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SIG session recap: Want to digitize? It’s on you

Another SIG Executive Summit is in the books, and we covered the big picture and an interesting look at a hidden spend category. Also, this fall’s event in California was the first one that two members of the Spend Matters team spoke at together (more on that session later).

Walking through the halls and in joining the breakfast and lunch conversations, it was clear that “digitizing” is front and center for the majority of procurement organizations who attended. I think what myself, Jason Busch and Pierre Mitchell were most surprised by, however, was the “gap” in maturity levels.

Customer reviews for Allocation are in the new SolutionMap Customer Insights report

This week’s SolutionMap Customer Insights report focuses on customer reviews for Allocation, a specialist in technology for direct materials sourcing and supplier management for manufacturers and producers who have complex processes.

The applicable SolutionMap categories for this report are Sourcing and Supplier Relationship Management & Risk. SolutionMap Insider members can read about Allocation in our latest report.

In each Customer Insights report, we provide a one-page summary of details from the SolutionMap peer review process. It includes ratings on how well the vendor meets its customers' expectations, three key differentiators for the vendor and a list of quotes from customers about the vendor’s greatest strengths. (The users’ names and companies are kept anonymous.)

SIG news: Sourcing Industry Group and Spend Matters announce global partnership

Today, SIG, the premier membership organization for sourcing, procurement and outsourcing executives, and Spend Matters, the leading source for procurement solutions intelligence, announce a new partnership to provide SIG buy-side members with procurement solutions intelligence and services to help them advance their digital procurement efforts.

“Spend Matters is a trusted resource among procurement professionals,” says Dawn Tiura, President and CEO of SIG, the Sourcing Industry Group. “As the procurement technology marketplace becomes increasingly crowded, this partnership will provide valuable, time-saving market intelligence to SIG members who are looking to find the best vendors to meet their organization’s specific technology needs.”

The value of branding: 9 tips for procurement to create a strong brand, improve its standing

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post by Amanda Prochaska, the president of High Performance Procurement. Part 1 of this two-part guest series appeared yesterday and was written by Charlotte de Brabandt, a member of the Institute for Supply Management’s Thought Leadership Council.

For years, procurement’s role has been to reduce costs, or at least this is how it has been seen by others.

Procurement has always been a value provider, not just a cost-cutter. It is unfortunate that in the past it has been looked at so negatively, with such a narrow view. Perhaps this was because the procurement environment was heavily focused on negotiating prices. It did not focus so much on people or assets. The bottom line was always price and value.

However nowadays, most of the low hanging fruit where an easy monetary negotiation could be made is gone. And procurement is moving more toward being known as the value providers.

Part of making the transition to value providers is to change the brand of procurement. Learning from those who do this well, here are nine tips that marketers use to create a strong brand.

The value of branding: 6 ways procurement can redefine its brand, change misperceptions

Spend Matters welcomes this two-part guest series by Charlotte de Brabandt, a member of the Institute for Supply Management’s Thought Leadership Council, and by Amanda Prochaska, the president of High Performance Procurement, whose article will appear tomorrow.

Procurement professionals are not typically known for their ability to be great marketers. However, having a strong brand ensures procurement is at the very center of any business strategy. Look at any of the world's great brands and you will see that they all use their brand strength to gain attention. Strong brands are simply the key to creating value, and when this is done well, the full potential of procurement is realized.

Unfortunately, procurement’s brand has been largely left to their customers to define. These include definitions like “those are the people who negotiate contracts,” or “they buy stuff,” or “they are slow and non-responsive.”

As procurement professionals, we understand we deliver much more value than how we are being defined. So, what does it take to proactively define the value of procurement? Let's look at six tips:

Brightfield (TDX) raises $53 million to light up the extended workforce


Brightfield — a New York City-based artificial intelligence and big data analytics company that optimizes contract labor spend and program performance for employers, MSPs and staffing firms — announced today that it has received an investment of $53 million to fuel its market expansion and the continuing development of its platform, Talent Data Exchange (TDX).

The Series A round was led by Sapphire Ventures, with participation by MissionOG, CapitalOne Growth Ventures and Telescope Partners. A valuation for the company has not been disclosed.

