market for marketplaces? When Tradeshift embarked on its journey to create a platform between organizations in 2010, it had to believe such a need would eventually become mainstream, otherwise its vision and reality would fail to intersect. Fortunately for those that backed Tradeshift’s initial hypothesis, less than a decade since launching, more companies — not just early adopters — are becoming aware of what a platform concept can deliver beyond business applications.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot Update adds to last year’s Tradeshift strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement and finance organizations decide whether they should consider the provider from both an applications and marketplace/platform perspective. Look for updates on global support, the AI-assistant Ada, analytics, channel/systems integration partner networks, and customer value.

Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview centered on Tradeshift’s business applications, as well as a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering the provider. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Why would Medius buy Wax Digital? (Part 4: Strategy and competitive landscape analysis for procurement and ERP vendors)

This Spend Matters Nexus research brief explores the potential competitive impact of the Medius and Wax Digital combination on the procurement and ERP vendor landscape. It also explores the strategies that some providers within these groups are already pursuing (or may pursue) in response to customer requirements, competitive pressures and the desire to expand the overall total addressable market for integrated procurement and finance solutions.

Procurement technology vendors and ERPs targeting procurement compete in a catch-all market segment that can make an area like CRM or human capital management (HCM) seem simple by comparison. From sourcing to contract management to supplier management (and all of its sub-disciplines) to e-procurement to analytics (and beyond) for all types of spend — indirect, direct, services, tail, etc. — the various components of procurement technology are as diverse as the specialist, suite and ERP vendors targeting the market.

Vendors covered in this analysis include Corcentric, Coupa, Infor, Jaggaer, Microsoft, Epicor, GEP, Ivalua, Netsuite (Oracle), Oracle, Proactis, Sage, Synertrade, SAP, Unit4 and Zycus.



If you are just coming up to speed on the Wax Digital-Medius combination, start here with this Nexus series — (Part 1: Company Backgrounds, Product Strengths/Weaknesses, Deal Rationale), (Part 2: Wax strengths, customers, integration considerations), and (Part 3: Strategy and competitive landscape analysis for AP automation and invoice-to-pay). Free Spend Matters’ news coverage of the deal can be found here and here.

Jason Busch serves as Managing Director of Spend Matters Nexus, a research and advisory group that works with sponsors, CEOs and boards on due diligence, M&A strategy and product strategy. Spend Matters and Spend Matters Nexus are owned by Azul Partners. Disclosure: Azul Partners served as an adviser to Marlin Equity in the Wax-Medius transaction.

Synertrade: What Makes It Great (Sourcing SolutionMap Analysis)

Direct materials sourcing is the elephant in the procurement technology suite room. While many source-to-pay solutions offer strong functionality in support of sourcing processes, only a handful truly support all of the requirements to enable the complexities of direct materials sourcing (e.g., sourcing optimization, bill of materials-based sourcing, commodity management).

Among this select group, Synertrade is capable of delivering a comprehensive, fully integrated and rapidly deployable source-to-pay suite that also provides organizations the ability to rapidly configure heavy internationalization and systems integration requirements. This is particularly visible in its sourcing module, where it scores above the benchmark for two-thirds of requirements evaluated, including dozens of cases where it posts some of the highest scores of any provider in the Sourcing SolutionMap.

But where does Synertrade stand out most and help “set the bar” in sourcing, and why should this matter for procurement and finance organizations? Let’s delve into the SolutionMap benchmark to find out where Synertrade 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.

What’s the Price: Vendor Introduction (Part 2 — Product Strengths and Weaknesses) [PRO]

In our last brief we introduced you to What’s the Price, a five-year-old Dutch vendor that offers should-cost modeling tools for supplier negotiations. Born out of the frustrations of two procurement professionals who wanted to get faster, more accurate price estimates to counteract supplier quotes, WTP makes smart use of publicly available big data to drastically cut the time and effort in building should-cost models. The solution is notably easy to use and provides a lot of guidance for users along the way, allowing WTP to get organizations up and running with just a two-hour training session. But as with all younger solution providers, there areas for growth, as well, including a few opportunities that could further support WTP’s preference for a self-service deployment approach.

Part 1 of this brief provided some background on What’s the Price and an overview of its offering. In Part 2, we provide a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a high-level SWOT analysis and a short selection requirements checklist that outlines the typical company for which WTP might be a good fit. We also give some final conclusions and takeaways.

