PRO Content

Online Platform RigUp Raises $300 Million: Maybe Not Just Another Unicorn? [PRO]

Online marketplaces for connecting workers and businesses have been around since the early-to-mid 2000s. But it has only been in the past eight years that larger organizations have begun to take notice of them (more, perhaps, as curiosities than as full-fledged, digitally enabled suppliers of workers and services). The reality is that few, if any, of the top 5,000 private employers in the world have established compliant, online marketplace sourcing channels that would account for more than 1 or 2% of their contingent workforce spend. Whether or not this is changing in any significant way is open to debate.

However, something does seem to be happening, if not on the large-enterprise demand-side, then on the supply-side, where, over the past year or so, significant capital has been flowing into some business-focused (versus consumer-focused) online marketplaces. That includes Austin-based RigUp, which recently announced a $300 million series D round. With a $60 million Series C round in January 2019 and four earlier financing rounds since its launch in 2014, RigUp’s financing now totals $423.8 million. According to the Wall Street Journal, the most recent “financing brings the valuation of the startup aimed at energy contractors to $1.9 billion.”

Unlike its white collar, online freelancer, global marketplace cousins, Upwork and Fiverr (which completed their IPOs in October 2018 and June 2019, respectively), RigUp has been focused on mostly blue collar workers deployed on the ground in the U.S. energy sector. At of the close of trading on Oct. 25, Upwork (which is more or less the same size as RigUp in terms of gross services volume) had a market value of $1.64 billion.

In this Spend Matters PRO brief, we will take a look at RigUp, and we'll examine where it fits into the broader landscape of digital platforms for work and services platforms. We will also discuss reasons why RigUp might be a different type of animal and how that might affect the thinking of procurement practitioners pondering the viability of online work/services platforms as sourcing options.

Coupa’s ‘Below the Enterprise Level’ Secret Sauce (Part 1: Dissecting What Makes It Attractive for SMB and Middle Market Procurement) [PRO]

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The use of procurement technology in the middle market is heating up. For the purposes of this analysis, we define the middle market as companies between $250 million to $2 billion in revenue. Under that threshold are true SMBs. And above that range are enterprise customers, at least by Spend Matters’ definition.

Granted, this is not a perfect segmentation as the level of needs (and sophistication) in the middle market can vary dramatically by geography, industry and company, all of which can lead to very different technology buying requirements. Some middle firms may end up looking exactly like enterprise-level (Global 2000) customers, whereas others may more closely approximate SMB buyers.

Regardless, within the somewhat flexible bounds of the middle market definition, Coupa, among others, is clearly gaining traction based on a rare combination of ingredients that create a particularly attractive suite within this market segment. These features are also attractive to SMBs too. Coupa has provided information to Spend Matters that its mid-market segment is companies from $250 million to $1 billion in annual revenue and their corporate segment is under $250 million in annual revenue.

This Spend Matters PRO research brief dissects some of the elements that we think contribute to Coupa’s particular attractiveness in this sector (Hint: Very few of these elements are focused on the classic “feature/function” arms race between vendors). In a subsequent brief, we’ll attempt to quantify the importance of the middle market to Coupa in recent wins. And we will explore how some of these elements also apply to other vendors that are succeeding in the middle market as well (with mini case studies featuring Amazon Business, Negotiatus, Procurify, Scout, Tealbook and Tipalti).

Beeline update: VMS veteran makes strides on partner network, UI, services procurement, direct sourcing [PRO]

After about a year since our last meeting with Beeline, Spend Matters recently had the opportunity to be briefed by its team on developments related to the comprehensive Beeline global VMS solution. One thing is for sure: Beeline is not resting on its laurels. Now celebrating its 20th year in business, the company is growing and responding to market changes.

In this PRO review, we present what we learned in the briefing, which covered a number of areas:

* Business overall
* Partner ecosystem (including key new partnerships)
* UI upgrade
* Candidate evaluation experience (including new evaluation partnership)
* Services procurement (including independent contractor solution, compliance and complex sourcing)
* Direct sourcing (including a direct sourcing platform partnership)

This brief will conclude with our thoughts on the recent briefing.

20 Tips to Maximize Private Equity, Investment and Strategic Buyer Outcomes (Part 7: De-Risk Deals for Buyers, Do Fund/Buyer Homework, Allow Access During Due Diligence) [PRO]

In this Spend Matters Nexus brief, we’ll look at Tips 16, 17 and 18 (out of 20) for maximizing both the exit process and outcome (from a seller perspective) when engaging private equity or strategic buyers from an M&A perspective. Today, we turn our attention to three areas: how to “de-risk” a transaction for investors (including everything from foundational de-risking approaches to more advanced models), how/why to do your fund/strategic buyer homework to bring the optimal set of suitors/buyers into a process, and affording the optimal level of access/diligence to buyers and their transaction advisers. So far in this Nexus series, we covered the initial tips to prepare for the process itself (see Part 1 , Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6).

