An Optimization-Free Emptoris Advanced Sourcing Service Analysis

My analysis of Emptoris‘ optimization capabilities based upon publicly available information have already been posted over on Spend Matters as well as Emptoris’ Response and my follow-up comment, so I’m not going to repeat it here. What I am going to do is attempt to analyze their new Advanced Sourcing Service offering based upon publicly available information (as I am not among the lucky few who have had the opportunity to see and discuss the offering).

The offering is described on their website. The information provided is the following:

  • It combines Infrastructure, Event Management, Strategy, and Expertise with Advanced Analytics
    • Infrastructure is defined as data collection and management
    • Expertise is defined as best practices, technology, sourcing cycle, and category expertise
    • Strategy is defined as a custom consultative approach for strategy development, event design, & build out
    • Event Management is defined as supplier training, executive reporting, and post event analysis
  • Buyers can define specifications, business needs, and preferred options
  • Suppliers can respond with their unique advantages, competencies, and alternatives
  • The solution can reduce sourcing cycle times by up to 75%
  • The solution can handle a project with over 130 suppliers, 275K bids, 77K lanes, and hundreds of business constraints and preferences
  • It targets transportation, packaging, print, fleet management, and related categories where the savings potential is in the 14% to 23% range
  • The offering includes opportunity identification through spend analysis and drill-down micro-analysis

An external web search turns up a number of articles that summarize the press release, but none of them add anything new. (For the links, run this google search.)

About the only original analysis I can find to-date on their new offering is over on Spend Matters:

where Jason points out:

  • While not automated to the same degree as Zycus’ new analytical and bubble chart visualization tools, the solution does make Emptoris spend visibility solutions that much more pragmatic and results driven.
  • Emptoris appears to be headed on a direct collision course to SAP
  • Emptoris’ sourcing and contract management capability remains significantly ahead of SAP
  • Emptoris has latched on to supplier performance management and development

From this, I would infer that Emptoris has integrated their Spend Analysis, RFX, Supplier Portal, Decision Optimization, Reporting, and Contracting Management solutions with best-practice templates into one work-flow driven stream-lined end-to-end solution offering that can be driven by a buyer or on of their services professionals.

Furthermore, given that:

  • Their recent update to their spend analysis platform (late last year) produced an application that is competitive with those offered by Ketera, Procuri, and Zycus.
  • Their new contract management offering, based on a globalized integrated version of the platform they acquired from Dicarta, is competitive with those offered by iMany, Nextance, and Upside .
  • Their RFX capabilities have always been on par with other traditional providers, such as Ariba, Oracle, and SAP and I have it on good authority that they’ve been working hard on ease-of-use and that usability is now close to or on-par with the on-demand providers such as Iasta and Procuri. Plus, not many providers have taken the time to build up a large library of ready-to-go best-practice templates.
  • They have a strong services arm, with their on-shore organization backed up by off-shore organizations with multi-lingual capabilities.
  • They have a decent supplier portal and are working hard on improving their supplier management and development capabilities
  • Although I still do not know if I would classify their optimization capability as advanced, they are still one of the (very) few providers to actually have a good, sound, and true decision optimization solution as per my recent No Advanced Sourcing at Oracle post and they do have a few capabilities that very few competitors have.
  • They have a lot of experience working with large companies (which is the majority of their customer base), and their infrastructure management capabilities are solid.

It is likely that their solution offering is quite good overall – and definitely better than what Oracle or SAP are going to be offering in the near future. Furthermore, their claims of up to 14% to 23% savings and up to 75% reduction in cycle times are not inflated, and are backed up by independent Aberdeen and CAPS studies, among others.

Thus, if you are comfortable with an installed or hosted single-tenant ASP model and the price-tag (whatever it may be), it’s certainly worth considering, especially if you do not have an e-Sourcing solution in place.