Spend Matters is delighted to announce the 2022 roster for our “Future 5” list. For the 4th year in a row, our analysts have highlighted five start-ups that excited them the most. These Future 5 vendors are on track to qualify for next year’s “50 Procurement Providers to Watch” list. This year, the five companies that have proven themselves as potential future trend setters are Carbmee, Focal Point, Open Envoy, ProcureWise and Relish.
To warrant such attention, these vendors must have a product that is ideally 2-to-5 years old, is used by more than five customers and displays an innovative application of technology. Moreover, these vendors must have less than $10 million in revenue and our analysts must find them both sustainable and growing with a clear momentum. In this series of articles, we explain what these vendors offer, why they are likely to become future members of our “50 Procurement Providers to Watch” and “50 Procurement Providers to Know” lists and what challenges they may face.
Today, we introduce the next of the Future 5 start-ups for 2022: Relish
What it Does
Relish builds micro applications, analytics, data management tools, reusable integrations and UX enhancers that help firms get more value from their broader source-to-pay application investments in ERP and/or S2P suites like SAP Ariba and Coupa, which feature Relish solutions on their app stores/marketplaces. Rather than just building various niche applications to compete with S2P suites, Relish’s solutions help realize the potential of currently deployed technology by offering advanced support for supplier data validation, invoice validation and digitization among other areas.
The firm was founded by source-to-pay implementation consultants (spun out of Nitor) who consistently saw the need for additional capabilities to augment large application deployments — either during implementation or as post-implementation “optimization” projects that help improve adoption and value realization. Its solution portfolio is very purpose-driven to attack specific pain points such as supplier data validation, invoice automation, integration scenarios and collaboration tools to help optimize UX and data flows within the mega app vendor ecosystems.
Why We Chose It
There are many general purpose automation tools out in the market for intelligent process automation, analytics-centric data management, hosted integration, catalog management, B2B integration, etc. But there isn’t yet any dominant digital platform vendor that combines all of these into a coherent whole — especially for the procurement space. This is what Relish is building out within the ecosystems of the leading mega S2P application providers (and a few hyperscale’s) where there are many technical/commercial nuances to navigate.
The mega app vendors themselves are also increasingly building out some level of native capabilities in these areas. See, for example, SAPs BTP ecosystem. These, though, are generally optimized for their own technology stacks which has led them to begin development of technology partner ecosystems where Relish fits in nicely. We also like how Relish’s tech stack lines up with all of the architectural elements of modern digital platforms that we’ve begun covering more deeply.
We also like the domain expertise and passion of the employees who have been steeped in the S2P technology implementation realm for a long time rather than just being technology generalists.
Any threats or challenges ahead?
When you dance with a bear, you need to be careful, and even more so when it’s a sleuth of bears. When mega app vendors deem various parts of their ecosystems as “core,” current ecosystem partners like Relish can be threatened. However, since the technology here is more around mission-critical “plumbing” rather than features and functions, it’s less of a threat, especially when vendors like Relish can be so valuable to the mega vendors to improve speed to value, adoption and customer satisfaction in the trenches with highly tailored capabilities built for that particular ecosystem.
There’s also a potential threat from larger service firms like, the mega consultancies and BPOs/MSPs, that have the scale to develop this technology within a broader ecosystem beyond S2P. This includes process-specific apps in CRM, service management, HCM, SCM, etc. as well as broader technology platforms for aPaaS (including DevOps and low-code/no-code), data analytics, hyper-automation, AI/ML, IaaS and so on. This tends to be at the high end of the market though. The overall market has plenty of room for proven “arms dealers” like Relish who can sell very specific and purpose-built solutions on top of an underlying core platform architecture.
Look out for more coverage of the Spend Matters Future 5 next week when we introduce OpenEnvoy.
If you’d like to get under our analysts’ radar, procurement tech providers can create a free listing in the Spend Matters Almanac, the most comprehensive technology and service directory of procurement and supply chain solution providers.
And if you are thinking about buying procurement technology, try consulting Spend Matters TechMatch℠ for a rapid shortlist and the free buyer’s guide resource.