Next month, Canopy will be releasing the new SaaS version of their platform, built as a modern multi-tenant SaaS application using a modern stack, that is a new version of their current hosted offering, released in 2022, that was built using ten years of knowledge building customized, bespoke, supplier/contract/document data management solutions for enterprises who wanted particular processes supported, single-tenant solutions (due to multi-tenant apprehension), solutions that looked like they were in-house, etc. As they built these solutions (through OCG Software Limited), they learned a lot about supplier information management challenges in global mid-size and enterprise clients — and what a modern SaaS platform needed to do to support it (especially now that companies have realized there are often more disadvantages to single tenant than multi-tenant).
However, as they worked with clients across the spectrum, they learned a few things:
- organizations of all sizes struggled producing a single golden supplier record
- … as you decreased in organization size, due to lack of resources, they struggled more
- there weren’t many solutions for the SME that were easy to learn, use, and configure to just what the organization needed
- there weren’t (m)any solutions that were completely self-serve that could be bought on a credit card with 100% transparent pricing
- despite the market noise around onboarding, smaller procurement departments didn’t always want mandatory onboarding out of the box — it takes time to get other departments aligned and change existing processes; they want to start with a golden record and go from there
- most of these SMEs that don’t have supplier management don’t have contract management either
- everyone wants performance capability, but not everyone uses it … it’s way more important they get compliance requirements in order, than risk under control … some smaller enterprises will never get beyond that
As a result of these learnings, they decided on the following:
- the focus in the core application is making it easy to create a single, centralized, complete, verifiable supplier golden record
- … which can be as basic or extensive as the organization needs to minimize the effort on the practioner
- it’s fully configurable in terms of data elements — there are basic categories and elements out of the box, but these can be hidden, renamed, or extended as needed
- they are releasing a basic SIM (Supplier Information Management) offering at 99£ that will allow up to five users to maintain supplier records (which can include all associated contracts) and anyone in the organization to read them
- the onboarding solution is the next tier up (at 499£ a month)
- performance is included in the tier 3 solution, which also includes extensive compliance and risk management capabilities for the average SME and ERP integration (where they integrate to your ERP — they’ve integrated with 7+ of the top 10 already)
Canopy have built a tiered offering that should serve the majority of the SME market at the price point they can afford and realize significant value from. (Also, the price point fits in the 120K, which, per year, is what a mid-market should expect to pay for Source-to-Pay (because 120K is more than enough for source-to-pay). We will discuss the solution tier-by-tier.
Tier 1: Supplier Information Management
The Canopy solution is a fairly extensive Supplier Information Management out-of-the-box. It allows you to capture all of the basic information on the:
- company (ownership, HQ, primary categories, etc.)
- category hierarchy (their default USPSC or yours)
- products & specifications (mapped to the categories)
- insurance and other certificates
- financial summary
- tax status
- health & safety
- modern slavery
as well as allowing the buyer to
- make arbitrary notes and maintain them chronologically over time
- access a complete, unalterable, audit trail of all changes made by any party over time
(which has been tested, and accepted, by the courts)
- manage the administrative and non-administrative users and define what data they can edit or access
- add arbitrary data elements to each category as needed
- filter on any data element
- output supplier reports summarizing all key supplier information
- output text reports / supplier lists on any set of data points
- get automated notifications based upon document expiry or pre-defined dates
- define supplier owners
Quite good for a 99£/month starter solution!
Tier 2: Supplier Onboarding, Approvals, and Contract Management
The Canopy solution for the SME market that wants automated onboarding, supplier approvals, contract management, and the option for ERP integration is their tier 2 offering at only 499£/month (or less with an up-front payment for a year, which can be put on most company p-Cards) … still cheap enough to put on a credit card while meeting all of the basic needs of a SME Procurement department just starting their company wide supplier management journey.
Canopy built their solution to not only be highly configurable by the user with respect to the data that can be collected, the approvals that can be required, and the documents that can be stored, but also with respect to the UX configuration for the supplier. The branding and colours, in particular, is very configurable so it looks like the supplier portal is an in-house buyer solution. Canopy doesn’t appear anywhere in the configuration.
A supplier logs in, sees the profile they need to complete (which can have conditional elements so they only need to see relevant questions), and any questions or requests outstanding from the buyer. It’s designed to be as intuitive as possible to minimize the need for buyer interaction (or support).
In the Canopy system, the buyer can define approvals against any category or item of information in the supplier profile — bank account info, Infosec/IT requirements, modern slavery requirements, insurance requirements, etc. These can happen in parallel, and until all approvals are given, the supplier can remain in an unapproved state.
