Procurement Software – What’s Going To Happen In 2018?

As we move into 2018, what does the procurement software market have in store for us? 2017 saw further consolidation, with Coupa buying Trade Extensions and Simeno, Proactis and Perfect getting together, and perhaps the most significant of all, Jaggaer acquiring BravoSolution.

In terms of the mainstream providers – which these days means a suite including sourcing, purchase to pay, contract magnagement, analytics and probably more, then recent moves mean that there is a clear “big three” with Jaggaer/BravoSolution, Coupa and SAP Ariba stretching away from the rest. Of the software megaliths, IBM has given up as a stand-alone procurement tech provider and thrown their lot in with Ariba, and Oracle is a bit of an enigma but shows few signs of seeing this market as a priority.

Looking at the firms that show some potential for promotion to that top three big league, four others probably stand out.  Proactis needs to show more on the product side, having been very successful for several years in spotting under-valued assets and making acquisitions that make financial sense. But merging with Perfect is a different and big step for them. Tradeshift, having acquired IBX last year, needs to start winning big contracts with blue-chip firms across their wider range of capabilities, to show that they’re not just really good at e-Invoicing.

Ivalua, with one of the very best product ranges out there, needs to raise their profile and invest on getting their (potentially strong) message out there. And GEP – I don’t know, to be honest. My lack of insight probably means “more profile in the UK” is sensible advice!

Will anyone “do a Coupa” and come from nowhere to be a real force within 3 or 4 years?  I suspect it gets harder and harder in our market as time goes by. But if it is going to be in any area, then supplier collaboration platforms perhaps show the most promise, and operate in an area where the giants are less strong. So firms such as Lean Linking, Vizibl and our friends at Koble – all with different angles on the supplier collaboration front, but all using very contemporary social media-type approaches -  look like interesting bets for future growth.

The other angle might be very category-specific plays, in  the way that contingent labour and travel have both developed their own eco-system of specialist providers – some like Fieldglass (now part of SAP) are now big businesses in their own right. So other major categories, whether types of direct materials, or services such as professional services, or construction, probably have further to go in terms of what technology can do to help drive better procurement, contract and supplier management.

However, firms that do well in that sort of area will probably get snapped up by one of the large firms mentioned above in any case. And  predicting more consolidation with further acquisitions in the market seems like a pretty safe bet.  Anyway, do read more hard analysis as part of the Spend Matters US Solution Maps research – this is a good place to start!

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  1. Gillian:

    Hi Peter, great job with this write up; do you have a more recent review? How about a figure on how much the UK P2P software marketing is worth e.g. total revenue. We’re a software company (EDM) looking to partner with a P2P provider / specialist so I’m doing some market research at the mo. Thanks!

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