PRO or Plus Content

Improving RFP-Driven Technology Sourcing Outcomes: Strategies and Tactics [Plus+]

e-procurement

How can you be a better prospective customer of choice and improve your odds of success? You can start by following our mini “buyer boot camp” to lower total costs, improve your selection success and even start to smell like roses to solution providers (and become a customer of choice) by sticking to a handful of key strategies. Some of these are likely to be highly intuitive, others less so. But following as many of these steps as possible is key.

Write Better RFPs: How to Get What You Want (and Need) From Suppliers [Plus+]

RFP

The typical business challenge when you go to market with an RFP centers on getting ideas for what is possible, and identifying suppliers that either already have these ideas or are willing to work with you toward that end. Targeted activities are often services or complex products where quality, service or the engineered final product will be different from each vendor responding. We've put together some fresh ideas to an old challenge: conveying your needs in ways that a supplier can relate to and that encourages them to put their best foot forward, with a proposal that goes beyond your wants and addresses your needs, as well.

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

You might not know it, but France has a great history of building outstanding, engineering-led procurement technology firms. Ivalua and b-pack (now Determine) stand out for different reasons, but both have achieved varying degrees of success globally. Dhatim, founded in 2007, stands to follow in their footsteps — and potentially create an even larger imprint. While not a new technology provider in the procurement space, Dhatim, and its solution named Conciliator, is relatively new outside of its home country. Like others that have expanded outside the French market before it, Dhatim is looking to build a global presence, first in Europe and the UK, and then beyond.

Dhatim’s Conciliator is not a procurement suite. In fact, it would misleading to view the provider as a module-centric vendor only. Rather, it has developed an artificial intelligence (AI)-centered suite of applications that leverage the underlying learning and analytics capability to solve specific procurement, finance and even HR business challenges as well as shared services end-to-end processes operational challenges, primarily centered on automated compliance. Many of Conciliator’s large customers are keen to take advantage of digital initiatives that center on “cognitive procurement” and related areas. Conciliator not only checks the box but also delivers against use cases in which other, non-AI based solutions would have a much more difficult time — if they could do it at all.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement and finance organizations make informed decisions about whether they need a solution like Conciliator alongside or as an adjunct to other analytics and data classification technologies. 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 Conciliator. The remainder of this multipart research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analysis, user selection guides, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

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

Catalant

This PRO Vendor Snapshot focuses on Catalant, an online (cloud-based) work intermediary and evolving enterprise platform that allows organizations to access and engage highly skilled, well-credentialed independent business consultants and small, boutique consulting businesses. These resources can be sourced from Catalant’s own “digital marketplace” of independent talent and small consulting providers, which has been growing both in terms of number of providers and number of enterprise customers since 2013.

Since that time, Catalant has been extending its enterprise platform to, at this stage of platform development, allow organizations to establish private networks of their own self-sourced consulting resources (including alumni and retirees). It also enables organizations to create and manage teams of internal (employee) workers and blended internal-external (consultant) workers over a full project lifecycle, as well as archive, share and access project content and artifacts.

Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and solution overview. In Part 1, we also identified basic fit criteria for firms considering Catalant. In Part 2 of this series, we present our view and analysis of Catalant’s product strengths and weaknesses to help procurement organizations decide if they should shortlist the solution provider. We also offer a high-level evaluation of the user interface. Part 3, the final part of this series, will provide a business SWOT analysis, user selection guide, an overview of competitors and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

A Different Sort of Influence: 16 Areas Where Supplier Management Can Help Engage Your Stakeholders Strategically (Part 1) [Plus+]

Supplier management is too often an afterthought in the eyes of procurement and its stakeholders. Yes, it's important to collect supplier qualification information through the sourcing and onboarding process, and then also monitor the suppliers against their contracts to get what you paid for and to reduce supply risk. But shouldn’t there be more to supplier management?

Progressive organizations are beginning to use supplier management (and third-party management more broadly) as a better overall governance structure for how to best externalize the enterprise. This is especially true as supply markets get digitized (and disrupted) and supplier innovation can be brought to bear beyond cost/spend savings.

“Innovation management” is indeed one of the areas where a supplier management approach can help procurement influence stakeholders, but there are 15 other ways, as well. Having a broader palette of value creation (for which we’ll discuss six major value streams) will not only help improve spend influence but also improve the quality of influence to help elevate procurement’s value proposition.

The Procure-to-Pay User Experience (Part 4) [PRO]

Amazon Business

In Part 1 of this series, we addressed why the user experience (UX) is important in a procure-to-pay (P2P) solution, and why we have` dedicated so much time to the topic. The reality is that if users do not use the solution to do their job, the solution does not generate value. And the ultimate key to adoption is the user experience. That’s why many IT companies are beginning to invest significantly in providing a user interface that provides the optimal user experience to do their job.

