Category Archives: Auctions

Source-to-Pay+ is Extensive (P30) … And Sourcing IS Very Extensive … So Here Are 75 e-Sourcing Companies to Check Out!

And now the next post you’ve all been waiting for! A partial, starting, list of 75 e-Sourcing providers that may (or may not) meet some, or many, of the core baseline capabilities we outlined in the last three parts of this series (Part 27, Part 28, and Part 29) as we discussed the Optimization, RFX, and Auction sides of e-Sourcing today.

As with our lists of e-Procurement Companies (in Part 7), Spend Analysis Companies (in Part 12), Sacred Cow Companies that do, or support, customized “spend” analysis on Marketing, Legal, and SaaS (in Part 13), Supplier Management Companies (in Part 20), and Contract Management Companies (in Part 25), we must again give our disclaimer that this list is in no-way complete (as no analyst is aware of every company), is only valid as of the date of posting (as companies sometimes go out of business and acquisitions happen all of the time in our space), and does NOT include any e-Procurement vendors that support simple requisition or quick-quote capability to select vendors already in the system as that is not how we defined RFX capability.

Furthermore, as we’ve said before, not all vendors are equal, and we’d venture to say NONE of the following are equal. The companies below are of all sizes (very small to very large, relative to vendor sizes in our space), cover the baseline differently (in terms of percentage of features offered, the various degrees of depth in the feature implementations, and differing levels of customization for a vertical), offer different additional features, have different types of service offerings (backed up by different expertise), focus on different company sizes, and focus on different technology ecosystems (such as plugging into other platforms/ecosystems, serving as the core platform for certain functions or data, offering a plug-and-play module for a larger ecosystem, focussing on the dominant technology ecosystem(s) in one or more verticals), etc.

Do your research, and reach out to an expert for help if you need it in compiling a starting short list of relevant, comparable, vendors for your organization and its specific needs. For many of these vendors, good starting points can again be found in the Sourcing Innovation archives, Spend Matters Pro, and Gartner Cool Vendor write-ups if any of these sources has a write-up on the vendor.

Company LinkedIn
HQ (State)
Optimization RFX Auction
Aestiva 17 California, USA R
Archlet 46 Switzerland O R
Aufait 114 India R
Bamboo Rose 205 Massachusetts, USA R
Bideg 3 Turkey A
Bonfire 87 Ontario, USA R
Claritum 8 United Kingdom R
Cloudia 40 Finland R
Cobblestone Software 131 New Jersey, USA R
Corcentric 588 New Jersey, USA R
cosmoONE 20 Greece R A
Coupa 3674 California, USA O R A
Deep Stream 25 United Kingdom R A
Delta eSourcing ?? United Kingdom R
ebidToPay ?? Bavaria R
Elcom 18 United Kingdom R A
eSupplier 6 Dubai R A
FairMarkit 161 Massachusetts, USA R
FullStep 128 Spain R
GEP 4650 New Jersey, USA O R A
Intenda 111 South Africa R
Ion Wave 22 Missouri, USA R A
ISPnext 59 Netherlands R
Ivalua 849 Ivalua O R A
Jaggaer 1266 North Carolina, USA O R A
K2 Sourcing 10 Wisconsin, USA R A
Keelvar 117 Cork, Ireland O R A
LevaData 58 California, USA O R
LGX Corporation ?? North Carolina, USA O R
LiveSource 7 Georgia, USA R
loopio 304 Ontario, Canada R
Market Dojo 34 United Kingdom R
MarketPlanet 72 Poland R A
Medius 562 Sweden R A
Merlin Sourcing 29 Germany R A
MySupply 15 Germany O R
NegoMetrix (Mercell) ?? Netherlands R A
Newtron 54 Germany R A
Oalia 22 France R
Oboloo 6 United Kingdom R
One Market (LogicSource) 307 Connecticut, USA R
One More Source ?? Bulgaria R
Onventis 129 Germany R A
Pantavanij 213 Thailand A
Penny Software 35 Saudi Arabia R
PostRFP ?? United Kingdom R
PratisPro (SabancıDx) ?? Turkey R A
Proactis 557 United Kingdom R
ProcurementFlow 5 Estonia R
ProcurePort 8 Indianapolis, USA R A
ProcureWare (Bentley Systems) 4830 Pennsylvania, USA R
Prokuria 8 Romania R A
Promena 20 Turkey R A
Prospeum 6 Germany R
Raindrop 27 Raindrop R
Ready Contracts 243 Australia R
RFP360 20 United States R
SafeSourcing 10 Arizona, USA R
SAP (Ariba) 2963 California, USA O R A
ScanMarket (Unit4) 60 Denmark R A
ScoutRFP 44 California, USA R A
Serex Procurement Solutions ?? Ontario, Canada R
Simfoni (EC Sourcing) 260 California, USA O R A
Sorcity ?? Texas, USA R A
SourceDogg 31 Ireland R
Sourcing Force 4 Ontario, Canada R A
SupplyFrame 310 California, USA R
SupplyOn 239 Germany R A
Synertrade 180 Germany R
TenderEasy (Alpega) 6 Sweden R
The Green RFP ?? Texas, USA R
Trade Interchange 27 United Kingdom R A
Vendorful 14 New York, USA R A
Vortal 188 Portugal R A
Zycus 1464 New Jersey, USA R A