What’s the Price: Vendor Introduction (Part 1 — Background and Solution Overview) [PRO]

Successful supplier negotiations begin long before a category manager sits down at the negotiating table, physical or virtual. Effectively sourcing a product or component requires an understanding of the fundamentals driving a category, the competitive dynamics in a given industry, and a negotiation strategy based on realistic prices or savings that procurement hopes to attain.

But more often than not, determining how much something should cost — that is, what procurement should realistically pay for goods or services — is a process supported more by guesswork than by data science. And building such models can be time-consuming: Cost engineers creating clean-sheet calculations of a product’s likely cost often take weeks before coming back with an estimate.

What’s the Price, in contrast, can deliver an estimated price in less than five minutes — for any category, industry or product.

That may sound a bit like magic, and from an end user’s perspective, it can feel that way. But beneath the hood, WTP, a five-year-old Dutch vendor founded by two former senior procurement professionals, relies on a straightforward approach, underpinned by a smart application of big data.

WTP aggregates prices and cost drivers across hundreds of thousands of mostly public data sources to produce top-down estimates for commodity prices, industry cost structures and product cost models. The result is a fast and reasonably accurate expected market price that procurement can use to set the stage in supplier negotiations, putting the buy side on stronger footing against price increases or “black box” quotes from sales reps.

Part 1 of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers an overview of What’s the Price and its capabilities. Part 2 includes a look at WTP’s product strengths and weaknesses, a company SWOT analysis, and a selection requirements checklist for those that might consider the provider.

Tradeshift: Vendor Snapshot Update (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview [PRO]

Tradeshift is a cloud platform that connects buyers and suppliers with the goal of digitizing supply chain relationships, processes and information, while also enabling everyday procure-to-pay activities. Its capabilities span the buying of goods and services through to financing and payment — and significant capability in between, especially in the invoice-to-pay area.

In addition to providing its own procure-to-pay modules, Tradeshift offers an open integration framework that allows other technology firms (and customers) to integrate and/or development third-party apps, primarily centered on supplier connectivity, transaction enablement and collaboration. Tradeshift can even integrate alternative procure-to-pay providers in cases where specific enabling capability is desired.

This three-part Spend Matters PRO analysis provides an update on Tradeshift capabilities, both as a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) provider and as an e-procurement and invoice-to-pay technology vendor.

The updates since last year's review include information about real-time collaboration; a single sign-on; centralized access to POs, invoices, etc.; an AI-assisted chatbot named Ada; buying topics about GPOs and direct materials; global support; and new sections on payments/trade financing, analytics, services, integration and technology like blockchain.

The PRO analysis is designed to provide facts and expert analysis to help procurement and finance organizations make informed decisions about whether they should consider Tradeshift for both traditional “in-the-box” procure-to-pay requirements as well as unique marketplace/platform-type digital initiatives.

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 Tradeshift as a complement to other procurement and finance solutions. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Givewith: Vendor Introduction (Background, Solution Overview, SWOT, Checklist) [PRO]

wind power

Givewith and SAP Ariba announced a partnership today for Givewith to integrate with Ariba’s sourcing module so companies can find nonprofit groups that can help improve the companies' corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability efforts.

In this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction, let’s see what Givewith’s solution has to offer and why it’s important now.

Consumers, investors and governments are pushing businesses to consider the larger social impact of their operations. And corporations, for their part, are starting to evaluate the ways they can respond. The August 2019 Business Roundtable restatement on the purpose of a corporation is one prominent example, in which multiple CEOs affirmed that a company’s mission should include not only increasing shareholder value but also betterment of customers, employees, suppliers and communities.

Such declarations are noble on paper, but they also have profit-focused incentives behind them. ESG ratings (environmental, social and governance) are becoming more relevant in investor decisions, so corporations are finding investments in programs for sustainability and CSR are now required to attract funding. Similarly, a strong corporate responsibility vision and track-record of action on social issues is becoming a selling point with consumers, as well as a reason for those consumers to consider working for (and remaining employed at) those businesses.

So where does procurement fit into all of this? According to the thinking behind Givewith, B2B transactions represent a major opportunity to generate funding for nonprofit programs. If procurement can recommend a slate of potential CSR or sustainability initiatives to fund during an RFI (or, if a supplier can do the same when constructing a bid response, to create a unique selling point), the business can use existing sourcing processes to yield operational and social impacts.

It’s a unique concept in the B2B space, and one that Givewith aims to scale quickly via its major initial partnership: A prebuilt integration directly into SAP Ariba’s sourcing module.