Spend Matters has been covering Brightfield and the development of TDX for several years, and tracing the arc of Brightfield’s evolution from a consulting firm to a subscription-based data analytics platform business.

Read this coverage now and look for our analysis later.

DPW — The Best New Procurement Event in Years

Bid Ops

A couple of weeks ago, I attended and spoke at Digital Procurement World (DPW) in Amsterdam. The event was the brainchild of one of the first employees at Procurement Leaders, Matthias Gutzmann. With DPW, his idea was to bring together not only procurement organizations and technology (and services) firms in a conversation around digital, but also to engage the start-up community — and investors.

On just about every count, DPW was a runaway success. It was the very first procurement event I’ve been to that did a great job of engaging early stage technology companies and connecting them with buyers, consultants and others.

Here are a few of my observations:

Tipalti and the Accounts Payable Automation Market: Now Officially Hot, Hot, Hot!


Earlier this week, you may have seen that Tipalti raised $76 million in a Series D funding round. For those who do not know Tipalti, it is one of a variety of accounts payable automation (and payment providers) in the B2B market.

With a primary emphasis on middle market companies, Tipalti’s AP automation competitors include both broader procure-to-pay vendors that also come down market (e.g., Basware, Corcentric, Coupa, SAP Ariba, Tradeshift, etc.) and a diverse set of accounts payable automation specialists, including Accrualify, AvidXChange, Beanworks, SAP Concur, Symbeo, MineralTree, MediusFlow, Yooz and dozens of others.

It’s our view that Tipalti’s funding round is proof positive that the AP automation market is truly hot.

Hackett finds stark differences in typical digital procurement use vs. world-class digital transformation

Digital transformation is impacting businesses all around the globe, with procurement functions in particular feeling the pressure to redefine their role within organizations. While some procurement professionals are still working to increase their percentage of spend under management and generate savings at a tactical level, the recently released World-Class Procurement: Redefining Performance in a Digital Era report from The Hackett Group highlights significant gaps between how a sample peer group of procurement departments operate and perform versus the top performing departments, or world-class procurement operations.

A look into the future: AP automation and Basware’s roadmap

AP automation holds a lot of promise for businesses that want to reduce manual tasks, improve insights into transactions and create value for customers. But the choices of procurement software can be dizzying. In a previous article in this series, we looked at how and why digital transformation will vastly reshape procurement and finance roles. In this article, we’ll examine how one provider is addressing that change.

We asked Basware’s analyst relations specialist Jeff Meredith to discuss what future capabilities the suite provider sees on the horizon. Basware’s roadmap includes more developments in spend analytics, better ways to identify risks, and an increased focus on the supplier experience. Spend Matters' procure-to-pay specialist Xavier Olivera offers a market perspective afforded by assessing demos and doing interviews for SolutionMap, which ranks more than 50 procurement providers.

‘Future 5’ award: Spend Matters names 5 standout procurement technology start-ups

To highlight the most exciting procurement technology start-up companies in the world, Spend Matters is releasing its “Future 5” listing today in conjunction with the Digital Procurement World conference in Amsterdam.

The procurement technology analyst and media firm Spend Matters is well-known to recognize 100 procurement vendors in the industry each spring through its “50 Procurement Providers to Watch” and “50 Procurement Providers to Know” lists.

Given the speed with which many procurement technology start-ups move from early-stage to market contenders, the Spend Matters team decided to issue this mid-year Future 5 listing of exciting players.

Customer reviews for Coupa-Exari are in the new SolutionMap Customer Insights report

This week’s SolutionMap Customer Insights report focuses on customer reviews for Exari, a provider of contract lifecycle management (CLM) solutions that was acquired by Coupa this year. The applicable SolutionMap category for this report is in CLM.

SolutionMap Insider members can read about Exari in our latest report. The customer feedback was given before the acquisition was announced in April. In each Customer Insights report, we provide a one-page summary from the SolutionMap peer review process. The summary includes ratings on how well the vendor meets user expectations, three key differentiators for the vendor and a list of quotes about the vendor’s greatest strengths.