And now, as you probably guessed, it’s on to Invoice-to-Pay in Part 31.

Source-to-Pay+ is Extensive (P28) … Breaking down the ORA of Sourcing, Continuing with (e-)Auctions

In our first post, Part 26, we noted that, after covering e-Procurement, Spend Analysis, Supplier Management, and Contract Management, it was finally time for Strategic Sourcing. When it comes to Sourcing, we have to deal with the ORA et labora. The work, and the prayer (that it gets the results we want). But at least when it comes to the prayer, we have three tools at our disposal:

  • Optimization
  • RFX
  • Auction

Yesterday, in Part 27, we started with the most classic sourcing tool, RFX, where RFX stands for Request for X, where X could be Bid, Information, Proposal, Quote, etc. depending on the depth of response required and the terminology used in the industry and geography the RFX is being issued in.

The primary alternative to RFX is e-Auction. In e-Auction, instead of asking for quotes which will be reviewed in a long, detailed, often weighted process, you’re asking for real-time quotes in an online auction where a supplier can update its bids until it self-selects to drop out of the auction.


Lot Configuration
Just like surveys were so fundamental and obvious for an RFX solution that you’d think we shouldn’t even need to mention it, lots are so necessary to e-Auctions that we shouldn’t have to mention it either. But while you should trust a solution has configurable lots, you should always verify you can configure and manipulate the lots to suit your needs and your preferred lotting structures for category-based auctions.

Saved Market Baskets
Just like an RFX should support templates so you don’t have to re-create a survey from scratch every time, the e-Auction platform should allow you to define saved market baskets which represent pre-defined lots that can quickly be adjusted as need to set up events quickly. If a category is always sourced in a similar fashion, and the products / services the organization sources don’t change much over time, then a senior buyer should be able to pre-define a market basket for quick lot initiation.

Multiple Auction Types
There are multiple types of auctions — and the system should support a number of formats that may include standard reverse, sealed-bid, reserve-price, fixed price, Japanese, Brazilian, Vickrey, English, Dutch, and Yankee.

Supplier-Specific Views
A supplier should only see the lots they are invited to bid on, should only see the public messages and private messages sent to them, should see everything in a view localized to them, and so on.

Substitution Support
Sometimes a supplier has multiple products that can meet a buyer’s need, or sometimes has an alternate SKU that they believe would also work for the buyer (that requested a specific SKU be bid on) that the supplier could provide at higher quantity, higher quality, or lower cost that the supplier would also like to present. The platform should allow a supplier to define one or more substitutions for each product in a lot that the buyer can choose to consider, or not.

