PRO Content

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.

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.

AI In Procurement Tomorrow (Part 2): Ninjabots and Augmented Intelligence [PRO]

In this series we are discussing artificial intelligence, with AI touted by many a salesperson. Virtually every vendor is claiming AI, even though it’s a stretch to promote having a fully functioning model. However, if you are willing to settle for “assisted intelligence,” that AI exists today (as per our precursor series that you can read here: AI in Procurement Today, Part 1 and Part 2), and it won't be long before we have the “augmented intelligence” that we are discussing in this series, as some vendors already have limited beta capabilities (that are typically restricted to a subset of categories) in many of these areas. In our last article, we discussed how tomorrow's systems are going to help considerably with overspend protection. In today's article, we'll consider “ninjabots” and dive into invisible buying, automatic buying and automatic opportunity identification.

AI in Procurement Tomorrow (Part 1): Recap and Overspend Prevention Examples [PRO]

As we highlighted in our earlier series on AI in Procurement Today (see Part 1 and Part 2), artificial intelligence is the buzzword — or, more precisely, the buzz acronym — du jour in procurement software. Virtually every vendor these days is either claiming to have AI or to be working on it, even if all the vendor has, or is working on, is robotic process automation (RPA).

Whether your vendor has AI or not, however, is not the most pressing question. Because AI is coming, possibly faster than you think. Moreover, if you don't adopt (at least the precursor) technology today, your procurement organization may be left in the dust tomorrow.

So You Want to Build a B2B Marketplace: 8 Business Scenarios & Case Examples (Part 2) [PRO]

Just what is a B2B marketplace and, most important, why would you, as a procurement organization or distribution/business intermediary, want to build one? This Spend Matters PRO series provides insight into these and other questions. Part 1 and today’s installment begin by segmenting the market into (and defining) eight business scenarios they can enable that go beyond standard procure-to-pay or storefront/e-commerce enablement, which include “private” and “public” marketplace models.

Thus far, we have explored four models: Digital Trading Company (“buy/sell” models), Extended Bill of Material Orchestration, Group Purchasing Organization (GPO) and Distributor “Value Add.” Today, we turn our attention to four additional B2B marketplace concepts: Procure-to-Pay (P2P) Innovator, New Business Intermediary, Industry Captain and Supply Chain Steward.

For each of the eight areas we provide a summary description of the marketplace concept, technologies (off-the-shelf) that can enable it, selected vendor shortlists, best-fit industries that it can support and best-fit spend categories (if applicable). Later installments in the series will provider deeper insight into the following: what you’ll need to build one, technology vendors to consider capable of providing marketplace technology/infrastructure (based on SolutionMap benchmark data), and whether a marketplace, for procurement organizations, is a substitute (or not) for traditional cloud-based source-to-pay applications.

Spend Matters is involved in technology strategy and RFI projects for organizations building — or evaluating building — marketplaces using “off-the-shelf” technologies. Contact us to learn more.

Five Reasons Why Tradeshift Would Acquire Basware [PRO]

Monday afternoon, Bloomberg reported that Tradeshift, a procure-to-pay provider and marketplace enabler, was behind the unsolicited offer to acquire Basware, a Europe-based procure-to-pay provider. The offer raises the obvious question: How would two similar companies — in terms of product overlap — benefit from joining forces? And more specifically, what’s in it for Tradeshift?

This Spend Matters PRO research brief attempts to answer these questions, exploring five reasons why a vendor with what first appears to be a near identical product footprint to Basware would consider such a move to bring the two together. Hint: There’s likely more to the proposed transaction than what appears on the surface (i.e., market consolidation, valuation arbitrage).

Note: A subsequent SolutionMap Insider subscriber analysis will provide insight into how both providers stack up based on the latest Q3 SolutionMap benchmark for Invoice-to-Pay.

ADP and the Future of Work (Part 4) — Strategy Assessment [PRO]

talent management

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 Part 3, we offered an explanation of how we see ADP’s future-of-work strategy, providing additional context and zeroing in on essential features. In this fourth and final part of this series, we step back to assess the strategy and what it may mean in a broader industry context.

