marketdojo – A Dojo Where You Can Plan your Own Path

In our last post, we introduced you to marketdojo, a state-of-the-art do-it-yourself e-Negotiation suite that supports complex RFX and e-Auction events as well as integration with their categorydojo product that helps a user determine appropriate sourcing strategies for each category and prioritize those categories based on the expected size of the opportunity.

In yesterday’s post, we described their basic marketdojo product which consists of an RFX and e-Auction offering (which supports multiple RFX types and Auctions). Today we are going to discuss their categorydojo product, which is one of the two real differentiators between them and the other players targeting the low-end of the e-Sourcing market (in an effort to bring smaller companies out of the Purchasing Dark Ages where some still remain).

A lot of consulting firms have been doing the category analysis that categorydojo has been doing for years, and a few companies have even built simple opportunity analysis tools to help you figure out how what opportunities you should be chasing, but the doctor has yet to see any tool that is as clean, streamlined, and useable by an average buyer without a lot of training or consultation. This is one of the two real differentiators that marketdojo has built and one of the two features that actually impressed the doctor, which is not easy to do if you are yet another e-Sourcing or e-Procurement provider considering the dozens upon dozens of tools he’s seen over the last fifteen years. Basic suites are commodities now, and the most basic suites are free.

Once you’ve activated marketdojo, giving categorydojo a spin is as simple as going to categorydojo, clicking on the Dashboard link at the top of the page, and activating it.

Once it’s going, you create a spend portfolio (by selecting the Create Portfolio option) where you define your top categories, and then go through a wizard-driven Q&A about each category to help the expert system underneath properly classify and rate your category. Category creation can be as simple as category name, currency, average annual spend, and a notation on whether or not the spend is subject to EU Procurement Directives (if you are in the public sector). Then you define subcategories, their component spend, expected spend trends, and contract term. Then you define your perception of market conditions and bid complexity and you’re off to the races. Once you’re done, the tool presents you with a recommended sourcing strategy, which in the marketdojo suite, is initial RFI (because it’s not ready for a market event or a market event is not expected to be successful at this time), RFP (because it’s not auction appropriate), RFQ and standard e-Auction, or RFQ and Reverse Japanese Auction — and charts it on a quadrant graph relative to your other categories.

Then, once you have defined a set of categories, you can deep dive in and see the relative spend vs complexity for each category, the time vs. return, and most importantly, the power balance for each category and what it means to your organization and the expected savings. The founders, with a long history in sourcing, built up a knowledge base on different categories and expected savings targets and built this in to the evaluation from day one. Then, upon product launch, they made sure that categorydojo was integrated with marketdojo so a buyer could push an award back after an event was run so the award, and the savings, could be evaluated against the expected savings. This result was used to tune the models over time to the point that a buyer can have confidence that, at least 9 times out of 10, the available savings is within the range predicted by the tool (if the market conditions have been accurately captured and the suggested strategic approach is taken). I’ve seen the reports (which, by the way, do require a paid license), and, for every category I’m familiar with, the range is a realistic savings range for a company that hasn’t properly sourced that category before.

Finally, once you have all of the spend categories defined, and have worked your way through the reports, the tool lets you prioritize the categories so that you can build an effective sourcing plan for the year.

The tool is well done and easy enough for any buyer to use without a £5K a day senior consultant from a Big 6 consultancy! (Which means that the tool, which only costs £1000 per user per year, pays for itself as soon as you use it because each category analysis from a Big 6 will cost you at least £5000, and that buys an unlimited one user license of marketdojo for a month, which will help you realize your organization’s savings potential!)

If you’re at the lower end of the mid-market and in need of a (better) e-Sourcing tool, I would strongly suggest that you check the marketdojo out. Even though they have a few clients in the higher end of the mid-market, they are really designed for the low-end, and they fit very nicely there.