Tealbook: Laying the Groundwork for the Supplier Data Foundations

It wasn’t that long ago that we asked you if you had a data foundation because a procurement management platform, should you be lucky enough to get one (which is much more than a suite), generally only supports the data it needs for Procurement to function and doesn’t support the rest of the organization. Furthermore, when you look across the Source-to-Pay and Supply Chain spectrums, there are a lot of different applications that support a lot of different processes that have a lot of different data requirements that need to be maintained as different data types in different encoding formats.

Furthermore, as we noted in the aforementioned post, it’s rare enough to find MDM capability that will even support procurement. This is because most suites are built on transactions, most supplier networks on relational supplier data records, and contracts on documents and simple, hierarchical, meta-data indexes. But you also need models, meta-models, semi-structured, unstructured, and media support. And more. The need is broad, and even if you restrict the need to supplier data, it’s quite broad.

As you will soon garner from our ongoing Source-to-Pay+ is Extensive series, in which we just started tackling Supplier Management in Part XV, the supplier data an organization needs is extremely varied and extensive. Given that Supplier Management is a CORNED QUIP mash with ten (10) major areas of functionality, not counting broader enterprise needs around ESG, innovation, product design / manufacturing management, and other needs tied to operations management, engineering, and enterprise risk management, among other functions, it’s easy to see just how difficult even Supplier Master Data Management can be.

Considering not a single Supplier Management solution vendor (as you will come to understand as we progress through the Source-to-Pay is Extensive series) covers all of the basic functions we’re outlining, it’s obviously that not a single vendor can effectively do Supplier Master Data Management today. However, Tealbook, which has realized this since their exception, is aiming to be the first to fix this problem. As of the first release of their open API next month, they are transitioning to a Supplier Data Platform and will no longer focus on being just a supplier discovery platform or diversity data enrichment platform. (They will still offer those services, and will be upgrading them in Q4 with general release expected by the end of 2023, but their primary focus will be on the supplier data foundation that enables this.)

This is significant, and illustrates how far they’ve come in the nine (9) years since their founding when their original focus was on building a community supplier intelligence platform that was reliable, scalable, extensible, and appropriate for new supplier discovery (via a large database of verified suppliers with community reviews). From these humble beginnings, where they didn’t even have a million suppliers in their platform after their third year of existence, they grew into the largest supplier network with over 5 Million detailed supplier profiles that is integrated with the largest S2P suites out there (Ariba, GEP, Ivalua, Jaggaer, and Workday, to name a few) and powers some of the largest organizations on the planet. As part of this empowerment, they can take in an organization’s entire supplier data ecosystem, transform it into their standard formats, match to their records, verify or correct existing data, and then enrich the organization’s supplier records before sending them back. In addition, they integrate with a multitude of BI tools, databases / lakes / warehouses (including ERPs), digital platforms, and so on.

To summarize, that’s a ten fold increase in suppliers and an explosion in global utilization and usage. At the same time, the platform has been augmented with over 2.3M supplier certifications, global diversity data, and the ability to track an organization’s tier 2 supplier diversity data. Quite impressive.

And while this meets most of an organization’s discovery needs, Tealbook knew that it didn’t meet all of an organization’s supplier data needs, especially when you think about all of the regulatory, financial, compliance, performance, sustainability, risk, contract, product/service, relationship, quality, and enablement/innovation data an organization needs to maintain on a supplier. As a result, they have been aggressively working on two key pieces of functionality. An extended universal supplier profile and a fully open, extensible, API that an organization can use to do supplier master data management across their enterprise with the Tealbook Supplier Data Platform. An organization can use the Tealbook Supplier Data Platform to classify, cleanse, and enrich supplier records; augment those records with third party data for sustainability, compliance, and risk; find new suppliers in the network; and so on.

In short, Tealbook is on a mission to be the organization’s trusted supplier data source, and to constantly improve their data offering both with their own ML/AI enabled technology that monitors over 400M+ public websites for supplier-related data (supplier web sites, business registries, certification providers, supplier data providers, etc. etc. etc.), maintains data provenance (when was it last updated, by what/who, etc.), and provides trust scores (in their proprietary framework that indicates Tealbook’s confidence in accuracy and correctness).

The real mission begins next month when they release their new Open API that will allow an organization to integrate, and interact with, Tealbook the way it needs to across its enterprise applications. Congruent with this release, they will also start releasing their enrichment data-packs that will, within the next year, allow the organization to plug-and-play the data they need to confirm firmographics, contact channels and key information, diversity, supplier offerings, financials, certifications, and basic risk data (which Tealbook will offer through partnerships with specialty supplier data providers, giving an organization a one-stop shop vs. having to license with multiple providers separately to build its 360-degree supplier profile).

Then, over the next year, Tealbook will enhance the usability of their data platform by first rebuilding their diversity and discovery applications and then building out new applications around sustainability, risk, benchmarking, and other areas that their customers would rather a data platform handle for them.