Ammiel was kind enough to respond to my comment and provide more information about their overall solution offering over on SpendMatters. However, given that I copied my comments here and that this is very good information for a prospective buyer, the comment deserves to be repeated.
Regarding in-depth briefings to “affiliated” bloggers — IMHO it is also applicable to analysts and press — Each briefing is a unique instance, and we take into consideration the topic as well as the nature of work the individual is doing with competitors. I Note that in my original post the briefing exclusion was narrow, and specific to this very topic – not a broad brush statement towards you. As a CTO for hire there is a big difference between the type of work you do and what Jason and Andrew Bartels do – especially in the area of optimization. Kudos for the above board disclosure policy, as noted, we did not feel that we were deceived, etc.
My statement on the MindFlow team joining Emptoris made no mention of team size, etc. It was simply to state that we are qualified to judge the relative strengths of the two offerings (given Product Management and Engineering talent), you may have read more into this than was specifically stated.
Regarding our assessment of MindFlow capabilities, this was done from the End-User perspective, as a whole-product capabilities assessment. In the case of 5(a), 5(c), and 6(b) the MindFlow Front-end simply let down the back-end. On 5(b), we specifically meant the ability for suppliers to enter the constraints themselves – this area of our solution is very robust, and has evolved into a feature set that we’ve called Creative Negotiations in the past, and which has now matured to Supplier Decision Support. (Link)
Speaking of whole-product, that is very much the point of the Advanced Sourcing Service. It is all about running mega-events better and with much less risk (Think of $50M+ riding on a single event). It is not just an engine that we provide, we help the customer by providing e-Sourcing category experts specific to help these mega-event *optimization* problems (Transportation – Ocean, Truckload, LTL…, Packaging, Print, Fleet Acquisition, etc.). When we say infrastructure, we talk about a complete HW/SW stack along with instrumentation and surrounding services to ensure that the event will not go down, etc.
The challenge with these categories is that when companies put out $100M+ on a single event, things become very risky in several business dimensions (e.g. if the event is mis-handled logistically then supplier relationships can be burnt for years, if the event runs 3 weeks longer than expected – that’s $750K in lost opportunity cost, if the event misses a key deadline then a price lock-in may be permanently missed given rising fuel rates, etc.) The benefit of the Advanced Sourcing Service is that we and our partners invest and in a sense under-write some of the logistical risks the customer faces.
A benefit of this complete solution approach is that it helps accelerate advanced optimization’s adoption within the sourcing domain. At the end of the day it makes the core technology even more approachable to a greater number of organizations. And that is something good that I believe we can all agree upon.
I would like to thank Ammiel for responding and providing clarifications not only on Emptoris’ prior comments but on the Advanced Sourcing Solution as well.