Category Archives: SaaS

MarketDojo has stepped up it’s Mid-Market Game!

The last time we covered MarketDojo (which recently had a majority stake in the company acquired by Esker) was in 2016 where we noted that marketdojo opens the dojo to suppliers as well after introducing you to MarketDojo in 2014 back when it was a simple RFX/e-Auction platform with some category intelligence and SIM (in our posts on how you could walk your own way and plan your own path). Since then, they have improved the platform greatly. For details on some of these improvements, we recommend their 2016 Vendor Analysis on Spend Matters by Jason Busch (Part I, Part II, and Part III) and their 2020 Vendor Analysis on Spend Matters by Magnus Bergfors (Part I, Part II, and Part III) [Pro or ContentHub subscription required].

Today, we’re going to quickly overview the primary capabilities of the platform, and then focus in on the new and advanced capabilities added since our last review.

MarketDojo is primarily an e-Sourcing platform with foundational supplier management (information and relationship capabilities) and contract tracking (baseline governance). (They still have their categorydojo solution, where they identify current market opportunities that you may want to pursue, but that isn’t the focus of this piece, so we will refer you back to previous articles for details on that functionality.)

e-Sourcing primarily consists of (multi-round) RFX capability, lot-based e-Auctions, and quick quotes (for quick one-time buys/quotes where full sourcing events are not needed). e-RFX creation is quick and easy — define some basic meta-data under settings, add any necessary documents, create the specific questionnaires and additional supplier data collection forms, define the items (which can be lotted in RFX as well as Auctions), add the collaborators (that can be given full access or limited view access), and even invite new suppliers (which can be onboarded later if the responses to the survey forms look good).

The major improvements and/or differentiation since we covered them last is in the

event instantiation
they now support templates, with a library of out-of-the-box templates (for the categories they track in categorydojo and then some) for RFX and e-Auction as well as custom templates built by the organization
survey creation
(in beta) you can now use Bard to identify common questions / characteristics of a category or product/service and then edit the form accordingly [which is a decent use of NLP, gives you some good ideas you might miss but keeps you, the intelligent human, in full control]
lots now support transformational bids (where bids can be marked up by a percentage or a fixed amount to implement switching costs or penalties for reduced quality/utilization rations) as well as bids in DPD (Dynamic Parcel Distribution), FOB (Free on Board), and EXW (ExWorks).
bids can defined as a complex formula over an arbitrary number of bid components and they support a brand new formula builder
collaborators weren’t part of the initial solution, and they didn’t have tiered access
bid ranking
easily see the top bid for every item in every lot in a default lowest cost award scenario and easily dive in to see all the bids for every item of every lot in rank order
bid component ranking
see how every bid component ranks against all supplier bids for an item; this helps you identify the cost components that a #2 or #3 supplier (that you want to do business with) is not competitive on (such as freight, overhead, etc.), which might allow you to work with the supplier to get those cost components down to make their bid more competitive
dynamic RFX round creation
you can easily create a new round and control which suppliers and collaborators from the current round get invited to a new round

And, of course, the quick-quote functionality is brand new. These are super simple. All that a requester has to specify is what do they want, when do they want it by, what requirements must be satisfied, what are the payment terms, and which (approved) suppliers should it go out to and off the quote request can go. They can also attach spec documents, add special instructions, and request physical copies, but that’s not necessary. And if they want a certain currency or quotes in a certain unit of measure, that can also be specified. When the quotes come back, they’ll see an easy-to-understand quote summary and can choose one for award. Easy-peasy and, most importantly, the spend is captured and can be managed.

