It was just five years ago that all of the big consulting houses — PWC, Accenture, Deloitte, etc. — were talking about the future of procurement in 2020 and how it was going to be nothing like what it was then, or should I say, what it’s like today because, to be frank, it really hasn’t changed that much in the past five years.
Despite all the recent talk about Cognitive Procurement and AI hitting the mainstream, Procurement platforms haven’t changed much. There’s only a few offerings outside of very point-based Contract Analytics offerings, like Dhatim, LevaData, and Xeeva, that have anything that’s truly cognitive-borderline, but even these platforms only work on a very narrow range of categories in one or two industries.
And sourcing platforms haven’t changed much either … very few have any capabilities whatsoever that didn’t exist five years ago. The biggest change is that you have more S2P suites, partly as a result of the M&A frenzy and partly as a result of PE firms investing deeply in platforms with the capability to be leading S2P platforms. Whereas a few years ago you really only had Ariba, Emptoris and Jaggaer (known as SciQuest) — although, five years ago, Jaggaer was more a collection of applications that would eventually become a platform; Emptoris was much stronger in Source to Contract than Procure to Pay; and Ariba was just acquired by SAP, which stagnated development for a few years.
But today, we have eight major S2P platforms, which are included in Spend Matters Q4 Solution Map: Coupa, Determine, GEP, Ivalua, Jaggaer, SAP Ariba, SynerTrade, and Zycus. Coupa, which was a leading P2P platform, acquired Analytics, Optimization, and Risk; built out contracts, and now has a complete S2P platform using a classic definition. Determine, which resulted from Selectica’s acquisition of Iasta and b-Pack and replatforming of everything on the b-Pack platform. GEP, which acquired Enporion in 2012, integrated, built up, and built out and now has S2P. Ivalua, which just acquired DirectWorks (formerly Co-exprise), has been building out end-to-end since the early days and now has pretty much everything except optimization from a classic S2P perspective (and is getting deeper in direct capability as a result of DirectWorks). Jaggaer integrated everything through a common data layer and had S2P, and then acquired BravoSolution last year (which also just achieved S2P from its Puridiom acquisition), and now has 2 complete S2P platforms as well as deep direct sourcing capability (from its Pool4Tool acquisition). SAP Ariba (which acquired Procuri years ago) has been developing extensively, replatforming its analytics on SAP Hana, simplifying implementations and supporting the mid-market through partners with SNAP, deepening its risk management to go head-to-head with best of breed, and so on. SynerTrade, like it’s counterpart Ivalua, has been developing an integrated platform for almost two decades, which started out as a collection of “apps” (like Pool4Tool started out as a collection of modules), and has everything one would expect as well as integrated optimization — it’s the best platform most of you haven’t heard of. And then we have Zycus — once the “dollar general” of S2P platforms, it’s come a long way and is starting to hold its own with the best of them (and with it’s new iRequest module, it’s bring S2P visibility to the masses).
But when you think about it, what do they have that past platforms didn’t have?
We’ll let you dwell on this for a day …