Category Archives: Auctions

OneMarket Sources Your Contracts with Insights in its new Integrated Source-to-Contract Portfolio

LogicSource was founded in 2009 by experienced professionals who wanted to improve sourcing and procurement in organizations that didn’t have the knowledge, experience, and infrastructure to execute in an efficient, effective, and transparent manner. Their view was that every consultancy can offer advice, but not every consultancy can help the customer implement that advice and get results.

In order to do this, they built an in-house product which they released to the market as OneMarket three years later, and which we covered here on Sourcing Innovation back in 2014 when we discussed their Interesting Solution for Sourcing Projects. In 2018, they released OneMarket Insights which was followed by OneMarket Portfolio, Sourcing, and Contracts in 2020. Then, a year and a half ago (in 2022 Q4) they released a new version with a new UX which tightly integrated their Insights, Portfolio, Contracts, Sourcing, and Supplier Management (and P2P, which will be covered in a separate update) modules.

The new UX and design, which was built with intake and visibility in mind, and their new Portfolio Management capability, was built with one goal: to be the for the indirect Sourcing Professional who needed a platform, and a third party, to help with Sourcing and Procurement, and, more specifically, an easy way to follow along, provide input where needed, and learn to take over sourcing programs, projects, and processes when they are ready.


Sourcing in OneMarket is organized into Programs, which are broken down into Sourcing Projects that are managed within the OneMarket Portfolio product. The meaning of each Program is organization dependent, and allows organizations to structure their sourcing efforts by category, department, budget authority, etc. depending on what makes the most sense for the organization. For example, a Retailer may want a Program by geographic region or organizational category (Internal, Services, Resale, etc.), and projects by individual goods and services being sourced (IT, Office Suppliers, and MRO for internal; Legal, Janitorial, and Marketing for services; individual goods categories for resale).

Programs will require very little definition to define — as little as a name and an ID can set the Program up (if the organizational users understand their individual portfolios) as most of the detail is in the associated projects. When it comes to projects, it just needs a corresponding program, a category, an owner and a leader, an expense type, a starting date, an expected cutover date, an expected savings (effective) date, a priority, and an estimate of the value and effort (as a few indicators help with the future analysis and system level statistics).

Projects in OneMarket go beyond just the initial sourcing event and live from the time they are created until the last unit of the good or service is delivered as the OneMarket platform was built to track projects from start to finish, as well as savings and process (time) statistics. Projects also support detailed project plans with as many milestones as desired, each with their own start and end dates. The system will also track the actual end dates, the estimated versus actual duration, and allow the buyer to do analytics across projects.

Furthermore, projects can be templated for quick launch and LogicSource can provide the customer organization with a set of project plans that cover the breadth of their sourcing categories for a quick start upon LogicSource engagement and OneMarket go live. In addition, the Sourcing platform contains an attachment library that can be used to store all standard eligibility documents, contracts, product specifications, and other documents that need to be regularly used in projects. LogicSource can help the client organization load this on implementation to further simplify quick and easy project creation.

After every milestone is complete, the buyer can record key developments, (remaining) issues, next steps, and update the current project status. In this way, a complete project record is maintained in the application. This not only serves as an audit trail but allows the client to have a record of what happened they can refer back to in the future. This way, when the client is ready to take over more activity on their own, they have a guide for future instantiations of the project.

Projects can also be associated with strategies, (project) types, and event types. For example, it can be a cost avoidance event centered around an RFP, a cost savings event centered around an auction, or a supply assurance event centered around a contract renewal. Once the sourcing event project is created, the buyer defines the prerequisites for supplier participation (must agree to the payment terms and delivery timeframes, must complete the environmental assessment, must complete the security assessment, etc.), selects the suppliers, defines the schedules, attaches any necessary documents that must be agreed to and completed, and when the buyer is ready, it goes out to the supplier.

Projects in OneMarket Sourcing are completely document centric, including bidding, which centers around bid sheets compatible with every Procurement Professional and Sales Professional’s favourite tool — Microsoft Excel. When we say centers around bid sheets, we actually mean it is entirely based on the bid-sheets as there is no in-tool bidding (or even bid-comparison, you need to use an analytics solution for that). This is contrary to most sourcing platforms which have in-tool bidding and bid-sheet export and import (usually in a rigid format), but this is because they primarily support organizations that want Sourcing-as-a-Service/Procurement-as-a-Service (from LogicSource), are used to working in documents and sheets, and want to stay with what they are comfortable with.

Unlike big self-serve suite platforms that try to be everything to everyone, LogicSource has found that the companies bringing them in for help are overworked, understaffed, need to get more spend under control, and just need to run more sourcing events — and do so without having to adapt to a new tool or drown in the details for low-cost, low-volume, tactical, or tail spend. For them, this means the ability to quickly instantiate a project, send out the documents, get the results, select a winner, cut a contract or append to a master contract, and keep going — and do so with the tools they already use every day — email, Word/Adobe and Excel. Their redesign went document-centric because this is what the subset of the market they serve go after. Some of their customers in retail and food and beverage have teams of less than ten (10), and sometimes five (5), responsible for eight (8), nine (9) and even ten (10) figure events and their ability to focus on just what they need to is paramount — this is especially common in their market suite spot of 500M to 5B companies that have smaller Procurement departments.