Proxy Support
The internet, like any other system, is not perfect — routers can fail, lines can be cut, providers can temporarily go offline, and so on — it’s as fault tolerant as anything we’ve ever designed in tech, but that doesn’t mean everyone has access all the time. A supplier should be able to define a lead bidder and multiple, ordered, proxies who can take over if the lead bidder cannot connect, or loses connection. The system should allow multiple proxies to be logged in at the same time, but only the lead bidder, or, in the lead bidder’s absence, the highest ranking proxy should be able to bid and every other proxy should be view only.

The system must support real time chat with each supplier bidder who has a question as well as group-based broadcast messaging.


Formula-Based Pricing and/or Bid Modification
Just like a modern RFX solution should support should-cost models, a modern e-Auction solution should support formula based pricing to allow for easy bidding during a short-time frame auction. For example, reduce all bids by 1%, the product cost is x + y% of the current commodity cost for steel per ounce (as the supplier will be buying steel at market price), etc.

Extensive Formatting
An auction, especially one with a short time-frame, needs to be extremely comprehensible to the supplier. As a result, the solution should support extensive formatting so the supplier display can be designed to be as comprehensible, and if necessary, as minimal as possible. This goes beyond just matching a colour scheme, but altering table formats, graphs, defining alternate views, and so on.

Asynchronous Real-Time Graphical Views
If there are lot of items in the lot, or a lot of suppliers in the auction, it can be difficult to understand tabular bids, assuming the bid is not blind, even if the tables are modified to tell a supplier their rank (and some indication of how much they have to bid to go up a rank). It’s often easier for a supplier to understand the current bid situation with a graph, that should automatically update after every bid.

Real Time Supplier Connectivity Monitoring
The platform should continuously monitor whether a bidder is (still) online. Due to the fact that the internet is not perfect, a bidder could lose connection at any time. The platform needs to detect this and if a bidder drops, automatically invite and promote a proxy, and if multiple bidders drop, assume there is a major connectivity problem and suspend the auction for a predefined time, or until the buyer selects a new time.

Constraint Support
A modern e-Auction platform should also support the definition of constraints on the bidding. Minimum decrements, floors, all or nothing on lots, and so on.

Of course, this is not a complete list of what an e-Auction platform might have, or necessarily should have, as systems continue to improve, but a baseline of what they must have to be considered a modern e-Auction solution.

Hi-ho, Hi-ho, now it’s time for “O” in Part 29.

April Planning Prevents May Panning (for Gold)

Let’s face it, once May comes around, you’re under the gun to identify significant savings before the end of June when you, or more importantly, your bosses want to take some time off during the summer (and know that suppliers do the same and results will likely be limited until people get back to work full force in September).

But if you wait until May to identify those categories you are going to go after for quick wins, you’re better off panning for gold … it will have a better success rate. Even if the best method to capture those savings is identified as a reverse auction, and even though it can be run in a day, by the time you

  • run a spend analysis across categories not significantly under contract or where the contract is expiring
  • collect market / should cost pricing and demand across the categories and estimate savings opportunities
  • rank the opportunities
  • evaluate each opportunity and identify the best strategy
  • extract those where auction is the best choice
  • identify the appropriate supply base for this subset of categories
  • get the suppliers onboarded in your SRM/Sourcing system
  • send the invites and get commitment
  • run the auction
  • cut and sign the contracts

… it’s mid to late summer. But if you start this process now, limit the quick-hit projects to those where you already have most of the suppliers in the system, and get going just on those, you will have time to finish a few of them before summer hits. Otherwise, if you wait for May, you’re better off packing your pans and booking a ticket to Alaska.

The UIX One Should Expect from Best-In-Class Auctions, Part II

Last week we dove deep into the basic general requirements for any e-Negotiation platform, namely e-RFX and e-Auction, and called out the need for easy template creation and easy starting bid population and validation as two necessary key requirements (among a set of requirements). (See: Best-in-Class e-Sourcing Part I and Best-in-Class e-Sourcing Part II.)

However, as we explained in our last post, the requirements for auctions go quite deeper than the requirements for RFX. In our latest article over on Spend Matters Pro [membership required] on What To Expect from Best-in-Class Reverse Auction Technology and User Design (Part 2), the doctor and the prophet dive deep into specific capabilities required of modern e-Auction platforms in order for a user to have a great experience.

