Daily Archives: January 18, 2024

Mercanis: Men with a Mission to bring Modern Volkswagen Efficiency with BMW Style to Source-to-Contract! Part 2

As discussed in Part I, Mercanis is a new Source-to-Contract mini-suite provider based in Berlin, Germany that is bringing a powerful, affordable, and easy to use solution to the mid-market that not only has core capabilities in sourcing, supplier management, analytics, and contract management, but also has core capabilities around risk assessment AND intake, which is not something we have traditionally seen in mid-market Source-to-Contract, and even enterprise Source-to-Contract and Source-to-Pay suites.

Logging into Mercanis takes the end user, who could be a buyer, an AP clerk, or an average employee who needs to go out to market for a product or service to do their job, to their customized dashboard (according to their role) where they can see an overview of their events/requests, contracts, suppliers (including individual supplier overviews) they manage or have access to, organizational spend they oversee, and other relevant information depending on the selected widgets.

Yesterday we overviewed Sourcing, Supplier Management, and Risk. Today we are going to overview Contracts, Spend Analysis, and Platform Administration.


Contract Management in Mercanis is straightforward contract document management with a sprinkle of contract creation capability. It stores all of the contracts and associated metadata, including the supplier, active term, value, type, and status (which is draft, pending, active, inactive, and archived by default). It’s easy to search, filter, retrieve, and view a contract at any time. Viewing takes the buyer to the summary screen, from which the user can drill into more detailed screens on payment, linked documents and contracts, stakeholders, relevant clauses, and other (custom) information screens as appropriate to the contract type. The system also supports the definition of tags and contracts can be tagged to categories or conditions of interest, such as sensitive of personal data, auto-renewing, special initiatives, and so on.

Uploading a contract in the Mercanis platform is easy. You drag and drop the document and it auto-extracts most of the key meta data elements that are described in the platform using OCR and advanced NLP. It’s not perfect (no system is, no matter how much fancy AI the systems claim), but it’s easy for the user to override any extract data that is not quite what they want, or not found, and index into the relevant part of the contract.

Finally, contract queries can be search and filter on metadata or Natural Language chat, which will learn from repeated use and adapt to the user’s natural language queries over time.


Basic Spend Analysis is integrated into the core and allows the user to select filterable widgets and dashboards that show spend by category, cost center, supplier, and other major identifier in the system (contract, sourcing event, etc.). It is instantiated with AP data on system implementation, which the system auto-maps to your pre-defined category taxonomy using (auto-generated) mapping rules consisting of suppliers and keywords/phrases/abbreviations/tags in the line item descriptions (identified by AI and curated by humans) and provides sourcing professionals insights from the date of go-live.

As with every other modern platform, it’s easy to drill into the categories (and sub-categories), suppliers, cost centers/business units, and contracts and see the associated transactions. Filters will also allow limiting to date ranges or other record values of interest. And it’s very easy to pop-up a supplier profile from a spend analytics widget or screen or a contract as the analytics, while basic compared to best-of-breed spend analysis tools, are fully integrated.


When it comes to platform administration, it is highly configurable by the organizational administrators. This administration includes the ability to configure approval paths, role groups, individual users, and workspaces (which roles can be limited to) as well as the company information your suppliers see about you. (It’s such a simple concept, but even many SRM platforms don’t make it easy for a supplier to access the customer information about you that they need as a supplier.) There can be different approval paths for every workflow including, but not limited to, supplier onboarding, sourcing (intake) request approval, sourcing awards, and contract approvals, including conditional/branching approvals based on arbitrary fields (such as amounts over or under 50K, product/service category, etc.). These flows can be built using a visual approval workflow builder that can support all standard Boolean logic and if/then/case conditionals.

Let’s dive into workspace configuration, as this is one of the most unique capabilities. The platform supports the definition of as many workspaces as you want, where each workspace can have its own dashboard, its own subset of modules, restricted/no admin access, approval workflows, and templates. Most importantly, a role can be associated with a workspace and when a user is associated with role, that is the workspace, and the only workspace, they will see when they log in. If necessary, the platform can support hyper-personalization natively.

In addition to the platform administration capabilities outlined above, the organization can define business units, manage its category tree (for sourcing and the built in spend analysis), define it’s default meta data requirements by contract type, visually manage all platform workflows (across all modules), manage its currency exchange rates, define its (supplier/RFQ) ratings, and define and manage the data collection templates for every module in the system including supplier data collection forms, pricing sheets, RFP questionnaires, and contract/document templates.

When it comes to workflows, just like the platform can support as many workspaces as you like, it can support as many workflows as you like for each process supported by the module. For example, you can not only have a different sourcing workflow for each category, but you can have multiple workflows based on expected spend. You can have different supplier onboarding workflows depending on category, geography, or a combination thereof (for example), different contract / document creation and management workflows (in addition to approval), and so on. And each can be linked to the associated module in the associated workspace. Highly configurable.

Workflow definition is enabled by the rule builder which is very flexible, and just like approval workflows, is completely visual, supports all Boolean logic, and allows rules to be easily defined in a rule chain that defines the category/ies, role group(s), workspace(s), discriminator (such as budget amount), and action (which can itself kick off another workflow).

The pricing sheets are very flexible and essentially act as mini-spreadsheets embedded in the sourcing tool. Allows for detailed cost break downs and calculations in both sourcing events, and analytic comparisons. The templates can have any number of elements and support all standard HTML components.


The system can be implemented and configured for go-live in as little as two weeks, as long as the relevant supplier dataset and spend history can be provided day one and is complete enough that their processes can sufficiently classify the AP data on the first pass to the point that they can complete the processing with manual intervention within the timeframe. Note that the buying organization can choose to load all suppliers, all suppliers used within the last x months or years, or just currently active suppliers that will be used in sourcing events.

Mercanis is a great new entry to the mid-market Source-to-Contract space, especially considering all of the acquisitions and roll-ups of the last 5 years or so that took a lot of companies out of the mid-market and into the enterprise suite game. If you’re looking for a new S2C solution, and especially if you are based in Europe, Mercanis will make a great addition to your shortlist. It’s come a long way in a short time and the doctor has no reason to believe that they won’t continue to make significant progress, and add significant value, over the next few years while maintaining a price-point the mid-market can afford.