Plus or PRO Content

EcoVadis: Vendor Analysis, 2020 Update (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses [PRO]

CSR, sustainability

The market demand for supplier intelligence and data within procurement continues to increase. Whether it’s supply chain and supplier risk data provided by originators and aggregators or category and supply market-based general intelligence offered by analyst-driven models, an increasing number of firms are looking to third parties to augment their internal data-gathering and analysis efforts.

EcoVadis fits within this supplier intelligence/data and software landscape as a cloud-based sustainability rating/monitoring solution for global suppliers.

The buyer-friendly and supplier-friendly platform allows suppliers to self-register, complete a profile customized to them based on their UN ISIC code and categories of products or services offered, upload all relevant documentation, and get assessed and rated for a 12-month period. The EcoVadis sustainability rating is not a formal certification from a regulatory agency, but the criteria is interestingly built up as a "best of breed" superset of requirements from existing sustainability standards, such as Global Reporting Initiative, the United Nations Global Compact and the ISO 26000. This relevance helps improve attractiveness and adoption by organizations that don't want to reinvent the wheel and can use a single rating to also help comply with the other certifications that are in force within their supply chain.

Part 2 of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis Update explores EcoVadis’ product strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider this provider of supplier intelligence solutions. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview and a recommended fit list of criteria for firms considering EcoVadis. The third part of this series will offer a company SWOT analysis, user selection guide, a look at EcoVadis’ competitors, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

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

Sustainability. Go back 10 years and that was not a topic that got much more than lip service from most procurement organizations. But in recent years, as discussions around climate change have become louder, organizations started to address sustainability much more seriously.

Now, the coronavirus pandemic may prove to be the tipping point as most experts seem to agree that the origin of COVID-19 lies in the Wuhan wet markets. In these types of markets, live animals are kept under questionable conditions, something that is proving to be the definition of unsustainable. Time will tell if this was the starting point for truly including CSR and sustainability as a key part of strategic sourcing.

Since Spend Matters’ last Vendor Analysis of EcoVadis in 2017, the provider of business sustainability ratings for global supply chains has released two new offerings, IQ and Spotlight, to help organizations manage their entire supply base. IQ is an offering using country and industry data to allow organizations to track the long tail of its suppliers. Spotlight helps manage audits of the most strategic suppliers. In between these, EcoVadis’ core offering remains its Ratings module. It supports sustainability requirements by defining and benchmarking a corporate social responsibility index across 21 sustainability indicators (built up from lower-level questions) categorized in four major areas: environment, social, ethics and supply chain.

In this updated PRO Vendor Analysis, we’ll dive into EcoVadis’ company background, its solution offering and some recommendations on how the firm is best used to maximize value. Part 2 will focus on product strengths and weaknesses. Part 3 will then wrap up with a company SWOT analysis, a look at EcoVadis' competitors and the market, shortlist guidance, and final commentary and recommendations.

The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insider’s Hot List: June 2020 [Plus+]

Welcome to the June 2020 edition of Spend Matters Insider’s Hot List, a monthly look at the contingent workforce and services (CW/S) space that’s available to our PLUS and PRO subscribers. 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.

May seems to have been a slow month in terms of new technology and innovation developments, with the exception of — perhaps not surprisingly — the freelancer/SMB neo-bank area. One possible explanation of this shift in attention of CW/S solution providers from expansion and innovation is that the coronavirus crisis has them focusing on customers and remaining a going concern. In any event, the June Hot List will cover the key developments that came across our radar last month.

Taulia: Vendor Analysis (Part 3) — SWOT, Competitor Comparisons, Tech Selection Tips [PRO]

In this final installment of Spend Matters’ PRO Vendor Analysis on the working capital and e-invoicing provider Taulia, we offer a company SWOT analysis, a look at Taulia’s competitors, tech selection tips and summary commentary.

In Part 1, we covered Taulia’s background and a detailed solution overview, as well as a recommended-fit suggestion to consider Taulia as a technology solution provider. In Part 2, we covered the solution’s strengths and weaknesses.

Now let’s take a deeper look at Taulia and where it competes.

Taulia: Vendor Analysis (Part 2) — Strengths and Weaknesses [PRO]

Taulia is known for its working capital solutions, which include both of its early payment programs: self-funded and funded by third parties. But as mentioned in Part 1 of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis, Taulia’s platform also offers e-invoicing and AP automation solutions.

In Part 2, we'll give our insight into the strengths and weaknesses of Taulia's platform and offerings. Part 3 will provide a company SWOT analysis, a look at Taulia’s competitors and tech selection tips.

Taulia: Vendor Analysis (Part 1) — Background, Solution Overview, Tech Selection Tips [PRO]

procurement

In 2009, Taulia started in the U.S. as one of the few dynamic discounting solutions in the market, and through the years, Taulia has become a leading SaaS platform for working capital. It enables a supplier early payment offering that can be funded by the buyer (dynamic discounting) and/or funded for supply chain finance (SCF) by global third-party funders like banks and capital markets.

