Author Archives: thedoctor

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

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

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

At the time we noted that its strengths were:

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

And it’s weaknesses were

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

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

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

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

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

Thus,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The AdaptOne Matrix

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

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

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

4 Smart Technologies Modernizing Sourcing Strategy — Not Just Doctor Approved!

IBM recently published a great article on 4 smart technologies modernizing sourcing strategies that was great for two reasons. One, they are all technologies that will greatly improve your sourcing. We’ll explain why.

Automation

Business Process Automation (BPA, or RPA — Robotic Process Automation) can optimize sourcing workflows as well as procurement workflows. With good categorization, demand forecasting, inventory management, price intelligence, templates, strategies, situational analysis (that qualitatively and quantitatively define when a strategy should be applied), and workflow, you can automate sourcing just as much as you can automate Procurement. You can eliminate all of the tactical and focus solely on the strategic analysis and decision making.

Blockchain

If you need to record information in a manner that can be publicly accessed and verified, such as to ensure that records for traceability can be independently verified, or to publicly record ownership, blockchain is a great technology as its ultra secure. In Sourcing and Procurement, it can be used to track orders, payments, accounts, and more across global supply chains and multiple private and public parties.

Analytics

In addition to providing an organization with deep insights into their spend and (process level) performance, analytics engines and their “big data brains” provide real-time sourcing flexibility and visibility to enhance order management, inventory management, and logistics management. With proper intelligence, sourcing teams can understand and act on changes in the increasingly complex supply chain — as they happen.

AI

When deep data and analytics are paired with AI, the deep insights can improve forecasts, help identify risk, and provide suggestions for management.

And this brings us to the next great aspect of the article. Not once did it mention Gen-AI. Not once. As the doctor has been stating over and over, the classic analytics, optimization and machine learning you have been ignoring for almost two decades will do wonders for your supply chain. (Blockchain is not always necessary, but will help in the right situation.)

SaaS Procurement for S2P+ Goes Beyond Basic Buying Etiquette for IT Procurement

Medium recently posted an article from ArmourZero, a cyber-security platform provider*, on IT Procurement Etiquette for User and Vendor, which I guess goes to show the lack of knowledge on how to buy among some organizations. It doesn’t go nearly far enough on what S2P buyers need to know, but it does provide basics we can build on.

The advice it provides for a user are:

  1. Do Your Homework (Create a Proper SoW): take the time to provide a proper Scope of Work (and don’t just take a vendor’s sample SoW, edit it slightly, and send it out, especially to the vendor you took it from)
  2. Professional: be neutral and don’t favour any specific vendor
  3. Transparent: be clear about the process, and if all bids exceed the budget and a reduced bid is required, be clear about the reason for going back and any modifications to the SoW to allow vendors to be within a budget range
  4. Fair: stick to the rules; not even incumbents get to submit late; if you have a minimum number of bids in by the deadline, you work with those; you weight on the same scales; etc.
  5. No Personal Interest: don’t accept gifts; don’t vote on the bid where you have a relationship; etc.

However, in our space, you have to start with:

  • Do Your Tech Market Research: make sure you understand the different types of solutions in the market, what the baselines are, and what the standard terminology is (sourcing != procurement)
  • Do Your Deep Dive Tech Market Research: once you figure out the major area, figure out the right sub area — a Strategic Sourcing Solution is not a Strategic Sourcing Solution is not a Strategic Sourcing Solution; a CLM (Contract Lifecycle Management) is not a CLM is not a CLM; and an SXM is definitely not an SXM which is definitely not an SXM; in the case of Strategic Sourcing, do you mean RFX? e-Auction? or optimization-backed sourcing? in the case of CLM, do you mean Negotiation, Analysis, or Governance? in the third case, which element(s) of the CORNED QUIP mash are you looking for: compliance? orchestration? relationship? network? enablement? discovery? quality? uncertainty? information? performance? No vendor does more than half of these, and those vendors will only do a couple of areas really deep and more-or-less fake the rest!
  • Write a Process and Results Oriented RFP (& SoW): it’s not features or functions (beyond the foundational functions all applications in the class need to support) it’s the processes you need to support, the systems you need to integrate with, and the results you need to get — let the vendors describe how they will solve them, not just check meaningless yes/no boxes … they might have a more efficient way to support your process, a faster way to get results, etc.; the same goes for any implementations, integrations, services, etc. — make sure it focusses on what you need to accomplish, not meaningless check-the-box exercises
  • Do Your Due Diligence Vendor Research: once you have figured out the solutions you need and the primary capabilities you are looking for, make sure the vendors you invite not only offer the type of solution, but have (most of) the foundations of the capabilities you are looking for; use analyst firms, maps, tech matches, and expert analyst consultants to build your short-list of mandarin to tangerine to orange vendors vs random google searches that, if you are lucky, will give you apples to oranges, and if you are not, will give you rutabagas to oranges to tofu vendor matches

