Plus or PRO Content

SAP Ariba vs SirionLabs: Contract lifecycle management head-to-head technology evaluation and comparison [PRO]

head-to-head

The contract lifecycle management (CLM) space is exceptional because best-of-breed vendors definitively define what leading functionality is. Whereas, in other areas, suite players often perform at parity or stronger than standalone vendors — and, in the case of sourcing optimization especially, outperform the market. In CLM, the standalone vendors are the ones that set the current “bar” for the technology.

At the same time, CLM is also a less fully adopted solution area, and the offerings available from suite and ERP vendors can still deliver strong improvements compared with using no system at all. Contract management maturity is a key consideration, as some organizations simply need to start or hit moderate maturity levels before they can even think about optimizing their relationships and contract language.

The question then becomes: What is the value of using the CLM module from a suite or ERP provider vs. a standalone specialist, and which option is the best for my organization?

A matchup that encapsulates this scenario well is SAP Ariba vs. SirionLabs. Indeed, many customers that provided references for SirionLabs said they often considered SAP Ariba alongside their current vendor during selection, and both vendors have experience serving enterprise customers with complex requirements. We feel that merits a round in the Spring 2021 CLM SolutionMap head-to-head evaluation ring for our content subscribers.

Not yet a Spend Matters PRO or Insider member? Here’s a preview of today’s comparison.

In multiple CLM categories — which include contract information management, contract process management, CLM analytics and underlying technology — SirionLabs comes out on top. But in at least one other, SAP Ariba provides an impressive counterblow. And in specific functional matchups, SAP Ariba comes out swinging with unique strengths that illustrate its ability to address specific customer types.

Spend Matters’ head-to-head columns share the insights of each fall and spring SolutionMap update. Subscribers to our PRO analyst content and SolutionMap Insider content can read the head-to-head columns, which provide comparative cuts of SolutionMap benchmark data for two solutions. For each column, we provide comparisons against the S2P-wide benchmarks, comparative scoring of vendors across dozens of functional requirements, and our analysts’ take on how each solution holds up in the competitive ring.

The Kodiak Rating customer experience: What Makes It Great (Supplier Relationship Management SolutionMap analysis) [PRO]

The market for supplier management is one of the most fragmented, with a variety of approaches to solving complex issues. Indeed, the fragmented nature of this market is related to the broad and complex array of problems to be tackled when managing suppliers, and the rise of SXM startups to address specific pain points has only further driven this diversification. Kodiak Rating is one such vendor that provides a new take on supplier relationship management.

Founded in 2015, Kodiak Rating is a relatively young vendor that has especially focused its offering on supplier performance management (SPM) within the larger supplier management category. Kodiak Rating’s solution stands out in the market with its primary focus on SPM (and to a lesser degree supplier quality management) supported by basic capabilities in the other SXM areas.

Customers of vendors in our latest SolutionMap Spring 2021 update of the Supplier Relationship Management category agreed that Kodiak Rating’s capabilities stood out among the rest of the fragmented market.

SolutionMap now contains functional and customer satisfaction benchmarks on more than 70 offerings within the procurement technology landscape. But where does Kodiak Rating stand out most and help “set the bar” in supplier relationship management, and why should this matter for procurement and finance organizations? Let’s delve into the SolutionMap benchmark to find out where Kodiak Rating is great, according to customer scores.

“What Makes It Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from our SolutionMap updates for subscribers to SolutionMap Insider content and PRO analysis. Based on our rigorous evaluation process and customer reference reviews, each column offers quick facts on the provider, describes where it excels, provides hard data on where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark and concludes with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider it.

SupplHi: Vendor Analysis — Background, solution overview, roadmap, SupplHi competitors/market analysis, customer feedback, tech selection tips, analyst summary with strengths/weaknesses [PRO]

SupplHi solution overview

With the abundance of pure-play solutions for supplier discovery and supplier management that have hit the global marketplace in recent years, one would think that the supplier management market had seen it all. But SupplHi is a new entrant into the space that has found a way to take what may seem like a missed opportunity to many and make it new and exciting to them — and the market.

So why is SupplHi different?

To understand that, we need to understand what the market is. Supplier management is needed for direct and indirect procurement, and it has so many categories that we often call it SXM.

The supplier management product marketplace today primarily focuses on supplier discovery, supplier information management (SIM), and a bit of supplier performance management (SPM) and the services around relationship management (SRM). But that's not the only facets of supplier management. There’s also supplier network management and quality management, an offering that is pretty much limited to a few providers that serve the direct sourcing space.