Taulia's supplier network has grown from 30,000 suppliers to more than 1.8 million suppliers from over 160 countries around the globe, transacting over $500 billion annually. Taulia has a total capital raise of about $178 million since 2010.

Its platform also offers solutions for supplier self-service, e-invoicing and supplier information management (SIM).

Taulia has participated in Spend Matters’ SolutionMap for Invoice-to-Pay vendors since 2017, and for the 2020 Spring Solution Map edition, Taulia attained “Solution Leader” status in our Turn-Key and CIO Friendly personas, which means that Taulia has a combination of software capability and supporting services that delivers results and a defensible ROI, with strong IT support and CIO endorsement.

The first part of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a few situations when organizations should consider Taulia. The rest of this three-part research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses, Taulia's competitors, a SWOT analysis and tech selection tips.

AnyData Solutions: Vendor Analysis 2020 Update (Part 3) — SWOT, Competitor Comparisons, Tech Selection Tips [PRO]

AnyData Solutions competes in a fragmented market for spend analytics. Yet unlike many of its peers, it is not a common procurement vendor name. But with better awareness, it could be a strong analytics competitor globally, especially considering how the solution packs a powerful one-two functional and pricing punch.

From a functional standpoint, AnyData’s rapid visual development framework can enable customers to go beyond spend analysis use cases to create custom, domain-specific analytics solutions (e.g., analytics-centric contract lifecycle management and supplier performance management reporting and capability). Combined with AnyData’s low-cost pricing models (a fraction of the cost of other solutions under most scenarios), it should make the solution a shortlist candidate for just about any size organization needing a spend analytics platform that wants the option to move beyond the basics.

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis provides an objective SWOT analysis of AnyData and looks at its competitors and the market they inhabit. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as alternative vendors to AnyData, and offers provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides summary analysis and recommendations for companies considering AnyData. Part 1 provided an in-depth look at AnyData as a firm and its solution overview. Part 2 offered a detailed analysis of its solution strengths and weaknesses.

AnyData Solutions: Vendor Analysis 2020 Update (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses [PRO]

InnoCentive

Part 2 of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis update explores the strengths and weaknesses of AnyData’s spend analytics and contract management solution, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations and other customers decide whether AnyData is the right fit for their needs.

Since our 2017 review, AnyData has added a strength: metric definition and management. And it improved on old strengths, like rapid configuration and ease of use. Also its visualization engine is sharper, faster and more configurable by the end user. Areas for improvement include more marketing and industry customization. We’ll discuss all of these and more later.

As we indicated in Part 1, AnyData Solutions is not just a stand-alone spend analytics toolset that includes “the basics.” Rather, it is a stand-alone platform for capturing, managing, sharing and collaborating on structured datasets of any type — which can come from flat files, spreadsheets, databases, live API feeds, documents scanned by OCR and just about any data source you can think of.

As an end-to-end analytics platform, AnyData is quite different from other approaches to spend analytics on the market today. On many levels, AnyData is closer to the data-centric heritage of BIQ, or the newer Spendata solution (founded by a BIQ co-Founder), as it is fundamentally a self-service analytics solution, compared with the vast majority of spend analytics providers, which prefer to handle cleansing and classification activities “as a service,” even if they offer to sell the classification engine separately (which rarely happens).

The first installment of this three-part series provided a company and solution overview and a recommended fit list of criteria for firms considering AnyData. Part 3 will offer a company SWOT analysis, a look at AnyData’s competitors and a user selection guide.

Symfact: Vendor Analysis — Solution Overview, Strengths/Weaknesses, Company SWOT, Tech Selection Tips [PRO]

Contract lifecycle management (CLM) solutions are a “hot” market, and part of the reason for recent interest is because of their applicability to a wide range of enterprise use cases. Unlike other technology areas that touch procurement, CLM sells to multiple business stakeholders, often at the same time. There are some CLM vendors with particular strengths on the buy-side, sure, but there also are plenty of others that spring from sell-side use cases, or still more that support legal organizations first and foremost.

Symfact, a CLM vendor founded in 2002, provides an example of just such a “flavoring” of contract management solutions toward a unique business use case — governance, risk management and compliance (GRC). The Switzerland-based vendor, with a U.S. office in Chicago, offers a well-tested CLM solution that also links to other GRC-related apps (e.g., legal entity management, third-party risk management). This of course extends well to procurement, as suppliers also are third parties that need to be managed for many risks, which makes Symfact an interesting potential partner for buy-side CLM beyond its legal/GRC roots.

This one-part Vendor Analysis includes an overview of Symfact’s CLM solution, a perspective on what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a SWOT analysis and a tech selection checklist for organizations that might consider the vendor.

