PRO or Plus Content

Sievo: Vendor Snapshot 2020 Update — Part 1 (Background & Solution Overview) [PRO]

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot 2020 Update offers a refresh of our 2017 review of Sievo’s solution. The three-part series provides facts and expert analysis to help buying organizations make informed decisions about whether they need a solution like Sievo to drive spend analytics programs in place of or in addition to their current efforts.

The market for spend analytics still reminds us of the continuing evolution of the coffee market. It was not so long ago that we largely had a maximum of four choices: drip, percolator and then regular or decaf (this was when no one cared about the provenance of “the beans”). Today, this choice has exploded, and coffee is, well, not just coffee anymore, and not just available from the diner or donut shop.

Spend analytics has evolved in just as many directions as a barista can provide in terms of java choice at the local specialty coffee shop. But not all approaches are created equal. In fact everything from underlying data acquisition, classification, enrichment, prescription and analytics can vary dramatically from solution to solution.

Sievo is one of the longest-running, still independent spend analytics providers in the market today. Founded in 2003, Sievo long ago moved beyond basic spend analytics and centers much of its value proposition today on driving savings program measurement and management across the full spectrum of spend. How they do this is complex, requiring all of the basics of spend classification, analytics and more. In this research series, we get into the weeds on the “what” and the “how” and even some of the “why” of Sievo. We promise that Sievo still is unlike any other provider you have seen in terms of methodology and solution.

Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a few situations as to when organizations should consider Sievo. The rest of this multipart research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analysis, user selection guides, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Procurement Consulting Analysis: A review of The Shelby Group [PRO]

P2P implementation

The Shelby Group is a U.S.-based specialist source-to-pay solution and technology consultancy (think “spend management,” if you prefer that term) that is best known for its proven expertise in implementing and optimizing Coupa. Located primarily in the Chicago area, the firm serves clients globally, but with an emphasis in North America. Shelby also partners with Ivalua, SAP Ariba, Oracle, Sirion Labs and others.

That said, the Coupa ecosystem is clearly Shelby’s sweet spot, or perhaps “suite spot” is a better term! The firm also has developed some of its own unique digital capabilities that we’ll discuss in this analysis. Shelby has served the market for almost 20 years and has been very happy to “stay in its lane” as a specialist (and has some large well-known consultancies on its customer roster).

This Spend Matters PRO analysis provides background on The Shelby Group, including insights on its customer segments, geographies and emerging digital capabilities. But, primarily, this PRO analysis highlights the voice and experience of Shelby’s clients. We also offer data-driven recommendations and analysis for organizations considering Shelby as a systems implementation and consulting partner.

This report is based on extensive primary research by the Spend Matters team and from our SolutionMap’s customer reference process, where real-life customers share their vendor experiences and help us rank vendors. Spend Matters surveyed a range of Shelby clients in 2019, collecting qualitative and quantitative insights from organizations that had gone through implementations, change management, transformation and related initiatives as part of procurement technology deployments. The Shelby Group also provided facts and figures about its practice directly to Spend Matters, and we’ve added some “color” to the analysis, given that we’ve seen Shelby’s work in the trenches for well over a decade.

Category Analytics and Intelligence Providers: Defining and Exploring a Nascent Market for Procurement Solutions (Part 4 — IT, Marketing and Should-Cost Software) [PRO]

This final PRO installment of Spend Matters’ assessment of category analytics and category intelligence looks at providers focused on IT, marketing and should-cost modeling/analysis.

Accurate intelligence and benchmarks on goods and services are essential to effective sourcing, yet few procurement organizations have comprehensive coverage for all data sources across all categories that they manage. So to help practitioners get a better lay of the category intelligence and analytics landscape, Spend Matters has begun a market scan of technology, data/benchmarking and cost-modeling providers that deliver “category analytics and intelligence” to procurement and other functions. And while few firms in the nascent mega market are perfectly alike, our initial findings have convinced us that category analytics and intelligence could become one of the most important provider markets for procurement to deliver best-in-class performance in the 2020s.

This Spend Matters PRO brief provides an introduction to category analytics and intelligence market and an overview of select providers by category. Part 1 of this series defined what exactly the market consists of, potential ways to segment it, and a basic framework for comparing vendors within and across sectors. Part 2 provided an overview of providers in the direct materials, indirect materials and cross-category specialist (direct and indirect) sectors, and Part 3 covered labor/services and transportation. Now for Part 4, let’s examine the providers focused on IT, marketing and should-cost modeling/analysis.