The supplier information management primarily covers the onboarding of new suppliers, to ensure that the appropriate information is captured, and then supports ongoing maintenance of the data. Onboarding is quite simple. A buyer defines the basic supplier information (name and corporate e-mail address), adds any mandatory and optional tags (such as DPST Tier, ESG, Minority, specialized category, etc.), selects the questionnaires they want the supplier to answer (of which a default set will be automatically selected upon tag definition), identifies the business users, either by role or by name, that will approve the forms as the supplier returns them, and then the corporate/contact email the onboarding request will be sent to (and the language the request should be sent in — it’s relevant to note that MarketDojo now supports 23 languages in its platform, but if you want the forms in 23 languages, someone will need to translate them, unless you are using MarketDojo out-of-the-box forms where those forms have already been translated).

The relationship management solution is straight-forward as well and is primarily designed to track supplier contacts and organizational users, associated sourcing events (that they participated in, not just awards), onboarding status (by requested survey/form) and associated surveys, contracts, identified innovation opportunities, and activities. Activities have a type (such as call, task, objective, audit, review), an assigned organizational user who is responsible for ensuring the supplier completes the activity, associated documents, organizational (and user) notes, and possibly even an (optional) associated hierarchy of sub-tasks.

Reporting has been updated and is currently supported in PowerBI through MarketDojo’s OpenAPI (and it is also supported by MarketDojos partner SpendKey) and the default built in reporting suite is pretty decent for a Sourcing platform with click-through dashboards on contracts, sourcing events, suppliers, overall spend, spend by category, spend by supplier, spend by country, spend distribution, PO (vs non-PO) Analysis, Compliance, and even Supply Chain Geographic Coverage. While not a full-fledged analytics platform by any stretch of the imagination, it’s enough to give buyers some insights as to where they may want to begin their analytics efforts if they are looking to increase savings, increase diversity, increase compliance, or decrease risk.

Contract management is baseline. It’s basically a searchable meta-data index of contracts, which can be associated with suppliers. However, for smaller mid-size organizations, that might be all they need.

MarketDojo is a great mid-market SIM-powered sourcing platform at an affordable mid-market price point.

SourceDogg dogs the Sourcing Process so You Don’t Have To!

SourceDogg was founded over a decade ago (in 2009 in Ireland, with the UK subsidiary opening a decade ago in 2013) by founders from the construction industry who decided they just didn’t have any good tools for sourcing products and managing suppliers. Since then, it has evolved into a full indirect Source-to-Contract application for requesting (intake support) and sourcing products (and services) (through traditional RFX and e-Auction), managing suppliers (with information, relationship, compliance, performance, and development support), and managing contracts for customers across a wide range of industries, including a strong customer base in manufacturing, pharma / health-care, and CPG/F&B.

Like the majority of modern Source-to-Contract applications, it is a fully SaaS-based product that can also be integrated with your organization’s ERP to pull supplier and product data, especially on initial product deployment. And, like the majority of modern Source-to-Contract applications, it has a fully functional Supplier Portal that allows suppliers to fully interact with all of the sourcing, management, and contracting processes employed by the organization.

The process starts with intake, where an organizational user can request a product or request a supplier. When a user needs a new product, they can go to the web portal and select the appropriate option (by clicking on the appropriate tile) that lets them do a general product request or a request in particular categories defined by the organization. When they make a general request, the application walks them through the process (using wizard-like functionality) to collect the appropriate information on category, volume, expected cost, requirements, etc. so that a buyer can kick off the appropriate sourcing process. Category specific requests function similarly, but are designed to minimize the process steps and information required for commonly requested categories. Now, if you’re using our core requirements for intake, as defined in Part 37 of our Source-to-Pay+ series Investigating Intake – Diving in to the Details, it’s not quite a full intake platform as there’s no budget tracking and process visibility (and in-process messaging depends on whether or not the requester is made a member of the sourcing event team), but it’s better than what many traditional sourcing platforms offer with respect to intake (if they even offer intake at all). Plus, SourceDogg is continually improving their product and we do expect their intake capabilities will continue to improve over time.

