Spend Matters Premium Content:
Vendor Intelligence

Decideware: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview [PRO]

Torchlite

Trying to apply a generic source-to-pay technology solution to marketing spend at the agency level would be the same as using a mountain bike to compete in the Alp stages of the Tour de France. Both less favored approaches could certainly work, but the pack would leave you far behind on the first hill. Moreover, the strategic sourcing processes for marketing spend can look materially different than for other categories.

Granted, when it comes to procuring and managing agencies, sourcing best practices apply at a meta-level, but their implementation is drastically different from the identification of vendors through the award of a contract. For example, in agency sourcing, the goal, of course, is to enable optimal resourcing, project outcomes and key deliverables based on specialized knowledge and skills brought together to arrive at a targeted objective. It is also important to ensure these elements come together and do not deviate from the methodology and underlying creative components that drove the selection of a particular agency in the first place, although the ultimate campaign may in fact change from an original pitch as an agency learns more about the project, client and situation later in the process.

It is within this unique category, with truly unique requirements, that Decideware, a global provider of an agency lifecycle management solutions, presents a compelling case for a category-specific strategic procurement solution that is fundamentally different than standard procurement suites. This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Decideware’s specialized procurement technology capabilities — and showcases one approach to agency sourcing and management based on Decideware’s methodology.

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 Decideware in the procurement technology area. It also explores the strategic sourcing process for the procurement of agency services. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

eBid Systems: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary & Competitive Analysis [PRO]

contract

Spend Matters has often noted that the market for strategic sourcing solutions is highly fragmented, with no clear leader or collection of leaders. This stands in contrast to the e-procurement and invoice-to-pay markets, where best-of-breed vendors are still thriving but consolidation among larger providers is influencing industry dynamics and many selection processes. Yet within the strategic sourcing market, it is difficult to point to any single vendor or set of vendors, look at any metric and say anything but vendor fragmentation is the rule.

This is both a positive and negative for providers like eBid Systems, given the challenge of competing against so many providers rather than aiming at a single target. Within this competitive environment, this final installment of our Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering eBid Systems offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other strategic sourcing providers for shortlist consideration. It also includes a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provided a company and deep dive solution overview, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider eBid Systems.

eBid Systems: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview [PRO]

Oracle

There is no shortage of strategic sourcing technology vendors in the market today. Customers have choices ranging from per-event pricing with smaller providers to integrated solutions that combine rich supplier management, contract management and transactional procurement capability — not to mention specialty solutions that bring generalized technology differentiation, category-specific or other unique capabilities.

Within this smorgasbord of choice — and yes, there are even vendors that started in the Scandinavian market to chose from globally now — one provider from the Pacific Northwest, eBid Systems, has carved out a distinct customer niche in state/local publication sector and higher education sourcing. Nearly 20 years since its founding, it counts 200 public sector customers and 100 private sector organizations using its technology.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about eBid Systems strategic sourcing technology capabilities. 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 eBid Systems in the procurement technology area. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

ClientLoyalty: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary and Competitive Analysis [PRO]

ClientLoyalty competes in what we could most accurately describe as a “sub-sub” segment of the supplier management market. Usually such niches relegate solution providers to a small corner of market obscurity, often to build profitable businesses that go unnoticed by most. But there is actually a real potential market in what ClientLoyalty is attempting to create alongside a select number of other technology providers also focused on the management of strategic supplier relationships: a market for a true supplier relationship management solution.

While there are many solutions today that address supplier information management (SIM) and also supplier performance management (SPM), only a handful actually focus on supplier relationship management — which we are hesitant to call SRM, because the term was usurped by ERP years ago and given an entirely different meaning. ClientLoyalty is one of the few, avenging the “SAP SRM” and “Peoplesoft SRM” product names that did such an original disservice to what SRM is really about. (Hint: It’s not e-procurement!)

This final installment of our Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering ClientLoyalty offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other supplier management providers for shortlist consideration. It also includes a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provided a company and deep dive solution overview, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider ClientLoyalty.

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

ClientLoyalty, a specialized supplier management technology provider, would argue that true supplier relationship management is not just about gathering and managing supplier information, performance metrics and action plans. Rather, it is a class of solution that addresses the fundamental aspects of strategic relationships including tracking, measuring and managing feedback (from the organization and the supplier). But it must also serve to monitor the evolution of the relationship — not just performance — and allow for the collaborative creation of action plans to improve the relationship. In other words, from a procurement perspective, ClientLoyalty is closer to serving as a data-driven co-therapist chair for buyers and suppliers in strategic relationships than anything else.

