iValua: Proving Their Mettle with Source to Settle, Part I

When we last covered iValua in 2010, they were one of the few providers tackling end-to-end sourcing and procurement in a single suite of integrated modules built on one common platform. We noted in Tackling End-to-End Sourcing and Procurement, Part I that this French company had capabilities that, at least to some degree, addressed each of the core phases of the basic sourcing-and-procurement cycle except decision optimization and tax reclamation. The platform still doesn’t address decision optimization, but in the past three years, in addition to adding considerable intelligence for tracking and managing taxes, ASN (Advanced Shipping Notice) support, and customizable pivot-tables for bid and auction analysis, they’ve made extensive additions to many of their modules, added powerful workflow capabilities, extremely powerful UI customization capabilities in Design Mode (considering the platform is accessed through a standard web browser), drag-and-drop document authoring capability (also through the web browser) and round-trip integration with Microsoft Word, a comprehensive supplier view (that integrates all of the data related to the supplier across all of the modules), and the ability to easily define and load custom data tables for surveys, questionnaires, tracking, and reporting through built-in native ETL tools, among other enhancements.

Version 8.0 of the iValua platform, being released at the start of Q4, is one of the most extensive integrated native Source-to-Settle platforms that SI has ever seen, especially considering their recent additions for the management of services. It comes as no surprise that they now have over 100 customers globally with a 99% renewal rate, that the majority of their customers have migrated to their SaaS platform, and that their current growth rate year-over-year is over 20%. Along with bPack and Wallmedien, they are making a serious play to take over the high-end of the Best-of-Breed market that was almost eliminated (with the exception of BravoSolution, that does have industry leading decision optimization) with the acquisitions of Ariba and Emptoris. (It truly looks like the European providers are starting to pull ahead of the pack where Spherical Supply Solutions — Part I, Part II, and Part III — are concerned.)

iValua divides their platform into Supplier Management, Sourcing, Contract Management, Catalog Management, Procurement, Invoice Management, Expense Management, Reporting, and Administration. So we will cover the highlights of the platform with respect to each of these categories. Note that, in addition to the application dashboard, each of these modules has their own dashboard that is extensively configurable so that a user can quickly see the status of supplier efforts, sourcing projects, contracts under construction, procurement processes, catalog integration, invoice processing, expense and budget management, and performance reports.

Supplier Management

Supplier Management in the iValua platform consists of Supplier Registration, Supplier Performance Management, Supplier (Related) Document Management, approved Supplier Lists, and Supplier Risk Profiles (called Supplier Risk Indicators). The on-boarding process is similar to the process employed by other SRM vendors, document management is the process of tracking certifications, proof of insurance, and compliance documentation, and approved supplier list management is quite straight-forward so we won’t go into any additional details on this functionality. What is interesting, and powerful, is the ability to identify and track anomalies from expected performance, create improvement plans, and access a supplier risk profile based on environmental, CSR, and other user-defined indicators, as this is functionality typically only found in SRM platforms, and not sourcing, procurement, or source-to-settle platforms.

The supplier management tab integrates all of the data associated with a supplier across the entire platform. The user can quickly access the basic info (name, address, credentials, risk score, etc.), the lifecycle workflows associated with that supplier (with respect to sourcing projects), the supplier’s credentials, associated users, pre-defined reports and analytics with respect to the supplier’s performance, current activity, commodities and services being provided, financial and risk KPIs, and overall performance and risk rating. It’s a one-stop SIM/SPM shop.

In iValua, an improvement plan, which can be created off of an anomaly (which is a user-defined record that describes an issue that needs to be addressed, such as an exceptional late delivery, quality problem, etc.) and associated with a commodity and/or organization, is an action plan designed to address an (underlying) issue (that caused the anomaly). It consists of a sequence of defined tasks that are expected to resolve the issue. Each task has a type, an associated user who is responsible for the task, a manager who will ensure the task is completed, start and end dates, and other attributes consistent with the definition of a project in a standard project management application. It’s interactive, and as steps are completed, the plan, and status thereof, are updated.

The supplier risk profile capability is quite advanced. A user can define any type of risk that they wish to track (supplier, product, sustainability, financial, product, etc.), how the risk indicator rolls up (finance, CSR, etc.), and where it comes from. iValua integrates with leading risk profile providers out-of-the-box, like D&B, and this integration goes beyond simple financial profile providers and also includes an integration with a leading provider of sustainability data, namely EcoVadis. (You can even access the native EcoVadis profile direct.)

We’ll cover the remaining parts of the platform in the remainder of this series. Come back tomorrow!