Plus or PRO Content

Amazon Business Prime Updated: Analysis and Procurement Recommendations (October 2018 Update) [PRO]

AnyData Solutions

Earlier today, Amazon announced a host of enhancements to its Amazon Business Prime offering. To help procurement organizations understand the implications of these added capabilities, this Spend Matters PRO research brief provides an overview and analysis of the new solution components and offers recommendations to procurement organizations already using or considering Amazon Business.

The emphasis of this PRO analysis centers on the spend visibility/analytics, e-procurement (guided buying) and working capital/payment capabilities of the October 2018 Amazon Business release. While some of these areas are likely to be less interesting for organizations that already use a third-party e-procurement solution that integrates with Amazon Business (either via punch-out or API), Amazon’s enhanced invoicing, working capital and payment components can be applied to all potential users.

But perhaps most important, these enhancement offer some signals of how Amazon may continue to build out the capabilities of its Prime business solution. Let’s delve in.

Upwork Post-IPO Rising: A Next-Gen Staffing Industry Analysis [PRO]

On Oct. 3, 2018, Upwork became a public company listed on the Nasdaq exchange. Its stock was offered at $15 per share and has since been trading in the $19 to $21 range, giving it a market valuation on the order of $2 billion. This was a company that emerged from a new segment of innovative, online platform intermediaries, and just six years ago, was widely considered to be a non-starter, even dismissed as a “flash-in-the-pan,” by practitioners in the staffing industry. Now, based on gross revenue/gross services volume, it would rank among some of the world’s largest staffing companies. The Upwork IPO was not only an important milestone in the evolving and increasingly digitized contingent workforce space, it also presented an opportunity to look more clearly into the company and assess where it stands (and might eventually stand) in the space. In this Spend Matters PRO brief we take a look at both. We provide a snapshot of key Upwork information to highlight what the company actually is and what it represents in the industry vs. common industry perceptions.

ADP and the Future of Work (Part 3) — Strategy Assessment [PRO]

In Part 1 of this Spend Matters PRO series, we summarized ADP’s business characteristics, its market and financial strength, and its increased investment in innovation R&D as a backdrop and foundation for the pursuit of its future-of-work strategy. In Part 2, we examined the significant technology developments and recent strategic acquisitions that make up key execution components of the strategy. In this third installment of this series, we will step back and provide our perspective on ADP’s future-of-work strategy, both our view of what it is and what it may mean in a broader industry context.

E-Procurement Catalog Management and Search: Introduction and Tradeshift Analysis (Part 1)   [PRO]

Most of the leading solution providers featured in the E-Procurement and Procure-to-Pay SolutionMaps can handle many of the nuances required of search and catalog management. For all of the gory details of what comprises catalog management and why it matters as part of an e-procurement system, we encourage PRO subscribers to start here:

Now that you know what catalog management comprises — and assuming you’ve read the “Just Coupa It” analysis of Coupa’s approach to search and catalog management with Aquiire and Simeno — we can explore how other solution providers approach this complex and nuanced area.

Based on insights gained from SolutionMap analysis, this series will explore how other leading providers approach search and catalog management. Today, we introduce the topic and share how Tradeshift, the first of Coupa’s peers that we’ll investigate in this series, tackles catalog management and business user search.

If you are currently using an e-procurement solution or considering purchasing a new technology, this is a critical series that will help you understand one of the most important functional “plumbing” elements within transactional purchasing and procure-to-pay, as well as what other capabilities top performers offer as part of their broader P2P environments. Read on!

With Coupa Taking Aquiire, Only 2 Specialists Left Standing (Updated 2018 E-Procurement Market Forecast and Competitive Sector Implications) [PRO]

Coupa (cleverly) has been snapping up specialized technology in the e-procurement market to further enhance its capabilities (re: Simeno and Aquiire). In doing so, it has also acted as consolidator, reducing the available e-procurement supply market for both customers and competitors. In North America today (and globally, as far as we are aware), there are only two specialist independent e-procurement specialists remaining in the market: BuyerQuest and Vroozi.

Of course to this list you need to add a few folks in Europe — Wescale (which has not expressed interest in pursuing North American sales opportunities, at least with our clients), OpusCapita and Proactis. And lest we not forget larger providers such as Basware, Ivalua, Jaggaer, etc. (in addition to Oracle and SAP Ariba). But the non-suite, best-of-breed supply market for e-procurement, at least in North America, is getting very thin.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO analysis provides Spend Matters commentary on what Coupa’s acquisitive tendencies, in particular the purchase of Aquiire this week, might suggest for competitors and future competitors. Not to pat ourselves on the back, but continued sector M&A was a top prediction we suggested earlier in 2018.