In other words, while supplier management seems mature, that maturity is primarily in the management of suppliers from an indirect or services perspective. When it comes to direct supplier management that stores deep details on technical capabilities, quality and quality control, engineering knowledge and personnel, compliance and support for regulatory requirements, and the necessary onboarding and validation processes, then the solutions for them are few and far between.

This is where SupplHi is attempting to fill the void.

The future of spend analytics: From Jason Alexander to Jerry Seinfeld [PRO]

In a previous article, “What the Jason Alexander hoodie ad teaches us about the past and future of spend analytics capabilities,” we talked about how spend analytics in the source-to-pay (S2P) world is a bit like George Costanza in Seinfeld's world. It's still a bit of a side-show, even if it shouldn't be. Sometimes we have to laugh at it, like when it tells us equipment shoes are footwear, even though we should be crying.

But just like the Jason Alexander hoodie from the Super Bowl commercial, if we can laugh at it, or at least acknowledge its flaws in terms of where analytics’ value generation typically comes up short, we will end up respecting its potential even more — because we will be open to the possibility of a new generation of solutions that will provide a level of value not previously seen. Then we will transition from the sideshow of George Costanza to the main act of Jerry Seinfeld as spend analytics begins to take center stage in its own show.

In this follow-up article, we will specify the properties of third-generation solutions and provide some detailed examples of value identification that will only be possible in next-generation systems. First, we'll highlight some of the major shortcomings of current second-generation solutions and overview a few best-of-breed providers that offer, or are close to offering, third-generation capabilities. While we touch on only a few key capabilities in this article, these should be enough to highlight what 2.x solutions are missing and just how deep the opportunity iceberg goes.

The Vendorful customer experience: What Makes It Great (Sourcing SolutionMap analysis) [PRO]

Ever since the creation of the first e-sourcing solutions, this headline technology area has been plagued by an Achilles’ heel — end-user adoption. Despite the benefits they could provide, e-sourcing tools have historically struggled to be usable, especially by non-power users, thus obscuring their full potential ROI.

The latest generation of e-sourcing providers, however, has learned from the sector’s founders, and many today boast a user-first approach to usability that encompasses even the needs of non-procurement requesters. That’s exactly what Vendorful, a SolutionMap “Customer Leader” in our graphical market comparison of Sourcing vendors, has done with its solution.

Vendorful is a younger sourcing provider founded by insiders and outsiders of the procurement industry. They saw just how difficult it was for clients to manage sourcing, especially IT spending. Vendorful’s founders made the realization that without proper tools, many companies overspend on IT services and solutions.

After developing its solution for IT spending specifically, other companies wanted to deploy its solution for non-IT spend. Vendorful thus began its commercial offering for general-purpose sourcing. Now, it offers core sourcing solutions, including e-RFX and reverse auction functionality.

Customers also noted its sourcing strengths in the recent SolutionMap Spring 2021 launch.

As of Spring 2021, our Spend Matters SolutionMap contains functional and customer satisfaction benchmarks on more than 70 offerings within the procurement technology landscape. But where does Vendorful stand out most and help “set the bar” in sourcing, and why should this matter for procurement and finance organizations? Let’s delve into the SolutionMap benchmark to find out where Vendorful is great, according to customer scores.

“What Makes It Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from our SolutionMap updates for subscribers to SolutionMap Insider content and PRO analysis. Based on our rigorous evaluation process and customer reference reviews, each column offers quick facts on the provider, describes where it excels, provides hard data on where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark and concludes with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider it.

EcoVadis targets net zero with Carbon Action Module: Vendor Analysis Update [PRO]

EcoVadis Carbon Action Module

Sustainability is a broad term that encompasses numerous subtopics. But increasingly, considerations of sustainability center around a pivotal topic: carbon emissions.

As the world grapples with the best ways to balance trade-offs between decarbonizing economies with the expectations of economic growth, corporations, investors and governments have all begun to take stock of their current carbon footprints, in an effort to better prioritize how to reach net zero emissions by their own stated goals.

And if you’re familiar with the ways that corporations go about calculating their carbon footprints, then you know that supply chains account for 80% of greenhouse gas emissions — which means that procurement has a significant role to play in the process of reducing global emissions.

That’s why, perhaps unsurprisingly, the best-known provider of sustainability data and tools in the procurement tech space, EcoVadis, recently released its Carbon Action Module, a toolkit to help organizations prioritize, engage and drive emissions reductions to meet decarbonization goals.

