I’ve spent some time thinking about what I really want to do with my blog. I admit it’s been a bit of a struggle for me to fully commit to this blog because my former, highly successful blog, Cool Tools for Purchasing, was produced under a very different business model. But I haven’t given up! Two of things I really miss the most about that old blog, is sharing some thoughts on what’s happening in the news and letting people know what I am working on. So here, ladies and gentlemen, is my Gartner blog, style revision #5. (just kidding, I’m not really counting). But seriously, I don’t know if I’ll stick with this approach, but I do know that iterative, agile innovation works, and so here is my latest ”improvement.” Please do let me know if you find this version useful and/or interesting, or not! And why, of course. With your good manners intact please!
All the best,
In the News
Readsoft, a global provider of accounts payable invoice automation solutions, announced that it is teaming with Ariba to utilize its ASN (Ariba Supplier Network) for electronic transmission of invoices and related documents. This arrangement should also be interesting for Ariba customers, as a offers them a eady-to-go resource for processing non-PO spend. And lets face it, virtually every organization except in the public sector still deals with lots of non-PO spend!
Interest in procurement technology is picking up around the world. The latest evidence – Australia-based Marketboomer, a niche procurement solutions vendor that operates public and private multivendor emarketplaces for the hospitality industry, has landed customers in Thailand, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and New Zealand. In Marketboomer’s recent announcement of its appointment of Ihab Hashwa to its Dubai division, the vendor states that it intends to “expand its client base and business in the region.” Hashwa’s career notably includes stops at Ariba and Tejari.
There’s been a lot of position shuffling recently in the e-procurement space, some of which is really exciting, and some of which makes me very sad. Vinimaya champions Gary Hare, Richard Waugh and Orville Bailey have moved on to other opportunities. Even though Hare was well known for his occasionally abrasive mannerisms, his leadership and charisma clearly made a huge difference at Vinimaya. PurchasingNet’s Erin Tarpey and Perfect Commerce’s Mike Precia are now running sales and marketing for this catalog content management vendor.
Vinimaya’s gain (of Erin, that is!) is PurchasingNet’s loss. PurchasingNet was recently acquired by Versata, a collector of enterprise software companies. I don’t know what role former CEO and co-founder Tim McEneny will play in PurchasingNet going forward, now that Versata has appointed Mike Williams as CEO, but I do know that this remarkable thought leader will be sorely missed by many, including me! Good luck, my old friend Tim.
CRM vendor RightNow is attempting to shake up the SaaS industry with some notable provisions in its standard contract, including allowing clients to rebalance usage levels annually, a price increase cap of 0% for six years and cash credits if service levels fall below stated levels. From what I’ve seen, there clearly is room in the typical SaaS contract of procurement application vendors to be more client friendly – and hopefully RightNow will help the software industry as a whole adopt agreements that are more balanced between buyer and seller. My very capable colleague Rob DeSisto is currently working on a research note to explore just how good these offers are.
Thought of the Week
A recent topic of discussion within the Gartner enterprise applications team has been at what level to rate vendors and/or products in a market. There are many alternatives – let’s take authoring a proposed contract as an example. The hierarchy for possible evaluation, from a functionality perspective, looks like this:
Level 1: Does the vendor offer an enterprise contract management solution?
Level 2: Does the vendor support authoring?
Level 3: What types of authoring does a vendor support? (template based, rules based conditional assembly, full custom clause library based, etc)
Level 4: How are conditional assembly rules managed? (in a table, accessed by a business user; by a programmer; etc).
Level 5: And so on.
Do you evaluate at level 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5? Our clients have to answer these questions every day. Forgive my nerdiness for moment, but to me this whole topic feels like fractal geometry –the closer you look at a physical form, the greater the number of levels of recurring detail are revealed. Perhaps its not coincidental that Gartner uses a fractal graphic in its marketing materials.
Beyond functionality, you can also evaluate HOW features work – i.e., what are screen layouts, number of clicks, field lengths, etc?
For me, choosing the right level of evaluation is one of the most important decisions to be made when rating products/vendors. And one thing we are concluding is that the relative level of differentiation between the products in a market is a key decision factor. And the more products look increasingly similar in terms of WHAT they do, the more important HOW they do it becomes.
Work In Progress
This week I’m working on a follow-up note to the Magic Quadrant for Strategic Sourcing Application Suites. This new piece will drill down into the supply base management market, providing coverage for the many niche vendors that have intriguing offerings but not a full strategic sourcing suite.
It’s a fragmented market. There are vendors from the GRC (governance, risk and compliance) market – such as Archer (now part of RSA) and Fortrex. There are vendors with roots in the supply chain risk market – such as SupplierSoft and EMNS, and there are vendors with a legacy in diversity, such as CVMsolutions. Many of vendors are known for addressing one slice of the enterprise supply base management market – and it will be interesting to see which have worked toward and succeed in gaining traction in the multiple disciplines of supply base management – spanning supplier information management, supplier performance management and supplier risk ratings.
New Research (Subscription Required)
Case Study: Jeppesen Gains Agility with Contingent Workforce Management. This piece covers Jeppesen’s selection and deployment of IQNavigator to manage contractors.
In Closing . . . .
Happy Friday, have a good weekend, and stay tuned (I think!) for next week!
Category: Uncategorized Tags: