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ProcureWise: Vendor Analysis — Solution Overview, Roadmap, Competitors & Market, Customer Feedback, Commentary [PRO]

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis provides an overview of ProcureWise and its extended workforce solution.

In the past few years, a number of new extended workforce solutions have emerged to challenge incumbent VMS providers and/or look to penetrate lower, underserved mid-market tiers. We refer to them as “extended workforce solutions,” rather than VMS, because the long-standing term, VMS, carries a connotation of being anchored to temporary staffing. That said, today, both new solution providers and evolved VMS providers address a broader set of extended workforce channels.

ProcureWise is the newest kid on the block, having officially launched its solution in early October (the solution was previously running in beta). The company itself was founded by the founder and CEO of CEIPAL, a staffing agency recruitment and HRMS software business launched in 2011. CEIPAL reports that it serves over 1,400 client companies.

Like others in its category, ProcureWise’s extended workforce solution, which is built on a state-of-the-art, API-open technology platform, addresses enterprise requirements to source and manage staffing and non-staffing contingent workers as well as SOW-services. It provides direct sourcing capabilities, and it is aimed at “total talent” scenarios. The solution appears to leverage some CEIPAL technology platform components for at least direct sourcing, where AI enables talent sourcing — a unique, special twist to this solution.

This Vendor Analysis provides a high-level analyst perspective on ProcureWise, including a business snapshot; overview of platform, solution and supporting services; competitive market overview; and key analyst takeaways.

Malbek: Vendor Analysis — Solution Overview for Contract Management, Roadmap, Customer Feedback, Competitors, Analyst Insights [PRO]

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis provides an overview of Malbek and its solution for contract management.

They say hindsight is 20/20, but rarely in the competitive world of software development do people get a chance at a do-over. Malbek, a 4-year-old contract lifecycle management (CLM) solution, may just be the exception. Many of the New Jersey-based vendor’s current and founding employees are alumni of prior CLM vendors, and these CLM veterans have brought to Malbek a set of insights about how to “reimagine” their space.

The resulting solution is not one that aims to blow up CLM as we know it and upend the typical features. In the view of Malbek, the foundational aspects around contract modeling, portfolio management, authoring workflows and the like are all relatively sound. Rather, the aspects of CLM that Malbek wanted to reimagine was the approach to deployment, integrations, system upgrades and end user configurability. And while that may sound less “sexy” than cutting edge, AI-based features — which, for what it’s worth, Malbek also supports in many areas — these emphases give Malbek a compelling case for being able to address key pain points for CLM prospects, especially in the middle and enterprise market segments.

The brief explores the concept behind Malbek; the platform, application and supporting services the vendor delivers; a verified customer reference analysis; and a competitive market analysis, complete with key analyst takeaways.

Veriscape’s Symphonia: Vendor Analysis — Solution Overview, Roadmap, Customer Feedback, Symphonia Competitors, Analyst Insights  [PRO]

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis will give an overview of Veriscape's Symphonia e-procurement capabilities, and we’ll also consider how ERP systems and e-procurement solutions have evolved.

A response to the rigid ERP systems to support the indirect purchasing function in the 1990s was the development of e-procurement solutions, which initially functioned more as a product catalog management solution. They had a buying front-end (e-store) to create a purchase requisition coupled with an approval process.

As we well know, these solutions have evolved significantly in order to meet more complex business requirements. But just because e-procurement solutions have evolved technologically and functionally does not imply that all organizations have evolved (matured) at the same rate.

We still see many organizations that focus on the challenges from 20 years ago, and not necessarily with high technology or great functionality, but only rely on an improved shopping front-end (e-store) for usability purposes (vs ERPs), and a content management solution that can handle the consolidation of all indirect product catalogs, some services (template-based) and the integration with punch-out catalogs (third-party websites).

This still is a huge market opportunity, and companies like Veriscape that began 20 years ago have managed to keep winning customers with this vision.

This review is about Veriscape’s latest product release, Symphonia. We will look at its platform and services, give a brief description of its solution functionalities and examine its roadmap. It also will include a verified customer reference analysis, a look at Veriscape’s competitors/market analysis, and some key analyst takeaways.

Ignite Procurement: Vendor Analysis (Part 2) — Detailed Look at Modules, SWOT, Ignite competitors, Commentary [PRO]

With the rise of Ignite Procurement, it seems like the Nordics are making a play to be one of the major hot spots in the increasingly global spend analysis marketplace. Finland gave us Sievo, Sweden gave us Effso Spendency, Denmark gave us Scanmarket (which started as an e-sourcing provider and which recently built a full-featured spend analytics module with AI classification that can be bought standalone, even though its analytics solution works best as part of the suite), and now Norway is giving us Ignite Procurement.

Which is best?

That depends on your needs, and to help you find out, in this Part 2 of Spend Matters’ PRO deep dive, we will dig deeper into Ignite's modules, provide a SWOT assessment, discuss Ignite Procurement’s competitors and offer a market analysis to help you make your decision.

