Plus or PRO Content

Procurement Technology and Solutions M&A Outlook: 10 Predictions for 2019 (Part 1) [PRO]

It’s that time of year. And no, I’m not referring to eggnog (even the vegan sort, of which I’m partial to) and good holiday cheer alone. Nor am I referring to tech providers complaining about their latest SolutionMap scores (a byproduct of the fact that the real world is not “up and to the right”). Rather, the object of this statement is my old stomping ground — the original reason I got into this sector as junior corporate development runt at Freemarkets 20 years ago — and where I still spend too much time today: M&A.

Just as I’m about to take off and look forward to a few days in a warmer climate than Chicago with the family, sector M&A interest is heating up again from all sides and threatening the seasonal vacation. This seems to happen most Decembers as firms and companies begin to look at what’s on the potential table for the new calendar year (and realize just how fast that year is approaching).

But this year is different — there is more interest than ever from a demand perspective, and it’s coming from all angles at often very different sectors and targets. Despite this perhaps rational exuberance, I’m not letting it ruin my vacation. I’m getting too old for that stuff. So rather than go “one-to-one” in advice with my clients, in the spirit of the rise of many-to-many marketplaces again — remember the “fat butterfly” model from the original B2B.com implosion, anyone? — I thought I’d author an M&A outlook for 2019.

So read on. Today, I’ll start by providing a list of the M&A deals that occurred in 2018 and sharing our full Spend Matters coverage to date. And then I’ll tackle our first three of 10 M&A predictions for 2019 (with the remainder to follow in the coming week).

Coupa and Hiperos: Customer Recommendations [PRO]

This Spend Matters PRO research brief provides analysis in support of Hiperos and Coupa customers following this week’s news that Coupa is acquiring Hiperos.

We’ve examined the implications of the deal on the supplier management landscape and done a head-to-head comparison of the providers.

Now this brief includes recommendations for immediate steps and longer-term considerations that are generic to procurement technology M&A transactions in general — such as change of control clause implications — and specific to this acquisition.

We encourage Spend Matters PRO practitioner clients who are using or considering Hiperos to contact us for more information on how the acquisition could affect them.

Now read on to get the customer/prospect recommendations for Hiperos and Coupa.

Coupa and Hiperos: Supplier Management, Compliance and Risk Landscape Implications [PRO]

This Spend Matters PRO brief explores the competitive implications of the Coupa-Hiperos transaction on the supplier management landscape. The analysis includes summary sector M&A implications and summary landscape/competitive implications. It also explores the potential impact on closer competitors to Hiperos (e.g., Aravo), more distant, network and community oriented peers (e.g., Achilles, Avetta, Browz, etc.); and “sleeping giants” on the periphery of the market such as D&B and Thomson Reuters.

Perhaps most relevant of all, as “compliance as a service” becomes more commonplace as a component of source-to-pay systems in areas ranging from supplier qualification to transactional/invoicing areas, we believe these latter groups may begin to come into contact with Coupa for the first time as the worlds of supplier intelligence and hybrid software, network and compliance collide in a networked manner across various industries.

Beyond Supplier Risk Management: How Procurement Can Take a Leadership Role in Enterprise Risk Management [PRO]

risk

There is no shortage of news about supply risk in today’s volatile operating market:

 

  • The 12-month LIBOR rate has gone from 2% to over 3% in 2018, and suppliers are beginning to feel a capital squeeze as buyers further stretch their DPO to hoard cash (beyond stock buybacks of course).
  • Brexit continues to loom as a bugbear regarding UK/EU trade. More broadly, geopolitical risk continues to escalate in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Central America and the South China Sea.
  • S. trade policy still swings wildly at the press of a POTUS tweet, and so do commodity prices and volatility in general. The VIX index has spiked up 65% in the last 60 days alone.
  • Natural disasters driven by climate change are becoming commonplace and calamitous.
  • Competitive risks are sprouting up as digital disruption is creeping into almost every industry sector — and as monopolies “becomes features rather than bugs” with ongoing market consolidation. In response, compliance regimes like GDPR continue to crop up although enforcement is highly variable by region and country.
  • Cyber risk continues to be the most omnipresent risk that organizations are experiencing cross-industry while everyone is flocking to the cloud in record numbers.


So, enterprise risk management should be alive and well. And, logically, supply chain and procurement executives need to be increasingly prepared to work with their internal business partners to reduce this risk and defend the proverbial gates to keep the risks at bay.