Category specific providers mentioned in this brief include: aPriori, Digital Decisions, Decideware, easyKost, What’s the Price (Buynamics), NPI Financial, Sourceit, 3quotes and Zylo.

What’s going on at SAP Ariba (sorry, I mean SAP Intelligent Spend Group)? [PRO]

SAP Ariba (and before that Ariba on its own) has been the dominant vendor in the source-to-pay market for almost two decades. And it was arguably the first S2P vendor, after its acquisition of Freemarkets in 2004 (depending a bit on how you define S2P!)

Since then, other vendors have constantly compared themselves to Ariba and SAP — and bragged about “wins against” them and replacement deals. And on the end-user side, the stalwart has pretty much been a consistent presence on any procurement technology evaluation longlist and most shortlists as well. But over the last couple of years something has changed, and SAP Ariba is facing some serious challenges in keeping (or perhaps even regaining?) its dominant position in the market.

But to understand the present and gaze into the future, we must first fully appreciate the past.

In 2011 SAP started (or should we say launched?) its journey toward the cloud with the acquisition of SuccessFactors. This was the first in a series of acquisitions of cloud-based, domain-specific solutions.

This includes Ariba (2012), Fieldglass (2014) and Concur (also in 2014). Well actually, to get ahead of all the reply guys, SAP had acquired Frictionless Commerce in 2006 (Frictionless was the first vendor with an integrated upstream suite back in 2003), which at that point was sort of a cloud solution. However, it was never sold as such by SAP and was basically treated as a stopgap e-sourcing and CLM product until the Ariba acquisition. Then just last year, this combined trio of assets for SAP, became the new SAP Intelligent Spend Group.

For the first couple of years after being acquired, Ariba acted very independently of SAP, even if they brought in Walldorf wunderkind Alex Atzberger from SAP to lead Ariba. But since Alex left Ariba to take over SAP CX (which he also has left to become the CEO of Episerver) and the departure of Barry Padgett, the replacement SAP Ariba president who briefly last year became president of SAP Intelligent Spend Group before becoming the CRO of Stripe, it feels like Ariba is being pulled in more to the SAP mothership, at least organizationally.

But when it comes to the product lines and products, it’s a more complex question. This leads us to a couple of areas that we view as introducing controversy and uncertainty to customers, prospective customers and partners at the moment. Which is our focus for today*. This PRO analysis explores the following topics:

* Aging technology
* Integration and product rationalization
* Leadership turnover and reorganizations
* The rise of S/4HANA (i.e., Will the ERP offering from SAP ultimately replace the different solution sets within the Intelligent Spend Group?)

* Our analysis has been informed by dozens of discussions with SAP Ariba clients and partners. While this research brief introduces these topics on a high level, there are a lot more technical details behind the scenes, and the analysis simplifies some of the technology complexity that exists underneath and within the product stack. For example, in sorting through SAP Ariba and SAP today, there are also some key application/platform/integration strategies (e.g., master data management) that procurement and IT groups will still need to formulate in the absence of a clear stated strategy from SAP. For practitioner organizations who are wrestling with these and other decisions, please don't hesitate to contact us here.

Category Analytics and Intelligence Providers: Defining and Exploring a Nascent Market for Procurement Solutions (Part 3 — Labor/Services and Transportation) [PRO]

Accurate intelligence and benchmarks on goods and services are essential to effective sourcing, yet few procurement organizations have comprehensive coverage for all data sources across all categories that they manage. So to help practitioners get a better lay of the category intelligence and analytics landscape, Spend Matters has begun a market scan of technology, data/benchmarking and cost-modeling providers that deliver “category analytics and intelligence” to procurement and other functions. And while few firms in the nascent mega market are perfectly alike, our initial findings have convinced us that category analytics and intelligence could become one of the most important provider markets for procurement to deliver best-in-class performance in the 2020s.

This four-part Spend Matters PRO brief provides an introduction to category analytics and intelligence market and an overview of select providers by category. Part 1 of this series defined what exactly the market consists of, potential ways to segment it, and a basic framework for comparing vendors within and across sectors. Part 2 provided an overview of providers in the direct materials, indirect materials and cross-category specialist (direct and indirect) sectors. This installment (Part 3) covers labor/services and transportation. Part 4 will cover IT, marketing and should-cost solutions.

Category specific providers mentioned in this brief include: Avetta, Bodhala, Chainalytics, Coupa, Brightfield TDX, DAT Solutions, HCM Strategies, Jaggaer, SAP Live Insights, Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA), TenderEasy, Trax Group and Sisense.