Then apply the rest of the advice in the linked article by ArmourZero.

You’ll have better success in your RFP, negotiations, and your implementation if you do all of your homework first, even though it is a lot more extensive than you want it to be. (But remember, there are expert analyst consultants who can help you. No one says you can’t hire an expert tutor! And the reality is that you should spend five figures before making a six to seven figure investment (as there will be implementation, integration, and support costs on top of that six-plus license fee), and maybe even do a six-figure deep dive process and technical maturity assessment, market scan, and custom RFP/SoW generation project with an expert analyst consultant before signing a recurring [high] seven figure suite deal.

* A CyberSecurity firm is the last vendor you’d expect to be authoring such a post (given the massive increase in CyberAttacks since 2019), but I guess it shows just how bad buying can be if they felt the need to write on this vs. a SaaS Management Vendor

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 SalesForce.com 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

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:

Overview

  • 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

Compliance

  • 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

Discovery

  • 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.

Summary

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.

The B2B Software Marketplaces Will Rise. Then the Hammer will Fall!

Thanks to Apple, every consumer thinks there’s an app for that. And for most consumer desires, there probably is. Especially since Apple’s App Commerce climbed to 1.1 Trillion in 2022. Yes, that’s 1,100,000,000,000 US Dollars! That’s a lot of money, especially when most apps are being sold for a few bucks.

When you consider:

  • consumer app marketplaces are now a Trillion dollar business
  • enterprises are buying more SaaS than ever, as every employee in every department wants an app(lication) to support every task they do
  • enterprises pay 10X to 100X what individuals pay per user license, and, thus, the opportunity of enterprise app marketplaces is in the tens (to hundreds) of Trillions
  • enterprises want easy, centralized, acquisition to limit the number of vendors they need to deal with / handle subscription invoices from

It’s easy to see why all the big software / cloud vendors are opening their own app marketplaces. A recent article on IOT Analytics shouted the rise of the B2B software marketplaces while quoting their B2B Technology Marketplaces Market Report (2024-2030) that noted that:

  • they are the fastest growing procurement channel (for software)
  • dedicated platform providers are seeing success
  • some sellers make Billions

And they will continue to grow for a few years. But then, the hammer will fall.

What one has to remember is the following:

  • many of these marketplaces are taking a big cut, like 30% or more, which is what a sales partner would have taken to compensate its employee(s) that actively sold the product, but they are doing NOTHING but creating a listing, making it searchable, taking an order, collecting a payment, and providing a license key … even when you consider cloud fees, payment processor fees, platform maintenance fees, they could be very profitable at 13% (remember that recent article on how roughly half a trillion dollars will be wasted on SaaS spend this year … well, this is only going to increase that as you’re paying almost 20% more than you need to for the licenses you do need and use)
  • apps, licenses, and overspend is going to proliferate rapidly as “approved” app stores make it easy for every employee with a p-card to buy what they want, when they want
  • those SaaS audits and rationalizations that identify 33%+ overspend are only going to reclaim at most 20% of that, if you’re lucky, because, even if the software developer is willing to refund unused licenses, they’re not going to refund that 30%+ they already paid the marketplace … and that’s if they’ll even talk to you because you acquired the license through a third party
  • there’s no real negotiation opportunity when you buy from a marketplace

So as businesses race to digitization, they will embrace the marketplace as it will help them get part of the way there very quickly, but then when they realize just how much they are spending on app(lication)s, and turn Procurement on strategic procurement of SaaS, the first thing to go will be the app marketplace purchases … and then … it will be time for the hammer to fall.