Unfortunately, the castle walls are often not well-guarded because the sentries are not getting paid to do so. Procurement organizations in particular suffer from a misalignment between missing incentives for reducing supply risk and zealous Finance-driven incentives for increasing supply reward in the form of narrow purchase cost savings. Regarding the latter, nearly all groups get measured on purchase cost reductions, but only 41% get formal credit for saving money during the sourcing process when there is no initial cost baseline. However, only 8% of procurement organizations get such "hard credit" for reducing supply risk.

Part of the challenge here is that from an enterprise risk management (ERM) standpoint, there is a broader disconnect between evaluating enterprise risk overall versus extending those risk factors in a cohesive manner out to the supply chain and also out to the supply base (via spend categories and then to individual suppliers) where contracts are signed that hopefully help mitigate most supplier risks. There are four “translations” here where alignment gets lost, and to make matters worse, the risk types being managed are highly fragmented, if addressed at all — especially when various stakeholders are in the same boat as procurement regarding not getting credit (and commensurate resources/investment) regarding supply risk. Risk management gets viewed as a glorified insurance policy and set of “check the box” regulatory compliance mandates rather than a sound approach to bringing risk into the value equation (i.e., protecting the value streams of importance through the value chain).

So, the question becomes how can procurement help solve this when so much seems outside its control? And why even pursue it when there are other things to focus on like hitting savings targets?

The answer lies in deftly “connecting the dots” between enterprise risk and supply risk so that various stakeholders like GRC, internal audit, external auditors, divisional presidents, etc. can not only extend their reach into the extended supply chain, but can also be tapped to help bring some corporate power (and resources) to bear and help drive some changes internally and with your suppliers.

In this installment of Spend Matters PRO, we’ll dive into some best practices for gaining this multi-pronged alignment and also how to align supply risk management within various points of the source-to-pay (S2P) process itself. And, of course, if you want to see how various providers handle supply risk, whether S2P suite providers, or more specialized supplier management providers, then definitely check out our SolutionMaps in these respective areas here and here.

Coupa buying Hiperos: Acquisition Facts, Analysis and Insight [PRO]

Just this morning Coupa announced it was acquiring Hiperos as a carve-out transaction from Opus, which previously owned the supplier management, compliance and risk management solution provider. This Spend Matters PRO analysis provides background and quick facts on Hiperos. It also offers analysis and insight on what the transaction brings to Coupa from a capability perspective and attempts to answer the question: Why Hiperos?

Subsequent Spend Matters subscription briefs (PRO and SolutionMap Insider) will provide insight and analysis of the transaction by exploring the competitive implications of the acquisition for the supplier management and compliance market, offering additional customer insight and recommendations and providing a “Head-to-Head” analysis of Coupa and Hiperos from a supplier-management capability perspective.

Read this briefing to find out more about what Coupa is getting and possible reasons behind the Hiperos deal.

Procurement and Insider Trading: What You Need to Know [Plus+]

Procurement has increasing access to multiple levels of insider information. And just as we have seen enforcement impacting procurement and supply chain activities centered on FCPA compliance, it is likely an increasing set of activities tied to potential information leaks in the capital markets area will come under increased scrutiny as well. In the first installment of this Spend Matters Plus research brief examining the potential for insider trading based on procurement information, we covered lessons from other areas of the business as well as introducing the types of insider information that could be acted on by those inside the company or shared with external hedge funds or other parties. In this installment, we explore what you need to know about the potential for procurement and insider trading based on increasing data availability within procurement and supply chain organizations and key action steps you can take to prevent breaches.

Sourcing and Engaging the Independent/Freelance Workforce — An Emerging Ecosystem? (Part 1) [PRO]

Coworks

It’s time for a Spend Matters PRO series to catch up on what happened to the gap that we identified several years ago between enterprise managers and independent/freelance workers.

In November 2015, we pointed out a barely noticed “white space” between the enterprise demand for independent/freelance workforce* and the supply of those workers. By that we meant that while enterprises, with the support of VMS technology and often MSPs, were able to source and manage contingent workforce from staffing suppliers and contracted services providers, they generally lacked the capabilities to systematically source and manage independent/freelance workers.

We also observed the emergence of FMS, the freelancer management system, at that time, but we were clear that it was just “a part of a much larger set of developments, encompassing a range of new —  and incumbent — solution and service providers that increasingly leverage advanced technology, digitized information and innovative approaches to sourcing and managing independent/freelance workers.” We further asserted that the independent/freelancer workforce white space would start filling with various providers of solutions and service providers.

We also speculated that — due to state-of-the-art cloud stack, APIs, services architecture and other technology that would be underlying their solutions — these providers would start to become components of a comprehensive digitally enabled and digitally connected ecosystem. By that we meant an ecosystem (and nested ecosystems) that could evolve and be reconfigured more rapidly to serve the unique needs and preferences of different enterprises and, just as importantly, the unmet preferences and needs of the independent/freelance workers whom enterprises would engage in many new ways (some previously not possible).