Similarly, their platform was re-built from the ground up to support third party organization observation and management, allowing them to run higher-volume, higher cost, and/or strategic events for their customers and let them observe or serve as the project owner for the events they don’t want to manage themselves, which they run while the customers observe.

Once a bid sheet is accepted, the key commercial terms can be captured in the project as well as the total addressable spend and target savings, and all of the commercial terms can be pushed into the contract module that captures everything Legal needs to craft the contract. Once the post-sourcing procurement process starts, after each invoice is paid, the buyer can track the approved savings (as well as the date the savings were approved).

Supplier Management

The Supplier Management module, which tightly integrates with the Sourcing and P2P modules, maintains supplier information. In addition to the standard supplier information, it also stores the categories that the supplier provides products and services in, with the ability to associate the supplier all the way down to Level 3.

Core information associated with a supplier are its NAICS, DUNS, and EIN number, diversity status, and location. It also stores contact information, associated documents, eligibility status (for inclusion in sourcing events), and associates the supplier with all sourcing events it is part of.

As with Sourcing, Supplier Management is document based, including eligibility. For each prerequisite, the supplier uploads a document, possibly a revised (executed) version, and then it is a buyer’s decision as to whether the (executed) document meets the eligibility requirement or not.

Note that the standard information fields are not yet extensible (but this capability is planned for a future release), but you can add and associate as many forms as you like to keep track of relevant supplier information. The Supplier Management module was not designed to be a supplier master, as most companies have ERPs/MRPs that house the master data, but to house all of the relevant data for Sourcing and Procurement and help the organization keep the master data up to date, as they can push updates to the ERP (as well as pull suppliers in for onboarding during system implementation).

When it comes to onboarding, LogicSource manages the onboarding and helps the suppliers with any questions or issues they have or training they need, making it as easy as possible for the client to determine supplier eligibility, conduct sourcing events, or just follow along with what a LogicSource sourcing professional is doing on their behalf.

Contract Management

The contract management system is primarily a governance system that revolves around a contract repository of all contracts which are indexed by appropriate contract detail metadata. The system captures all of the commercial terms that come out of the sourcing event for the Legal team to cut and negotiate the contract, and once the contract is signed and executed, it captures all of the relevant metadata (through AI extraction that can be corrected and augmented by the user) and allows for contract management from that point on.

Key information includes company, supplier, parent contract (if it’s a subcontract to a master), category, owners, effective and expiry dates, and associated sourcing event. Currently, it can also store up to 84 fields per contract, including related party information, renewal and termination details (and associated alerts), pricing & payment details, key terms, associated attachments, etc.

Search is quite advanced and can be on any collection of meta data fields.

Analytics / Insights

OneMarket Insights is a service-driven solution designed first and foremost to provide the client with insights, and not necessarily deep analytics — although that is there if you have the right depth of data and are willing to learn how to use the Do-It-Yourself Cube Explorer.

Integral to the analytics process is the preparation of a normalized, categorized and enriched spend dataset where various sources of spend data, including P2P, ERP, Expenses and Card data files are consolidated by LogicSource into a single spend dataset, which is then enriched to extend the number of data fields available for the analysis experience. Each month the most recent spend data is ingested into this tool so customers always have the last month’s spend data on hand.

The solution revolves around a set of custom developed and delivered dashboards that are relevant to your organization and your efforts, as determined during the initial needs assessment and the results of the initial spend assessment exercise that looks at 16 different standard spend views across spend, compliance, and traditional opportunities. The standard areas that LogicSource will look at, once they get all of the relevant data integrated and loaded, are:


  • By Company / Division – how is the spend breaking down across companies or divisions
  • L1 Category – what are the top categories of spend
  • L2 Category – what are the top subcategories
  • Suppliers – what are the top suppliers
  • Sourcing Segment & Tier – how does the spend breakdown under an ABC analysis
  • Buying Channel – how does the spend breakdown by buying channel


  • Purchase Order – how much is on PO
  • After-the-Fact Purchase Order – how much is on after-the-fact PO
  • Payment – how many payments are compliant with terms
  • Spend Under Contract (by Category) – how much category spend is contracted
  • Spend Under Contract (by Supplier) – how much supplier spend is contracted
  • IT Spend on Expenses/Cards – a policy view of what IT spend should be on PO/Invoice


  • Unmanaged Spend – usually one of the largest opportunities
  • Top Suppliers by L2 – large opportunity if NOT under contract
  • Monopolies – single sources can be uncompetitive
  • Fragments – overly fragment spend presents opportunities as well

Once LogicSource gets an understanding of the organization’s spend, they work with the organization to customize dashboards that will provide the management, sourcing professionals, and analysts with the insight they need to track spend, do fact-based negotiations, and identify potential opportunities for future sourcing, supply base consolidation, payment term standardization, and other initiatives.

They will start with their standard dashboards for Spend, Compliance, Opportunity, Variance, Supplier Analysis, Category Manager, and Diversity, customize them to the most relevant metrics and insight, and promote the most insightful metrics to the CPO and/or CFO Dashboards.

Dashboards have the standard, expected, interlinked views that can be filtered on any and all data dimensions. For example, the Category Manager dashboard overviews spend by category, top 10 suppliers for the categories in view (all, some or just one), invoice supplier count by category, spend trend by quarter and volume, graphical views by country and state for key countries, PO compliance, Payment Performance, and Spend Metrics, etc. The Diversity dashboard summarizes key metrics, suppliers by diversity type, diverse spend trends, and other information of interest to the company and can be broken down by category if the organization has the raw data.