From intake, we move onto sourcing which supports full, multi-round, e-RFX and e-Auction with all of the typical functionality that you expect. One thing that stands out is their ability to include matrices (and built-in formulas) in not only the quotation fields, but all forms and elements of the process, allowing the organization to collect matrix options for product/packaging configurations, team configurations (on services), compliance/certification options, and so on.

As expected, setting up an event in SourceDogg is super easy. You define the typical sourcing event meta data (name, description, products, team, internal budget estimates, scoring system, etc.), create the content (forms and bid matrices), invite the suppliers (who need to already be defined/onboard in the core supplier management module), create the FAQ (which can be extended as needed during the process), and release it into the wild. (Suppliers can then login to their portal upon receiving the notification and fill it out within the designated window. If the bid sheets or data collection forms are complex, they can be output or collected using every Purchaser’s favourite tool and format, Microsoft Excel.) When the event concludes, the responses can be viewed, various side-by-side reports generated (and output to multiple standard formats including DOCX, PDF, and, of course, Microsoft Excel), responses scored, and final decision(s) recorded in the tool (and an email auto-generated and sent to the winning supplier[s] if desired). There is also the ability to capture notes at a question level (by individual who reviewed/scored the response), the supplier level, and the project level.

e-Auctions are setup similarly, and, as expected, run for a much shorter time. The degree of feedback presented to the suppliers depends on the configuration. Upon event completion, the platform automatically generates reports ranking the bidders on cost or, if the event was preceded by an RFI/RFP with a qualitative component, on a weighted score. (And, of course, the buyer can always go in and view the complete bid history.) Note that the Q&A feature can be used to post updates during the auction to all suppliers, a supplier group associated with a lot, or just a specific supplier who asked a question or obviously needs guidance.

Supplier Management consists of four primary modules: Supplier (Information) Management (SIM), Supplier Relationship Management (SRM), Supplier Performance Management (SPM), and Action Plans.

Let’s start with Supplier (Information) Management. The system tracks all the core supplier meta-data you would expect as well as all associated contacts, product data sheets, RFX and other data from specific collection effort (from SRM, SPM, or Development Actions) responses, certifications, contracts (including full version history support), other relevant documents (the organization wishes to track), and any critical notes. It also maintains a full-history of interaction with the supplier that can be viewed and queried as well as allowing the supplier to be tagged using category and location tags (that can be defined by both the buyer and supplier.

The Supplier Relationship Management module allows the organization to define supplier reviews, track the results of those reviews, and define actions to be completed by the supplier and followed up on by buyer personnel when the supplier indicates the action has been taken. It’s nothing fancy, but it gets the job done efficiently, and that’s what’s important.

The Supplier Performance Management module allows the organization to design and track KPIs and supplier scorecards in support of processes to measure, analyze and manage supplier performance. The scorecards can be simple or complex across a wide range of metrics and categories. It really depends on what data the organization has and is willing to collect (through surveys) or enter into the application. (At present, it does not integrate with risk/etc. data feeds out of the box, but if these feeds are pushed into your ERP and associated with suppliers and products, that data can be pulled in.) Creating a Performance Review is easy. Once simply creates an instance, and a record for every area, sub-area, and rating that one wants to record. The review can then be sent to as many team members as you want and they can be limited to rating specific areas, sub-areas, or records, as appropriate.

The Action Plans module allows for the creation of specific improvement plans and non-conformance reports for a supplier that needs to improve generally or specifically on one product. The Action Plan modules supports multiple default plans (called forms) that can be used to quickly an initiate a new action plan. The forms can be used as is or modified to the appropriate situation, and the monitoring team can include as many organizational personnel as required. Once a supplier responds, the team can then accept or reject the response, and once all responses have been accepted, the response can be approved and archived. If performance slips or the issue comes up again, an action plan can also be “reactivated” and parts, or all, of the plan kicked-off again.

