eBid Systems started out as an ASP of (custom) procurement solutions for the public sector back in 1999. While relatively unknown in the private sector, this vendor is well known in the public sector, having grown over the last 17 years to a large provider of ASP and (multi-tenant) SaaS solutions to over 200 public sector organizations of all shapes and sizes and about 100 private sector organizations (that primarily serve the public sector).
Even though the e-Sourcing market is well established, and, despite the recent M&A frenzy, there are still a handful of mature mid-market e-Sourcing offerings for a mid-market company to choose from, eBid Systems decided to re-enter the market with a new SaaS e-Sourcing solution called, ironically, ProcureWare, which has been in re-development for the last three years.
A few years ago eBid Systems realized that if they were going to accelerate their growth, and increase penetration in the private sector, they needed to get out of the custom software and ASP business and into the multi-tenant cloud-based SaaS business and rework their platforms into a nimble, quick to setup, easy to use, competitive turnkey e-Sourcing solution. And for the last three years they have been developing that suite. The result is a solid mid-market entry with solid RFX, e-Auction, Reporting, basic SIM and basic CLM and, just like ScoutRFP, enough to get the attention of new converts to e-Sourcing, especially in the mid-market. Plus, their experience in the public sector is very attractive to those companies looking to get, or increase, public sector customers.
The RFX solution allows for detailed creation of information request forms, pricing request forms, and scoring schemes — which can be split among multiple reviewers. The RFX can be sent to selected suppliers, or opened up to any supplier on the eBid network for bidding.
Bids consist of all responses to the RFX, any associated documents the supplier wants to upload, questions (or clarifications) that are asked, and responses that are provided. Suppliers and Buyers can drag and drop documents into the platform and a complete audit trail of all bids, changes, clarifications, and responses are maintained in the audit log.
The (reverse) auction works like a standard low-bid auction, but the interface is RFX line-based. There is no graphical interface at this time. However, the platform also supports forward auctions for the disposal of excess inventory, which some public sector organizations find useful.
The supplier information management (SIM) is quite extensive and extremely customizeable by eBid Systems and can track not only all basic company information, financial information, and even compliance information, but can be customized to track appropriate diversity, public sector classifications, and insurance certifications. A supplier record can also be associated with all contracts and associated bids.
Contract management is all about managing and tracking awards, vendor obligations, and associated data — it is not about contract document creation or tracking of contract documents and deliverables. It’s primitive at the moment but could prove more valuable as time goes on. Contract data is primarily used for alerts, as the system can alert to expiring contracts, expiring insurance, diversity review dates, and so on.
eBid Systems market entry is solid and shows promise. SI expects that we could see a strong uptake in mid-market organizations in the private sector that primarily serve public sector organizations and continued, steady, growth in the public sector. Time will tell. Regardless, for those interested in a deeper dive, check out the recent deep dive by the doctor and the prophet over on Spend Matters Pro [membership required]. (Part I).