Category Analytics and Intelligence Providers: Defining and Exploring a Nascent Market for Procurement Solutions (Part 2 — Direct Materials, Indirect Materials and Cross-Category Specialists) [PRO]

Accurate intelligence and benchmarks on goods and services are essential to effective sourcing, yet few procurement organizations have comprehensive coverage for all data sources across all categories that they manage. So to help practitioners get a better lay of the category intelligence and analytics landscape, Spend Matters has begun a market scan of technology, data/benchmarking and cost-modeling providers that deliver “category analytics and intelligence” to procurement and other functions.

Increasingly, we believe these solutions will replace Excel as the sourcing operating system for a broad range of strategic categories. And while few firms in the nascent mega market are perfectly alike, our initial findings have convinced us that category analytics and intelligence could become one of the most important provider markets for procurement to deliver best-in-class — or better — performance in the 2020s.

This Spend Matters PRO brief provides an introduction to the category analytics and category intelligence market and an overview of select providers by category. Part 1 of this series defined what exactly the market consists of, potential ways to segment it, and a basic framework for comparing vendors within and across sectors. This installment (Part 2) explores the characteristics, relative maturity and competitive dynamics of providers in the direct materials, indirect materials and cross-category specialist sectors that offer a combination of direct and indirect materials coverage. Parts 3 and 4 will cover labor and services, transportation, IT, marketing and should-cost solutions.

Category-specific providers mentioned in this brief include these: Beroe, Fastmarkets, GEP, ICIS, IHS, Infomine, ION Group, ISG, LeaseAccelerator, MetalMiner, Mintec Global, The Plastics Exchange, The Smart Cube, RTI Global, Logicsource, SourceOne (Corcentric), SDI and ThomasNet.

Category Analytics and Intelligence Providers: Defining and Exploring a Nascent Market for Procurement Solutions (Part 1 — Introduction) [PRO]

marketing

If data is the new oil, then identifying the reservoirs and shale formations from which to extract prices, benchmarks and other pertinent purchasing information is a critical task for procurement and supply chain organizations. Why? Because the success of any sourcing effort depends on not just identifying the appropriate specifications and suppliers to satisfy a requisition but also on determining accurate market prices, benchmarks, forecasts and supplier capabilities to both strategically and tactically execute.

Yet all too often, sourcing and procurement groups begin drilling blindly. They use last year’s results to benchmark the cost of goods and services, rather than what those purchases should cost when considering all possible options. Most organizations lack a guide for finding the data sources and related tools like analytics and forecasting that can enable a more ambitious approach, as the various companies that can provide some intelligence are often difficult to identify.

Some companies may be trade publishers with access to exclusive data; others may be consulting firms that have moved into the data business, using price and benchmarking information as a foot in the door to upsell advisory services or technology; and still others may be native technology providers that have collected data as part of their normal delivery process than can be repackaged or analyzed to provide valuable insights.

Rather than drill randomly, sourcing and procurement groups need a map of the landscape for category analytics and category intelligence that helps them make smart purchasing decisions.

So we’ve set out to create that map.

In 2019, we began constructing a landscape assessment of firms that provide data/intelligence or tailored technology to support category-based sourcing efforts.

Spend Matters has spoken with more than 50 firms so far that fall outside the usual suspects when considering procurement and supply chain providers — many of which practitioners may not even be generally familiar with. But each of these firms in some way can help organizations deliver new competitive advantage if selected appropriately, and the deeper we get into this nascent “market,” the more we think that category analytics and intelligence could become one of the most important provider markets for procurement to deliver best-in-class — or better — performance in the 2020s.

This Spend Matters PRO series introduces the category analytics and intelligence market as we have begun to define it, segmenting providers into subgroupings by category. It includes evaluations of firms in eight initial groupings:

* Direct materials
* Indirect materials
* Cross-category specialists
* Labor and services
* Transportation
* IT
* Marketing
* Software (should-cost solutions)

The solution providers that we identify will be featured in extended Vendor Introductions reviews and will be available as we produce them during 2020 and beyond. Vendors that we already have profiled are linked when mentioned below. Further, we plan to expand and evaluate additional vendors and categories (e.g., warehousing) as we continue our research on this new coverage area.

Today, we begin by defining the sector, sharing an overall segmentation of the market and providing a framework by which to evaluate category analytics and intelligence providers to see if they meet your specific needs.

