Intengo is a relatively new provider of e-Sourcing/e-Negotiation solutions that first appeared on the scene in it’s Native Turkey in 2006, after being founded in 2005. Like b-pack in France, it’s just starting to expand internationally, focussing on Europe first with translations to Spanish, French, and German (in addition to its native Turkish and new English language support) currently in the works.
Intengo provides an on-demand e-Negotiation platform built around (multi-round) e-RFX and e-Auction with a sprinkling of supplier information management (SIM) and catalog management thrown in. Their tool allows you to mix and match RFX and Auctions in successive rounds as you see fit. You can start with a baseline RFP, invite qualifying suppliers to an (English, Dutch, or Japanese) auction (with more variants in the pipeline), then return to a sealed bid RFP with the winners in a final negotiation around*1. It’s quite flexible and allows the organization to tailor the e-Negotiation event to their way of conducting negotiations.
It is extremely quick and easy to set up a new event, or “project”, in the system as the process is wizard-driven. It’s literally as easy as:
- define the basic information
event name, details, manager, dates, and type
- define what the bidders can and cannot see
competitors names, prices, ranks, etc.
- define the basic information and the rules
which can be from a template or custom defined
- define the items
which can be selected from the hierarchical catalog or defined on the spot
- select the suppliers
which can be selected from the supplier master or defined newly for the event
- define boundary parameters and extension rules (for auctions)
min and max bid increments, reserve prices, etc.
One of the jewels of this solution is that the auction dashboard is jam-packed with information but yet designed in such a way that it doesn’t look the least bid cluttered. The buyer (and the bidders, with appropriate permissions) can see full event configuration details (starting, ending, extensions & rules, whether or not names and prices are hidden, etc.), current supplier rankings and percentage changes for each bid (in each lot), all bids for each item (with the lowest bid highlighted in green, and the changes from the last bid highlighted in yellow), the countdown clock, and a progress / trend graph. The bidder can also easily access the configuration screen through the management tab to extend the auction and the entire bid history through the bid list tab.
Other hidden jewels are the calendar view, which integrates with outlook and hot-links to all of the relevant screens in the relevant projects, item level multi-currency support, where the buyer can choose to define the currency or leave it open for the bidder to choose and where the buyer can choose to accept the default rates from the central bank or override with manual rates, smart unit support, fine grained access control for corporations or governments that need to limit who can see what, and the ability to easily do bulk updates on (filtered) lots so that a bid decrement (fixed or decrement) can be applied to all bids in the lot. (In comparison, many of the “commodity” auction tools don’t have fine-grained multi-currency control, automatic unit conversions, or such granular access control.)
And while the SIM and Catalog Management is basic, the user can define custom hierarchies and include supplier ratings, which is more than sufficient for many mid-market companies that still haven’t even touched modern e-Sourcing platforms. The major weakness, which is common to many of these platforms, is the lack of a custom report builder. There are built-in reports, and Intengo can build custom reports for any company that wants them, but no ability for a customer to build her own report. However, they do have Excel integration and a buyer can dump all of the information to Excel and construct her own reports which is a decent workaround if the user knows how to build a good template (where it’s just a matter of importing the exported data as needed).
They also have integrated messaging (and the ability to send e-mails), reasonable attachment management capabilities, and a moderately powerful administration section where a user can update the company profile, update their personal profile, define display settings, manage users, add and update templates for RFXs/Auctions/Projects, define additional units, input custom exchange rates, and modify the configuration profiles. All in all, it’s a solid tool for the mid-market, and one that they can offer at an affordable price-point as they are a SaaS solution. If you’re a mid-market company in Europe who is looking for a solid e-Negotiation platform to get started on the e-Sourcing path, you should definitely consider inviting Intengo to the table.
*1 If you take this approach, be sure to remember your auction ethics where you tell your suppliers up front that the winner of the auction doesn’t necessarily get the award as the auction will be followed by a final negotiation round with the top X suppliers. In addition, this strategy should only be employed in categories where you intend to split the award between two or more suppliers from the get go for risk mitigation.
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