Daily Archives: April 15, 2024

ADAPTONE: A Dynamic Adaptable Provider Tool Of Network Enablement: Supplier Management for Utilities, Construction, O&G and other Complex Industry Management

While the doctor has never covered AdaptOne on Sourcing Innovation, he did cover them in their early days over on Spend Matters back in 2018 in a 3-Part Vendor Analysis he co-authored (and yes, his credit was lost on this one too with the Spend Matters site migration) with The Prophet (Part I, Part II, and Part III, ContentHub subscription required).

As noted in 2018, AdaptOne is is a heavily customizable SIM solution where every implementation is different, customized to the precise needs of the customer. This makes it different from its peers, which generally sell “modules” that are easily bounded and definable. Furthermore, AdaptOne’s configuration is heavily centred on supplier registration, on-boarding as well as data collection and maintenance workflows, and can support as many validations as required. This is because AdaptOne leverages a business process management (BPM) development and deployment orientation as well as having a strong business consulting capability that includes the ability to work with a customer to design the perfect registration and on-boarding workflows, no matter how complicated and sophisticated, and implement the right overall “solution” on top of it.

At the time we noted that its strengths were:

  • extreme customizability
  • deep support for compliance and diversity
  • scorecards
  • onboarding
  • back-office capabilities

And it’s weaknesses were

  • No front-end BPM
  • Limited DIY scorecard capability
  • Performance Management is primarily survey
  • No DIY API

So what’s new? In a nutshell, nothing. And. Everything. Sorry, but you’ll have to read on.

The strengths are the same, and you can now add:

  • quick configurability and implementation in their core verticals that they have a lot of experience in and know well, no matter how customized your needs are (in under 3 months they can model, and implement, multiple workflows that would make the heads spin on the Big X Consultancy implementation teams if you suggested they had less than a year)
  • deep knowledge of compliance, health and safety, and insurance requirements that they can help you check, track, and report on (esp. in North America)
  • integration to (financial) risk data providers

And it’s weaknesses are the same, not because they don’t have the answer, but because their capabilities are so complex, you need (expert) training to understand what they’ve built (or they would have to build an advanced no-code process builder and automation platform on par with Tonkean to make it usable by the average person; and a small company can only specialize in one kind of powerful platform, so they chose to specialize in deep supplier management capabilities that didn’t exist when they started)


  • there’s no front-end BPM configuration for the average user because literally everything in the platform is configurable
  • they’ve chosen to hide the scorecard builder as scorecards are highly configurable on what they can capture, the formulas that can score them, the multi-user weightings you can build, the data you can pull in (through a custom integration) vs. survey response, etc. you can restrict sections, time at regular intervals, scale, etc. etc. etc.
  • unless you have systems that you can integrate with to pull in performance data, supplier performance has to be survey or data entry, and they don’t have an open API builder due to the ease with which a user could mess up an integration with the extent of data they can pull in and the extent to which the process can be controlled
  • as everything is configurable, it’s hard to build an API usable by an average developer that takes standard data into standard fields with standard processes without building a full no-code process builder as those are customized by client (which means you have to develop at a level of abstraction that is beyond the comfort level of most configurators)

So what is AdaptOne? In short, it’s a supplier onboarding / information management / compliance / performance management platform that can be highly customized for complex project industries like utilities/energy, construction, and oil & gas that can be customized to the exact customer organization needs, which can be quite complex when the organization has to ensure that the supplier:

  • is a valid entity that can operate in the jurisdiction(s) (of relevance)
  • adheres to the necessary health & safety standards
  • has the necessary certifications
  • has the necessary insurance
  • has the appropriate capabilities
  • provides certified products
  • can provide the appropriate information for ESG reporting
  • has verifiable diversity / minority claims
  • accepts and agrees to the organization’s terms & conditions
  • … and provides this information for every location where it is needed

And that last requirement is the kicker. If you’re doing business with a supplier in multiple jurisdictions (which, FYI, can be province/state-level in some countries), you will have different requirements with respect to the acts in force that you need to adhere to, and most platforms just collect, and associate, this information at the supplier level. And that results in either the platform just tracking the lowest common denominator of information or suppliers self-selecting out of being a service provider when asked to provide an onslaught of documentation not relevant to them (when they only want to serve the buyer in one, localized, jurisdiction). This, of course, leads to less competition, higher costs, and lower service levels for the buyer.

The onboarding part of the application is not only highly configurable, but highly flexible to allow for not just customization by buyer and supplier (based on industry, geographic area, and products/services they intend to provide), but by supplier role — as the buyer can configure multiple roles on behalf of the supplier that can be used to limit which rep (or third party acting on the supplier behalf) has access to which part(s) of the profile that they can fill in (or submit updates to), can see exactly what information was provided or changed (and just that information), and can define different roles within their organization to review, approve, and (possibly) lock it down.