Jason Busch is the Managing Director of Spend Matters Nexus, a membership, research and advisory organization serving technology acquirers (private equity, corporate development, etc.) and CEOs in the procurement and finance solutions marketplace (including contract management, B2B marketplaces/connectivity, indirect procurement, services procurement, direct procurement, commodity management, payment, trade financing, GRC/third-party management and related adjacent sectors).

Bullhorn Acquires Erecruit — Is It Relevant to Contingent Workforce Managers? [PRO]

Bullhorn, a leading provider of comprehensive software for staffing/recruiting agencies, recently announced its acquisition of its rival Erecruit. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but the combined companies (each of which have acquired key competitors over the past several years) now serve about 11,000 staffing supplier customers, primarily in the U.S. and Europe. Note: Bullhorn has reported that 95% of its customers are temp staffing agencies vs. 5% placement agencies and executive search services; and we assume there was a similar ratio for Erecruit.

Bullhorn’s acquisition of Erecruit is in itself a significant event within the staffing industry. But it also led Spend Matters to ask some questions:

* Do contingent workforce managers take an interest in what is going on upstream in their supply chains? That is, beyond standard performance metrics (cost, speed, quality) which treat staffing suppliers mostly as black boxes that produce certain commodity outputs (submittals, candidates, quality hires, et al.).
* Do practitioners consider which technology providers that their staffing suppliers are using, how much they are investing in technology and digital transformation, or how they are innovating for the benefit of its business clients and workers?
* Finally, do those investments in technology, digital transformation and innovation put those suppliers in a better position to provide talent and service to a demand-side organization? These seem like important questions with either a one-word answers (i.e., “no”) or multi-word answers (with potentially many viewpoints and long discussions that cannot take place within the boundaries of this brief).

Accordingly, in this brief, we are not going to delve into those questions as such, but rather focus on Bullhorn’s acquisition of Erecruit (what’s the context, what’s in it, what lies ahead). Then, contingent workforce managers can form their own thoughts about how important upstream supply chain (and specifically, technology) changes are and how much attention and consideration they merit.

So let's look at this deal and how these two entities (once direct competitors, now a single business) stack up ...

20 Tips to Maximize Private Equity, Investment and Strategic Buyer Outcomes (Part 6: Acquisition Strategy and the ‘End Game’) [PRO]

In this Spend Matters Nexus series, we’ll go over Tips 14 and 15 as we continue to explore the ways for sellers to maximize private equity, investment and strategic buyer outcomes in the procurement solutions market and others. Now, let’s turn our attention to two areas: the importance of fleshing out an acquisition strategy and roadmap — and “knowing the end game” in terms of likely future buyers after the next phase of the company’s growth. In our exploration, we share the best practices and not-so-best practices that we have observed across the hundreds of transactions we have been involved in.

So far in this Nexus series, we’ve covered the initial 13 of 20 tips (see Part 1 , Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5). Let’s check out Tips 14 and 15 now.

Jason Busch is the Managing Director of Spend Matters Nexus, a membership, research and advisory organization serving technology acquirers (private equity, corporate development, etc.) and CEOs in the procurement and finance solutions marketplace (including contract management, B2B marketplaces/connectivity, indirect procurement, services procurement, direct procurement, commodity management, payment, trade financing, GRC/third-party management and related adjacent sectors).

Procurence Vendor Introduction (Part 2: Strengths/Weaknesses, SWOT, Selection Checklist and Market Overview) [PRO]

In Part 1 of this two-part Spend Matters PRO series, we introduced you to Procurence — a relatively new entrant to the global direct material supplier management space, based out of Warsaw, Poland. It’s a recent entrant to our SolutionMap ranking of vendors, where its scores make it a customer leader in the SRM category. While still a small player, its solution already has a lot of the breadth of more established players like Jaggaer Direct (Pool4Tool), Ivalua (Directworks) and Allocation Network. Procurence’s utilization has been growing tenfold year-over-year by its buy-side user base of over 10,000 users and supply-side user base of over 30,000 users. Whether it has everything your organization needs, however, will come down to your mix of direct vs indirect, and how similar your needs are to its existing client base, which it has been developing its Meercat solution with for the past seven years.