Layered on top of all of the supplier related modules is a supplier visualization dashboard for non-procurement organizational users and executives that make it really easy to get statistics on organizational suppliers (total, approved, by-size [SME, MM, Large], by type [Product, Services, Subcontractor]) and filter down by category & sub-category, status, and other key identifiers as well as see the (subset of) suppliers on a map. From this primary visualization screen, the user can jump into individual supplier records (with key performance dashboards also displayed)

The contracts module, which revolves around contract governance, is very straight-forward and easy to use as well. Contracts can be grouped by area for easy human location, searched on key metadata and tags, and viewed within the tool. The default meta data is fairly extensive (and can be extended by the organization on implementation) and should capture all of the key information necessary to locate a contract, track expiry, track key terms, and track key clauses. While there’s nothing fancy about the contracts module, we want to re-iterate just how straight-forward it is for an average user to add a contract (addendum or updated version), define or edit the metadata, and locate any contract in the system quickly and easily. Some of the more advanced CLM tools focussed around negotiation support or analytics lose sight of the fact that the average person who needs to retrieve a contract is not a Procurement or Legal or Technology super user and just need a system that follows the KISS principle.

The entire suite also contains a fully modifiable tile-based entry dashboard that allows an average user to define the parts of the application they use, as well as any customized intake forms or application modules, organize them by frequency of access, and see which modules have updated information or new actions assigned to them.

This fully modifiable tile-based entry dashboard with alerts is also the first thing a supplier sees when they login to the platform (and, to complete the tri-fecta, a non-Procurement organizational stakeholder who needs to make a Procurement request, review an RFX, or participate in a supplier development initiative). While simplistic, this is a key feature as you can ensure that supplier or organizational users are not overwhelmed with over-crowded dashboards or 40 menu items they will never use (and likely never understand).

The application is also highly configurable by the client admin who can define the organizational profile and branding, the settings, the certifications it requires from all its suppliers, data-sheet categories, security settings, users and user categories, guides (which can also have an access tile on a main dashboard), default fields for core system objects (requisitions, auctions, supplier profiles, contracts, action plan forms, etc.), supplier onboarding workflow, tags and tag groups, SourceDogg Connect (for ERP and/or organizational data feed pulls), etc. Plus, the SourceDogg team can make additional customizations across the product during implementation and support initial data loads as required.

Finally, they have extensive support guides and courses on their customer web site to help you extract maximum value from the platform. (And those constant iOS/Android action required alerts will dog you through the process of getting things done.) If you’re a SME or MM company looking for a modern best-of-breed S2C (Source-to-Contract) suite (especially in construction/facilities, manufacturing, pharma / health, O&G, CPG, and F&B) to get the job done, SourceDogg is a platform we suggest that you check out.

SourcingShark Wants to Give You Sourcing Insights That Take a Bite Out of Your Sourced Spending

Sourcing Insights was co-founded in 2017 by a CPO who knew the importance of spend-based insights for Sourcing Success and a technologist who spent over two decades developing P2P analytics and audit software who both saw the need for deeper insights into organizational spend for strategic sourcing, especially in direct material industries (as most of the [leading] spend analysis solutions on the market was focussed on indirect spend or analysis at the category level). Together they built a hybrid company that offers a leading spend analytics solution as well as expert services that can get you started and make sure you get the value out of the solution that you expect.

In other words, while Sourcing Insights appears to be just another spend analysis company, it’s not just another spend analysis company. The reason being is that it supports spend by commodity and/or part based spend analysis of the box, tracks price movement at the part/commodity level out of the box, and the definition of commodity or part-based plans out of the box. But first, let’s cover the basics.

The entry point to SourcingShark is either:

  • a customizable spend overview dashboard that not only summarizes spend by various dimensions (commodity, month, PO, supplier [group], etc.),
  • a commodity dashboard that summarizes the commodity codes / parts in the system, associated contracts, purchase order, (potentially) duplicate invoices, and other spend metrics of interest to the organization,
  • or a merged dashboard that combines all of this information into one dashboard and allows for filtering by commodity or organization (and soon to be organization/division groups)

From the supplier widget[s], you can dive into the vendor summary dashboard which can be configured to display the same information, but just on the vendor, or other vendor-specific information that we’ll discuss a bit later.

