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Graphite Systems: Vendor Analysis (Part 3) — Detailed Overview of the graphiteConnect Solution [PRO]

Part 3 of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis focuses on Graphite Systems’ offering and gives a detailed overview of the graphiteConnect solution.

The focus of its solution, graphiteConnect, has mainly been on SIM, but it has also expanded into SRM and supplier risk management.

In Part 1, we discussed the company background and graphiteConnect’s strengths and weaknesses. In Part 2, we provided a company SWOT analysis and looked at the graphiteConnect competitors.

Now, let’s dive into a detailed overview of the graphiteConnect solution.

Graphite Systems: Vendor Analysis (Part 2) — SWOT and Competitors for its graphiteConnect solution [PRO]

tech

For Part 2 of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis series, we will look at graphiteConnect's competitors in the supplier management solution market and we'll offer a SWOT analysis on the vendor, Graphite Systems.

The supplier management solution market is red hot, and there are new solutions popping up left, right and center. However, the market is fragmented, and most vendors have their unique take on what supplier management means.

Spend Matters has defined five core building blocks of supplier management — Supplier Information Management (SIM), Supplier Performance Management (SPM), Supplier Relationship Management (SRM), Supplier Risk Management, and Supplier Quality Management (SQM) — to give a framework on how to classify and compare vendors in this space.

Graphite Systems is a new vendor in this space that we introduced in Part 1. The focus of its solution, graphiteConnect, has mainly been on SIM, but it has also expanded into SRM and supplier risk management.

Let's take a look at graphiteConnect's competitors and the company's SWOT.

Graphite Systems: Vendor Analysis (Part 1) — Background of Company & graphiteConnect Solution, Strengths/Weaknesses, Tech Selection Tips  [PRO]

The first part of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis looks at Graphite Systems’ background, offers an overview of its graphiteConnect solution and details graphiteConnect’s strengths and weaknesses. But Graphite Systems is part of a larger story.

Networks are nothing new in the procurement technology space. But the focus of most networks has so far been primarily on transactions — connecting trading partners in a many-to-many network to facilitate exchange of purchase orders and invoices. Now, most of these networks have expanded some, and many also include some supplier information, but that has typically been limited to the most basic information needed to support the transaction.

This is now changing with Graphite System’s entrance into the marketplace.

It is arguably the first supplier management vendor that is building its solution, graphiteConnect, on a network model where suppliers enter and maintain their information once and can share it with any and all buyers in the network.

Part 2 of this series will offer a company SWOT analysis and a look at Graphite System’s competitors. In Part 3, we will provide a detailed solution overview.

The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insiders’ Hot List: October 2020 [PRO]

Welcome to the October 2020 edition of Spend Matters Insiders’ Hot List, a monthly look at the contingent workforce and services (CW/S) space. For those new to the Hot List, each edition covers the prior month’s important or interesting technology and innovation developments in the CW/S space. Find details on platforms, Fiverr — and one site that helps source workers for evictions.

TransferMate — Solution overview of cross-border payments capabilities [PRO]

Supplier compliance

This Spend Matters PRO brief looks at the TransferMate solution and how the payments provider handles cross-border transactions.

More and more, companies are engaged on a cross-border basis as marketplace sellers — to pay freelancers, to handle global SaaS subscriptions or just to make payments not only to vendors but in support of contractors, one-off buys, landlords, etc.

But increasingly smaller and mid-size businesses — say those under $50 million — need the payments and currency management features of a global treasury system without all the other sophisticated bells and whistles. Today, the SWIFT messaging standard and the correspondent banking network is how the vast majority of cross-border payments move. Yet sending and receiving cross-border payments through banks can be a costly proposition for businesses. The old legacy model works, but it is antiquated and inefficient in terms of fees, foreign exchange markups and lack of transparency.

Over the last several years, the market has become increasingly competitive with vendors attempting to disrupt the status quo. Vendors combining cross-border payments and currency management can be thought of as global treasury networks offered as-a-service to small and mid-sized businesses. Core offerings include:

  • open multi-currency virtual bank accounts without the hassles of physical bank accounts
  • invoice and receive global payments from buyers anywhere
  • pay global suppliers in local currency (reducing their conversion costs and making it easier to do business)
  • turn cross-border payments into domestic ones, thereby reducing costs

Additional services could also be offered around working capital (lending), digital wallets, cards attached to the borderless account and VAT services.

TransferMate is one such vendor that enables businesses to send and receive payments in local currency with a few simple steps. They are regulated in 162 countries, with a money movement license in 51 U.S. states, as well as a technology interface that can eliminate problems of SWIFT reconcilement in addition to fee advantage and speed. Their aim is to simplify domestic and international payments for small and medium-size businesses.