While Part 1 of this brief provided some background on Procurence and a high-level overview of its offering, Part 2 will provide a breakdown of what is good (and not so good) about the solution, a high-level SWOT analysis and a short selection requirements checklist that outlines the typical company for which Procurence might be a good fit.

Procurence Vendor Introduction (Part 1: Background and SRM Solution Overview) [PRO]

direct materials sourcing

Supplier management is one of the most misunderstood terms in the procurement solution space, especially since the exact scope of processes supported by such systems varies by analyst, vendor and customer interpretation. In order to clarify, or at least differentiate, many vendors have begun slicing and dicing the SXM solution space to offer the likes of:

* Supplier Discovery Management: that help an organization identify potential new suppliers that can help it meet its products, services, diversity and/or sustainability requirements
* Supplier Information Management: that can help a supplier track all of the information it collects on a supplier, including locations, employees, products, services, certifications and certificates
* Supplier Performance Management: that can track not only supplier information but also relevant performance data on quality, reliability, delivery, invoice accuracy and sustainability
* Supplier Relationship Management: that includes not only performance data but also functionalities to manage the relationship, such as capabilities for supplier development, collaboration and innovation management
* Supplier Network Management: that can support supplier discovery but are primarily designed to support transactions (through e-document and e-payment exchange) with suppliers on the network
* Supplier Quality Management: that includes specialized capabilities to support direct materials procurement, including the management of non-conformance cost of poor supplier quality, and general quality management
* Supplier Risk Management: that includes the capability to gather multiple sources of risk data (financial, environmental, regulatory, geographic, etc.) and provide an overall risk profile

Very few vendors do more than half of this, at best, so when evaluating a supplier management software vendor, it's important to understand what fraction of this they do and whether that fraction is relevant to your business.

We'll take, for example, supplier quality management — this goes well beyond supplier performance management because it's not just tracking defect rates, uptime / reliability statistics, etc. but managing the quality process from the beginning of production to delivery of the product to the consumer. Ensuring the materials that are being sourced are of the appropriate standards and tested on receipt, that the appropriate production process is followed, that the machines are regularly tested, that the outputs are spot tested, securely packaged, and delivered to spec. Such a system should support ISO (International Standard Organization), ASQ (American Society for Quality) processes, Six Sigma, 8D Reports (based on Eight Disciplines methodology), and/or QDX (Quality Data eXchange). Very few solutions come close to this, even if they are designed for supporting direct procurement.

And while Procurence may not do all of this, it is one of the few supplier management solutions on the market that tackles quality management in addition to information, performance and risk, as well as aspects of relationship management.

Procurence was founded in 2009 in Warsaw, Poland, to provide tools to help buyers achieve transparency in their supply base, decrease supply risk, and streamline internal supplier management and communication processes.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on Procurence and its supplier management capabilities. (Non-supplier management specific capabilities are excluded.) Part 1 includes a short company overview and a detailed look at Procurence’s offering. Part 2 will provide a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a high-level SWOT analysis, a short selection requirements checklist that outlines the typical company for which Procurence might be a good fit, and some market implications and takeaways.

Oracle Procurement Cloud Update — The Sleeping Giant is Waking Up [PRO]

Spend Matters attended Oracle’s recent OpenWorld conference to see the latest developments in its cloud ecosystem, especially within Oracle Procurement. Oracle continues to make progress in its strategy of transforming from a technology and products company to one of cloud services. It was a decision that has taken time to develop, but without a doubt this vision is beginning to crystallize as a unified solution within the Oracle Cloud (aka Oracle Fusion) technology platform.

In this Spend Matters PRO article, we will discuss:

* Oracle’s overall cloud strategy and its relevance to procurement
* Latest Oracle procurement product updates and plans
* Analysis of Oracle’s methodical progress in a dynamic market, and what it can teach SAP Ariba (and vice versa)
* Opportunities and emerging progress in platforms and “business networks”

Application-wise, Oracle is a slow and steady provider of cloud-based procurement applications, with a strength in P2P (as evidenced in its performance in our most current P2P SolutionMap ranking). And it’s making progress in its strategic procurement application areas — especially in contract management, where its solution is surprisingly strong relative to non-best-of-breed CLM players. But the game in the market is shifting beyond applications toward open platforms and ecosystems.

Can Oracle seize the opportunity? We’ll discuss...

Procurement Consulting Analysis: A review of KPMG’s procurement systems/technology practice [PRO]

consulting

KPMG is a noted procurement solutions and technology consultancy, with a large, mature and experienced global practice for systems integration (SI). It has developed working relationships with a range of technology firms, including Coupa, Ivalua, SAP Ariba, Oracle and most recently GEP. It has hundreds of customer deployments under its belt.

