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Spendata: What Makes It Great (Spend and Procurement Analytics SolutionMap Analysis)

Running businesses with an analytical, “data-driven” mindset is the prevailing dogma of modern management experts, yet putting the data and tools in front of everyday business users to make this happen is far from easy. Most people aren’t data scientists, nor are they willing to learn Python, or R, or whatever other technical skill set is out there to DIY their spend analysis beyond what they can do in Excel. But most people do know how to use browser-based web apps, and with a baseline set of analytical skills, they can find some impressive insights in a given set of data — even incomplete or imperfect data — when given the right tools and support structure.

This is what Spendata does for spend analysis. Launched in 2018 by a team of spend analytics veterans, Spendata is a disruptive solution that adopts what we term a “postmodern” view of spend analysis, where practitioners should be able to take action on any data they can get their hands on whenever they can get their hands on it and take immediate action wherever they are. Put simply, it offers real-time analytics directly in the browser that almost anyone can use. And, remarkably, it only costs $699.

These characteristics position Spendata as not only a next-generation competitor in the spend analytics market but also a standout performer for the Nimble persona in our Spend and Procurement Analytics SolutionMap. But where does Spendata stand out most and help “set the bar” in spend analysis, and why should this matter for procurement organizations? Let’s delve into the SolutionMap benchmark to find out where Spendata 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.

Coupa buys Yapta: A look at the T&E deal and provider capabilities [PRO]

This week, Coupa, a provider of business spend management solutions, announced its acquisition of Yapta, a solution provider that enables businesses to automatically monitor and re-book air and hotel reservations when prices drop. Yapta also provides category specific spend analytics and intelligence. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

While likely not a large market shakeup, the acquisition of Yapta still catapults Coupa from one of many brands competing against “the big T&E kahuna,” SAP Concur, in the enterprise and SMB space to one of the few specialized technology providers that can tell a broader story that includes truly non-invasive travel savings and category management.

Travel is a very significant category for most companies. According to the 2018 GBTA BTI Outlook — Annual Global Report & Forecast report, travel spending reached $1.33 trillion in 2017, up 5.8% over 2016 levels. The report also forecasted that business travel spend would expand to $1.7 trillion by 2022.

Business travel spend as a percent of total spend varies by industry and company. However, available market data suggests that aggregate global business travel spend is approximately 2-3X the aggregate global spend on temporary staffing services. In other words: Too significant for procurement to ignore.

Spend Matters spoke to Yapta CEO James Filsinger and Coupa’s Donna Wilczek, senior vice president of product strategy and innovation, about the acquisition. Coupa told Spend Matters the Yapta solution will augment and integrate (and ultimately be unified) with Coupa’s business spend management (BSM) platform with offerings in both its Travel & Expense and Spend Analysis segments. This Spend Matters PRO analysis provides an introduction to Yapta and offers an analysis of the combination.

PeopleTicker: Vendor Introduction, Analysis and SWOT [PRO]

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on PeopleTicker and its capabilities — features that help companies establish market-based salary/pay-rate and contingent labor rate benchmarks and gain related insights into the market and their own business patterns. The brief includes an overview of PeopleTicker and its solution offerings, a summary solution evaluation, a SWOT analysis and a selection checklist for companies that might consider the provider.

Segmenting the Procurement Tech Market: A Simple Visual Guide to Picking the Right Software Tools [PRO]

procurement software

Identifying potential software vendors that fit your procurement organization’s current (and possibly future) needs is unfortunately easier said than done. We won’t place all the blame on any one instigator, but the Google search algorithm is doing more harm than good when directing technology evaluators toward “definitive” directories for procurement solutions. Many of the top search results for phrases like “procurement software tools” aim more for breadth of coverage than depth or, frankly, accuracy. Absent from most top 10/50/100 lists are clear, logical segmentations of procurement software vendors into easily understood areas.

So let’s clear the polluted SEO air.

This Spend Matter PRO brief provides a simple visual guide to the procurement tech market, segmenting software vendors into clear buckets that reflect the source-to-pay process. The aim is not to provide a definitive or exhaustive market overview but to begin creating clarity where there is still confusion for this market. And as we add to this project, we hope to create increasingly meaningful, interactive versions of this market segmentation that further help procurement organizations, software companies, and the consultants and investors who support these groups all make better decisions.

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

Basware faces significant competition from multiple segments of the procure-to-pay market. It competes against a range of vendors, including ERP providers that offer e-procurement and supplier network capabilities (along with varying degrees, based on vendor, of e-invoicing capabilities). It also competes against e-invoicing and supplier enablement specialists, regional supplier network/e-invoicing providers, independent e-procurement providers and traditional AP automation and scan/capture providers.

