Solution Smash-Up! PROPHETic Vision or Magic 8-Ball!

A few weeks ago, THE PROPHET, who noted he was often asked about which disparate providers and/or solutions might work well together (as part of his strategy and M&A work), said that the answer(s) always depend on hard dollars and common sense in a recent article on LinkedIn.

He noted that there were questions that could be asked to help make the determination between any two specific providers and/or solutions, which included:

  • From a TAM perspective, will it increase the TAM beyond 1+2=2?
  • Does it add additional ideal customer profiles or elevate the solutions to the C-Suite?
  • Does it open up additional GTM strategies and channels?

… but also noted that you can go beyond just payments with AP (traditionally Treasury and Accounting), and provided five examples of solution smash-ups that were a bit more “radical”. In a nutshell, with only minor paraphrasing, these were:

1. Intake Management, “light” e-Pro, and GPO.

This makes perfect sense — there’s a reason intake pre-dates stand-alone intake solutions (Zycus launched iRequest back in 2015, almost nine years ago), and that’s because intake and e-Pro go well together; adding in the GPO allows the organization to take advantage of better prices for regular purchases and makes sense.

2. Contract Management and Price Compliance.

The whole point of contracts is to lock in commitments, which are useless if not realized. Integrating contract management into a price monitoring solution, be it part of e-Pro or AP or payments, is a great choice.

3. Third-Party Risk and Working Capital Management.

Before a cash outlay, or an agreement thereto, it’s a good idea to understand the risk.

4. Spend Analytics and BOM/Part-Level Management.

Well, this already exists in some specialists — mainly in electronics (think Levadata and SupplyFrame), but other players are popping up in other verticals as well. (Sievo and Scalue do a great job of doing direct material or part analysis; and Scalue’s material categorization is great for direct management.)

5. Solve Supplier Supervison Sheol

A few companies are starting to make good progress here on “on-boarding, 3PRM, cyber, GRC, and ESG in one place”. Think Brooklyn Solutions, for example.

So, 3 for 5 on new ideas for solution smash up.

The real question is, what solutions could we smash-up that that, on an initial analysis, shouldn’t increase the TAM, elevate the sale, or open up obvious new GTM solutions … because that’s the smash-up no one will see coming, that we won’t see twenty new entrants next year (where ten will ultimately fail), and that will create the new unicorn. And for this, we’ll need to extend Source-to-Play further into the enterprise.

Here are three smash-ups that might seem strange on the surface, but if look deep, and innovate, you can see how they might just be one of the next break-out solutions.

A. Payroll, Benefits, CLM, SOW, and Sourcing Optimization

Manage all people-related spend in one application to balance employees vs. contractors vs. services firms to balance cost vs. risk (of knowledge walking out the door, resources not being available, etc.)

B. WIMS, Distributor Marketplace, and central e-Procurement Catalog

Optimize not only inventory balance between the local office/warehouse/retail outlet, central warehouse, and distributors and guide the buyer to the right inventory at the right time, auto-replenishing as needed.

C. MRP, Assembly Line Control, Quality Control, and Order Management

Continuously monitor materials coming in, used, defect rate, and intelligently re-order against an existing contract as needed.

Of course, if you want to be the next magical unicorn, you’ll have to get even more radical. Anyone have an idea for a solution smashup that makes almost no sense on the surface but, if you get radical, could revolutionize the space? (If so, and you need a prescription to help flesh it out, you know who to call.)