In this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis, 2021 Update, we review EcoVadis’ Carbon Action Module and explain how the solution for sustainability rating and monitoring is tackling the challenge of collecting and analyzing carbon emissions data. This post is an addendum to our 2020 reviews and analyses of EcoVadis:

SAP Ariba: Procure-to-Pay Vendor Analysis (Part 1) — Company background, P2P solution overview, SWOT, competitors/market analysis [PRO]

SAP Ariba strengths weaknesses

SAP Ariba was arguably the first ever source-to-pay (S2P) suite. Its history stretches back to 1996, when it was founded and quickly built a reputation for its downstream procure-to-pay (P2P) product. And while the history of Ariba before it became SAP Ariba is complex, there is little doubt today that if you’re a procurement organization evaluating P2P offerings, you’re almost certainly going to put SAP Ariba on your longlist, and likely your shortlist too — especially if you’re an SAP shop already.

The SAP Ariba of 2021 is not, however, the same as the Ariba of 1996. In fact, it’s not even the same SAP Ariba of even a few years ago. The product continues to undergo significant development, and the solution’s overall roadmap increasingly intersects with those of other SAP products. This context in the long-term strategy of an enterprise software behemoth is critical to consider when evaluating SAP Ariba for P2P. It’s also important to not only consider factors around classic end-user-focused e-procurement — including usability, configurability and access to multiple sources of content — but also those around supply chain collaboration, integration with other SAP solutions (e.g., ERP and treasury) and the draw of the vendor’s globally known supplier network.

Because SAP Ariba offers a broad suite, Spend Matters will write multiple posts that focus on three distinct areas: the downstream P2P offering (today’s posts), the upstream source-to-contract offering, and a summary look at the S2P product as a whole.

In today’s three-part PRO Vendor Analysis series on SAP Ariba’s P2P offering, Part 1 provides a company background and high-level solution overview, gives a company SWOT analysis and discusses SAP Ariba competitors. The next two parts focus on product strengths/weaknesses and tech selection tips as well as an in-depth look at the P2P solution (platform, e-procurement, AP automation, SAP Business Network, analytics) and our analyst summary.

SAP Ariba: Procure-to-Pay Vendor Analysis (Part 2) — P2P product strengths and weaknesses, tech selection tips [PRO]

SAP Ariba P2P

In this series on SAP Ariba’s procure-to-pay (P2P) offering, Part 2 provides an assessment of the P2P solution’s strengths and weaknesses, based on both quantitative data gathered through our SolutionMap benchmark and our analysts’ informed qualitative analysis. It also offers tech selection tips.

Comparing major procure-to-pay (P2P) vendors is no simple task. While many solutions have strived in recent years to deliver what they describe as “Amazon-like” or even “Google-like” experiences for end users making daily purchases, the underlying technology enabling those experiences is anything but simple. And especially when you shift your reference from indirect, shopping-based experiences to direct materials purchasing and global e-invoicing compliance, the complexity of how to execute efficient yet compliant P2P processes at the enterprise level can quickly become overwhelming.

SAP Ariba is intimately familiar with both of these end-user challenges and these multinational-size P2P puzzles. The vendor has for many years held top-tier functionality scores in our P2P SolutionMap. SAP Ariba is, of course, well-known among procurement organizations, and for firms already using SAP products like ECC or S/4HANA, the option to standardize within the SAP ecosystem can be appealing.

But how exactly does SAP Ariba stack up against competitors offering enterprise-focused P2P solutions, and when exactly is the vendor the ideal “fit” for your business requirements?

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis series helps procurement organizations and the firms that support them evaluate SAP Ariba as it stands today.

Part 3 of today’s series will provide a detailed overview of each component of the SAP Ariba P2P product and a final analyst summary. Part 1 offers company background information, a SWOT and a list of SAP Ariba competitors.

Future three-part posts will cover the vendor’s source-to-contract (S2C) offering, as well as a summary look at its source-to-pay (S2P) product as a whole.

Now, let’s look at SAP Ariba’s P2P strengths and weaknesses.

SAP Ariba: Procure-to-Pay Vendor Analysis (Part 3) — In-depth P2P solution details, analyst summary [PRO]

SAP Ariba solution

In this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis series on SAP Ariba’s procure-to-pay (P2P) solution, Part 3 provides an in-depth solution overview — looking at the platform, e-procurement, AP automation, the SAP Business Network, analytics and more. It concludes with an analyst summary.

For organizations evaluating procure-to-pay solutions, the decision process is about far more than considering features like requisitioning, ordering, invoice processing and payment approvals. More likely than not, buyers of P2P are evaluating a range of business, technical and enterprise IT strategy factors in addition to what the tool “does.” This means that getting a full accounting of the underlying platform and the larger solution strategy is key to making an informed P2P selection.

