Gartner eProcurement report – 32 firms under the spotlight

Gartner recently issued their review of the eProcurement (purchase to pay) market.  You can download  it free on registration via the Coupa website here.

It is very thorough, and Gartner have included more vendors than they have historically, using seven criteria for inclusion in the report – size, growth, innovation, product ownership, punch-out support, references and scope.  This does knock out some interesting firms though - Science Warehouse, who have established a strong position in the UK life sciences and education sectors, just miss out in terms of size so don't get analysed.

The firms included who are listed as “established” in the UK are Advanced Business Solutions, Elcom, Oracle, Proactis, SAP and Wax Digital. “Contenders” in the UK include Ariba, Basware, Hubwoo, Coupa and SciQuest.

For mainland Europe, “established” firms are B-pack, Heiler Software, Hubwoo, iValua, jCatalog, Perfect Commerce, SAP and SynerTrade.

In total, 32 vendors ended up being included, and their products are assessed against 11 criteria. Those cover both technical features and capability, such as Scope Breadth, e-Requisition support and Catalogue Management – and also “softer” issues such as Ease of Use, Implementation and Product Viability (how likely is it that the firm / platform will still be around in a few years time)?

Each firm is marked against the 11 criteria using the “Harvey Ball” (pictorial quarters of a circle) which is effectively a 0-4 scoring scale. While I wouldn’t expect to see anything more differentiating, it does mean that the vast majority of providers, on the vast majority of criteria, score 2 or 3. So it is quite hard to pick out the real “stars”.

And there is an element of “there must be prizes for all”. Gartner list the top 5 under each criterion, so the vast majority of the 32 have something to shout about. Then again, as we've said before, it's a bit like cars these days – you don't get too many absolute dogs in the auto or P2P software sector.

There’s also the inevitable element of doubt when so much of the scoring is self-assessment. Much of the marking is based on providers responding to a questionnaire along the lines of “does your product have this feature”? Which of course leaves the possibility that the product has the feature – but it doesn’t work very well or is very user-unfriendly.  Gartner do take up customer references; something I would personally place more weight on in my assessment.

Having made those minor criticisms, it is a very useful report and has certainly identified some European providers I must admit, to my shame, I’d never heard of. And it’s good to see some of the regional UK and European providers, such as Proactis, Wax Digital and jCatalog  being included, and generally doing well.

At a high level, the overall conclusion is that there is no major advantage for the bigger players in the market. SAP, Oracle, Ariba all do well in certain areas and less so in others, but they certainly don’t stand out as clear overall  best in class. But we’ll come back in part 2 and look more closely at the findings around the providers tomorrow.

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  1. Dan Miller:

    What about BPSLive!

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