PRO or Plus Content

8 Quantifiable Levers Where Invoice-to-Pay Solutions Deliver ROI — Beyond Accounts Payable (Part 1) [PRO]

finance

Invoice-to-pay (I2P) solutions exist to serve the broader business, not just accounts payable functions. Spend Matters defines the I2P area as a combination of electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) and e- payments, which may leverage a supplier network model for connectivity and value-added capabilities.

I2P solutions not only reduce paper-based processes and increase efficiency (e.g., reduce cash disbursement costs per FTE) but also serve as a foundation for enabling finance organization improvements generally (e.g., by reducing late payments, optimized working capital and lowering non-compliance). The value-added capability of technology providers offer today can help procurement and finance to configure and deploy complex invoice workflow, matching, approvals, cash disbursements, trade financing options and better process management overall. ilities.

Yet all too often, these technologies are viewed as tactical and transactionally focused, when in fact they can deliver multiple strategic outcomes. Confining invoice-to-pay solutions to an AP-centric value proposition is a mistake that many organizations make when selecting technology. And it is one that that software providers also make when “under-selling” them into organizations. ilities.

This Spend Matters PRO research brief explores eight business levers that I2P solutions can pull to deliver return on investment (ROI), as defined by the functional requirements in Spend Matters SolutionMap. We have authored it to help organizations better quantify the extended returns they can realize from I2P solutions when building business cases and to help solution providers better sell the full business value of what they deliver. ilities.

Please note that a SolutionMap Insider companion research brief is also being published that will detail SolutionMap vendor performance for all of these areas, ranking how individual vendors perform against these requirements based on the Q3 2018 Invoice-to-Pay SolutionMap benchmark.

Apttus Acquired by Thoma Bravo: Can a One-Time Sell-Side ‘Unicorn’ Become a Viable Pony for Buy-Side CLM? [PRO]

Apttus announced recently that it would be acquired by private equity firm Thoma Bravo. Calling itself a leader  in the “middle office,” Apttus offers a platform primarily focused in the area of configure, price, quote (CPQ), but it also supports enterprise contract lifecycle management (CLM).

The terms of the acquisition were undisclosed, but given the majority stake being acquired, the deal is likely worth many hundreds of millions of dollars, given that Apttus had roughly $200 million in revenue for calendar year 2017 and had also accumulated more than $400 million in investments to date.

Back in 2015, Apttus was riding high and hoped to go public in 2016. Unfortunately, Salesforce, upon whose platform Apttus was built, bought Apttus’ smaller competitor, SteelBrick, in December 2015. Salesforce, in its never-ending quest for growth, wanted to directly enter the CPQ space and perhaps hoped to prevent a new mega competitor from spawning (even though Salesforce Ventures was an investor in Apttus — and in SteelBrick).  

Regardless, the move was clearly a body blow to Apttus. The firm put on a brave face and even managed to garner late stage investors rushing to hopefully get in on a big IPO, but soon things began to change. Growth slowed, layoffs ensued and longtime CEO Kirk Krappe quietly left this summer.

All of these types of changes are difficult in their own right, but when investors want returns out of their large investments, company working conditions often deteriorate, and many of the best employees leave, which leads management to cut back in certain areas that once seemed so promising — including an area such as source-to-pay.

Which brings us to why we’re writing about Apttus here on the buy side of the world.

Apttus does have CLM capabilities, and the CLM solution actually seems decent. It has all of the major elements in terms of clause libraries, templates, playbooks/wizards, redlining, MS-Word integration, “intelligent” clause search and so on. But its CLM product almost seems to play a supporting role in Apttus’ core focus on the sell-side CPQ suite. We have backed this up through numerous discussions with active and alumni Apttus CLM customers, partners and prospective customers.

Based on our discussions with the stakeholders mentioned above, the product is sound, but it’s not quite on par with high end players like Icertis and Exari. And it doesn’t feature broader process functionality found in source-to-pay suites, some of whom actually have CLM modules that can be used for sell-side contracts, too.

The remainder of this Spend Matters PRO research brief explores Apttus’ buy-side CLM solution in terms of its strengths and weaknesses and provides additional context about how buy-side CLM is positioned in the Apttus portfolio. If you are a corporate practitioner and interested in discussing buy-side (or enterprise-wide) CLM, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

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

supplier network

As a standalone component of procurement, supplier management is not new. Nor is the technology to enable it. But most procurement organizations still only have sourcing or e-procurement technology (at best) with capabilities that offer targeted supplier support for larger vendors. From a supplier management standpoint, the majority of firms still pay little attention to the long tail of hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of suppliers that they do business with. One of the key promises of supplier management solutions is to tier engagement levels and manage these suppliers across the entire lifecycle of engagement.