The research brief begins by sharing our updated 2018 market forecast (CAGR, size, etc.) for e-procurement based on 1H 2018 activity. Then we provide commentary and analysis focusing on the implications of continued market consolidation for three segments of the competitive market: ERP providers that have not yet placed their best foot forward when it comes to e-procurement and procure-to-pay (including NetSuite/Oracle, Sage and Workday), Coupa suite competitors (e.g., Basware, Ivalua, Jaggaer, Oracle, SAP Ariba, etc.) and specialist providers (e.g., BuyerQuest, Vroozi, Wescale, etc.).

Part 2 of this analysis will provide a closer analysis of what Coupa’s increasing “post punch-out” product / IP arsenal (inclusive of Aquiire) might have on top e-procurement competitors when it comes to how customers actually look at and use these technologies — both during a software selection and when deploying/scaling e-procurement programs.

‘Just Coupa It’: By Buying Aquiire, Coupa Targets Google-like Search and the End of Punch-Outs [PRO]

Coupa announced its latest acquisition Monday with its purchase of Aquiire, a provider of e-procurement and procure-to-pay software. The deal brings to Coupa’s business spend management suite — which now includes support for e-procurement, P2P, source-to-pay, travel and expense management, and services procurement — many of the latest features for front-end shopping and catalog management, particularly several patents related to real-time search and third-party-hosted catalog integration capabilities. Viewed as part of Coupa’s larger strategy, however, Aquiire is just one piece of a larger puzzle that Coupa has been trying to assemble for the last decade.

The purchase of Cincinnati, Ohio-based Aquiire, along with Coupa’s own innovations in the guided buying area and the company’s 2017 acquisition of Simeno, forms the basis of a shift away from one-to-one, proprietary “punch-out”-based B2B e-commerce models and toward a streamlined, almost touchless approach to finding and buying goods and services. This entails far more than creating a friendly user experience that’s “Amazon-like.” Coupa wants to go one step further, making the search for a corporate purchase as easy as answering a question with Google: one question (sometimes auto-suggested) into the box, numerous answers delivered within the next screen, in real time, prioritized by relevance, price and desired procurement controls.

Coupa’s goal is to make B2B purchasing as easy and reflexive as everyday information retrieval on the broader web. Said another way, when you need to know something, you Google it; when you need to buy something at work, you would Coupa it. Obviously, Coupa is not going to become a verb anytime soon on the scale of Google. The key is to provide a B2B buyer-relevant search that is tuned to the “persona” of the individual buyer to quickly get him or her the needed goods and services from the preferred supply sources and buying channels.

This Spend Matters PRO research brief explores the feasibility of the “Google-like” search concept, as well as how Coupa’s acquisition of Aquiire enables it. It also touches on how Coupa’s approach to front-end shopping enablement compares with the broader e-procurement market, as well as what this means for competitors.

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

Yooz is one of the dozens of providers that frequently compete in the accounts payable automation market. This specific market is a bit difficult to “bound” as it represents a narrower “cut” of the functional requirements in Spend Matters’ invoice-to-pay SolutionMap — yet with more granular requirements in support of specific AP-centric (and sometimes industry-specific) needs.  

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Yooz’s solution offering in payment automation and e-invoicing markets. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Yooz in the finance technology areas. Part 2 covered product strengths and weaknesses, and this final installment offers a competitor and SWOT analysis, along with evaluation and selection considerations.

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

Tradeshift is a cloud platform that connects buyers and suppliers with the goal of digitizing supply chain relationships, processes and information, while also enabling everyday procure-to-pay activities. Its capabilities span the buying of goods and services through to financing and payment — and significant capability in between, especially in the invoice-to-pay area.

In addition to providing its own procure-to-pay modules, Tradeshift offers an open integration framework that allows other technology firms (and customers) to integrate and/or development third-party “apps,” primarily centered on supplier connectivity, transaction enablement and collaboration. Tradeshift can even integrate alternative procure-to-pay providers in cases where specific enabling capability is desired.

This Spend Matters PRO analysis provides an introduction to Tradeshift, both as a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) provider and also as an e-procurement and invoice-to-pay technology vendor. It is designed to provide facts and expert analysis to help procurement and finance organizations make informed decisions about whether they should consider Tradeshift for both traditional “in-the-box” procure-to-pay requirements as well as unique marketplace/platform type digital initiatives.

