Platform? Bah Humbug!

Earlier this week, the medic pointed out that Jaggaer is taking the contrarian approach and almost scoffing at the idea of an integrated, unified, code base and instead pointing out that its customers want problem fixes and business solutions, and integration isn’t a concern.

And to an extent, they have a point. Not everything has to be on one cohesive code-base with one cohesive UI if some parts of the solution are only used by a few individuals or designed for a different department or the usage is disparate from the rest of the platform and/or rare. For example, you’re not typically doing opportunity spend analysis in the middle of a sourcing project (although you may want to do pricing trend and outlier analysis on submitted bids after initial RFP responses before starting an optimization). And the people doing day to day tactical buying are not doing serious advanced direct sourcing projects and so on.

That being said, if you are a sourcing pro, you are likely building direct material RFPs, analyzing responses, running optimization events, negotiating contracts, accessing and updating supplier information, managing supplier relationships, and tracking milestones. The last thing you are going to want to do is log in and out of 5 different systems on a daily basis (Spend Analysis, RFX, Optimization, SXM, CLM) — especially if they all have different UIs and UX.

Sometimes you need integration and consistency, and sometimes you don’t. But one time you really need it is when your users are not very technical and have a lot of work to do, especially of the tactical variety. Coupa would never have gotten where it is if each function was a different module with a different UI. It’s design to make end-to-end work easy for its average user is how it won. And if it can do that with sourcing (and find a way to integrate its recent acquisitions and extend them with the few pieces of missing functionality) and give sourcing pros the same experience, it will win there too. However, this is one place where Jaggaer, with a lot more experience in strategic sourcing and sourcing support, could pull ahead. If Jaggaer could seamlessly integrate Spend Radar, CombineNet, AECSoft, Upside Software and Pool4Tool into one coherent platform it would have 3 capabilities that the Spend 360 / Trade Extensions union lacks: advanced Contract Management, Advanced Supplier Performance Management, and, most importantly, advanced BoM management from the RFX down to the VMI. On paper, its one of the most impressive suite of capabilities on the market for manufacturing, pharmaceutical, aerospace, electronics, and other direct-heavy industries, but, in the end, it will be the usability that decides the ultimate winner.