The Procurement Category

Supplier Relationship Management Needs a Jolt of Technology, State of Flux’s SRM Summit Finds

Procurement has made significant strides in supporting supplier relationship management initiatives, but poor investment in technology could limit the potential benefits those programs can deliver in the years to come, according to State of Flux, a consulting firm that specializes in SRM and which held its annual SRM summit in Chicago on Oct. 23. Over the decade that State of Flux has monitored SRM maturity, procurement organizations have made considerable improvements in several areas — but not in adopting and using technology dedicated to SRM.

Zycus Horizon Dispatch: Facts, Investment and a New Artificial Intelligence (AI) Direction

Fellow Spend Matters analyst Xavier Olivera and I touched down last night in Leesburg, Virginia, to attend Zycus’ annual customer event, Horizon. It feels like the source-to-pay provider’s largest annual conference yet. In a series of posts today and tomorrow, the Spend Matters team will provide live coverage from the event. Zycus CEO Aatish Dedhia kicked off the morning keynote session with an update on the firm he started. Here are some of the highlights.

Tradeshift: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary and Competitive Analysis [PRO]

Unlike Salesforce, Tradeshift embarked on building both an applications and platform technology business at the same time, commingling the value proposition of each to create something that it hoped would prove larger than either could be individually. Flash forward less than a decade since the provider launched, and Tradeshift has remained true to this vision. But how does the provider stack up to others in the market given it can be difficult to compare it with traditional cloud applications providers without the platform element? And how should prospective customers know when to consider Tradeshift vs. others?

Part 3 of this Vendor Snapshot series explores these questions and others. This Spend Matters PRO report provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Tradeshift’s solutions and products. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Tradeshift in the procurement, supply chain and finance technology areas. Part 2 covered product strengths and weaknesses, and this final installment offers a competitor and SWOT analysis, along with evaluation and selection considerations.

‘Just Coupa It’: By Buying Aquiire, Coupa Targets Google-like Search and the End of Punch-Outs [PRO]

Coupa announced its latest acquisition Monday with its purchase of Aquiire, a provider of e-procurement and procure-to-pay software. The deal brings to Coupa’s business spend management suite — which now includes support for e-procurement, P2P, source-to-pay, travel and expense management, and services procurement — many of the latest features for front-end shopping and catalog management, particularly several patents related to real-time search and third-party-hosted catalog integration capabilities. Viewed as part of Coupa’s larger strategy, however, Aquiire is just one piece of a larger puzzle that Coupa has been trying to assemble for the last decade.

The purchase of Cincinnati, Ohio-based Aquiire, along with Coupa’s own innovations in the guided buying area and the company’s 2017 acquisition of Simeno, forms the basis of a shift away from one-to-one, proprietary “punch-out”-based B2B e-commerce models and toward a streamlined, almost touchless approach to finding and buying goods and services. This entails far more than creating a friendly user experience that’s “Amazon-like.” Coupa wants to go one step further, making the search for a corporate purchase as easy as answering a question with Google: one question (sometimes auto-suggested) into the box, numerous answers delivered within the next screen, in real time, prioritized by relevance, price and desired procurement controls.

Coupa’s goal is to make B2B purchasing as easy and reflexive as everyday information retrieval on the broader web. Said another way, when you need to know something, you Google it; when you need to buy something at work, you would Coupa it. Obviously, Coupa is not going to become a verb anytime soon on the scale of Google. The key is to provide a B2B buyer-relevant search that is tuned to the “persona” of the individual buyer to quickly get him or her the needed goods and services from the preferred supply sources and buying channels.

This Spend Matters PRO research brief explores the feasibility of the “Google-like” search concept, as well as how Coupa’s acquisition of Aquiire enables it. It also touches on how Coupa’s approach to front-end shopping enablement compares with the broader e-procurement market, as well as what this means for competitors.

The Road to Cognitive Procurement: LevaData Models a New Standard for Sourcing Maturity

Most procurement groups are coming around to the idea that they need digital transformation. Yet even with a convincing case for taking an AI-based “cognitive” procurement approach to processes like sourcing, excuses about bad data and poor backing from management inevitably stop organizations from taking the first step. LevaData, like other solution providers, is increasingly trying to help procurement not just take on technology but create the roadmap for organizational maturity that leads to better business outcomes.