2020 Procurement Predicaments and Predictions — Gaps and a Mega Prediction (Series Wrap-Up Part 3) [PRO]

In this last installment of Spend Matters’ 2020 predictions wrap-up series, we’ll dive into some additional predicament areas where there are substantive gaps to address within the digital procurement market. We’ll also explore a “mega prediction” related to digital platforms (not applications) and how this digital land grab will have an impact on picking an optimal digital platform strategy for procurement. Click here for Part 1 and Part 2 of the wrap-up series.

2020 Procurement Predicaments and Predictions — The Big Picture (Series Wrap-Up Part 2) [PRO]

In Part 1 of this finale for our 2020 “Predicaments and Predictions” series, we summarized the problems and our outlook for various procurement areas, such as: Sourcing, Supplier Management, Contract Lifecycle Management, Procure-to-Pay, Contingent Workforce/Services Procurement, and Analytics.

In this installment, we’ll address a broader and overarching predicament that affects all of these areas, namely:

How can procurement organizations meet short-term S2P automation needs (via current-generation S2P apps), but support broader enterprise digital transformation requirements that are better suited to next-generation digital platforms (and underlying platform elements) that progressive CIOs and chief digital officers are beginning to adopt?

Remember that while developing our 2020 predictions, we had a guiding principle that our predictions would be grounded in practitioner predicaments that needed solving, which in turn would generally drive the solution/service provider market (unless there was no money to be made in that area — which we’ll touch on later).

In terms of practitioner requirements, the following predicaments/pain points continue to plague most procurement organizations:

* Gaining timely and accurate insights into spending, contracts, costs, suppliers and markets
* Engaging stakeholders early and deeply to help them get more value from their spend and suppliers — and adopting their best practices and tools
* Demonstrating procurement value beyond purchased cost reductions on a continual process (i.e., the impossibility of “saving yourself to zero”) — and beyond the usual sourcing processes that help drive them
* Helping protect the enterprise from supply risks in the value chain
* Aligning with functional stakeholders like Finance, IT, HR, Sales/Marketing, Legal, GRC, and other groups to not just help them manage their spend, but also support their broader initiatives and also align with them on capabilities (and tools) beyond the buy-side involving contract management, working capital, budgeting, risk management, Lean/Six Sigma, innovation, “variabilization” (e.g., using a contingent workforce and service providers), etc. And these programs might also sit in a Center of Excellence and/or Shared Services organization.

Obviously, the first three items are squarely in the wheelhouse of S2P applications, but as the net widens toward supporting broader enterprise requirements, procurement organizations are less digitally savvy. So, we’ll highlight how those emerging requirements are creating gaps, how organizations are responding, and where the market is moving.

HCM Strategies: Vendor Introduction, Analysis and SWOT [PRO]

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on HCM Strategies and its capabilities — features that help companies establish market-based salary/pay-rate and contingent labor rate benchmarks and gain related insights into the market and their own business patterns. The company provides services within the U.S. today but is targeting the UK for 2020.

This PRO brief also includes an overview of HCM Strategies and its solution offerings, a summary solution evaluation, a SWOT analysis and a selection checklist for companies that might consider the provider.

Oracle Procurement Contracts Cloud: Vendor Introduction, Analysis and SWOT [PRO]

ERP vendors aren’t always known for their deep functionality, where best-of-breed solution providers rule the roost with specialized technology features. For example, contract lifecycle management (CLM) is such an area. While best-of-breed providers are going deep into AI for contract analytics and building sophisticated contract modeling, most ERP vendors have rudimentary capabilities that are often scattered across different modules in the ERP suite. Oracle’s Enterprise Contracts functionality is used in its Oracle Procurement Cloud suite solution (which itself is part of Oracle’s ERP Cloud suite), however Enterprise Contracts is a slightly different animal and can mostly hold its own in many areas against deeper solutions, including the CLM modules within the top source-to-pay (S2P) suites in the market.

Oracle’s Procurement Contracts Cloud is an offering that stems from the enterprise/ERP functions, and it is the focus of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction, which offers a candid take on the Procurement Contracts Cloud and its capabilities.

The Vendor Introduction includes an overview of Oracle’s solution set, a perspective on what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a SWOT analysis and a selection requirements checklist for organizations that might consider the vendor.

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

supply risk

Welcome to the February 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 last Hot List, we covered the investment rounds at VNDLY and Qwil; Degreed’s acquisition of Adepto; Aquent’s solution for encouraging companies to provide “benefits” to their freelancers; and the kind of far-out idea (and reality) of a temporary staffing agency for robots and robots-as-a-service.

In the first month of 2020, we saw developments like wider adoption of blockchain, technology changes, big fundraising, more freelancer banking/payments, crowdsourcing and "New Law" in the area of outsourcing.