But is this a niche market or something more? This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores ClientLoyalty’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider it for their needs. The first installment of our analysis provided a company and solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering ClientLoyalty. Part 3 will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

ClientLoyalty: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview [PRO]

Supplier performance management is quickly becoming a "hot topic" among procurement organizations that want to create step change improvement as part of their supply management journey. This technology segment is actually a sub-segment of the supplier management technology market, which is more broadly comprised of what we often describe as “strategic procurement technologies” (see Spend Matters’ Sourcing, Contracting and Supplier Management Landscape Definition and Overview report for more detail). But supplier performance management, while a hot topic among procurement people and among those marketing solutions on the vendor side, is unfortunately not a hot topic among developers, especially as it pertains to managing the relationship aspect of supplier collaboration. While many procurement suite technology providers offer supplier management solutions, the reality is that the majority of these emphasize collecting and managing supplier master data and limited supplier performance management requirements.

ClientLoyalty, a somewhat ironically-named technology provider based on its orientation to managing suppliers, is hoping to change this. ClientLoyalty was founded with the desire to bring strategic supplier relationship management to companies that realized the critical importance of relationship management in order to get the most value for their money from suppliers. This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about ClientLoyalty’s supplier management capabilities. 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 ClientLoyalty in the procurement technology area. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Coupa Release 17 Analysis — And a General “How To” Lesson for Upgrading Products [PRO]

On Jan. 27, Spend Matters published a quick post on first update of the year, Release 17. It offers a new application called “Perfect Fit Insights” for cross-customer B2B insights and more than 50 features across the platform, including new collaboration mechanisms to work with suppliers (SMS messaging and extended sourcing communication windows), additional e-invoicing compliance templates, and additional system configurations options such as extended customer branding. Recently, Donna Wilczek (VP of Strategy and Product Marketing at Coupa) and Gabe Perez (General Manager of Power Applications at Coupa) gave us a demonstration of Release 17 and talked to us about their innovation process and other analyses they do to continually improve the user experience, usability and value of their platform.

Coupa has a long history of out-innovating the competition, and this is not an accident. The company uses a rigorous process to identify, prioritize and implement ideas — putting the customer front and center in helping drive innovations that have the highest probability of actually being adopted.

In this Spend Matters PRO analysis, we’ll share what we’ve learned about Release 17 including expanding more on its new features and our key takeaways from them. We’ll also discuss Coupa’s general release planning, development and roll-out methodology to capture ideas that drive practical (and usable!) innovation for customers.

These are critical lessons that should not be lost on organizations evaluating Coupa in comparison to other vendors (which generally innovate more slowly), let alone any other provider developing technology to bring to market.

Vroozi: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary and Competitive Analysis [PRO]

Despite the 100+ different vendors that can check the box on having various procure-to-pay (P2P) solution components, there is a surprisingly small number of “pure-play” e-procurement providers that remain today, especially those with a primary focus on serving the North American market.

Within this context, Vroozi competes as one of the last remaining e-procurement “pure-play” technology providers, although it is building out adjacent invoice-to-pay capabilities (albeit these are not competitive with specialists in the invoice-to-pay or broader P2P areas).

This final installment of our Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering Vroozi offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other e-procurement and P2P technology providers. It also includes a user selection guide, user interface and user experience (UI/UX) analysis, summary evaluation, and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provided a company and deep dive solution overview, SWOT analysis, product strengths and weaknesses, and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider Vroozi.

Vroozi: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview [PRO]

on-demand workforce

The source-to-pay market is one of the most diverse and fragmented of all enterprise technology areas. Only a select group of vendors have solutions that cover the broad set of functional areas than span procurement technology with any degree of depth in all key areas. These individual segments include spend/supply analytics, strategic sourcing, supplier management, contract management, e-procurement, invoice-to-pay, trade financing and supplier networks/connectivity. But in practice, most procurement and finance organizations end up initially selecting only a subset of these capabilities from a single provider even if they value the concept of an integrated suite when deciding on what vendor(s) to work with.

At its core, Vroozi, a specialized vendor in the procurement technology sector, supports what is arguably the most complex and challenging segment of this market: e-procurement. Its solution brings a range of capabilities to enable transactional purchasing and procurement spend controls, including catalog management, purchase requisitioning, purchase order processing, supplier portal, marketplace capability and procure-to-pay analytics. It can also augment and serve as a front-end to ERP and back-office purchasing system, creating a modern wrapper for both procurement and business users alike.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Vroozi’s P2P capabilities. 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 Vroozi in the procurement technology area. The remaining parts of this research brief cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

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

In the beginning of this Rapid Ratings Vendor Snapshot, the initial framework we incorporated showed how a supplier’s financial health was the keystone of broader risks in the supply chain. In other words, assurance of a supplier’s ability to deliver with consistency and quality requires assurance of a healthy supplier. To ascertain the financial health of the supplier, you can monitor its public financial data from Bloomberg or other external sources. This can be valuable if you know how to operationalize the information and can do it in a scalable and replicable way for many suppliers, over time.