Before we dive into some of the more unique (out-of-the-box) capabilities of SourcingShark, we will note that they cover all of the basic out-of-the box reporting requirements that one would expect from a modern spend analysis application (for direct materials). This includes deep, customizeable dashboards for

  • invoice spend (vendor type, vendor, cost center, GL, creator, company [if you have a multi-level organization]),
  • PO spend (vendor, cost center, GL, company, part/commodity category, part/commodity, creator, etc.),
  • Invoice Analysis, and
  • PO Analysis.

However, the more/most unique capabilities revolve around (direct) vendor deep dives, part/commodity analysis (& price movement), and strategy insights.

When it comes to vendor deep dives, they have the following out of the box:

  • Deep Vendor Management where you can track deep (SIM level) vendor details if you want to, map vendors to all of the commodities/parts they supply, associate them with contracts, quickly see spend-based summaries by part/commodity, by GL, or Company (if you are a multi-level organization).
  • Vendor Score Dashboard which allows you to overview vendor performance as the platform can track on-time delivery, quality scores (based on disruptions, PPM, SCARs, etc.), commercial scores (based on supply agreements, cost improvements, financial ratings), and risk scores (if you have access to third party feeds to collect the appropriate data and define your risk model), and provide you with widgets to drill down into all of this data, which can also include metric-based summaries of all system data fields
  • After-The-Fact Vendor Summary which presents a detailed summary of after-the-fact purchases

When it comes to part deep dives, they have the following out of the box:

  • Spend Summary that summarizes the spend by part by vendor, invoice, amount, month, etc.
  • PO Spend Summary that summarizes the spend by part by vendor, invoice, amount, month, etc.
  • Price Movements that shows the price movement for (a category of) related parts over a time frame, with the ability to drill down by vendor, and see the potential savings if all parts were bought at the lowest price
  • PO Price Accuracy Analysis that shows the percentage of vendors, POs, and invoices which were accurate (to the PO or Contract)
  • Part / Commodity Deep Dive where you get just the part related spend and metrics, can define your part/commodity strategy, and track the success to that over time
  • Exportable PO-Based Purchase Price Variance Analysis where, for each part/SKU in the system, you can get the PPV for the time-frame of your choice using actual PO data

As alluded to above, they also support contract metadata management which allows a user to define all of the relevant data for contract, and spend, analysis; associate those contracts with vendors and parts; and define contract summary / analysis dashboards and reports as needed.

And, with their new release this month, they now support Part/SKU Strategies where an organization can capture their current and future sourcing strategies along multiple key dimensions, including:

  • target # of suppliers
  • suppliers under contract (not necessarily the same, you may want a spot-buy supplier just in case)
  • supplier reach (local, regional, national, international, etc.)
  • primary supplier award / supplier split percentage
  • desired volume incentive rebates
  • PPP Trend expectations
  • target savings

as well as track the project status, the communication status (with potential suppliers), the primary type of commodity sourcing strategy (contract renegotiation, multi-round RFX, etc.), and the primary price (commodity) driver, typically associated with a market index of the primary material (or material with the highest variability). It looks pretty basic when you first see it, but it’s incredibly powerful and useful and will likely evolve over time, especially when they add in full Bill of Material Support / (Sub) Assembly Support, slated for their next release (target 2024 Q1).

Finally, the team has the experience and the services to support your spend analysis efforts. They can handle all of your data refreshes, design your custom dashboards, and walk you through proper spend analysis methodologies, or even do the first pass for you, to make sure you achieve your organizational goals and have the knowledge you need to do spend analysis right going forward. Sourcing Insights might not be as old as the grandparent spend analysis vendors of the space, but they are already one of the best platforms out there for direct spend analysis.