SAP Ariba exemplifies these considerations perfectly. When organizations are considering SAP Ariba for P2P, they are not just getting a cloud-based set of purchasing, invoicing and payment approval features. They are also evaluating fit to geographic scope, integration into current and potential future IT environments, and of course, the option of accessing a network of more than 5 million suppliers to facilitate multiple business processes.

All of this is why, in this final installment analyzing SAP Ariba’s P2P solution, we go deep on all the details: platform; implementation and support services; e-procurement for indirect, direct and services considerations; global invoicing/AP automation requirements; payment connectivity and financial ecosystem partner options; and underlying P2P analytics.

The previous two parts offered a company background, a SWOT analysis and an overview of SAP Ariba competitors as well as a look at P2P product strengths and weaknesses and tech selection tips.

Further analyses will cover the vendor’s source-to-contract (S2C) offering, as well as a summary look at the source-to-pay (S2P) product as a whole.

Now, let’s dig into the deeper details of the SAP Ariba P2P solution.

The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insiders’ Hot List: May 2021 [PRO]

Welcome to the May 2021 edition of the Spend Matters Insiders’ Hot List, a monthly look at the contingent workforce and services (CW/S) space. For those new to this Spend Matters PRO column, each edition covers the month’s important or interesting technology and innovation developments in the CW/S space.

I wrote the first Hot List in February 2018 and have done one every month since that time. It has always been interesting and enjoyable to share my monthly discoveries with readers. But because I am departing from Spend Matters to pursue other types of roles in the human capital/contingent workforce space, this is my last Hot List. But now and then, you may see other posts by me on the Spend Matters website as we part industry colleagues and good friends.

Our Hot List for April 2021 covered a range of developments, including the sale of iWorkGlobal and the acquisition of Business Talent Group by Heidrick & Struggles; the persistent growth of alternative legal service providers; and the continued development and funding of online platforms, block chain and neobanks.

In May, new events and developments (and investments!) in the CW/S space have continued at a steady pace, demonstrating a dynamic and innovative industry ecosystem. And remember, it is important to look at both the forest and trees to get the full picture.

Let’s see what was going on in May 2021.

Transparency-One: Vendor Analysis, 2021 update — Supply chain visibility and responsible sourcing solution overview, strengths/weaknesses, competitors, tech selection tips [PRO]

Prior to the Covid pandemic, supply chain visibility might have been considered either a growing interest or merely a “nice to have” level of data. In today’s world, however, that mindset has completely flipped. Organizations that have not already begun exploring the deeper tiers of their supply chain and assessing their resilience soon will be, not only to proactively manage risk but also to counter increasing scrutiny from governments, investors and consumers about where raw materials come from, the labor that went into producing products and the environmental effects a product’s journey from source to store entails.

Pre-empting this trend toward greater visibility and responsible sourcing capability was Transparency-One, a solution that enables procurement groups driving responsible sourcing efforts to report accurate supplier and compliance data to sales, marketing and regulatory compliance functions about what’s happening in their supply chains end to end, as well as to map product tracking and quality information down to the lot/batch level. Transparency-One provides a supply chain network approach to enabling supply chain visibility, complemented by deep expertise in supplier requirement gathering and, in new capability developed since our initial review, in 2019, a set of responsible sourcing dashboards that consolidate internal data and with external feeds to enable geographic analysis of supply vulnerability to sustainability concerns, including human rights risks, water stress and deforestation.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis offers an update on our 2019 look at Transparency-One and its capabilities. It includes an overview of Transparency-One’s solution, a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and continuing to improve) about the solution, a competitive segmentation and analysis, and a tech selection checklist for those that might consider the provider.

Basware: What Makes It Great (AP Automation SolutionMap Spring 2021 analysis) [PRO]

The accounts payable (AP) automation market holds a variety of solution providers specializing in elements of invoice management. But few have a history that stretches as far back as Basware’s, which has been serving finance and procurement organizations since 1985.

Basware is a Finland-based technology company that specializes in global procurement and AP automation solutions. What started as a smaller, region-specific company has grown to become a global solution processing $789.30 billion annually. It’s home to one of the largest e-invoicing and B2B commerce networks in procurement.

The SolutionMap Spring 2021 launch reinforces this position, putting Basware in the top for functional scores. The company was named a solution leader by Spend Matters’ analysts in the AP Automation category.

So where does Basware stand out most and help “set the bar” in AP automation, and why should this matter for procurement organizations? Let’s delve into the SolutionMap benchmark to find out where Basware is great.

“What Makes It Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider subscribers. Based on both our rigorous evaluation process and customer reference reviews, each brief offers quick facts on the provider, describes where it excels, provides hard data on where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark and concludes with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider it.