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

When you start a vacuum cleaner, a number of things happen. First, the air pump creates a partial vacuum in the appliance. This results in air rapidly rushing in from the outside, through the attached hose or nozzle, pulling in dust, dirt and small debris with it. But the effects don't end there. The rapid movement of air from immediately outside the vacuum creates another partial vacuum that needs to be filled by the surrounding air, and this causes nearby particulates to also move and change position. And, thanks to the butterfly effect, this can have larger repercussions than one expects, creating unintended consequences. If pollen, mold or certain other once stationary particulates get into the air, people can sneeze, suffer allergic reactions or even get deathly ill.

What does this have to do with sourcing? When big firms buy smaller e-sourcing tools, vacuuming up the major standalone software companies in given niche, this creates a void — and kicks up a dust cloud, of sorts. From a manufacturing-centric sourcing perspective, this last year or so saw the acquisitions of Directworks (by Ivalua) and Pool4Tool (by Jaggaer). These acquisitions — not to mention Jaggaer’s prior acquisition of BravoSolution — took two specialist players in direct materials procurement and supplier management out of the best-of-breed market in North America, creating a new void. The result? The door was opened for new best-of-breed players from Europe to enter, and one of these players is Allocation.

But will Allocation benefit from the vacuum effect? It certainly has the pedigree. Founded in 1998, Allocation has been building its platform for two decades. Today it has one of the broadest and deepest platforms for direct supplier management and direct material sourcing on the market today. With a strong customer base in discrete manufacturing, Allocation can walk into just about any automotive, aerospace, CPG or other manufacturing-based procurement organization and talk the talk, backing up its knowledge with a set of specialized capabilities.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Allocation’s e-sourcing and supplier management solutions. Part 1 of our analysis offers a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Allocation. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

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

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APEX Analytix is far more than just a recovery audit and spend analysis software provider. It’s also a specialist in supplier management. This third and final installment of our Vendor Snapshot covering APEX Analytix’s supplier management solution provides a SWOT analysis of the company along with a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also offers recommended shortlist candidates that can serve as alternative vendors to APEX, complete with solution selection guidance. Finally, this research brief provides summary analysis and recommendations for organizations considering APEX for supplier management. 

For background on APEX, we encourage you to review Part 1 of the series, which provided an in-depth look at APEX and its supplier management solution, and Part 2, which gave a detailed analysis of product strengths and weaknesses, as well as a review of the its user experience.

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

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Better known for its broader portfolio of recovery audit, overpayment and self-audit software, APEX Analytix also offers a specialized supplier management solution. APEX provides unique, out-of-the-box capabilities that support core supplier information management (SIM), validation and financial controls, as well as working capital optimization solutions. In addition, its supplier management solution delivers the broader configurability, workflow, rules, analytics, supplier portal and associated capabilities one would expect from supplier management software.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores APEX Analytix’s strengths and weaknesses in the supplier management area specifically, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement and finance organizations decide whether they should consider the provider. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering APEX Analytix. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

APEX Analytix: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview [PRO]

If you were to pick a single procurement software category that is remaking itself from the inside out thanks to technology, the recovery audit market would be it. And one provider at the vanguard of this transformation is APEX Analytix. APEX Analytix, a Spend Matters Provider to Watch since 2015, is perhaps best known for its core accounts payables (AP) recovery audit business. But it is a broad-based procurement technology provider in its own right, offering a range of overpayment prevention and self-audit software, supplier information management and supplier portal solutions.

In this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series, we will focus our analysis of APEX Analytix on its supplier management solution, which will be featured for the first time in the Q3 2018 Supplier Management SolutionMap. APEX Analytix’s solution, which is best-in-class when it comes to certain areas of financial information management and validations, deserves to be considered on a standalone basis.

This Spend Matters PRO analysis provides an overview of APEX Analytix, focusing on its supplier management solution capabilities. It provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement and finance organizations make informed decisions about whether they should explore APEX Analytix on a stand-alone basis in this area. 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 APEX Analytix. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Tradeshift By the Numbers (1H 2018) and a New Bank Offering (The “Early Payments Wallet”) [PRO]

In New York City yesterday, following the announcement of a $250 million funding round, Tradeshift provided an update to analysts, customers and partners. We covered a couple of the general updates already, including the announcement of a new receivables-centric application and supplier network offering (see: Tradeshift’s “Sellers Club” Targets Bottomline and Accounts Receivable Technology With a Many-to-Many Offering) and parallels Tradeshift is drawing from others in developing its own strategy (see: Tradeshift Analyst Day Dispatch: “Do You Want Amazon to Own Your Supplier Relationships?).