Simfoni: Bringing the Orchestra to e-Sourcing

As noted in our last article on how Simfoni is Ascending the Scales in Spend Analysis, we last covered EC Sourcing (which is the foundation of Simfoni’s optimization-backed Source to Contract capability that resulted from their acquisition of EC Sourcing in 2022) on Sourcing Innovation in 2016 (getting ready to take the mid-market by storm), and more recently co-covered them on Spend Matters in a 3-part Vendor Analysis in 2022 (Part I, Part II, and Part III), but, as previously noted, you will need a Spend Matters Content Hub subscription to access that coverage.

Those who have been keeping up will know that Simfoni eSourcing has:

  • Flexible Multi-Round RFX Capability with composable questionnaires powered by conditional logic, unlimited user-defined columns, and multiple scoring options
  • Standard Auctions with enhanced lot management
  • Powerful in-tool pivotable matrix reporting so you don’t have to jump out to the analytics module to slice, dice, and compare RFX responses
  • Supplier Information Management with automatic supplier selection in events based on the products or tags
  • Supplier Portal with self-registration, onboarding, and corrective action support
  • Item Management which allows RFXs to be quickly constructed from scratch on existing items, or as copies of prior RFXs where items can easily be added or removed
  • Strategic Sourcing Decision Optimization with flexible scenario creation
  • Basic Sourcing Project Workflows that can be customized for every project
  • Contract Management with user-definable metadata, complete change history, approval workflows, and push from sourcing

Since their last major coverage over two years ago, Simfoni has integrated the EC Sourcing functionality into their platform and added the following capabilities:

  • Intake Management
  • Enhanced Project Management (Dashboard)
  • Integrated Opportunity Assessments and Wave Plans
  • Optimization Simplification

Intake Management

The buzzwords-du-jour are intake and orchestrate, and Simfoni has heard the message loud and clear. While their solution may not be on par with the big names like Zip for intake, it serves its purpose and intake alone is not a solution — you need powerful platforms for sourcing and procurement to back it up. Their solution allows anyone to make a Procurement request, and then view the status of that request at any time. It’s simple, but if you refer back to our post on Investigating Intake – Diving Into the Details, which was Part 37 of our Source-to-Pay+ is Extensive series, we only had six core requirements for intake for the requester:

  • Request portal: minimal, but check
  • Process visibility: minimal, but check
  • Asynchronous messaging: included in the Simfoni eSourcing foundation and available once the project kicks off
  • S2P platform integration: check
  • Budget tracking: available in the Sourcing Project and the Simfoni Analytics platform
  • Alerting: part of Simfoni eSourcing, and active once a project starts (as long as the requester is properly setup on the platform)

… and we only had six core requirements for the procurement buyer:

  • Request to process: Simfoni eSourcing has a good workflow, and it’s a single click to kick of a workflow
  • Workflow process definition: similar to above, it’s solid
  • Integrated approval workflows: not so much in sourcing, but in contracting and procurement (which will not be covered in this article)
  • Project management integration: sourcing projects are very well managed
  • Policy tracking: policies can be integrated across the Simfoni platform and quick links maintained in a policy widget on the main Terminal dashboard
  • Alerting: this is quite good for the buyer

Enhanced Project / Pipeline Management

The new dashboard for sourcing pipeline management hits the nail on the head. A buyer quickly sees all their open projects and their current stage, the baseline spend, budgeted savings, forecasted savings, and actual savings to date — and the CPO can log in and see the current status of everything at any time. No more “can you get me an update by Friday”. This information is always readily available.

Plus, with a single click, you can get the Kanban view and see which projects are in the:

  • Definition stage
  • Sourcing strategy definition stage: which allows for a task-based breakdown
  • Tender / RFQ / Auction stage
  • Negotiation and awarding stage
  • Implementation stage
  • Project close-out stage

Integrated Opportunity Assessments and Wave Plans

As we noted in yesterday’s article, Simfoni has created a great centralized opportunity assessment dashboard, with deep drill down capability, where a buyer can identify which sourcing project can be launched next and then kick off a project using the enhanced project creation capability and cross-platform integration. In addition, you can see each project in an integrated calendar view and know exactly how much is planned across the sourcing department at any time.