Ignite Procurement: Vendor Analysis (Part 1) — Solution Overview, Strengths/Weaknesses, Tech Selection Tips [PRO]

Ignite Procurement is an analytics start-up that we’ll examine in a two-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis, and it’s part of our deep dives on various analytics vendors this year.

Analytics is becoming more necessary for procurement organizations to get a handle on their spend. More and more organizations are realizing this, but few organizations have the experienced data analysts or scientists or the maturity to use a sophisticated analysis tool.

Hence the recent boom in analytics (and AI) start-ups to help the average organization — which may not even have a modern sourcing or procurement platform — get started on their analytical journey.

Ignite Procurement is one of the most recent start-ups to enter the analytics fray. While quite new, with the first version of its solution launching a mere two years ago, it's already making a significant mark in its home turf in Norway and providing value to its existing customer base that collectively manages billions in spend through the tool. Plus, it’s already doing quite well in the Spend Analytics’ Nimble category in Spend Matters’ SolutionMap for such a new market entrant.

In Part 1 of this Vendor Analysis, we will provide a company background, a brief overview the Ignite Procurement solution, key strengths and weaknesses, and tech selection tips. In Part 2, we’ll provide a detailed look at its modules, a company SWOT assessment, a look at Ignite Procurement’s competitors and the market landscape, and some final thoughts.

MineralTree: Vendor Analysis — Solution Overview, Strengths/Weaknesses, Tech Selection Tips, Commentary [PRO]

Eliminating paper-based financial processes is the main benefit for payment automation solutions in the SME market. It is an important and growing area of opportunity that is generating efficiencies and savings for companies. MineralTree is a solution provider that is helping mid-market companies have greater control, visibility and certainty in their accounts payable process while generating AP process efficiencies and savings.

In September, MineralTree closed a $50 million Series D investment round with Great Hill Partners, .406 Ventures and Eight Roads Ventures. And it is expanding its SME market share through its recent acquisitions of Inspyrus and Regal Software.

The focus of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis is to offer a candid take on MineralTree and its capabilities. The review includes a look at its solution set, a perspective on what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, and a selection requirements checklist for organizations that might consider the vendor.

The AvidXchange Customer Experience: What Makes It Great (AP Automation SolutionMap Analysis)

Accounts payable (AP) automation has taken the procurement world by storm recently. One of the perhaps less obvious reasons why is the ability of AP automation solutions to quickly address supplier information management challenges and facilitate supplier collaboration via supplier networks or portals.

AvidXchange, a new participant in the SolutionMap Fall 2020 AP Automation category, exemplifies just these benefits. Its unique combination of services and technology for invoice and payment management is attractive to many organizations seeking to automate or outsource portions of the AP process. And the vendor does this at scale: AvidXchange serves the largest network of unique suppliers in the mid-market, counting more than 680,000 suppliers in North America.

But where does AvidXchange stand out most and help “set the bar” in AP automation, and why should this matter for procurement and finance organizations? Let’s delve into our SolutionMap benchmark for customer scores to find out what makes AvidXchange great.

“What Makes It Great” is a recurring column for SolutionMap Insider subscribers. The columns share insights from SolutionMap updates, which rank offerings from more than 77 vendors in 13 technology areas of procurement. The updates are released in the spring and fall. Based on SolutionMaps’ rigorous evaluation process by our analysts and customer reference reviews, these columns offer quick facts on the vendor, describe where it excels, provide hard data on where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark and conclude with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider it.

Parley Pro: Vendor Analysis — CLM Solution Overview, Strengths/Weaknesses, Company SWOT, Tech Selection Tips [PRO]

Parley Pro, a contract lifecycle management provider that’s the subject of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis, aims to move CLM beyond the category’s current concept.

Historically, many CLM vendors have focused on maintaining a repository of agreements for customers to help them better manage post-signature lifecycle events. Indeed, centralized storage and renewal management formed the main value proposition that most early CLM vendors competed on, with standardized authoring as an added benefit.

Parley Pro wants to change that.

The Los Altos, California-based vendor represents an emerging class of CLM solutions that aim to streamline and improve the upfront creation and negotiation process.

That’s not to say Parley Pro skimps on the traditional CLM requirements: It checks all of the expected boxes across repository setup, searching, template management, post-signature tracking (e.g., renewals) and reporting.

But where the vendor differentiates — and wins in competitive scenarios — is on its ability to optimize digital or online negotiation workflows, both internally and with the counterparty.

This one-part Vendor Analysis includes an overview of Parley Pro’s CLM solution, a perspective on what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a SWOT analysis and a tech selection checklist for organizations that might consider the vendor.

AnyData, making spend analytics accessible by anyone! (Or, ‘The mid-market analytics quandary’) [PRO]

Analytics is front and center in the minds of every executive and practice leader these days, especially since the need for efficiency and insight is again approaching a peak as businesses of all sizes struggle with the additional pressures brought on directly and indirectly by the global coronavirus pandemic.