In today’s Spend Matters PRO coverage, we turn our attention to other announcements from the event, including a general corporate update (i.e., Tradeshift by the numbers) and other product announcements. The emphasis is on Tradeshift’s new bank-centric offerings that support early payment programs, including bank and multi-bank funding options, along with KYC (Know Your Customer) and the other alphabet soup requirements that banks require from a supplier/customer onboarding standpoint. We’ll also share our observations coming out of the event. Let’s begin.

5 Reasons to Bet For and Against Coupa (Part 2: The Blindsided Prince) [PRO]

Owing to its focus on “business” spend management and public company status, Coupa continues to serve as an ambassador and proxy for the procurement technology sector overall. As I noted in the first installment of this series — 5 Reasons to Bet For and Against Coupa (Part 1: The Virtuous ‘Cloud’ Prince) — it seems everyone has an opinion on Cramer’s new “Cloud Prince.” I shared five reasons I’d bet on Coupa from a procurement (not capital markets) perspective.

Today, to balance things out, I turn negative and introduce five reasons I’d bet against the firm, primarily revolving around how the sector and procurement, finance and supply chain may change around it. I’ll lump these reasons under the theme as “blindsided prince,” since I believe Coupa’s biggest risks come from outside, not within.

Q2 2018 SolutionMap E-Procurement, Invoice-to-Pay and Procure-to-Pay Release Notes

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider Release Note provides insight into the Q2 2018 SolutionMap release for E-Procurement, Invoice-to-Pay (I2P) and Procure-to-Pay (P2P), reviewing the process that we follow and highlighting what has changed since the last release.

The Q2 2018 SolutionMap release saw a number of changes from the Q1 2018 release. This includes the addition of the following new providers: SynerTrade and Jaggaer Indirect. Additionally, a number of providers have received updated scoring based on the submission and demonstration of new production technology release capabilities. In addition, the Procure-to-Pay customer reference set grew by over 50 individual customer references in Q2.

This SolutionMap Insider research note provides insight into these and additional changes in the Q2 2018 SolutionMap release.

Q2 2018 SolutionMap Release Notes: Source-to-Pay (S2P)

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider Release Note provides insight into the Q2 2018 SolutionMap release for Source-to-Pay, reviewing the process that we followed for this inaugural release.

The providers in the Q2 2018 Source-to-Pay SolutionMap include Determine, GEP, Ivalua, SAP Ariba, SynerTrade and Zycus. All of these providers were required to participate in SolutionMap for each underlying module, as well. These individual areas include Sourcing, Spend and Procurement Analytics, Supplier Relationship Management & Risk, Contract Lifecycle Management, E-Procurement and Invoice-to-Pay. All of these providers are also included in the individual Strategic Procurement Technologies (SPT) and Procure-to-Pay (P2P) suite views.

This SolutionMap Insider research note provides insight into these and additional considerations in the Q2 2018 SolutionMap release. The Source-to-Pay customer data set is composed of a subset of the 700+ individual organization references included in the overall SolutionMap scoring as of Q2 2018*.

*Customers using more than one module that a vendor provides can opt to fill out a single survey within each individual suite area (e.g., a customer using two modules for P2P and four modules for SPT would only need to fill out two surveys).

Q2 2018 SolutionMap Release Notes: Sourcing, Spend Analytics, SRM, CLM and Strategic Procurement Technology Suites

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider release note provides insight into the Q2 2018 SolutionMap release for Sourcing, Spend and Procurement Analytics, Supplier Relationship Management & Risk, Contract Lifecycle Management, and Strategic Procurement Technologies Suite SolutionMaps, reviewing the process we follow and highlighting what has changed since the last release.

Within the individual areas covered in this brief, the following provider has been added to the Q2 2018 release: Bonfire. Additionally, providers such as EC Sourcing, Ivalua, and SynerTrade have received updated scoring following the submission and demonstration of new capabilities based on production releases of individual modules. (Non-GA capabilities are not considered in SolutionMap scoring.) Perhaps most important, over 100 new customer references were added in the Strategic Procurement Technology areas for Q2.