Optimization Simplification

Simfoni has extensively worked on simplifying the optimization interface making it super easy to set up a number of baseline scenarios (least cost, X suppliers, incumbents only), create a new scenario as a copy of an existing scenario with just one new constraint, see the spend summaries, and see summaries in pre-defined tabular views.

It’s also super easy to create constraints, which fall into one of six categories:

  • Competition: how many bidders can receive an award
  • Bidder: min or max award volumes to specific bidders
  • Qualitative: limit awards to bidders with custom attributes
  • Quantitative: limit awards to bidders with min or max scores (for risk, etc.)
  • Discount: define tiered bidder discounts (as percentages)
  • Subset: work on a subset of data

Creating a constraint is easy — you simply define

  1. the scope (which can be on any defined entity that is available including, but not limited to item, business unit, plant location, category, etc.) Note that if you want to apply a constraint to a group of items, plants, categories, locations, etc. then you need to define these as part of the sourcing event
  2. the bidder the constraint is applied to (if necessary, not all constraints are bidder-based), and
  3. the parameters (min, max, field value, etc.).

Also, you can create multiple constraints of the same type on the selected constraint screen (if you wanted an approximate 50, 30, 20 split, for example, you’d define three instances of the constraint, with the first instance awarding between 49% and 51%, the second awarding between 29% and 31%, and the third awarding between 19% and 21%).

In other words, in addition to integrating the EC Sourcing platform into their ecosystem, which included massive UX updates for consistence and modernization, Simfoni has continued to extend the capability and it’s still a solution that should be on the consideration list for any organization looking for S2C, especially where optimization or leading analytics is required.

Simfoni – Ascending the Scales in Spend Analysis

Simfoni has matured and progressed quite a bit since we last covered them on Sourcing Innovation back in 2017 (in our article that discussed when a quartet’s not enough), and has even progressed since the doctor last co-covered them on Spend Matters in early 2022 (although the site revamp has conveniently erased his author credit from many of the series he co-authored) in their most recent 3-part vendor analysis (Part I, Part II, and Part III). (Note that a Spend Matters ContentHub subscription will be required to view this three-part series.)

Since the early days, when Simfoni was essentially a spend analytics solution built on Microsoft Power BI with some roll-your own customized spend analytics capabilities embedded with spend analytics process expertise, they have added quite a lot of capability on top, including both out-of-the-box and some DiY (do it yourself) analyses as well as:

  • Extensive out-of-the-box opportunity assessments
  • Impact assessments regarding GHG, ESG, and CSR elements
  • Self-serve classification and taxonomy management
  • Advanced dashboards and custom data analysis
  • Sourcing pipeline management
  • S2C (Source-to-Contract) capability accelerated through its EC Sourcing Group acquisition, including the following:
    • Self-Source/Full e-RFX (RFI, RFP, RFQ, etc.)
    • Supplier Management
    • Contract Management
  • Workflow Routing & Enablement
  • Catalog Management & Creation
  • BuyDesk & Global Sourcing Support
  • Invoice Management
  • Performance Management & Savings Tracking

In this update, we’re going to focus on Simfoni Spend Analytics. We’ll cover their S2C capability (which we last covered in 2016 in our post on how EC Sourcing was getting ready to take the mid-market by storm, and the doctor last co-covered on Spend Matters in 2021 on their 3-part vendor analysis: Part I, Part II, and Part III), in a later update. Note that we will not be covering their Global BuyDesk, their back-office GPO / Procurement-as-a-Service offering, or their Tail Spend Management Services as we focus on technology products only in this blog. But if you’re short on Procurement People Power or Category Competence, we do suggest checking these offerings out. After all, there are advantages to using the same provider for software and services, especially considering the breadth of their platform which provides a complete history and additional advantages once you’re ready to take over self-sourcing and make procurement personal.