It’s not just limited to spend data, should the organization have the appropriate metadata, they also have a contract clause summary dashboard that allows the organization to query contract statistics by expiration, summary, status, type, category, payment terms, renewal terms, termination type/terms, privacy clause presence, FCPA clause presence, PII clause presence, etc.

The heart of the insights application is the cube explorer that allows the user to select any dimension as a row, any dimension as a column, and any of these as aggregates for pivot-table based exploration of the spend. With the cube explorer it is possible for the analyst to drill in and see any cross section of the data they deem appropriate, and, of course, when they get down to the L3 Category by Supplier by Quarter by Division, for example, they can drill down to the source transactions.

The cube explorer can work on any cube supported by the application, and the application can support as many cubes as you like. Whereas some spend analytics applications try to build one master cube that will support all of the analytics that a user is expected to perform, LogicSource realized that one cube is not always enough. First of all, if you try to augment a record with every piece of data possible, the cube will become bloated to the point of uselessness when the cube gets so large that you can’t do real time drill downs. Secondly, if there are hundreds of fields in a record, the record becomes incomprehensible. Thirdly, it doesn’t make sense to mix spend data with detailed contract data with detailed product data etc. Moreover, sometimes you just want to look at a subset of data, or federate only some of the data across systems.

In addition to the cube explorer, there is also the cube manager that allows the user to select the cube of interest and the cube viewer, which allows the user to easily manipulate any bookmarked cube view that was custom tailored for a specific purpose through easy on-off filters on each dimension and easy drill downs. This is especially useful when the data has been segmented into tiers (strategic, tactical, tail; ABC, etc.) through aggregation and you want to get to the largest tier 2 / 3 unmanaged categories or the categories with the largest variance (if the organization has detailed line item data available). (Any customized view in the view explorer can be bookmarked by a user.)

In other words, it’s a considerably more powerful spend analysis solution than one might expect from a services-based firm (since the user can define aggregates and derived dimensions and measures using complex formulas in the cube explorer), but it does depend on the right cubes being defined, the data being appropriately categorized, and the data being refreshed regularly. This work is all done by LogicSource, as they do not support self-serve categorization, updates, or enrichment. They can also enrich and standardize your supplier data during the process, as well as create a supplier ownership cube that tracks parent-child relationships. And, of course, if you want your data enriched from third party diversity, risk, or compliance sources, they can do that as well.

The LogicSource process is to work with the organization to help them define the right taxonomy, and the majority of clients use a subset of the LogicSource 3-Level indirect taxonomy with over 500 Level 3 sub-sub-categories (that LogicSource has refined based on over a dozen years of sourcing projects), while the minority use a customized version that starts with the LogicSource taxonomy as a base and customizes it to specific needs. Once the taxonomy is defined, LogicSource works with the client to identify the appropriate data sources; extract the data, do the mappings, cleansing, and cross-system enrichment; and build the initial cubes for data review and verification. Then they replicate and customize their standard dashboards to support each user (type) that will be using the application, and, finally, they define a refresh interval where they will handle all the updates and verifications of the data. All data is tagged by source, so that the user always knows the source of the data, and can even compare data (and totals) across systems, which is useful to identify any potential process and data gaps and leakage, which could signify process abuse, waste, or even fraud within the organization that needs to be stopped immediately. Note that while they automate the categorization and updates, there is a “human in the loop” for all initial classification, so no matter what technique they use, the data is always verified.

Finally, in addition to cubes and dashboards, they can also automatically generate reports of interest on a schedule and share/send those to affected and interested parties. As they can be output to Excel with all the underlying data, this also enables offline data exploration as well.

Furthermore, since they realize that most clients who haven’t had a proper analytics solution before or done analytics don’t always know where to start, their offering includes training on what to look for and how to use the tool to get the client going as well as a number of work-alongside projects and monthly review sessions to keep their clients on track.


LogicSource OneMarket platform is an indirect sourcing suite that was custom designed for companies that wanted a services-led solution where the provider either handled key sourcing events for them, where they followed along and provided input on the goal and the bids, or where they handled tactical or lower cost categories, but could tag in the services firm for guidance or help as-needed as their sourcing/account manager always had visibility and could tag in help when he needed it.

As such it has more functionality than one might initially expect (as classical S2C offerings from services-centric firms didn’t always compete well with best-in-class pure SaaS providers), and offers a solid solution for mid-market and larger firms that have a lot of indirect spend and need assistance getting it under control. And while some features may not be best in class or on par with standard expectations (e.g. no in line bid comparison in RFX), they were developed to support the processes typically used by over worked, under resourced, and tech inexperienced Procurement shops that wanted to be able to use their tools of comfort (documents, spreadsheets, traditional data repositories) but still have a best-in-class Sourcing Process. So if you’re looking for services-led or services-supported integrated Source-to-Contract solution for indirect spend, the new iteration of LogicSource‘s OneMarket is one you should definitely check out.

Is Your Strategic Operational Sourcing Not Succinct Enough? Maybe You Need A DeepStream To Tackle That SOS Problem.