But this doesn’t account for financial data from privately held companies that, for most corporations, account for 70%–80% of their strategic/critical suppliers. Such data on this group of suppliers is generally sparse, sometimes difficult to interpret, often unreliable for prediction and challenging to benchmark against peer firms. This is why Rapid Ratings’ approach to assessing supplier financial health (especially for this group) is attractive and unique. RapidRating’s FHR® (Financial Health Rating) is a focused and cost-effective supply risk monitoring solution that creates a forward-looking assessment of financial viability for the dozens or hundreds of key suppliers an organization may have — privately held or otherwise.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Rapid Ratings’ strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the provider. The first installment of our analysis provided a company and solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering it. Part 3 will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Simeno: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary and Competitive Analysis [PRO]

purchasing

The full list of Simeno’s list of “substitute” competitors is long. The list of direct competitors is much shorter. Yet perhaps the more important question procurement organizations should ask when considering procure-to-pay (P2P) products is whether they view the solutions as a technology-driven extension of ERP or something else entirely.

Organizations that prioritize solutions like Simeno are more traditional customers of e-procurement and will typically view transactional purchasing activities as a means to both automate and influence everyday buying activities. In contrast, a newer breed of P2P “buyer” is as — and often even more — concerned with the other benefits solution can bring, including long-tail supplier enablement and adjacent functional capability.

This third and final installment of our Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering Simeno provides an objective SWOT analysis of the e-procurement provider and offers a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as alternative vendors to Simeno and offers provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides summary analysis and recommendations for companies considering the vendor. Part 1 offered an in-depth look at Simeno as a firm and its specific solutions, and Part 2 gave a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses, as well as a review of the product’s user experience.

Rapid Ratings: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview [PRO]

Ask any procurement organization what area of risk is most pertinent to them and supplier financial risk will usually rise to the top. In particular, suppliers that are classified as strategic or critical based on business impact (not just annual spend) need to be monitored more closely and regularly to maintain operational resilience, ensure business continuity and minimize business risk — and this monitoring obviously must include evaluating financial viability. This is a core aspect of broader supply risk..

Predictive analytics are key to getting early insight (especially relative to your competitors) on suppliers whose financial health is starting to waver. Getting such intelligence via predictive analytics requires basically two things: strong analytic models and good data.

For publicly traded suppliers, you can get financial statements, but you still have to extrapolate from the historical financials to gain actionable insight or develop some sort of predictive statistic. Some companies have used the Altman Z empirical scoring model, but not only is Altman Z an outdated algorithm that has been shown to be inferior to more updated ones (to be discussed later), but you also have to spend the time compiling and interpreting the data, which tends to fall outside the usual purview of the procurement professional.

The bigger problem, though, is the lack of financial data readily available for private firms — especially in the U.S. For most corporations, up to 80% of their strategic/critical suppliers are private and don’t typically share their financial statements with customers for various reasons. One of those reasons may be that they’re highly profitable and don’t want procurement to see this information, although this is certainly not always the case. In other circumstances, a supplier might feel that being private exempts them from disclosure. Or in the worst of cases (from a supply risk perspective), a vendor might not be doing well financially and is worried about losing additional business. Yet, a customer still wants to be sure that a supplier is not in financial distress — or moving in that direction. So, what the buyer would really like is a scalable managed service with a service provider that can help predict supplier financial health, including bankruptcies.

But this won’t happen unless such a provider can address the supplier concerns of protecting the confidentiality of their raw financials.

This is where Rapid Ratings comes in. Rapid Ratings is a provider of empirically driven financial health scoring of businesses — including private suppliers. The firm’s Financial Health System uses financial data as inputs and then utilizes them within 25 industry-specific, integrated analytic models that calculate a normalized financial rating (0-100 scale) designed to help predict future corporate defaults and identify companies’ inherent strengths. Think of it as a “FICO score for corporations.”

Rapid Ratings claims to have predicted 94% of bankruptcies at least six months in advance, and that the FHR provides predictive capabilities out to 12–18 months. The firm also specializes in working with private suppliers to obtain the necessary financial data to produce their FHR. In fact, nearly two-thirds of the more than 40,000 rating events performed by Rapid Ratings are of private companies. Most impressively, the firm claims a greater than 85% success in getting private suppliers to submit their data.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Rapid Ratings' solution offering. 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 Rapid Ratings in the procurement technology area. The rest of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analysis, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.