However, many organizations are still hesitant to pull the trigger on a new solution, and this is the case for a number of reasons:

  • Most analytics solutions still come with a significant price tag (which is impossible to justify without confidence in a quick ROI).
  • Implementation time and data-integration time are still often measured in months, adding uncertainty to the ROI calculation.
  • The upkeep is also concerning — How easy is it for the organization to refresh data and keep the system up to date?
  • And, most importantly, there is the ease of use — the vast majority of systems in the past with "analytics" capabilities have failed to deliver in this respect. (Either the built-in reports were not useful, or the report builder was too complex to allow inquiries to be answered in a reasonable amount of time.)

And the situation is exemplified in the true mid-market where:

  • Budgets are much more constrained.
  • Resources are fewer, and there are no dedicated analysts.
  • There's no budget or time for intense training.
  • Decisions need to be made fast — as survival depends on it.

In other words, a solution for the masses (small and mid-market) must be easy to use, easy to update and relatively easy to implement and initialize.

And this is just something that an average buyer/part-time analyst cannot do — and something AI can't solve either.

AnyData, a provider that has spent years building a powerful analytics platform on a rapid development stack, has taken all of the mid-market needs to heart and purpose-built one of the first solutions for the average, budding sourcing/procurement buyer and analyst that achieves all of the right goals. How so?

Trakti: Vendor Analysis — Solution Overview for Contract Management, Roadmap, Customer Feedback, Competitors, Analyst Insights [PRO]

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This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis provides an overview of Trakti and its solution for contract management.

With the rise of the contract lifecycle management (CLM) market, contract management has slowly become more digital. The same cannot be said, however, of contracts.

The contracts that CLM solutions deal with are in practice electronic versions of prose. A few more advanced vendors venture into the electronic representation of contract elements, but as a rule most aspects of a contract are either included in an attached document or modeled as metadata tags with the system.

Trakti, in contrast, is a step toward CLM that is digital native — that is, agreements modeled and managed in a fully electronic format. Via a combination of contract management expertise and targeted use of blockchain technology, Trakti offers smart contracts functionality in an end-to-end CLM system it has applied across enterprise use cases, at real customers, at supply chain scale.

The brief explores the concept behind Trakti; the platform, application and supporting services the vendor delivers; a verified customer reference analysis; and a competitive market analysis, complete with key analyst takeaways.

LLamasoft and Coupa: Exploring Procurement, Finance and Supply Chain Use Cases for Today and Tomorrow [PRO]

contract lifecycle management

In our Spend Matters PRO coverage of Coupa’s acquisition of LLamasoft, we have defined and explored the linkages between direct procurement and supply chain functions and provided a functional overview of LLamasoft’s offerings and their connections to procurement.

In this analyst article, we turn our attention to use cases for the solutions today, as well as brainstorm what Coupa might do in the future with LLamasoft’s broader assets.

The benefits from applying LLamasoft (which focuses on supply chain planning, monitoring and analytics, or SCPMA) to procurement and finance/treasury use cases are further magnified when supply chain considerations are evaluated in tandem with other functions. After all, the power of optimization only starts to really come out when you continue to add additional datasets and constraints!

Let’s start with a chart that explores individual (e.g., procurement) and shared (e.g., procurement + finance/treasury) modeling scenarios using such an approach.

And then we’ll dive into how LLamasoft can change the notion of sourcing optimization and risk management (as two separate areas).

Disclosure: Spend Matters’ parent company, Azul Partners, provided due diligence services to Coupa as part of this transaction.

Coupa’s Biggest Acquisition Yet (Part 1) — LLamasoft Transaction Overview, Initial Musings and Deal Tailwinds

Mergers and Acquisition News in procurement industry

Earlier this morning, Coupa announced it was acquiring LLamasoft in a $1.5 billion transaction (with the deal expected to close Nov. 2, 2020 — today). My colleagues on the analyst team at Spend Matters PRO are covering the transaction from a procurement and supply chain practitioner perspective. In short: what it is, why it matters and what it might bring product-wise from the combined organization. You can read Spend Matters coverage today here: the breaking news, PRO analysis of procurement-supply chain’s future and a PRO look at LLamasoft’s functional capabilities.

In this Spend Matters Nexus series, I’ll focus on covering the transaction from an M&A and competitive strategy perspective, providing analysis for a narrower audience interested in the transaction from an investor and corporate development vantage point.

Today, I’ll start with an overview of the deal (transaction overview + analysis), offer up some initial musings, and share some of the tailwinds that might support the deal as the combined organization takes its wares to market.

Jason Busch is Managing Partner of Azul Partners’ Investor Advisory Group. He works with sponsors, CEOs and boards on data-driven due diligence, M&A and business strategy. Jason is also the lead author of Spend Matters Nexus, a private newsletter. Disclosure: Spend Matters’ parent company, Azul Partners, provided due diligence services to Coupa as part of this transaction.