DeepStream is a Source-to-Contract (S2C) platform that was founded in 2016 in London, England to empower midsized organizations with affordable, modern, streamlined, but still sufficiently deep source-to-contract capability that would empower their customers to be more efficient, get more spend under management (and savings, or at least cost avoidance in today’s inflationary economy), and award with confidence.

DeepStream was founded by practitioners with experience, built with the guidance of expert consultants and industry leaders and beta customers, and overseen by former implementation consultants with a lot of experience implementing the S2C Mega-Suites (and who know all the issues customers have in implementing, integrating, and maintaining those systems as well as all the reasons they aren’t always the best solution for the mid-market) who are continually developing and improving the system over time.

While DeepStream is designed to very customizeable and very general purpose (and works great for indirect/finished goods and services in general), because it is impossible to be everything to everyone (even though the Big Suites will claim they are), especially from a consulting/guidance perspective, they are highly focussed on the industries their founders are experts in and related industries. Specifically, they are focussed heavily on Energy & Renewable Energy (and O&G), Utilities, MRO, Site/Port Operations, and Consultancies that support these sectors (be they public, private, or quasi — such as public funded, privately managed). (These are the sectors in which they have the process expertise to help you set up your category templates to streamline your sourcing efforts … more on this later.)

The platform started as a core sourcing platform (RFX and Auction), and evolved to support Supplier Information Management, Contract Management (primarily Governance in Sourcing Innovation Terminology), and now offers a public Supplier Network of almost 10,000 suppliers that grows daily (and significantly with every new client. This may sound small compared to the suite supplier networks that claim millions of suppliers, but you need to remember three things: 1] many of these mega-suite networks reach their number by simply importing every government business registry globally, and nowhere near that many suppliers are active in their customer base; 2] DeepStream are focussed on a particular set of sectors which don’t have a super large supply base, and all of their suppliers have been verified as active and being interacted with; and 3] DeepStream expects your ERP/MRP/P2P/AP to be the supplier master and advocates customers only import active suppliers).


Sourcing revolves around a templated event structure, which can be setup by a Full User, the DeepStream services team, or both. (On implementation they will work with you to setup one template per category, as that is their recommended best practice. They have found that trying to cover multiple categories with one template misses the nuances of the individual categories and requires too much customization for every event, and having multiple per category with only slight differences by product/service makes management and upkeep too much work.) These event templates don’t just capture the RFI/P/Q requests, but all stages, including, but not limited to NDA, Onboarding, Prequalification (which can be separate from the RFI to avoid repeated RFIs), RFI, Initial Bid Collection, e-Auction, etc. etc. etc.

When an event is instantiated from a template, which requires only some basic information (name and dates), it will have a pre-populated summary, stages, details, a default evaluation matrix, a team, a starting set of suppliers, and possibly an e-Auction. The buyer can quickly access each event section of each stage and customize as needed. The application supports all standard HTML form functionality for data collection, makes it super easy to build sections, subsections, and questions for data collection, just as easy to build grids for bidding (that can collect all cost elements associated with a product or service, including complex rate cards), even easier to upload bids from a spreadsheet and, if desired, even cut-and-paste spreadsheet/Excel based bids (because it’s not just the favourite tool of a Procurement organization that doesn’t have modern tech, but the favourite tool of Supplier Reps as well). In addition, once instantiated, the event structure is not locked, the request owner or super user can modify it as needed (if more time needs to be added to a stage due to technical or communication issue, if another stage needs to be added because the responses are not differentiated or competitive enough or more requirements are added, and so forth).

Reverse Auctions have a very simple and clean UX and were designed to be easy to grasp, and use, by both buyers and supplier bidders. There is also integrated chat for real-time communication if needed. Buyers see the current total lot cost and suppliers see the current lowest bids, or their rank, in a public or blind manner, and can keep bidding until the time is up or they’ve given their best and final bid.

Evaluation is done using a grid structure on each relevant event section, where sections can be added or removed, by one or more evaluators, who can see all of the bids and responses side by side, including either full details or just summary, filtering down to just what they need to make an evaluation (and eventual award if the event is completely price-based). In a summary evaluation, they can click into the full response history or bid details (especially if the product was broken down into multiple cost components) and if it’s a multi-evaluator event, drill in to see the individual evaluator scores. There’s no graphical representation for bids just yet, but they have added BAFO (Best And Final Offer) capability to clearly designate final bids as well as automatically computing the deltas in bid responses in both percentage (%) and dollar ($) value, which are highlighted in the comparison view. Additional enhanced valuation functionality is planned for future releases.

One very unique feature of the platform is built-in support for collaborators. Most platforms make it easy to add other organizational users, but not so easy to add consultants who are helping on specific categories or projects. In the DeepStream platform, you can define collaborator organizations and users within these organizations and then, on an event, or stage [“page”], basis grant collaborators access at whatever level of access they need (read, comment, evaluate, write, etc.). This means that the platform is also great for niche consultancies as they can add their client as a collaborator and give key stakeholders visibility while managing everything on the customer’s behalf. (And, of course, it’s super easy to add organizational users to each page and grant them the precise level of access they need.)

A second very unique feature is their document management capability. Most RFX platforms just allow upload, with simple version tracking, and that’s it. The DeepStream platform understands there is a workflow around document management, especially where contracts and detailed specifications must be agreed to, and has a detailed set of process-centric statuses that can be associated with each document uploaded (for information only, upload requested, upload deviation, accept, etc. — modifiable by the client if desired) so both sides clearly understand where the document is in a request or negotiation cycle, as well as the ability to tag in-platform messaging to a document, which not only allows for audit trails to be queried at the document level but allows for in-platform discussions around documents to be captured and not only centralizes document communications (which get lost in email) but simplifies acceptance and approvals (of contract-related documents).