Coronavirus impacts the world of work (Part 3): Acting in an uncertain economic recovery [PRO]

home working

While COVID-19 has disrupted the U.S. economy in ways which were practically inconceivable a year ago, it has also overturned long-standing, fundamental assumptions of how businesses must operate. Organizations, for example, are finding that they can operate with a larger remote workforce, they can flex their now-significant contingent workforces, and they have access to technology that can make business transformation possible. This should also be a time for procurers of contingent workforce and services (CW/S) to re-evaluate and reset their assumptions. Right?

This is the third part of the “Coronavirus impacts the world of work” series focusing on contingent workforce/services management in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each part of the series aligns to one of the four stages of the crisis that we mapped out in the spring:

Part 3 of this series now addresses what we called the recovery/upswing stage, looking at what it means, assessing the current environment and trends, and presenting considerations for organizations and CW/S practitioners.

Agiloft: Vendor Analysis, 2020 Update (Part 3) — Agiloft Competitors, SWOT, Commentary, Tech Selection Tips [PRO]

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The third and final installment of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis looks at Agiloft’s competitors and provides an objective SWOT analysis of the provider.

The contract lifecycle management (CLM) technology market is highly fragmented today, with customers having significant choice between broad-based suite providers and independent vendors. Within this mix of full lifecycle solutions — from analytics to authoring to compliance — there are also specialized providers that stand out for unique capabilities, specialization or unique technology approaches to CLM. One CLM provider that is differentiated from other options — owing both to its business rules and business process management (BPM) foundation and to its adjacent capability in asset management and related areas — is It’s also at the forefront of contract and commerce lifecycle management (CCLM), which means putting contracts at the center of numerous digital business processes. Spend Matters calls this area commercial value management (CVM).

Part 3 also includes provider selection guidance, recommendations for companies that can best take advantage of Agiloft’s capabilities, and a summary analysis. Part 1 provided an in-depth solution overview of Agiloft’s offering and a company profile. Part 2 gave a detailed analysis of Agiloft’s solution strengths and weaknesses as well as a review of the user experience.

Agiloft: Vendor Analysis, 2020 Update (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses, Tech Selection Tips [PRO]

digital signatures

This installment of our Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis explores Agiloft’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis of its solution to help procurement organizations decide whether they should shortlist the vendor. It also offers a critique (pros/cons) of the user interface.

Most procurement organizations have only started to explore the full set of capabilities that integrated contract lifecycle management (CLM) capabilities can bring. Yet in most cases today — outside of procurement organizations deploying integrated suite-based contract management technologies, many of which offer limited capabilities relative to independent CLM vendors — CLM remains loosely coupled from overall procurement processes, including sourcing, supplier management, transactional buying, contract compliance and risk management.

Agiloft, one of dozens of independent CLM providers in the market today, offers a means of creating a synthetic process-driven and data-driven “hub” beyond providing core contract management capabilities alone. To do that, the vendor uses a unique term to describe its approach to putting contracts at the center of numerous business processes: contract and commerce lifecycle management (CCLM). And it’s not alone in its thinking. What Agiloft calls CCLM we at Spend Matters call commercial value management (CVM), a concept of contract management where granularly modelled contract obligations form the basis for managing enterprise-wide value creation via a centralized CLM system.

Admittedly, CCLM or CVM is at this time more conceptual than actionable strategy. But we feel that the most mature organizations are moving in this direction with their contract management practices, and, perhaps as a proof point, Agiloft’s most advanced competitors each have their own version of the CCLM/CVM vision that they are articulating with their own roadmaps.

Part 1 of our analysis provided a company background and detailed overview of the Agiloft solution, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Agiloft in the CLM area. Next up, this series will offer a look at Agiloft’s competitors, a company SWOT analysis, user selection guide, and more tech selection tips.

Agiloft: Vendor Analysis, 2020 Update (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview [PRO]

The contract lifecycle management (CLM) market can have many inroads. Some vendors position themselves as fluent with the sales and CPQ world, basing their value props on enablement of frontline business users and acceleration of agreement execution. Others are buy-side specialists, prioritizing the ability to deeply model and track the quantities and conditions for manufacturing agreements to ensure continuity of supply. And still more are more legal specialists, built around the idea of empowering in-house counsel to become a trusted business partner and earn a “seat at the table.”

Agiloft, a contract lifecycle management vendor that has been operating since 1991, has never gone to market touting just a single set of use cases or a key department to enable. Instead, it has essentially turned this question around and asked, “What do you want us to be?”

This is because Agiloft, while used by more than 500 customers as a CLM system, is actually a no-code platform built upon a business process management framework that has been configured as a CLM application.

Said another way, Agiloft is like a LEGO set in which the code bricks have been assembled to deploy systems for CLM and asset management, among other use cases. This has allowed customers to collect, store and track any and all contract data and attachments that an organization might require, as well as design custom workflows that tie into other systems, making Agiloft both a CLM tool and a broader system for business process orchestration.