The platform supports the majority of the core requirements for basic contract management / contract governance which, as per Part 24 of our S2P series on Contract Governance, is:
- indexing and classification with document management
the system supports all of the standard metadata and the buyer can define additional fields as necessary
- obligation, deliverable and expiration tracking
the system tracks expirations by default, and you can add fields for obligations and deliverables
- alerting & notifications
the system can be configured to alert you near / on / after expiration and send out notifications
- amendment & addendum management
the system can support the inclusion of as many addendums (and thus amendments as you like)
- equal support for buy-side and sell-side
suppliers can upload all requested documents and view what they uploaded; not quite equal, but enough for most SMEs
Tier 3: Compliance, Risk, and Performance
The Canopy Solution also has modules for compliance, risk, and performance.
The compliance module allows the organization to define supplier compliance requirements that can be category or profile dependent. It can track the required documents, expiry, the appropriate metadata for easy search, approval status, and, most importantly, whether the supplier responses or documents meet the organizational and/or regulatory compliance requirements. And, if a supplier is non-compliant, it can clearly put them into a non-compliance status and, if you have integrated the platform into your ERP, push the compliance status into your ERP.
Moreover, out of the box, it comes with detailed profiles for modern slavery, ESG, and one or two other compliance requirements the majority of its UK/EU customers have to deal with. (In contrast, the basic tier 1 solution only has a small basic data set, no approvals, no dependent requirements, etc.)
The companion to the compliance module, it allows the organization to define risk criteria of interest that can be category or supplier profile dependent. It can track any requested or required documents, the “expiry” for when you want a supplier to re-upload or reconfirm the documents, all appropriate fields, the last update or confirmation, and, most importantly, the risk the supplier poses with respect to a requirement based on how they answer the requirement, which can be dependent on a series of questions and answers that can differentiate between high-medium-low risk (or, if configured, additional levels such as very high and very low). It can then compute an overall risk profile based on the highest risk or the average risk.
Also, like compliance, out of the box, it comes with a number of detailed profiles for info-sec, financial status, and health and safety. Which, of course, can all be edited and customized to the buyer’s liking.
The performance module allows the buyer to define the dimensions they want to evaluate the suppliers on, the scale (1 to 5, by default, or 1 to 10) they want to grade suppliers on, grade those suppliers singularly, or send out surveys to as many users as desired and compute a weighted store. It’s simple, but that means it’s also quick and easy and usable by an SME. The one request that almost every SXM buyer puts into a SXM RFP is Performance Scoring, Tracking, and Management. The least used feature, simultaneously, is also Performance because it’s usually an effort to get everyone on board and get it done, especially in an extremely overworked and understaffed Procurement Department in an SME organization. But since it’s so simple, it can actually be rolled out once the impacted users in risk, compliance, finance and other departments get used to the system (through their approvals).
Finally, this level, with a minimum one year commitment, includes integration into your ERP. They have integration experience with most of the big ERPs, and know the quirks of SAP, Oracle, Vista, NetSuite, IFS, and Microsoft Dynamics in particular.
Full Data Export
Canopy belives your data is your data, and you can do complete .csv exports at any time. They also support JSON on request, and if you need your data in a certain format (XML, etc.) for integration to another system, they can do that on request. (Service fees may be required.)
Coming Soon: The Roadmap
They have quite a bit on their roadmap, especially at Tier 3, and you’ll see the first iterations of the following this year.
Graphical Analysis and Reporting
Right now, the reports are largely text based, but since they support Risk and ESG data, they want the data to come alive. Also, as they’ve found that most of their customers don’t have good spend analysis, they plan to support spend import from the AP/I2P system (invoices and payments) and provide the users with basic spend reports by supplier (along with an invoice repository for users who want to drill in). This won’t be a (replacement for a) spend analysis system, but basic spend levels to help users understand how much spend goes through a supplier, when it was last used, and how important compliance/risk assessments are.
NLP/LLM Document Processing and Metadata Extraction
Right now, you can upload all the documents you want, but you have to define and fill in all of your own metadata. This will parse the documents and pre-fill the metadata fields with suggested data (based on confidence matches), which the buyer can then override, for easy document upload and indexing.
NLP query support for metadata and document search
Can’t remember where that parameter is? No problem, just type a question in the NLP search box and the system will find the field and generate the right query/filter. Also, did you forget to index something, but need to know all documents that have it (such as a risk clause for a specific risk, renewal clause, etc.), they’re working on NLP queries that can support free-form (not just metadata) document search as well. (This latter feature may not come this year, all depending on how fast they finish the above.)
In Summary …
All in all, it’s a very extensive SXM solution for a SME given that tier 3 can start at only a few thousand pounds a month for a SME! And it’s clean, quick, and easy to use to boot. If you’re an SME in the 20M to 200M range, we strongly suggest you check it out. It might be just what you need to get your supplier management challenge under control.