This SolutionMap Insider release note explores these and additional changes in the Q2 2018 SolutionMap release.

5 Reasons to Bet For and Against Coupa (Part 1: The Virtuous ‘Cloud’ Prince) [PRO]

One of the best validations of the procurement technology sector is to see irrational exuberance from those who know comparatively little about it as they begin to speculate more aggressively on who is going to win in the market. Hearing Cramer call Coupa the “Cloud Prince” was but one example of the dozens I’ve heard both publicly and in one-on-one conversations in recent weeks from those outside the procurement solutions world.

These days, it seems everyone has an opinion on Coupa. Sometimes this speculation and soap-boxing grates on me because, in theory, it could mislead those within procurement and finance from making the best decisions if they get wrapped up in the noise. But it’s a price worth paying. Every insider — including everyone on the front lines of procurement, every tech vendor, every consultant, every analyst — should welcome every minute of attention Coupa gets. Why? Because it means there is going to be plenty of cash to fund the next generation of innovation for the sector.

Procurement is red hot right now, and honestly, shouldn’t saving money always be hot? But just how hot is Coupa? While I have real work to do providing a final set of eyes on some 250+ pages of draft copy for the Q2 SolutionMap Insider publications this week, I thought I’d procrastinate and share my own prognostications on Coupa and the arguments I’d make on betting both “for” and “against” the new crown prince — and also offer some fantasy sports commentary on just whom I’d combine Coupa with from the comfort of my lazyboy to conclude things (and luckily our SolutionMap framework lets us mix and match providers in different combinations — something that some of our early adopter practitioner clients are starting to explore in their evaluations).

Today I’ll start with five reasons I’m bullish on Coupa for procurement organizations — the company, not the stock, which is an important distinction as I have no opinion on share prices — by sticking with Cramer’s “prince” analogy. Of course I can’t help but think back to a philosophy class in 11th grade with Dr. Morinelli where we learned and debated Machiavelli's “The Prince.”

Virtuous princes, as Wikipedia translates and paraphrases Machiavelli, “rise to power through their own skill and resources (their ‘virtue’) rather than luck … [even though comparatively they] tend to have a hard time rising to the top, once they reach the top they are very secure in their position. This is because they effectively crush their opponents and earn great respect from everyone else. Because they are strong and more self-sufficient, they have to make fewer compromises with their allies.”

How is Coupa the virtuous [resourceful] prince for procurement? Read on as we explore the five reasons I’d bet on Coupa’s continued success at the same levels of the past.

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

Per Angusta is the only technology solution Spend Matters has reviewed that is entirely focused on program management in support of category, sourcing and supplier and broader procurement activities. Moreover, the provider represents a unique case in which it is increasingly focused on developing tight, platform-based integrations with leading source-to-pay suite and module providers, embedding its capabilities out-of-the-box on an integrated basis with third-party technologies.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about whether Per Angusta, as a standalone or integrated program management solution, should be looked at as a “nice to have” or a mandatory extension of their current capabilities and solutions. 

Part 1 of this series provided key facts on Per Angusta, a detailed solution overview and shortlist criteria for organization that should prioritize the provider. Part 2 provides an analysis of Per Angusta’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as summary recommendations on when to consider Per Angusta as a technology to support program management requirements.

Per Angusta: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview [PRO]

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You might infer from our research on program management solution capabilities that we view this component of procurement technology solutions as a “missing link” (see Part 1: Design Building Blocks and Part 2: Functional Building Blocks). Simply put, program management technology components — mirroring or in fact driving process requirements when an organization has not yet defined them — is quickly becoming a key requirement for strategic sourcing and broader procurement success, especially in more advanced organizations.

Few source-to-pay technology suites and modules, however, bring program management components that deliver sufficient capabilities to support procurement requirements. This is where Per Angusta comes in. Per Angusta is a technology solution designed solely for category, sourcing, supplier and supply management program management. It’s also a platform in the definitional sense — think “PaaS” — as it supports open, deep and application-specific integrations with third-party procurement technologies that organizations might have in place already or are in the process of selecting and implementing.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about whether Per Angusta should be considered alongside other source-to-pay technologies (or as an embedded solution to extend them). Part 1 provides key facts on Per Angusta, a detailed solution overview and shortlists criteria for organization that should prioritize the provider. Part 2 provides an analysis of Per Angusta’s detailed strengths and weaknesses and summary recommendations on when to consider Per Angusta.