The potential for organizations looking to tap such powerful customization while obtaining core CLM capabilities are interesting, yet Agiloft, despite its age and consistently strong customer references, as illustrated its Value Leader ranking within our CLM SolutionMap, has never quite broken out as a well-known CLM pacesetter. Part of this has been a conservative approach to growth and investment — the vendor has historically focused its investment on product development, and it took on outside funding for the first time in 2020, nearly three decade after its founding.

But with a fresh round of external investment and a new CEO at the helm, is Agiloft positioned to break out of its no-code shell into a more widely acknowledged CLM pole position?

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis, which updates our 2017 review, provides facts and expert analysis to help buying organizations, suppliers and partners make informed decisions about Agiloft’s CLM and related capabilities. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview. The rest of this three-part research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses, a look at Agiloft’s competitors, a company SWOT analysis and tech selection tips.

Beyond Spend Influence: Enabling Procurement’s Emerging Roles in Business Transformation (Part 3) — Digitally Enabled Engagement, Outcomes, Demand and Spend [PRO]

lending

In the first installment of this Spend Matters PRO series, we kicked off our analysis of how progressive organizations are influencing spend and stakeholders at a deeper level beyond traditional sourcing influence.

In Part 2, we discussed how progressive procurement organizations were improving their influence through coherent communication and alignment of procurement “services” to various stakeholders. This influence isn’t just seeking to drive stakeholders to procurement for procurement resources exclusively to create value that procurement gets credit for, but rather, to have procurement educate and enable stakeholders to make the best decisions that will deliver the outcomes most important to them.

Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, said in an interview, “I don’t think we make money when we sell something, we make money when we help someone make a purchase decision.” In other words, Amazon is looking to be your trusted advisor and buying concierge to help you get the best deal (whether or not you actually do — especially with dynamic pricing!), which keeps you in the Amazon “walled garden” and elevates its brand/role beyond just being another online supplier to find stuff. By broadening its value and “brand permission,” it can then “help” you make these purchase decisions and others in your life. Just ask Alexa!

In this installment, we will dive into the details of how some procurement organizations are digitally enabling this engagement and elevating their brand in ways that meet stakeholder outcomes but also allows procurement to see and shape the demand that will drive spend, supply and needed source-to-pay resources.

The “quality” of spend influence isn’t about late-stage sourcing involvement, but rather, early engagement upstream at the moments of truth when spend is being planned by a few critical budget holders — or when suppliers are being sought by thousands of employees with a business need.

In either case, procurement must proactively find the stakeholders or help the stakeholders find procurement (or find the preferred suppliers and their products/services via “guided buying”). There isn’t just one “seat at the table” for procurement, because there is not just a single table to sit at (although the CEO’s executive team/committee is a good one!), but multiple tables where stakeholders sit.

TalentNet: Vendor Analysis — Solution Overview, SWOT, Tech Selection Tips, Analyst Summary [PRO]

This Spend Matters PRO research brief provides an introduction to TalentNet, a direct sourcing and brand-based talent acquisition solution. It’s a software-as-a-service offering that enables businesses to attract, assess, onboard and manage contract workers — and now, permanent workers.

TalentNet falls within the solution category that Spend Matters refers to as Direct Sourcing of Workforce/Services (DSW/S). The company has recently expanded its solution to support direct sourcing of permanent employees as well as contract workers.

TalentNet was covered in the Spend Matters SolutionMap for software solutions that enable businesses to direct source and manage their contract workforce and small service providers (where it was mapped as a SolutionMap Value Leader (upper right quadrant) for our Nimble, Deep, Turn-Key and Global personas).

In An Executive’s Guide to Direct Sourcing of Contract Work/Services Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3, Spend Matters covered the modern concept of direct sourcing; the emerging, digital direct sourcing ecosystem; enabling direct sourcing technology solutions; and practice notes for executives moving in this direction. TalentNet is a pure-play, purpose-built technology solution provider that has pursued its own differentiation direction, as we will discuss. 

This Vendor Analysis takes a closer look at TalentNet, providing an overall understanding of the company and its solution, a summary assessment of features and functions, a company SWOT analysis, and a selection checklist for companies that might consider TalentNet.

Infor Nexus: Vendor Analysis (Part 3) — In-Depth Solution Overview [PRO]

In this final part of our Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis, we’ll do an in-depth look of the Infor Nexus solution overview, providing a complete look at its procurement offering for direct spend.

Part 1 of the series focused on Infor Nexus’s solution strengths and weaknesses, and Part 2 focused on Infor Nexus competitors and the technology market that they are in.

In this final section, we will look at the Infor Nexus solution, which covers the direct materials procurement process and supply chain collaboration — from orders through shipments, invoice, payments and supply chain financing, backed by its business network where buyers, suppliers, manufacturers, logistics providers and financial institutions collaborate and exchange documents.