The first screen you see in Simfoni Analytics is the “Terminal” which is the cross-application dashboard that front-ends the analytics solution providing a jumping point into key metrics and insights from each module of the full Simfoni platform, including analytics, sourcing, supplier management, and contracts. The Terminal is configurable, with several pre-built out-of-the-box widgets to choose from, which can even include currency trends / heat maps, quick links into key parts of the platform, and even (third party) content feeds.

From the Terminal, the most common jumping point will be Analytics, which has its own landing page that provides the entry point for all of the built-in dashboards which include:

  • Insights: spend summary for the current month vs the prior month, and the same month one year ago (in terms of spend, transactions, suppliers, and other key data points)
  • Spend: classic spend summary (total suppliers, transactions, POs, categories, suppliers, business units, trends, etc.)
  • Geo Mapping: spend breakdowns by regions / countries (and visual bubble map overlays)
  • Trend Analysis: insight into spend trends by supplier, category, region, etc.
  • Category Console: spend breakdowns by category and segmentation by value bracket
  • Spend Distribution: taxonometric breakdowns
  • Commonality Analysis: supplier by count of entity analysis and associated spend
  • Supplier Normalization: suppliers by duplicate count / familying opportunity and impacted spend
  • Supplier Spend Profiles: spend analysis dashboard restricted to a single supplier, possibly augmented with risk, impact, or other customized insight
  • Tail Spend: a spend dashboard limited to, and customized on, tail spend including breakdowns by invoice groupings, vendor groupings, and transaction groupings for insights into spend type (contract/non contract, direct/indirect), variance, and transaction cost

and may also include:

  • Supplier Risk: a risk dashboard based upon integrated third-party risk data feeds (from Darkbeam, out-of-the-box with subscription, or bring your own subscriptions like BVD or Ecovadis)
  • Spend Impact: the impact of your organizational spend from an environmental or social perspective, provided you have the appropriate data feeds for the necessary calculations;
  • M&A Analysis: a specialized dashboard that allows you to compare spend between two entities and do an opportunity analysis
  • Custom Insights: a dashboard custom built for very specific needs unique to your organization

In addition to these analytical dashboards that provide deep insights out of the box, the platform also has some optimizer dashboards that include:

  • Opportunity Assessment where they use the results of all their analysis above to indicate top opportunities across supplier consolidation, one-time vendor elimination, supplier normalization, production commonality, catalogue buying (vs off-catalog purchases), PPV (purchase price variance), payment terms, and other actions (based upon a custom analysis they build for you upon implementation)
  • Supplier Consolidation opportunities by bottom level category as well as projected savings (and savings range) from consolidation to the lowest cost product
  • Purchase Price Variance by product along with savings potential by item
  • P-Card centric tail spend dashboards with spend, transaction, category, supplier, user, facility, etc. breakdowns for deep insight so that what happens on the P-Card doesn’t stay on the P-Card
  • Payment Terms analysis and impact from payment term alterations

And, since the early days, they have added a lot of self-serve data management capabilities including:

  • Category Management where you can define your categories (in a taxonomy)
  • Material Description Management where you can define standard material descriptions
  • GL Description Management where you define GL codes
  • Supplier Management where you manage supplier groupings (families)
  • Transaction Management where you can drill down to the transaction level and get full details and perform transaction-level mappings
  • Taxonomy Suggestions where new classification or change requests are tracked
  • Manual Classification where you can classify by supplier, description, material, and/or GL Description and where you can see the % of currently classified transactions, suppliers, and spend

Simfoni’s Spend Analytics capabilities are quite extensive, informative, and best of all, easy-to-use. If you’re looking for a best-of-breed spend analytics solution from a mini-suite vendor that also has strong procurement services, Simfoni is a vendor you should definitely check out.