How Procurement Can Help Save The World From ‘Lease-Pocalypse’

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In less than 90 days, one of the biggest accounting changes the world has ever witnessed will take effect. Starting in January 2019, a new set of rules will require companies to begin transferring almost $3 trillion worth of leases onto their balance sheets. Going forward, leases will be center stage in financial reports. To apply the new accounting standards, businesses must really know the leasing contracts. Only the procurement team has that deep knowledge.

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Steve Keifer, LeaseAccelerator's vice president of marketing.

Tradeshift: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview [PRO]

Tradeshift is a cloud platform that connects buyers and suppliers with the goal of digitizing supply chain relationships, processes and information, while also enabling everyday procure-to-pay activities. Its capabilities span the buying of goods and services through to financing and payment — and significant capability in between, especially in the invoice-to-pay area.

In addition to providing its own procure-to-pay modules, Tradeshift offers an open integration framework that allows other technology firms (and customers) to integrate and/or development third-party “apps,” primarily centered on supplier connectivity, transaction enablement and collaboration. Tradeshift can even integrate alternative procure-to-pay providers in cases where specific enabling capability is desired.

This Spend Matters PRO analysis provides an introduction to Tradeshift, both as a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) provider and also as an e-procurement and invoice-to-pay technology vendor. It is designed to provide facts and expert analysis to help procurement and finance organizations make informed decisions about whether they should consider Tradeshift for both traditional “in-the-box” procure-to-pay requirements as well as unique marketplace/platform type digital initiatives.

Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Tradeshift as a complement to other procurement and finance solutions. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

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10 Questions to Ask in a Purchase-to-Pay Demo

Sometimes cleverly crafted demos can gloss over important nuances or mask inadequacies, which can cause major problems later during implementation — and the dreaded scope creep. So, here are some areas that I recommend digging into and questions to ask during a purchase-to-pay demo. 

APICS Becoming ASCM: CEO Abe Eshkenazi Details the New Direction

marketing procurement

APICS announced recently it was launching a new supply chain organization that would push the industry association out of its niche for talent development and into corporate transformation strategy. Called the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), the new organization seeks to create a fully encompassing group for all professionals who touch the supply chain. More than a rebrand, the creation of ASCM signals a shift in strategy at APICS as well as within the businesses of the customers that the association serves, APICS CEO Abe Eshkenazi told Spend Matters in a recent interview at the APICS 2018 conference in Chicago.

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5 Essential E-Procurement Operations Capabilities

A wealth of information exists for companies contemplating the launch of an e-procurement platform. Yet learning about the capabilities needed to support ongoing operations has been extremely difficult — until now. Our latest eBook, E-Procurement Operations: Post-launch Capabilities to Ensure Your Success, provides insights on the capabilities needed for successful e-procurement operations.

On CSR Reporting, Smaller Firms Outscore Larger Ones in Global Study

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Small and medium-sized businesses outscored larger companies in managing their corporate social responsibility reports — but all sizes of firms could improve CSR management and remove more risk for their companies, according to EcoVadis’ second annual study of more than 33,000 businesses around the world. Out of 100 points, small and medium-sized companies (26-999 employees) scored 42.4, and large ones (more than 1,000 employees) scored 39.6, the study said. Results below 45 indicate “an unstructured approach” to CSR management — with a medium to high risk for a business on the EcoVadis scoring scale, and the study said large companies have much further to go in improving their CSR practices.

These 3 Data Problems Could Be Draining Your Company’s Resources

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Brian Alster, global head of supply and compliance products at Dun & Bradstreet.

When you’re working on estimating the costs of your third-party relationships, the last thing you want to find are holes or inaccuracies in your data. It can leave you unable to make informed, data-driven decisions. This fear might explain why, according to Forrester research, almost a third of enterprise architects and chief data officers spend at least 40% of their time discerning the credibility of their data before using it to make critical decisions.