Twice a year, Spend Matters analysts work hard to further deepen their understanding of procurement tech (and services) solutions at a granular level by analyzing vendor-based RFI requirements across 11 source-to-pay tech categories and reviewing anonymized customer references. The 73 providers that participate in Spend Matters SolutionMap are benchmarked and ranked in this way to give users an accurate update of procurement tech functionality that is data-driven to help them make informed choices about their software partners.
From cycle to cycle (Spring and Fall) and from year to year our analysts observe market conditions, trends and movements among the solution provider community. This might include new entrants to SolutionMap or vendors that started in one solution map category and expanded into another because they grew their offering. All of this gives a more complete picture of the market at every cycle. But it’s not just about changes at scoring level for vendors in a particular field. The observations are also about the scope covered by a vendor and the market.
Our dedicated procure-to-pay (P2P) analyst, Xavier Olivera, notes some particular market movements:
Main market shifts this cycle
SolutionMap welcomed new entrants this cycle:
- Promena is a new entrant to the eProcurement SolutionMap.
- Airbase is a new entrant to AP Automation.
- Kissflow, previously playing in eProcurement, now enters AP Automation.
Main movements include:
- GEP, Ivalua and Basware improved their customer scores this cycle in eProcurement, AP Automation/I2P and P2P, shifting their positions more toward the value-leader side of the SolutionMap.
- Yooz re-entered SolutionMap in AP/I2P.
- As a general observation in terms of SolutionMap participant movements, Coupa, Oracle, SAP Ariba, GEP, Ivalua and Jaggaer continue as the top analyst-scoring suite vendors.
We are witnessing a lot of investment in AP Automation across the board. Many small and mid-market providers are offering new solutions, which we intend to cover as participation in SolutionMap grows. It’s an interesting trend to note, as eProcurement is one of the most mature categories in terms of automation.
Other market observations year on year
Notes on eProcurement
In the eProcurement space we are witnessing a shift in the way purchasing is conducted. This goes further than just the ‘Amazon-like’ type of buying that has become the goal of many suite providers – we are seeing other vendors coming into the market to challenge, and to solve, the use case scenarios that the suite vendors don’t. They are tackling the more complex areas of the intake-to-procure process through e-forms, stakeholder collaboration and low-code/no-code customizations, something that the suite vendors don’t do to a great extent, or at least not to the same degree as these vendors.
Another noteworthy development in eProcurement is the move toward more ‘openness.’ The suite vendors are on board with this, but we are seeing it increasingly with other vendors that are trying to be more flexible in terms of where the user can buy from. This means stepping outside of the catalog and accessing other vendors for a purchase that they can then revert to their own solution for the approvals process. So an external source or marketplace solution is being sought over internally hosted catalogs, giving users more flexibility and choice for their tail spend. Within this ‘openness’ is the goal of getting more spend under management.
We observe also that outside of the specialist vendors, more suite vendors are moving into the direct materials space. They are adding more functionality to improve supply chain collaboration, such as the synchronization of POs, gaining more visibility of forecasts and more collaboration between buyers and suppliers.
And in terms of eProcurement technology, we are seeing the introduction of a lot of low-code/no-code–type solutions to enable a simple method for users to configure more complex customizations.
So, it’s fair to say there is much complexity in the market right now. Partnerships with more than just the chip vendors are required. More integration with third parties and other systems within your system landscape is needed to synchronize and orchestrate a solution. Most suite vendors don’t traditionally excel in this, so we’re seeing more newcomers trying to fill this gap.
Notes on AP Automation
A noticeable trend in AP Automation within SolutionMap is that the bar is consistently being raised by other players in terms of scoring. It’s a much more competitive landscape right now, especially in electronic invoice compliance. In the early days of AP automation, few vendors could offer this compliance or were really considering embedding it in their solution. Now, it’s universal. Vendors are partnering with specialists to gain this feature because electronic invoice compliance is becoming mandatory – albeit not yet in the US.
We are also witnessing more AI and machine learning being introduced to the electronic invoicing process for digitization, n-way matching purposes and validation. So, embedding intelligence into AP automation is gaining traction with more and more solution providers, even outside of the big suites. So the suites and the smaller, more specialized providers are all moving in the same direction.
Notes on Payments
From a payments perspective, this type of functionality has traditionally been the realm of the mid-market solutions or more specialized solutions like AvidXchange and Tipalti. But we are now seeing the suite providers and specialists integrating with payment processors like Transfermate and Corpay to provide payment processing. It’s interesting that the suite vendors are keen to move into the middle market as well as their traditional enterprise market. Clearly, in order to compete they need to be in the payments market overall. We expect to see more large enterprises using solution providers to process their payments. This is akin to the ‘openness’ we are seeing in eProcurement: rather than solution providers just processing the invoices generated by their system, they are processing invoices from other sources too, so that they can consolidate all invoices within an organization.
So this is becoming a much more ‘open’ and accessible area, and again, we see this as an attempt to get more and more spend under management. But it’s going to require more than one solution to solve all use cases, so the suite vendors are not necessarily the only solution you can rely on to ‘do it all.’
We are also seeing some movement in the supply chain finance (SCF) and working capital area among the suite providers, e.g., SAP Ariba buying Taulia and Ivalua partnering with C2FO. And early payment solutions, like dynamic discounting, are also starting to be embraced more by the suites. And a topic that is being taken much more seriously, both in eProcurement and AP Automation solutions, is the collaboration between buyers and suppliers. The idea of collaborating closely and generating value for the provider is a new priority among solution providers.
Following are the vendors Spend Matters covers in SolutionMap and Spend Matters PRO in AP Automation/I2P including new entrants this cycle.
Look out for the trends we’ve seen in the fields of Sourcing and SxM from our analyst Bertrand Maltaverne. And look out for the trends we’ve seen in contract lifecycle management (CLM) from our analyst Nikhil Gaur.
More information about our full Fall SolutionMap update 2022 can be found here:
Spend Matters is also responding to this increased need for, and awareness of, ESG capabilities in the procurement tech on the market by introducing a CO2 component to our buyer decision-making tool, TechMatch, which quickly prioritizes and translates business needs into technical requirements to gain a shortlist of best-fit providers for your organization.