Contract Governance

The system allows the storage and management of contracts — which are currently defined as a collection of documents and bids accepted by both sides that are included in an award. The user can define the start and end dates, milestones, review periods and notifications and the platform will notify the appropriate parties when a milestone is do (so the appropriate individual can login and execute that milestone when it is completed, which may include notes or documentation), when a mandatory review has been completed (along with appropriate documentation and possibly future milestone steps if a corrective action is needed), or when a renewal/termination date is coming up on a contract. They don’t have integrated e-signature yet, but it is coming. Nor can they output everything to one single amalgamated PDF, but they haven’t found that to be necessary when most of the documents in the system are stored as DOCX or PDF, and it’s much easier for a user to find and extract just the information they need (original contract, delivery schedule, pricing, spec sheet, etc.) when a contract is stored as a “package” of documents and related system artifacts.

Supplier Management

The foundation of Supplier Management in the platform is the Network where all uploaded suppliers have a common, basic profile, that consists of basic organizational identifies (name, business ids, primary location[s], primary contact[s], etc.), the UNSPSC codes that the organization provides, and the locations they can provide those goods and services to. This makes supplier discovery within their primary industries practical for their rapidly growing customer base.

On top of this, a user can add their own qualification profiles to collect, and maintain, the information they need on the supplier, and these are kept private. When they do this, or when they select network suppliers as their suppliers, they show up in their “My Supplier” view where they can be selected for starting (pre-approved) supplier lists for every sourcing event template that the organization believes they are suitable for.

Finally, each organization has their own “Activity” tab in the supplier view that shows all associated Pre-Qualification questionnaires, Sourcing/RFX events and Contracts with their related status. One click will take the user into the associated document or event.

Dashboard and Reporting

When a user logs in, they see their activity dashboard that summarizes their requests, contracts, notifications, pre-qualification/onboardings, and a few report highlights (mainly negotiated savings and request completion status). It’s kept simple and streamlined so a user can get right to what they need to do when they log in, especially since they are integrating other communication channels besides email for notifications so users only have to log in to do something, not to get a status update.

Reporting right now is very basic, and very process/cycle time centric (which should not be surprising as they do not do spend analysis, preferring to instead integrate with the organization’s current platform, and if the organization does not have one, help the customer find and integrate with an appropriate partner organization for spend analysis). The reporting is really focussed around:

  • Team Productivity: how many requests made, completed, etc., by category, and average cycle time(s)
  • Supplier Engagement: requests received, responded to, awarded, etc. and associated rates and durations

With regards to saving, it’s focussed around:

  • Total Negotiated Savings: that summarizes the total negotiated savings based on the current PPU/RPH, the award rates, and the total number of units/hours requested
  • Total Negotiated Savings from Auction: that summarizes the savings from auctions, as well as savings statistics on an auction basis

Other Features

Standard Drive functionality where the organization can store all of the document templates it needs for its various supplier (pre)qualification and sourcing events.

Easy Query Audit Trails: When you bring up an Event in DeepStream, you can see a history of every action that was taken at every step by every participant (buyer, collaborator, supplier rep, etc.), filter, and export at any time.

Great Help Library:
DeepStream has a very extensive help library that is organized by role and process, to help an average user find the help they are looking for based on where they are in their sourcing process. It also has a built in advanced search function (powered by a custom in-house AI-backed search algorithm trained ONLY on all of the help documentation they have available) that can quickly find the right section of the right document with a reasonably detailed search request. This AI also powers their integrated chat/online help function that can handle full natural language questions and guides the user to right help quickly and easily (if the help exists). Since their help library covers every function on their platform, as well as best practice sourcing processes, the help bot is able to direct a user to the guidance they need and complete a help request roughly 80% of the time.

The DeepStream platform, including all help documentation, is fully translated into English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Easy Integrations:
Out of the box ERPs include IFS and Dynamics, which are the two most common in the mid-market in their target industries, but they can (and have) integrated with other ERPs and P2P/AP systems. They’ve also integrated with supplier qualification and certification systems (like Avetta) and you can expect more integrations as time goes on. They built on to allow them to integrate with any platform they need to quickly, easily, and in a standard fashion.

Easy Account Management:
In the DeepStream system, it’s really easy to define collaborator organizations, user accounts, notifications, and system preferences (around currency, notification, etc.). Remember, one of the main goals was efficiency, so the idea is that organizations and users can configure event templates precisely to their needs so it’s super easy for buyers to kick off and complete sourcing events.

Terminology Customization:
DeepStream understands that one of the biggest hurdle to adoption is trying to force an organization to switch to terminology they are not used to. Thus, in their system, the super use can define the language used in all system elements at each step of the event template. For example, some jurisdictions in the world might use bid envelope terminology, others might use bid package, the private sector just wants RFP, and so on. All of this terminology is customizable as needed.

Coming Soon!