AnyData Solutions: Vendor Analysis 2020 Update (Part 1) — Background, Solution Overview, Tech Selection Tips [PRO]

AnyData Solutions, founded seven years ago, is yet another spend analytics vendor with strong capabilities, even some unique ones — but it’s not just a spend analytics vendor, as it offers contract management capabilities and bases its platform on a no-code rapid AI-enabled visual development environment (VIDE). But like many analytics startups hailing from the UK (including Rosslyn Data Technologies, Spend360 that was acquired by Coupa and Spikes Cavell that was acquired by Xchanging and is now DXC Technologies), it has been undercapitalized from the start. As a result, AnyData has not invested in the type of sales and marketing efforts necessary to make it a household name. It also has lacked the channel and business development prowess of DXC Technologies (Spikes Cavell) and Spend360 (Coupa) that helped drive significant yet behind-the-scenes growth and resulted in their eventual acquisitions.

Perhaps most important, as previously chronicled by Spend Matters (see: Exploring the Customer Experience of a Spend Analytics Provider that Should be on Your Shortlist), AnyData’s broad claim around the delivery of powerful analytics is not the typical smoke-and-mirrors marketing that many vendors put forth. Our analysis, backed up by deep SolutionMap analysis, finds that it does deliver a true end-to-end analytics platform (unlike just about every other spend analysis solution) that is extensible across functions, industries and different use cases both inside and outside of procurement (as the VIDE can be used to configure broad-based analytics support).

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis, updated since our 2017 review, provides facts and expert insights to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about AnyData Solutions and whether its capabilities are a fit for their needs. Part 1 of our analysis provides an updated company background and a detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider AnyData in the procurement technology and solutions area. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Coupa Pay: Solution Overview — 2020 Update [PRO]

For most companies, supplier payments represent 80% of total payments (internal and external). Payments include intercompany payments and payments to third party vendors. While there is no “typical” company, many larger enterprises operate multiple legal entities (think sales offices, factories, distribution centers located globally), with multiple banks, and hundreds of banks accounts. Tens of thousands of vendors, suppliers, gig workers and employees must be paid globally. It is messy, to say the least!

The payments function is, still, generally, a largely unautomated backwater. Some of the most (comparative) manual processes within finance and procurement still exist around generating supplier payments and handling different payment types. The challenge of doing this with multiple bank relationships and multiple disbursement accounts, while making sure the company has an updated view of its cash position via current payables information further complicates (and slows) activities.

For these reasons, B2B payment has become a very hot topic. So it’s no surprise that Coupa, a source-to-pay suite provider of business spend management solutions, is interested in carving out its share of the opportunity. But Coupa is not alone. Whether it be real-time fraud detection, applying APIs to bank connectivity or facilitating cross-border payments, there is no shortage of investment by numerous fintech vendors to help companies become more efficient with their payments.

But probably nowhere is there a bigger interest than managing payments in a unified single interface, across multiple channels, banks, rails, and to handle both domestic and cross-border payments to suppliers, contractors and employees while performing real-time fraud detection to stop payments before they are made — reducing dependence of after-the-fact payment recovery processes. This is where Coupa’s vision comes into play with its Coupa Pay offering.

From a procurement and AP lens, Spend Matters PRO has covered Coupa Pay before. See:

Today, we'll focus not only on updating our coverage of Coupa Pay to reflect the latest release capabilities as of Q2 2020, but also provide a perspective on the solution from the lens of the finance organization, especially account payables, which is tasked with much of the complex orchestration of B2B payments.

Specialist Providers of Extended Workforce Rate Benchmarking and Analytics — Series Wrap-Up [PRO]

Back in December, we initiated a five-part series with a brief titled A new species: Specialist providers of contingent workforce rate benchmarking/analytics. In that brief, we identified three third-party (standalone, vendor-neutral) providers that are, broadly speaking, data management and analytics providers and establishing a framework for analyzing providers, capabilities and services from a business-buyer standpoint.

The subsequent three parts of the series reviewed and analyzed each of those providers — PeopleTicker, HCM Strategies and Brightfield (TDX) — and their solution offerings. While all three have been centered around salary and rate benchmarking service/capabilities, they have also extended, to greatly varying degrees, their workforce-related analytics offerings. (See their Vendor Analysis profiles here, here and here.)

In this fifth and final part of the series, we synthesize our findings and provide insights into the market and the differences among the vendors. Spoiler alert: The three providers are quite different and will variously fit different types of organizations with different needs. We also discuss our research approach, moving forward on a broader basis.

When we started this series in December 2019, we could not have imagined what would lie ahead of us and where the world economy, businesses and workers would be now. But we are certain that we are entering a new economic and business environment in which data and analytics will be far more critical than ever.

Our perspective on this situation is reflected in our ongoing series (Coronavirus affects the world of work — How can businesses cope with the COVID-19 outbreak? (Part 1) and Coronavirus affects the world of work (Part 2): Facing the next phase of the crisis); and the importance of workforce data and analytics in this crisis period is discussed in this CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE series brief.