That’s also why we are providing you with this information to help you identify who those companies are. This started in Part 2, where we noted that there is not just one optimal user interface for an optimal user experience. There are multiple user interfaces, one per role. We then described the key aspects of these for the more casual roles — the casual buyer, the admin or IT supporter and the supplier. In Part 3, we began to address the professional procurement buyer role, starting with the core functionality required across the P2P platform. Now we need to address the core functionality required by the professional buyer in each phase of the P2P cycle.

Behind the Scenes: Interpreting Q4 2017 SolutionMap Results With Jason Busch — Jaggaer (and Jaggaer Direct) [PRO]

Today I’m wrapping up my series of observations on Q4 2017 SolutionMap suite providers with perhaps the most fun vendor of all to opine on beyond the data alone: Jaggaer. (Be sure to check out the previous installments covering SAP Ariba, Basware and CoupaDetermine, GEP and Ivalua; and BravoSolution and Zycus, too.) When I think of potential — using the truest sense of the word — in the procurement technology market, there is no provider more underutilized than Jaggaer, especially in scenarios where it can serve industry segments and geographies that have not previously embraced solutions designed for them. Below I share my thoughts on this opportunity and how Jaggaer did in the Q4 2017 SolutionMaps, with maybe a few Jägerbomb(shells) tossed down the thirsty Friday throat for good measure. Whether your mixer is a Red Bull or Heineken, sit back and enjoy.

Supplier Onboarding: Implementation Tips and Key Recommendations (Part 3) [Plus+]

So far in our PRO series exploring the nuances of setting up a supplier onboarding program we’ve delved into many specific steps and elements necessary to implement an effective process. Yet achieving a level of program certainty around these recommendations and plans is not realistic prior to engaging with a solution provider – unless you are prepared to pay separately for the provider to go through the scoping and delivery documentation as an independent engagement (which can be a smart approach, and probably something that you can get at least partial credit for if you award the solution business later on).

The Procure-to-Pay User Experience (Part 3) [PRO]

In Part 1 of this series, we addressed why the user experience (UX) of a procure-to-pay (P2P) solution is important, and why we have dedicated so much time to the topic. The reality is that if a user does not use a solution to do their job, the solution does not generate value. And the ultimate key to adoption is the user experience. That’s why many IT companies are beginning to invest significantly in providing a user interface that provides users the optimal experience to do their job.

That’s also why we are providing you with the information to help you identify who those companies are. This started in Part 2, where we noted that there is not just one optimal user interface for an optimal user experience. There are multiple user interfaces, one per role. In our last article, we described the key aspects of these for the more casual roles — the casual buyer, the admin or IT supporter, and the supplier. Today, we tackle the requirements for the professional, full-time procurement buyer, which are predictably much more extensive.

Vendor Summary Report: Strategic Procurement Technology Suites SolutionMap℠ Q4 2017 [PRO]

category management

This SolutionMapSM analyzes a select group of strategic procurement technology suite providers (inclusive of spend analytics, sourcing, supplier management and contract lifecycle management). It is part of our Q4 2017 SolutionMap report series, individually featuring spend analytics, sourcing, contract management, supplier relationship management and risk (SRM), e-procurement and invoice-to-pay providers. SolutionMap also features procure-to-pay technology suites. Spend Matters tracks more than 100 individual strategic procurement technology providers today. This analysis features many of the largest suite providers, including BravoSolution, Determine, GEP, Ivalua, Jaggaer, SAP Ariba and Zycus. Among these providers, the Strategic Procurement Technology SolutionMap features select industry/specialty capability of providers, although it does not highlight them in a specific persona, a change from our last SolutionMap release.

The Procure-to-Pay User Experience (Part 2) [PRO]

In Part 1 of this series, we addressed why the user experience (UX) is important, and why we have dedicated so much time to this topic. The reality is that if users do not use a solution to do their job, the solution does not generate value. And the ultimate key to adoption is often the user experience. That's why many IT companies are beginning to invest in providing a user interface that provides the user with an optimal experience, and why we are providing the information organizations will need to identify which companies those are.

Behind the Scenes: Interpreting Q4 2017 SolutionMap Results With Jason Busch — BravoSolution and Zycus [PRO]

Today I continue to offer my observations on technology providers that participated in the Q4 2017 SolutionMaps by turning to two suite providers: BravoSolution and Zycus. During the course of our analysis, I was struck by how different both providers are overall in what they actually serve up to customers and how they fit into the market, despite having similar product footprints. Comparing the two is like comparing apples to oranges, which actually sums up quite well the odd, diverse and certainly complex category we today call procurement solutions. So sit back, relax and enjoy. And do drop me a line or post a comment if you want to add anything else to the discussion.