As per our intro, they are constantly developing and a few features coming soon include:

  • Enhanced evaluation functionality with more auto-computed differentials/savings potentials and advanced ranking/weighting capability based on calculations;
  • Integrated e-Signature powered by Verify — which will be available at all stages of supplier interaction, as you may require an NDA to be signed before you can even invite a supplier for a bid
  • Microsoft teams and Slack for communications and reminders (which is in beta now)
  • More Language Support: the entire platform, including the entire help library, can be internationalized to a new language within three weeks; languages are being added based on customer prioritization

Coming Later

  • More Out-of-the-Box Supplier Certification/Qualification/Risk Integrations: to help buyers certify and qualify new suppliers for their operations without leaving the DeepStream platform
  • Category Template Library: they have a number they can set you up with if you don’t have any; right now they help you get your current (Excel) templates and processes templated
  • Supplier [onboarding] Questionnaires: there are best practice templates out there for IT/Cyber Security, Personal Data Protection, Health & Safety, regulations like the GSCA, etc. and no need for each organization to create their own from scratch; right now they will share what they have on request [enhanced onboarding is one of their newest capabilities and, as such, is still under active development]

In conclusion, DeepStream is a great sourcing platform for mid-markets who need to modernize and get efficient fast, especially in the Energy & Renewable Energy (and O&G), Utilities, MRO, and Site/Port Operation sectors (be they public, private, or quasi — such as public funded, privately managed). As the platform is true multi-tenant SaaS, it’s more or less a flick-of-the-software switch to instantiate a new instance, typically only a day or two to configure an out-of-the-box implementation, only a few days to a week for a non-out-of-the-box integration, only a few hours to pull in the active suppliers once the ERP/P2P/AP is integrated, and only a few weeks to get an organization’s category processes templated. Most customers are fully up and running within a few weeks (and a month at most), and some customers have even kicked off initial events (on a small set of suppliers pulled in through one of the out-of-the-box ERP integrations) within 24 hours (while the while the remainder of the active suppliers for near-term events were being onboarded and the remainder of the category templates built out for future events). If you’re a mid-market looking for modern sourcing tech, and especially if you are a mid-market in one of the target sectors, you should definitely consider putting DeepStream on your shortlist and checking them out.

COUPA: Centralized Optimization Underlies Procurement Adoption …

… or at least that’s what it SHOULD stand for. Why? Well, besides the fact that optimization is only one of two advanced sourcing & procurement technologies that have proven to deliver year-over-year cost avoidance (“savings”) of 10% or more (which becomes critical in an inflationary economy because while there are no more savings, negating the need for a 10% increase still allows your organization to maintain costs and outperform your competitors), it’s the only technology that can meet today’s sourcing needs!

COVID finally proved what the doctor and a select few other leading analysts and visionaries have been telling you for over a decade — that your supply chain was overextended and fraught with unnecessary risk and cost (and carbon), and that you needed to start near-sourcing/home-sourcing as soon as possible in order to mitigate risk. Plus, it’s also extremely difficult to comply with human rights acts (which mandate no forced or slave labour in the supply chain), such as the UK Modern Slavery Act, California Supply Chains Act, and the German Supply Chain Act if your supply chain is spread globally and has too many (unnecessary) tiers. (And, to top it off, now you have to track and manage your scope 1, 2, and 3 carbon in a supply chain you can barely manage.)

And, guess what, you can’t solve these problems just with:

  • supplier onboarding tools — you can’t just say “no China suppliers” when you’ve never used suppliers outside of China, the suppliers you have vetted can’t be counted on to deliver 100% of the inventory you need, or they are all clustered in the same province/state in one country
  • third party risk management — and just eliminate any supplier which has a risk score above a threshold, because sometimes that will eliminate all, or all but one, supplier
  • third party carbon calculators — because they are usually based on third party carbon emission data provided by research institutions that simply produce averages for a region / category of products (and might over estimate or under estimate the carbon produced by the entire supply base)
  • or even all three … because you will have to migrate out of China slowly, accept some risk, and work on reducing carbon over time

You can only solve these problems if you can balance all forms of risk vs cost vs carbon. And there’s only one tool that can do this. Strategic Sourcing Decision Optimization (SSDO), and when it comes to this, Coupa has the most powerful platform. Built on TESS 6 — Trade Extensions Strategic Sourcing — that Coupa acquired in 2017, the Coupa Sourcing Optimization (CSO) platform is one of the few platforms in the world that can do this. Plus, it can be pre-configured out-of-the-box for your sourcing professionals with all of the required capabilities and data already integrated*. And it may be alone from this perspective (as the other leading optimization solutions are either integrated with smaller platforms or platforms with less partners). (*The purchase of additional services from Coupa or Partners may be required.)

So why is it one of the few platforms that can do this? We’ll get to that, but first we have to cover what the platform does, and more specifically, what’s new since our last major coverage in 2016 on SI (and in 2018 and 2019 on Spend Matters, where the doctor was part of the entire SM Analyst team that created the 3-part in-depth Coupa review, but, as previously noted, the site migration dropped co-authors for many articles).