As a trend, competition is increasing (not decreasing) for Basware, which represents a challenge given the lack of brand awareness within procurement and P2P. Further, the marketing effort it has expended thus far in the trade financing area (which has not yet resulted in material payables or receivables financing volume) and the fact Basware is largely unknown in North America as an e-procurement provider also represents hurdles from a competitor perspective.

This final installment of our three-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot Update series covering Basware offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other procure-to-pay, AP automation and supplier network providers. It also includes a SWOT analysis and summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this Update 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 Basware’s product line.

Basware: Vendor Snapshot Update (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses [PRO]

contingent workforce

Basware, a Nordic procure-to-pay (P2P) provider that until recently adopted a conservative global growth strategy, is not as well known outside its customer base for its set of differentiated and robust capabilities, especially in the AP automation, e-invoicing and supplier network areas. Through its acquisition of Verian, it added sufficient e-procurement capability to compete against other best-in-class purchasing technology providers (previously, its cloud-based Alusta platform, which forms the basis of its AP automation and invoicing capability, was not competitive in the e-procurement market against specialized providers). In the trade financing area, we have applauded Basware in the past for taking a highly strategic approach in partnerships to both payables and receivables financing. And we now applaud its more competitive approach in adding partnerships to its multi-funder capability and “on demand” programs.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot Update (Part 2) explores Basware’s strengths and weaknesses in the P2P, supplier network and trade financing areas, providing facts and expert analysis to help organizations decide if they should shortlist the vendor as a potential provider. Part 1 looked at updates since our 2016 brief, offering a company and detailed solution overview, as well as a recommended fit suggestion for what types of organizations should consider Basware. Part 3 will include analysis and commentary.

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

FM Global Resilience Index

Basware is one of the largest technology providers in the global procurement and accounts payable software market. Founded in 1985 in Espoo, Finland, as Baltic Accounting Systems to deliver enterprise finance software solutions, the company has grown from a small-country player to a global platform that processes over 650 billion euros annually (2018). It has been public since 2000 and is traded on the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki Ltd. as BAS1V.

The company also manages one of the largest e-invoicing and B2B commerce networks, and Basware supports its global customer base through an operational footprint that spans more than 175 countries on six continents and includes more than 100 partners and resellers. Yet while Basware has greatly improved its e-procurement capabilities, its great strength against peers remains its invoice-to-pay and business network capabilities, as we show in our SolutionMap vendor rankings. Basware also stands out in the procure-to-pay space, with its increased use of machine learning technology.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot Update looks at Basware’s developments since our 2016 series on it. It explores Basware’s P2P and network capabilities, including strengths and weaknesses in the market, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide if they should shortlist the vendor. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for what types of organizations should consider Basware. The remainder of this three-part series will offer details on strengths/weaknesses, a user-selection guide, user interface (UI/UX) analysis, competitive alternatives and evaluation, and selection considerations.

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

Tradeshift embarked on building both an applications and platform technology business at the same time. Flash forward less than a decade since the provider launched, Tradeshift has remained true to this vision. But how does the provider stack up to others in the market given it can be difficult to compare it with traditional cloud applications providers without the platform element? And how should prospective customers know when to consider Tradeshift vs. others?

Part 3 of Spend Matters’ Vendor Snapshot Update series explores these questions and others. This PRO report provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Tradeshift’s solutions and products. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Tradeshift in the procurement, supply chain and finance technology areas. Part 2 covered product strengths and weaknesses, and this final installment offers a competitor and SWOT analysis, along with evaluation and selection considerations.

Workforce Logiq’s acquisition of ENGAGE Talent: On the innovation path beyond MSP [PRO]

In October, Spend Matters reported on Workforce Logiq’s acquisition of the workforce data and analytics firm ENGAGE Talent. The acquisition of ENGAGE capped a big year for a company that, under the leadership of staffing industry outsider Jim Burke, has been innovating beyond the boundaries of the traditional — some would say commoditized — MSP model.

This Spend Matters PRO brief analyzes the acquisition of ENGAGE Talent as a key milestone in the execution of Workforce Logiq’s innovation and transformation strategy. Taking a closer look at ENGAGE Talent (and what it does) is important, but it is at least as important to put the acquisition in the broader context of where Workforce Logiq is heading. Consequently, much of the brief will focus on that context.

This brief should provide a useful update for contingent workforce and HR executives who are thinking about where to go next with their existing MSP/VMS vendors.

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.