Now, three years later, we can ask what has actually happened and to what extent the white space between enterprise managers and independent/freelance workers has been filled to:

— Provide enterprises with the required capabilities to source, manage and maximize the value of this independent/freelance population.
— Provide independent/freelance workers with the access to the opportunity pathways and the support/services they require to function as viable “operators.”

In Part 1 of this PRO series, we assess the current state of the independent/freelancer workforce and whether it is overhyped. In Parts 2 and 3, we will focus on the extent to which digitally enabled sourcing channels and work intermediation platforms have effectively bridged the gaps. In other words, to what extent has the white space been filled? And what is the current state of the digitally enabled ecosystem?

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

We can count on two hands the number of independent source-to-pay providers left in the global market with sufficient breadth and depth of capabilities to fully earn the moniker of “suite provider.” Wax Digital is one of them. But don’t fret if you’ve not encountered them yet.

In Part One of this Vendor Snapshot, we introduced you to the firm — a source-to-pay provider from the UK that you may not be familiar with, especially since it has not yet participated in SolutionMap (although that changes this quarter). Then in Part Two, we dove in deep and examined, in detail, all of the strengths and weaknesses of this widely deployed source-to-pay platform that is just becoming known in North America.

Wax Digital is a particular provider to note among others, as it one of the few providers that offers a relatively complete, integrated, source-to-pay offering on one code base that is already used globally in over 100 countries. Maybe vendors tout “one platform” when in fact their solutions do not work as seamlessly together as claimed.

Now, today, in our third and final installment in this Vendor Snapshot series, we provide a SWOT overview of Wax Digital as a whole, a comparative and competitive market overview, and provide some final summary analysis and recommendations for organizations that might consider Wax Digital as a potential solution partner.

The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insider’s Hot List: December 2018 [Plus+]

Welcome to the December 2018 edition of Spend Matters’ monthly feature, “The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insider’s Hot List,” available to PLUS and PRO subscribers. If you missed previous Hot Lists, you can find them all here. For those new to the Hot List, each edition covers the prior month’s important (and sometimes just plain interesting) technology and innovation developments within the CW/S space, where change may be accelerating or at least becoming more pervasive.

Despite the change of seasons, November was hot enough, with a continuing warm, steady stream of new developments like Spend Matters prepping the second contingent workforce comparison for SolutionMap (coming Dec. 4), an update on Upwork's stock performance since its IPO, Appen's aplomb with language, FlexJobs' map of jobs by states, and helping freelance workers help themselves.

Does Procurement Inadvertently Facilitate Insider Trading? [Plus+]

Have you considered the potential for insider trading violations and the ensuing lawsuits that could arise from access to procurement information? Perhaps this hasn't even entered your mind. With increasing data availability (spend data, supplier risk/management information, demand data) at the fingertips of procurement professionals and others in the organization, the opportunity to access information that could be used to provide an "advantage" in the capital markets has never been greater. Traditionally, such information (if available at all) was available solely to company “insiders” who could only trade within certain windows (and with other restrictions placed on them). In this multi-part Spend Matters Plus analysis, we explore the growing potential of procurement-related information to create the opportunity for insider trading information.

AI in Procurement: The Day After Tomorrow [PRO]

SciQuest

Spend Matters has been exploring the state of artificial intelligence in procurement. Before we look into the future, let’s see where we’re at now. We started with AI in Procurement Today (Part 1 and Part 2), which was followed by AI in Procurement Tomorrow (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3). This leads one to ask, what comes next? A number of vendors are already working on the tomorrow features and a few even have some in beta.

We aren't going to look too far into future because we want to stick to capabilities you should see in the next decade. So here’s a representative list of some of the more common features coming down the pipe. You should expect to see:

  • Tail spend elimination
  • Guided procurement
  • Performance improvement

AI in Procurement Tomorrow (Part 3): Category Wizards Will Save Time, Add Strategic Muscle [PRO]

In this series, Spend Matters delves into the status of artificial intelligence, with a focus on how AI can improve the sourcing and procuring process. Today the technology is really “assisted intelligence,” which was detailed in our precursor series: AI in Procurement Today, Part 1 and Part 2). The technology of tomorrow promises the “augmented intelligence” that we are discussing in this series, as some vendors already have limited beta capabilities. In the first two articles, we discussed how tomorrow's systems are going to help considerably with overspend protection and how "ninjabots" can crunch data on buying and automatic opportunity identification. In this article, we'll consider “category wizards” and how they can put a halt to manual tasks — like defining/assessing categories and choosing the best procurement process — thereby adding strategic prowess for even the lowest of buyers.