As per previous articles over the past fifteen years, you already know that:

So now all we have to focus on are the recent improvements around:

  • “smart scenarios” that can be templated and cross-linked from integrated scenario-aware help-guides
  • “Plain English” constraint creation (that allows average buyers & executives to create advanced scenarios)
  • fact-sheet auto-generation from spreadsheets, API calls, and other third-party data sources;
    including data identification, formula derivation and auto-validation pre-import
  • bid insights
  • risk-aware functionality

“Smart Events”

Optimization events can be created from event templates that can themselves be created from completed events. A template can be populated with as little, or as much as the user wants … all the way from simply defining an RFX Survey, factsheet, and a baseline scenario to a complete copy of the event with “last bid” pricing and definitions of every single scenario created by the buyer. Also, templates can be edited at any time and can define specific baseline pricing, last price paid by procurement, last price in a pre-defined fact-sheet that can sit above the event, and so on. Fixed supplier lists, all qualified suppliers that supply a product, all qualified suppliers in an area, no suppliers (and the user pulls from recommended) and so on. In addition to predefining a suite of scenarios that can be run once all the data is populated, the buyer can also define a suite of default reports to be run, and even emailed out, upon scenario completion. This is in addition to workflow automation that can step the buyer through the RFX, auto-respond to suppliers when responses are incomplete or not acceptable, spreadsheets or documents uploaded with hacked/cracked security, and so on. The Coupa philosophy is that optimization-backed events should be as easy as any other event in the system, and the system can be configured so they literally are.

Also, as indicated above, the help guides are smart. When you select a help article on how to do something, it takes you to the right place on the right screen while keeping you in the event. Some products have help guides that are pretty dumb and just take you to the main screen, not to the right field on the right sub-screen, if they even link into the product at all!

“Plain English” Constraint Creation

Even though the vast majority of constraints, mathematically, fall into three/four primary categories — capacity/allocation, risk mitigation, and qualitative — that isn’t obvious to the average buyer without an optimization, analytical, or mathematical background. So Coupa has spent a lot of time working with buyers asking them what they want, listening to their answers and the terminology they use, and created over 100 “plain english” constraint templates that break down into 10 primary categories (allocation, costs, discount, incumbent, numeric limitations, post-processing, redefinition, reject, scenario reference, and collection sheets) as well as a subset of most commonly used constraints gathered into a a “common constraints” collection. For example, the Allocation Category allows for definition “by selection sheet”, “volume”, “alternative cost”, “bid priority”, “fixed divisions”, “favoured/penalized bids”, “incumbent allocations maintained”, etc. Then, when a buyer selects a constraint type, such as “divide allocations”, it will be asked to define the method (%, fixed amount), the division by (supplier, group, geography), and any other conditions (low risk suppliers if by geography). The definition forms are also smart and respond to each, sequential, choice appropriately.

Fantastic Fact Sheets

Fact Sheets can be auto-generated from uploaded spreadsheets (as their platform will automatically detect the data elements (columns), types (text, math, fixed response set, calculation), mappings to internal system / RFX elements), and records — as well as detecting when rows / values are invalid and allow the user to determine what to do when invalid rows/values are detected. Also, if the match is not high certainty, the fact-sheet processor will indicate the user needs to manually define and the user can, of course, override all of the default mappings — and even choose to load only part of the data. These spreadsheets can live in an event or live above the event and be used by multiple events (so that company defined currency conversions, freight quotes for the month, standard warehouse costs, etc. can be used across events).

But even better, Fact Sheets can be configured to automatically pull data in from other modules in the Coupa suite and from APIs the customer has access to, which will pull in up to date information every time they are instantiated.

Bid Insights

Coupa is a big company with a lot of customers and a lot of data. A LOT of data! Not only in terms of prices its customers are paying in their procurement of products and services, but in terms of what suppliers are bidding. This provides huge insight into current marketing pricing in commonly sourced categories, including, and especially, Freight! Starting with freight, Coupa is rolling out a new bid pricing insights for freight where a user can select the source, the destination, the type (frozen/wet/dry/etc), and size (e.g. for ocean freight, the source and destination country, which defaults to container, and the container size/type combo and get the quote range over the past month/quarter/year).

Risk Aware Functionality

The Coupa approach to risk is that you should be risk-aware (to the extent the platform can make you risk aware) with every step you take, so risk data is available across the platform — and all of that risk data can be integrated into an optimization project and scenarios to reject, limit, or balance any risk of interest in the award recommendations.

And when you combine the new capabilities for

  • “smart” events
  • API-enabled fact sheets
  • risk-aware functionality

that’s how Coupa is the first platform that literally can, with some configuration and API integration, allow you to balance third party risk, carbon, and cost simultaneously in your sourcing events — which is where you HAVE to mange risk, carbon, and cost if you want to have any impact at all on your indirect risk, carbon, and cost.

It’s not just 80% of cost that is locked in during design, it’s 80% of risk and carbon as well! And in indirect, you can’t do much about that. You can only do something about the next 20% of cost, risk and carbon that is locked in when you cut the contract. (And then, if you’re sourcing direct, before you finalize a design, you can run some optimization scenarios across design alternatives to gauge relative cost, carbon, and risk, and then select the best design for future sourcing.) So by allowing you to bring in all of the relevant data, you can finally get a grip on the risk and carbon associated with a potential award and balance appropriately.

In other words, this is the year for Optimization to take center stage in Coupa, and power the entire Source-to-Contract process. No other solution can balance these competing objectives. Thus, after 25 years, the time for sourcing optimization, which is still the best kept secret (and most powerful technology in S2P), has finally come! (And, it just might be the reason that more users in an organization adopt Coupa.)

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.