This Spend Matters PRO analysis provides background on KPMG’s systems integration/technology practice in the procurement solutions market. It includes facts and figures, like a list of how many people at KPMG are trained to implement each tech firm’s solution. But, primarily, this PRO analysis highlights the voice and experience of KPMG’s clients. We also offer data-driven recommendations and analysis for organizations considering KPMG as a systems implementation and consulting partner.

This report is based on extensive primary research by our 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 KPMG clients in Q2 and Q3 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. KPMG also provided facts and figures about its practice directly to Spend Matters.

Utmost’s Extended Workforce System: What’s Behind It, What Is It and What Does It Mean for Enterprises? [PRO]

It is important for enterprises to have a handle on the whole of their contingent (or extended) workforce. Not just temporary workers supplied by staffing firms, but also workers that are engaged through service providers (ranging from building maintenance companies to management consulting firms and BPOs ). And then there are the independent and freelancer workers of all kinds, however they are classified.

A new workforce technology start-up, Utmost, thinks it’s very important to enterprises — and workers too. The company recently announced the launch of its core platform, Utmost Extended Workforce System, and an $11 million series A round led by Greylock Partners and a partnership with Workday Ventures. The company, with offices in San Francisco and Dublin, was founded by two former Workday executives and a former Groupon technologist.

With respect to where there is a critical gap in the solution marketplace, the co-founder and CEO of Utmost, Annrai O’Toole, said in a recent announcement: “With hundreds of millions of extended workers engaged with companies today, there is an undeniable shift happening, yet it is clear that businesses need new, seamless solutions to transparently manage this population.”

Greylock partner Sarah Guo offered a starker assessment of the gap in the market: “Companies in every sector engage with an extended workforce, but the rigid and clunky systems used to manage that workforce are stuck in the past. Utmost is a cloud solution for the modern, flexible enterprise, and offers a worker-centric approach to manage this population that enterprises previously lacked.”

To be clear, Utmost is building an advanced open-technology platform that will be valued by enterprises right out of the gate. But, just as important (if not more so), the company is also taking a “worker-centric” approach, starting with easy-to-use mobile apps and efficient engagement workflows for external workers (and it is also working on delivering a set of enabling services to these often severely underserved workers).

In this PRO brief, Spend Matters examines the conditions that are creating a demand for a solution like Utmost Extended Workforce, provides an explanation of the solution and looks at what it means for enterprises.

Defining AP Automation Functional Requirements (Part 5: Payment Options and Early Payment Financing) [PRO]

BuyerQuest

In the last installment of this five-part Spend Matters PRO series on accounts payable automation, we’ll list the functional requirements for payment options, like P-cards and financing programs.

AP automation capabilities vary dramatically between different software providers, and the capabilities a finance or procurement organization will require to support the automation of AP processes also vary materially, based not only on company size but a broad range of other factors. These include organizational complexity, invoice capturing requirements (e.g., paper, PDF, electronic, etc.), systems complexity, systems integration, industry, EDI integration/support, payment/financing capabilities, treasury integration/working capital management, geography and compliance requirements — to name just a few.

To understand how different providers stack up against these (and other) categories of requirements, the quarterly Invoice-to-Pay SolutionMap Insider report can provide significant insight. And to create a one-to-one map between business requirements for AP automation and vendor functionality capability, SolutionMap Accelerator can dramatically speed up the vendor shortlisting and selection process, even allowing companies to “skip the RFI” entirely.

This series defines AP automation requirements from a functional perspective to put AP, finance and purchasing professionals in the driver’s seat when they evaluate the available supply market for AP automation to fit their needs (either on a standalone basis or as a specific component of broader invoice-to-pay, procure-to-pay or source-to-pay solutions). Click to see our SolutionMap rankings of vendors in each category.

Part 1 of this series investigated core invoicing requirements for AP automation and some of the criteria that Global 2000 and middle market organizations should consider when selecting solutions (i.e., invoicing set-up, paper scan/capture support and e-invoicing).

In Part 2, we turned our attention to an additional set of AP automation functional requirements, including AP process, invoicing validations, workflow, collaboration and integration requirements.

In Part 3, we looked at the final set of AP automation topics: invoicing mobility, invoicing compliance and invoicing analytics.

In Part 4, we examined AP automation functions related to payment systems and methods, payment partnerships, payment processing and payment analytics.

Now, let’s look at payment options and early payment financing.