As with all good Procurement applications, it maintains a complete, unalterable, filterable audit log that tracks all actions by all parties, whether or not a submission, or a change, was accepted, so you can maintain the records you need to demonstrate your organization is making best effort to verify that all suppliers are compliant with all of the regulations the organization is subject to.

Furthermore, they can also integrate with your ERP or other system of record and keep all data in sync, as well as maintain a record of the last sync and immediately notify you if the data may be out of synch with the supplier (due to an unreviewed submission) or the ERP.

The supplier profiles are among the deepest of any SXM provider out there. The only profiles that go deeper out of the box are those from Supplhi, which is another specialist SXM vendor for direct/MRO procurement (and requires equally deep profiles for their A&D, Manufacturing, and CPG clients).

And management during onboarding, (mandatory) annual compliance updates, and random updates submitted during the year (when the supplier wants to support the buyer in more jurisdictions and decides to submit the necessary information proactively, or changes their insurance, or obtains a new certification, etc.) is incredibly easy as they can build as many review and approval queues as necessary, which can operate in sequence or parallel, and be visible to (just) those who need it. No searching for a supplier, or searching by supplier state, it’s all automated for onboarding, update, and information management efficiency. It will even alert you to set up required scorecards or necessary ([semi-]annual) reviews.

Search is, of course, fully functional and is across all fields and can be filtered to any subset of interest, allowing you to quickly find any supplier, or group, of interest.

Furthermore, AdaptOne recognizes that this data is needed for mandatory reporting requirements and makes it super easy to export all of the data, or any subset, to Excel for easy import to your organization’s reporting templates. They also provide standard out-of-the-box dashboards for summarizing different supplier states, process times, diversity, diversity spend (if you integrate with your spend analytics application), insurance levels, compliant suppliers, etc. and can quickly build any dashboards and reports your organization needs during configuration.

Scorecards can be configured to capture whatever is desired, with respect to any supplier subset, review team, scoring, and weighting system, on whatever basis is desired. This is vague, but that’s because they are not limited in the platform. You can have separate scorecards for Health & Safety, Performance, Product Quality, Contractor Services, etc. or combine them into a master scorecard with separate sections filled out by separate individuals. And you can even have Subcontractor Scorecards, which can rollup to a single services scorecard, if you are using a services organization that subcontracts subsets of services (such as telcos and cable providers that will subcontract installations or energy utilities that will subcontract connection/disconnection/plant construction/commissioning services). This is not something you see often (if at all).

End-user configuration is limited to what the user generally needs to do (their basic profile, communication preferences, language and currency settings, etc.) as part of their focus on simplicity and customization by role or function (as many of these organizations are not tech companies and don’t have time to learn yet another software stack), but they can extend that for buyer organizations that are above average in terms of technical sophistication (but have found that most of their clients prefer a simple application where their users can’t mess with the processes and settings they want enforced).

However, their administration control panel, limited to their consultants or trained buyer admins, is exceedingly powerful and can configure roles and groups down to field level permissions if needed, and, once users are assigned to roles and groups, the default permissions can be overridden to the extent required. All widgets / dashboards in the application can be customized, jobs can be scheduled based on highly specific activation criteria, and all application configurations can be inspected. As needed, select admin functions are made available to the buyer, such as manual pushes/synchs to the ERP, login key generation, integration configurations (if keys, licenses, etc. need to be reset). etc.

With respect to integrations, they can integrate with your risk management data or ESG data provider, your ERP (and have integrated with the majority of standard ERPs used by their target industries), and even your I2P/AP system (and your suppliers can log into one supplier portal and immediately answer 90% of their common inquiries without ever having to call you which are typically, in order: 1. when am I getting paid 2. did you approve the invoice 3. did you get the invoice 4. did you get the document 5. did you get the quote … etc.).

The AdaptOne Matrix

All AdaptOne‘s customers also have access to the AdaptOneMATRIX supplier database that they can use for supplier discovery. With over 10 million suppliers, the database is very comprehensive and provides customers with an extensive selection of suppliers to fulfill the majority of their sourcing requirements. Search can be very detailed and results refined by company name, keyword(s), status, vendor code, target supplier groups, and certifications, among other search criteria.

The results returned will have a complete high level supplier profile that will consist of name, location, company overview, contact, website, diversity and compliance certifications, and area(s) of primary offering(s).

The platform was built over time to encapsulate the almost two decades of experience they have in supporting their mid-size (read national / small multi-national) customers in complex industries with complex supplier management requirements and make it as easy as possible for the average person involved in the process to do their job. And they have achieved that goal with distinction. the doctor would say that AdaptOne is definitely a top 3 global platform for mid-size companies in Utilities, Construction, and O&G and should definitely be on the shortlist of any of these organizations on the market for a modern supplier management solution.