Mercanis: Men with a Mission to bring Modern Volkswagen Efficiency with BMW Style to Source-to-Contract! Part 1

Mercanis 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.

Today we’re going to discuss Sourcing, Supplier Management, and Risk.


Creating a sourcing event in Mercanis for new or previously sourced articles can be accomplished in just a few minutes as the platform was designed for high efficiency. With integrated intake, the system will either guide an organizational user to a self-serve sourcing event for articles (products/components/fixed services) in acceptable categories under a certain amount or funnel to the appropriate sourcing team, as appropriate.

When an organizational user wants something, they define their event name, a unique departmental project reference, category, budget, RFX due date, relevant organizational tags, affected business unit[s], preferred NDA (from those associated with the category), and then the system will either notify the requester that this needs to be a (strategic) sourcing event and direct it to the sourcing team or take the buyer to their (selected) workspace where they can set it up on their own.

In either situation, the next step is to select suppliers. Suppliers are auto-suggested by the system and it’s one click to select them (and the user can search for other known suppliers or even invite a new supplier for onboarding if they want to). After that, they select an appropriate pricing sheet (from those associated) which is automatically pulled in, and then they select appropriate RFP surveys that they want filled out (which are also auto-suggested based on the article). They can then launch the event immediately, or specify a later date, and at any time they can (come back and) add stakeholders.

For a single article, since everything is auto-suggested, they can literally select the core suppliers, price sheet, and surveys with a few clicks and launch a small event in a minute. Most events on an article or category can be reasonably defined in five to fifteen minutes (vs. the 15 hours for some first, and even second, generation suites).

In the Sourcing projects can be multi-round if necessary. Once the results come back, the buyer can kick off another event based off of that project and link it to the existing one to create a multi-round event.

Also, once response come in, as many stakeholders as desired can score it, the scores can be weighted, and once an award is decided upon, it can be sent to the contract module. Survey responses for each survey can be compared side-by-side for easy comparison against peers. And when the individual responses are scored, the buyer can see the assessment criteria scores graphically in spider graphs, including a calculated score based on total relative pricing. When it comes to price sheets, which can include embedded formulas, the buyer can select the prices of interest for side-by-side comparison as well. And to make the comparisons pop, the buyer can even shift to dark mode. While not always the best for data entry, it does make certain visual comparisons pop.

The entry point to sourcing is the dashboard which will summarize the requests, events by category, upcoming, and current sourcing events that need to be reviewed, managed, or awarded.

An organizational buyer can also two-click a new sourcing event by going to the article summary screen, locating the article of interest, clicking on it, defining an event name, selecting one of the associated sourcing workflows (defaulted if just one), selecting one of the associated pricing sheets (defaulted if just one), and confirming the event creation.


The Supplier Management module revolves around the Supplier Repository which organizes all supplier related information in the system with each supplier maintained by the system. It’s easy to search suppliers by name, category, location, associated transaction cost centers, and other information. Upon implementation, Mercanis can import all of your suppliers from your ERP, just a subset you mark as active, or only those suppliers used in the past x years.

On implementation, they will pull in as much information as they have, fill in gaps with any information they have in their system, and augment with a 360-degree profile they auto-generate using their AI tools that scrapes supplier websites and pulls in data from third party sites, Compliance Catalyst, Dun & Bradstreet and/or other third party supplier data providers you have a subscription to. This profile will include a short description, any known (reference) customers, categories the supplier (can) supply in your taxonomy, any known contacts, owners, known business units, primary / head office location, website and Linkedin URLs, and even known similar suppliers in your database. It will also contain direct links to any third party profiles you have access to, and can even pull all of that information into the platform for you.

This is in addition to the basic corporate information (and contacts) maintained by the system (which includes legal identifiers, basic accounting information, and location data), supplier states (which can be buyer organization defined), tiers (as the organization can track tier 2 suppliers or suppliers typically used by your suppliers, third party ratings (from the ERP or a data partner) and data that can be pulled in (which can be visually displayed in spider graphs), specific information collected during onboarding, and appropriate risk data (including cached data from any third party data feeds you have a license too). Note that suppliers can also be evaluated using organizational surveys that can be associated with them, and multiple evaluators can be associated with these surveys.

The SRM system also centralizes and maintains a record of all system activity, including sourcing events, contracts, risk profiles, and associated supplier analytics. It also tracks all associated tasks from across the system in one location, all associated (onboarding/sourcing/contract) requests, and any notes the buying organization wants to add.

New supplier creation is easy. It can be as easy as defining a name and email to kick-off the onboarding process, which will send a request to the buyer to provide the requested information. (Note that if you provide an appropriate legal identifier or URL and the supplier is in the Mercanis database, base information will automatically be populated to simplify the onboarding process for the supplier.)

Search can be customized to work on any given supplier identifier.


The risk module, primarily used in supplier pre-qualification, tracks country and industry risk across the globe and can instantly associate the relevant country and industry risks with an existing, or new, supplier based on its address and NAICS code. The platform uses over 40 different data sources to analyze country and industry risk in accordance with the German Supply Chain Act and computes a score for every country-industry risk correlation.

In addition, it can integrate with third party data from providers like IntegrityNext and Ecovadis and, for any supplier, pull in all the relevant data if the customer has the data feed licenses and automatically compute advanced risk measures using their data (from public sources) and third party data.

Come back tomorrow for Contracts, Spend Analysis, and Administration.