Wax Digital: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses [PRO]

In Part 1, we introduced you to Wax Digital, a source-to-pay provider from the UK that you may not be familiar with, especially since it has not yet participated in Solution Map (although that changes this quarter). Wax Digital is a provider of note as it is one of the few providers that has a relatively complete, integrated, source-to-pay offering on one code base that is already used globally in over 100 countries. In our last article, we overviewed some of the key parts of Wax Digital’s platform. In this post, we dive into its strengths and weaknesses.

Wax Digital: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview [PRO]

Some vendors prefer to wax poetic. Others prefer to wax digital. One such source-to-pay provider likes waxing digital so much, that it even calls itself Wax Digital. And it is our latest source-to-pay vendor to get the in-depth PRO treatment here on Spend Matters (before its debut in Q4 SolutionMap).

By now you are all familiar with its primary source-to-pay competitors, including SAP Ariba, Coupa, Determine, GEP, iValua, Jaggaer, SynerTrade and Zycus, as they have been covered extensively on PRO and appear in the SPT & S2P solution maps, and while you are quite familiar with the American S2P providers (Ariba, Coupa, Determine, GEP, Jaggaer and Zycus) and now the European S2P providers (iValua and SynerTrade), you're likely not as familiar with their English counterparts, namely Proactis and Wax Digital, as they have not had as much exposure in recent years. And Wax Digital is definitely a provider that should make your familiarization list.

Wax Digital, which has been around for almost two decades, is one of the largest European providers of source-to-pay solutions, with users in over 100 countries around the globe. It is available in 15 languages out of the box and supports all currencies under ISO 4217 for its 250,000+ global users.

Part 1 of this analysis provides a detailed company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit for when organizations should consider Wax Digital. The remaining parts of this research brief will dive into product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

So You Want to Build a B2B Marketplace: 8 Business Scenarios & Case Examples (Part 1) [PRO]

global trade

Just what is a B2B marketplace?

Ask someone like the “gray hairs” on the Spend Matters team who were advisers to first generation industry-based exchanges during the .com era (1999-2001) and they’d likely tell you it was a great theoretical concept to bring buyers and suppliers together in support of procurement and supply chain processes and/or transactional document exchange — albeit one that failed in execution just about every time. But ask someone who is younger and they might point to Amazon Business as an archetype of a B2B marketplace model today. Both would be right, of course.

But what is important for our purposes is that B2B marketplaces are back.

At its fall 2018 analyst day, the technology provider Tradeshift noted that 30% of its 2018 (revenue) bookings have come from “private marketplace” deals (i.e., not selling applications such as invoice-to-pay or e-procurement alone but buy-side and sell-side marketplace enablement).

But just what is a marketplace today — beyond pointing to Amazon Business as one example — and why do they matter? And most important, why would you, as a procurement organization or distribution/business intermediary, want to build one?

This Spend Matters PRO series provides insight into these and other questions. Part 1 of this series begins by segmenting the market into (and defining) eight business scenarios that the groups can enable to go beyond standard procure-to-pay or storefront/e-commerce enablement, which include both “private” and “public” marketplace models. These include Digital Trading Company (“buy/sell” models), Extended Bill of Material Orchestration, Group Purchasing Organization (GPO) and Distributor “Value Add.”

For each of the eight areas, we provide a summary description of the marketplace concept, technologies (off-the-shelf) that can enable it, selected vendor shortlists, best-fit industries that it can support and best-fit spend categories (if applicable).

Later installments in the series will provider deeper insight into the following issues: what you’ll need to build one, technology vendors to consider capable of providing marketplace technology/infrastructure (based on Spend Matters’ SolutionMap benchmark data), and whether a marketplace, for procurement organizations, is a substitute for traditional cloud-based source-to-pay applications.

Spend Matters is involved in technology strategy and RFI projects for organizations building — or evaluating building — marketplaces using “off-the-shelf” technologies. Contact us to learn more.