Within this market, AdaptOne offers targeted capabilities that focus on supplier information management (SIM) and supplier diversity, which represent two sub-disciplines within supplier lifecycle management. Having started out as an enterprise business process management (BPM) and workflow management provider that customized solutions to client processes, AdaptOne evolved into a SIM provider that offers turn-key solutions inclusive of customized configuration.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores AdaptOne’s product strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide if they should shortlist the vendor. It also offers a critique of the user interface. Part 1 of our analysis offered a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider AdaptOne’s supplier management software. The final installment of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Are Your Procurement KPIs Balanced or Obsolete? [Plus+]

As our Spend Matters Plus analysis of procurement key performance indicators (KPIs) continues, we will turn our attention to additional metrics by which you can measure procurement performance including supply base development and spend under management. We will also examine how to discover if organizational procurement KPIs are off balance, favoring one area over another or the strategic over the tactical, or if they’re just right.

This analysis builds on a prior chapter of this research brief that provides an introduction to procurement KPIs. While intended for everyone in procurement from buyers to chief procurement officers, this series is particularly suited for individuals and organizations looking to put in place the right measurement foundation to change how procurement is viewed by the business from a function that only reduces input prices and “keeps the production line running,” to one that brings new areas of value, from supply chain risk reduction to creativity and innovation.

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

The supplier lifecycle management software market — which can be segregated at least half a dozen different ways — includes dozens upon dozens of different providers specializing in one or more enterprise technology areas. These include supplier information management (SIM), supplier performance management (SPM), supplier relationship management (SRM), supplier quality management (SQM), supplier discovery management (SDM), supplier diversity, supplier risk management, and governance, risk and compliance (GRC). 

Some of these areas are data-centric, others are process-centric and others still are relationship-centric. Following this pattern, from a tech vendor “supply market” perspective, some of the providers that compete in this sector are well known to procurement organizations, having invested heavily in marketing and sales for many years. But the majority tend to slip under the radar, either due to lack of marketing investment, lack of focus or simply poor communication (e.g., getting caught up in broader offerings/suite capabilities). And some are not even on the radar of most organizations.

One of the providers in these latter camps that recently caught our attention is AdaptOne. And not necessarily because it has a unique supplier management solution, as the truth is there is a lot of similarity between it and a few other SIM solutions. Rather, AdaptOne piqued our interest because it comes from a unique background and sells the solution from a new perspective. Leveraging a business process management (BPM) development and deployment orientation, AdaptOne’s solution is more configurable and, well, adaptable (sorry, we could not resist) than most of its peers.

But how does AdaptOne stack up functionally, and what does its solution offer? This Spend Matters Pro Vendor Snapshot provides an overview of the AdaptOne solution, along with facts and expert analysis to help buying organizations, suppliers and their partners make informed decisions about AdaptOne's SIM-centric solution. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations might want to consider AdaptOne. The rest of this multipart research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitors and SWOT analysis, user selection guides, insider evaluation and selection considerations.

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

BuyerQuest

The competitive landscape for e-procurement software still counts dozens of vendors globally that offer varying degrees of solution breadth, depth and focus. One provider that drives to the core of e-procurement requirements (search, shopping, catalog management, compliance, requisitioning and approvals) with a set of deep and differentiated capabilities is Aquiire.

This third and final installment of our Vendor Snapshot covering Aquiire provides an objective SWOT analysis of the vendor and offers a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates that could serve as alternatives to Aquiire and offers provider selection guidance. Part 1 provided an in-depth look at Aquiire as a technology provider and its specific solutions. Part 2 gave a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses.

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

Despite what Coupa and SAP Ariba would like companies to believe, the e-procurement market is far from consolidated. Moreover, some of the lesser-known vendors in the sector are not only driving some of the more unique areas of spend management innovation, but can also be the most adaptable to unique requirements that fall outside of the standard e-procurement box (which might include a single “buyer” or even a broader consortia of organizations coming together to buy in a “marketplace”). Aquiire is one such provider.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Aquiire’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the vendor. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview, as well as a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering Aquiire. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

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

In September 2016, Vinimaya announced the launch of Aquiire, a cloud-based, real-time procure-to-pay (P2P) software suite. While Vinimaya had always been in the e-procurement business, Aquiire was an entirely new solution, built from the ground up, albeit one that took advantage of the company’s federated search, shopping and marketplace product roots.

Fast-forward to today, and that new product has become the future of Vinimaya. In fact, the company officially changed its corporate name in February 2017 to Aquiire Inc., extending both the brand and the philosophy behind its e-procurement solution across the entire company. Today, Aquiire competes primarily against a select group of e-procurement specialists (e.g., BuyerQuest and Vroozi) and is winning business against top-tier suite providers (e.g., Coupa, Ivalua, Jaggaer, SAP Ariba).