In our article, we define three absolutely requirements, as well as two requirements that will soon be absolute, for every e-Auction platform that wants to be a modern platform, including real-time connectivity monitoring.

As we state in our article, internet and software connectivity should never be taken for granted. This is a lesson one of the authors originally learned over 15 years ago (first hand) when helping run early online sourcing events at FreeMarkets. However, even today, many platforms still take this for granted, assuming that everyone has the reliable, redundant internet infrastructure of a modern first world data center. This is still simply not the case. Your supplier representatives are probably located at their factories in the middle of Nowheresville in the Lost State of Third World Country and might still be on a 1.54 Mbps T1 connection, which is only up on good days. Their data centers might be located in the nearest city, which barely has enough electricity to meet demand on a good day (when the AC or Heat is cranked up in every home and building), and subject to occasional rolling brown-outs. And so on.

The fact of the matter is the software should assume that suppliers can, and at least one supplier representative will, lose connection during an event. And if this happens, the supplier still needs to be able to bid. A modern platform allows for each supplier representative to designate one or more proxy bidders, in priority order, and if the main rep is unable to establish, or maintain a connection, the software will detect that and automatically switch the bidding designation to a proxy (who will be view only until he or she needs to take over bidding). In addition, the loss of connectivity and change of delegate will be noted and the buying organization notified.

In addition, it will detect if multiple supplier representatives lose connectivity, assume there is a major issue, automatically suspend the event, and notify the supplier representatives through other means (e.g. backup emails, fax, and/or even SMS) that the event has been suspended and will pick up either the designated back-up time or at a time to be communicated by the buying organization as soon as the issue has been identified and resolved.

This is necessary not just to maintain good supplier relations, but to prevent costly legal challenges, especially in the public sector, if an organization lost because it couldn’t bid through no fault of its own (and could prove that it was willing to make the lowest bid which, in many jurisdictions, requires the award to be given to that organization). But yet, a [large] number of auction providers (of the 50+ that the authors collectively know about) do not provide this capability.

Curious to know what the other four requirements are? Then check out our full piece over on Spend Matters Pro [membership required] on What To Expect from Best-in-Class Reverse Auction Technology and User Design (Part 2).

The UIX One Should Expect from Best-In-Class Auctions, Part I

In our last two posts we dove deep into requirements for e-Negotiation platforms, namely e-RFX and e-Auction, in general, highlighting the need for easy template creation and easy starting bid population and validation as key requirements. (See: Best-in-Class e-Sourcing Part I and Best-in-Class e-Sourcing Part II.)

However, the requirements for auctions go quite deeper than the requirements for RFX. In our latest post over on Spend Matters Pro [membership required], What To Expect from Best-in-Class Reverse Auction Technology and User Design (Part 1), the doctor and the prophet, dive deep into specific capabilities required of modern e-Auction platforms in order for a user to have a good experience.

In our article we discuss three key requirements that every platform must meet, one of which is extensive format selection and parameterization.

As we lay bare, there’s a reason there are more than half-a-dozen different auction types. One of the co-authors of this report first wrote about the application of advanced auctions models (e.g., Vickrey) to strategic sourcing back in 1999 and the other co-author has been developing, consulting on, and/or writing about auctions since 2001. Auction types include Yankee, Dutch, Japanese, English, Vickrey and Brazilian. One format doesn’t suit all category, supplier, supply market or procurement organizational needs. In fact, the ideal format(s) may change over time, even for a similar event.

Furthermore, as we point out the application of different auction models is not just a question of categories or supply market conditions. It also needs to be a cultural consideration within the buying organization itself. In different parts of the world, different formats are more accepted and just work better (even within the same company). As a result, if these auction formats are not supported out of the box, the configuration capabilities should be sufficient to more or less to mimic the core of most of these formats.

And all of these need to support extensive configuration. Because, not only is it not one-format-fits-all, it’s not one-kind-of-format-fits-all. For more details, check out our deep dive over on What To Expect from Best-in-Class Reverse Auction Technology and User Design (Part 1).