This Vendor Introduction offers a deep look at Givewith and its capabilities. It includes an overview of Givewith’s B2B offering (Givewith Enterprise), a SWOT analysis and a selection requirements checklist for companies that might consider the provider.

Mintec: Vendor Introduction (Part 2 — Positives and Negatives, SWOT Analysis, Selection Checklist) [PRO]

As we indicated in Part 1 of this Spend Matters Vendor Introduction of Mintec, there is no WaaS (weather-as-a-service) and, as a result, commodity price volatility in the agricultural sector is here to stay for the foreseeable future. But procurement professionals have to manage it somehow, and the only solution they have now is commodity market intelligence, of which Mintec is one of the largest, and oldest, market-intelligence providers in the sector.

With a database of over 14,000 unique market data sets across 20+ commodity categories and truly global geographies, Mintec is the go-to source for many large agricultural buying organizations around the world.

Should they be your go-to source too?

In this second part of our introduction, we’ll look at the positives and negatives and provide an overall SWOT and a selection checklist — all of which can help you make an informed decision.

Mintec: Vendor Introduction (Part 1 — Background and Solution Overview) [PRO]

No matter how well they prepare, commodity buyers can do nothing about the weather. So until a supervillain decides to make a mid-life career shift to be a SaaS vendor — weather-as-a-service (WaaS), anyone? — procurement organizations buying in the food & beverage categories will have to manage commodity price volatility as it happens.

To do that, many businesses in the food retail, food manufacturing and hospitality industries turn to Mintec. Founded in 1982, Mintec is a UK-based provider of commodity data and analytics tools for the food and drink vertical. It collects, validates and organizes data across hundreds of agricultural commodities and related inputs (e.g., packaging, plastics, labor), which it then distributes via a SaaS platform designed for category planning and analysis.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on Mintec and its capabilities. It includes an overview of Mintec’s SaaS offering (Mintec Analytics). Part 2 will offer a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about its solution, a SWOT analysis of Mintec, and a selection requirements checklist for businesses that might consider the provider.

E-Procurement Tech Selection and the Deep Persona: Analysis & Commentary [PRO]

The e-procurement solutions market has been growing for the last seven years. Because of this rapid growth, the market is also fragmented, with numerous vendors competing for procurement organizations’ attention. Yet no one vendor is an ideal fit for all companies, due to the unique requirements of different organizations’ sizes, industry/vertical and prior technology investments (or lack thereof).

So how can companies with different needs evaluate procurement solutions amid an array of vendors with different capabilities?

Spend Matters’ vendor rankings in SolutionMap account for these differences using a persona-based approach. Each SolutionMap persona is calibrated to weight evaluation requirements so that it reflects the profile of certain kinds of buyers. For example, the “Nimble” persona reflects small and medium-size businesses that prioritize fast time-to-value and ease of use in the selections; the “CIO Friendly” persona emphasizes technical foundation and interoperability with other enterprise systems to make for a straightforward implementation.

So what do SolutionMap personas look at for e-procurement, and how can they help your organization make better technology decisions?

In a series of PRO articles, we’ll analyze the market according to the different e-procurement personas: Nimble, Deep, Turn-key, Configurator and CIO Friendly. (See persona definitions* below.)

This review is organized just like the RFI for SolutionMap, according to these topics: platform capabilities, features & functionalities, and customer value.

Now let’s look at the e-procurement features and vendors as viewed by the Deep persona.

Orpheus: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses [PRO]

In Part 1 of Spend Matters’ three-part PRO Vendor Snapshot on Orpheus, we started out by explaining how the definition of spend analysis differs from client to client and how it is a buyer-beware market — as not all vendors have the same technological capabilities, and you can’t compare their quotes as apples-to-apples. That’s why it’s important to understand what a vendor can do, and what it can’t, before whittling down to the final three and definitely before making a selection — because not all vendors will have what Oprheus has to offer.

While many vendors can slice and dice, cube and derive, and find opportunities on the fly — not all have initiative tracking, not all have AI, and not all have the experience of classifying over half a billion transactions across 4 million suppliers for 15 years of operation. This is pretty distinctive, and we’ve only completed the introduction so far.

In today’s post, we will dive into the strengths and weaknesses, giving you deep insight into the platform.

In Part 3, we will provide a SWOT analysis of Orpheus and discuss the competitive market that surrounds it. We will conclude with some commentary and hopefully will leave you with deep insights into who Orpheus is and what it can do.