But it can also serve as a broader buy-side marketplace as well (when requirements extend outside the standard e-procurement box). In fact, many of Aquiire's customers integrate its real-time B2B marketplace and catalog management functionality into competitor’s platforms (e.g. SAP Ariba) to complement and extend indirect purchasing and catalog management capabilities.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot uses facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Aquiire’s e-procurement and P2P software solutions. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as suggestions for when organizations should consider Aquiire. The remainder of this multipart research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analysis, user selection guides, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Foundational Procurement KPIs Every CPO, Supply Manager and Buyer Needs To Know [Plus+]

This research brief is intended as an aspirational piece for more transactional-focused procurement team members who are aiming to add value to procurement and the business beyond mere efficiency improvements and price reduction efforts. It is not a compendium of financial metrics to convince your CFO about the value of procurement – you have to develop your business case tied to your needs and strategy for that. (Though, do reach out to us because we’ve done quite a bit of research in this area as well if you’re interested.) Rather, it is our hope that this series will leave you with a laundry list of prioritized ideas and open your mind to the qualitative side of the business – and the ways in which you can begin to measure procurement contribution and key performance indicators (KPIs) to quantify the return of the various activities you’re up to.

In the first installment of our introduction to KPIs and related considerations, we will examine why KPIs matter and how to use them and discuss basic procurement metrics, the role of innovation in setting measurement variables and how certain KPI approaches can mislead.

Coupa’s DCR Acquisition: Analyzing the Move (Part 2) — Strategic Context and Differences Between Labor and Goods Ecosystems [PRO]

Even discounting the technological capabilities DCR Workforce brings customers, Coupa’s recent acquisition of the VMS provider is a watershed event for the procurement software market. Specifically, it signals to the market a coming together of technology offerings for services procurement and indirect source-to-pay solutions.

As we observed in our previous brief in this series, SAP Ariba and SAP Fieldglass did not have a compelling reason in the immediate years following SAP’s acquisition of both companies to “work as one” in developing, positioning and selling the joint value proposition of one source-to-pay portal for buyers and suppliers that spanned indirect and services spend in a single go-to-market effort. In contrast, Coupa is on a different track — one that SAP is now starting to follow, as well — in uniting these two disparate solution areas and business functions inside companies.

But humans are not SKUs, which is one topic among many that we’ll discuss as we explore the context of Coupa’s strategic acquisition in this research brief. We’ll also explain the key sector differences between the services procurement/VMS market and indirect-centric procure-to-pay and source-to-pay solutions.

Just coming up to speed? In the first two components of this series covering Coupa’s recent acquisition of DCR Workforce, we provided an overview of the acquisition itself and a review of the DCR solution set.

We also shared our view on some of the strengths and weaknesses of the DCR solution prior to the acquisition, along with an overview of the broader competitive landscape that will be relevant as DCR now becomes “Coupa Contingent Workforce.”

In this section of the series, Part 1 explored the history and context of services procurement and indirect procurement from the perspective of both Coupa and the broader market. It also provided context based on the differences between how SAP pursued the market initially with Ariba and Fieldglass following its acquisition of both vendors.

Coupa’s Acquisition of DCR Workforce: Analyzing the Move (Part 1) — History, Context and SAP [PRO]

In the first two briefs in this ongoing series covering Coupa’s recent acquisition of DCR Workforce, we provided an overview of the acquisition itself along with a review of the DCR solution set. We also shared our view on some of the strengths and weaknesses of the DCR solution prior to the acquisition, as well as an overview of the broader competitive landscape that will be relevant as DCR now becomes “Coupa Contingent Workforce.”

As our analysis continues, we turn our attention to what the DCR Workforce acquisition could mean for Coupa as a developer of technology solutions and as a business in the indirect procurement software sector. Spend Matters believes the deal is the most significant strategic bet Coupa has made since the vendor shifted its strategy from providing open source e-procurement to what it is today. But is Coupa (and the market) ready for such a shift?

Program Management: The Missing Link in Procurement Technology Modules and Suites (Part 10: E-Procurement Components, Continued) [PRO]

In this series, we have been discussing the glue that binds together different areas of procurement workflow: the overall program management of both individual tasks and collective activities across the source-to-pay continuum, along with the technology components that support this end-to-end perspective. As a whole, this Spend Matters PRO series provides deep insight into what effective program management technology capabilities encapsulate from a design, platform and functional perspective.

We started this series by exploring design principles on which effective program management technology is based across the source-to-pay continuum. We then provided insights into the building blocks of effective program management technology components including best-of-breed project management, performance management, program compliance, program collaboration and other areas. We then highlighted specific examples of category management requirements and supplier management requirements before our series wrap-up with e-procurement and broader P2P.

In our last article (Part 9 — E-Procurement Components), we defined the P2P program counterparts to the sourcing-centric programs and began a deep dive into the platform components required to support the programs covered in our last entry. In this final installment on P2P, we conclude the platform components required to support modern procurement programs.