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 Tradeshift as a complement to other procurement and finance solutions. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Direct Material Sourcing and Supplier Management Platforms (Part 2) [Plus+]

In the first installment of this series, I introduced six distinct platform areas that manufacturers are making investments in as part of core efforts to drive more successful savings, efficiency, compliance, collaboration and supplier engagement programs. The first, design/engineering and sourcing enablement solutions, represents a new class of direct materials e-sourcing toolsets that attempt to accomplish numerous objectives. Why are all of these areas so essential, especially in concert together? This Spend Matters Plus analysis examines why.

An Introduction to Sourcing Business Intelligence (Part 2): The Leap from Sourcing Analytics to Supply Intelligence [PRO]

data analytics

In Part 1 of this Spend Matters PRO research series, we defined and explored the concept of sourcing business intelligence (BI), an emerging focus area for an increasing number of procurement organizations. Sourcing BI is not a “tool” like a spend analysis application module or a general purpose BI tool — like the visualization tools Qlik, Tableau or Sisense. Rather it is an enabling approach to sourcing, supplier management, total cost modeling/should cost analysis and related initiatives like clean sheeting that focus on the ability to incorporate increasingly rich external market, commodity, category and supplier intelligence with existing internal data sets, process flows and activities to enhance savings, compliance and organizational resilience.

Much of this activity is occurring within category management where managers are trying to move from historical descriptive analytics to “outside-in” predictive/prescriptive analytics that yield true intelligence rather than just subscribing to tribal best-practices sharing and generic data-as-a-service (DaaS) offerings in the marketplace.

In Part 2 of exploring sourcing business intelligence, we first will set some context about how to make the leap from sourcing analytics to broader supply intelligence. “Supply management” is bigger than “sourcing management” — and similarly — “intelligence” is bigger than “analytics.” By understanding this evolution, it helps us set up a deeper discussion into how artificial intelligence relates to analytics — with an immediate focus on sourcing, but a longer-term focus on broader spend/supply.

ADP and the Future of Work (Part 2) — Innovation R&D, Acquisitions [PRO]

interest rates

In Part 1 of this PRO series, we laid out ADP’s business characteristics, its market and financial strength, and its increased investment in innovation R&D as a backdrop and foundation for its pursuit of its future of work strategy. In this second part of the series, we examine the significant technology developments and recent strategic acquisitions that make up key execution components of the strategy. Part 3 will bring the pieces together to describe this strategy and what it may mean in a broader industry context.

ADP and the Future of Work (Part 1) — The Foundation [PRO]

Spend Matters’ coverage of ADP — the global payroll, human capital management (HCM) solution and HR managed services provider — had been infrequent since mid-2015, when ADP sold its procure-to-pay business to Oildex. That made sense since Spend Matters tends to focus on technology and innovation from the procurement perspective, and (given ADP’s traditional focus on internal employees), there was not even much of a link to the contingent workforce area.

But that changed in early 2018, when ADP acquired the freelancer management system (FMS) WorkMarket, and it soon became clear that something larger was brewing at ADP. In fact, we have since looked more closely and found that the company is not only executing a strategy to address needs related to the growing freelancer or independent contract workforce (ICW) — but it also is making a great leap forward in rolling-out a leading-edge core technology platform for its payroll and HCM solutions and services, something that will no doubt play a role in the company’s freelancer/ICW, agile total workforce and overall future of work strategy.

The future of workforce sourcing, engagement, management and compensation is that of human capital management as well as payment “platforms” and digital ecosystems that bring together businesses (large and small), ecosystem technology and services partners and, last but not least, workers of different generations, localities, economic strata and types of work arrangements. That includes dynamic arrangements: part-time or temporary employment, on-demand intermittent gigs or moonlighting, and freelance/independent contract worker engagements.

In this three-part PRO brief, we will provide a refresh on ADP and how it is strategically addressing the “future of work” head-on. Part 1 will provide a summary overview of ADP and how the company has been strategically investing in innovation and technology to address the future of work. Part 2 will identify and discuss significant technology developments and recent strategic acquisitions, key execution components of ADP’s future of work strategy. Finally, Part 3 will bring many of the pieces together to form a picture (or more accurately, a sketch) of how ADP is moving forward to address a future of workforce management that is increasingly digital and decentralized, and where the needs and expectations of client businesses AND workers are already diverging from those that were stable for decades.