Your guide to choosing the right e-procurement software
A collection of articles that takes you from defining technology needs to purchasing options
Editor's note: This is part four of a four-part series on e-procurement. In the first part, PayStream Advisors reviewed the history and common functionality of e-procurement software. In part two, they show which types of organizations are well suited for e-procurement software. Part three discusses how those organizations should select the right e-procurement tool.
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The benefits of implementing e-procurement software are fairly obvious. Automation can increase efficiency in the procurement process and can help organizations gain transparency into and control over spending. But when it comes to selecting an e-procurement tool, the choice is not as obvious.
Depending on a company's size, industry and IT setup, one e-procurement vendor may be more suitable than another. Based on research conducted at PayStream Advisors, here's a list of the top players in e-procurement and how they can best fit organizations of certain sizes and verticals.
Basware and Verian
Basware is a company that has a global presence with software that focuses on automating procure-to-pay (P2P) processes for international companies, and its product is able to support VAT-related invoicing requirements in Europe and Latin America.
Basware's recent acquisition of the e-procurement provider Verian has expanded its North American footprint and broadened its offering set. Verian's spend management tool was used by companies of all sizes and in several industries, including oil and gas, retail, healthcare, government and nonprofit. Known primarily for its e-procurement software, Verian also offered automation for expense reporting and invoice, inventory and asset management. The software had strong payment and reporting functionality, as well as transparent views into spend across entire organizations and built-in, detailed permissions tools, both especially fitting for companies in government and healthcare. The recent acquisition has made Basware a good option for North American companies with international dealings. Basware's strengths lie in its reporting capabilities -- extensive enough to support the needs of large enterprise organizations -- and its supplier payment and discounting tools.
BirchStreet Systems Inc.
BirchStreet is a leader of P2P automation for the hospitality industry, as their software includes several modules specifically designed to streamline processes for hospitality organizations, as well as those in entertainment, food manufacturing, healthcare and education industries. Some of these tools include inventory control, recipe management, executive dashboards and capital projects modules. BirchStreet works with over 11,000 properties in 103 countries. BirchStreet is known for its e-invoicing and catalog management capabilities, and BirchStreet clients can access an impressive 345,000 suppliers on the company's supplier network.
Founded in 2011, BuyerQuest is a relative newcomer in the P2P space, but its intuitive and modern user interface and simplified tools have made it a strong contender among older P2P players. The company's software specifically helps to increase compliance in organizations' purchasing processes, and its tool set features a strong procurement catalog and purchase order management module. The company offers invoice management capabilities and financing services, as well as flexible IT configuration to enable integration with multiple ERPs.
Coupa Software Inc.
Coupa is a leading provider of spend management automation technology. The company has a global presence, with over 40 offices worldwide. Coupa's first product, the cloud-based Spend Management Suite, has since been joined by a holistic set of P2P, source-to-settle, and travel and expense management tools. This software suite is offered modularly, allowing for quick implementations and scalable client adoption initiatives, making it suitable for midmarket companies.
Coupa has had substantial success in the financial services, healthcare, retail and high tech industries, but they are market-leading for their ability to adapt their product to a variety of business types and organizational needs.
In 2015, three P2P and source-to-settle software providers -- Iasta, Selectica and b-pack -- merged to form Determine. This conglomeration has resulted in an impressive set of offerings designed for global enterprise companies, including contract lifecycle management, strategic sourcing and P2P software. Determine also excels in supplier information management, purchase order management, and receipt and reconciliation, as well as a differentiating budget management functionality that is unique among similar e-procurement software.
The company's global presence is aided by its support for e-invoicing in both North American and European countries, and these features, as well as Determine's flexible design, make it a good choice for companies with several international locations and/or subsidiaries.
Esker offers leading invoice management and workflow automation, as well as a capable set of tools for purchasing, order management and supplier self-service. The company has extensive experience in manufacturing, healthcare, wholesale and distribution, and services industries, and its global presence reaches across North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.
Esker's other notable features include an industry-leading user interface, a robust mail management, scanning and document capture function. Esker also offers tight integration with SAP software and Oracle ERP, making it suitable for companies reliant on these technologies.
GEP is a leading provider of global P2P technology. The company serves enterprise customers worldwide with offices in Asia, Europe and North America, and targets customers in the manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, healthcare and life sciences, and consumer goods industries. GEP's leading product, SMART by GEP, is known for its modern user interface, flexible configuration and diverse set of P2P tools, including leading supplier information management, and special modules for manufacturing companies. The software is especially suited for international organizations, as it supports compliance with European e-invoicing requirements, and can be implemented in any language.
Ivalua boasts 500,000 users in over 70 countries, with a large presence in North America, and is a leading provider in Europe. Ivalua offers a software set that covers P2P processes from requisition to reporting, and their product can support processes for international mid- and large-sized organizations working in both Latin America and Europe. Ivalua is also a recognized leader in the P2P space by many leading industry and technology analysts and has received special notice for their procurement, strategic sourcing and supplier risk assessment modules for the versatility of their functionality. Ivalua is especially well-suited for companies with international business requirements.
Puridiom has been in the procurement software industry for over 30 years. This experienced company's P2P software covers procurement and accounts payable (AP), and its focus is on improving control over spend with transparency into purchasing processes and strong auditing capabilities. The company's e-procurement software is highly versatile and offers deep visibility into spend; it can be tailored to meet the needs of companies in the public and private sectors, including insurance, financial, entertainment, non-profit and health services industries. Puridiom's modular platform allows for quick implementations, making it a good option for midmarket companies. Puridiom's recent acquisition by BravoSolution will likely enhance its offerings and market standing.
Ariba has been a leader in the procurement automation for almost two decades, and their recent acquisition by the software giant SAP has further expanded the company's market presence. Ariba's pre- and post-SAP product offerings include a large supplier network, e-procurement, and financial, source-to-settle and contract lifecycle management software.
The company's strengths lie in their extensive product set, although their product's price point typically only makes them a viable choice for large enterprise companies. In addition, suppliers are charged fees to join and participate in the Ariba Network, which can be another drawback for small and mid-sized companies, as they typically have limited push power over their supplier base and will be unable to achieve high participation rates.
SciQuest offers P2P tools for enterprise customers in the commercial, higher education, healthcare and public sector industries. The company initially developed e-procurement and supplier enablement software; today, SciQuest's spend management suite has expanded to cover spend analysis, sourcing, contract lifecycle management and AP automation. SciQuest's holistic and customizable product makes it is a strong player in the spend management space. Its leading capabilities include its mobile application and purchase order management tools, as well as its support for compliance with European e-invoicing requirements.
SciQuest is known for their willingness to work with their customers, and their versatile e-procurement software is a good choice for companies in or looking to join international markets.
Tradeshift has primarily provided AP automation software, but its recent e-procurement release has placed it in the P2P automation space. Tradeshift has a modern vision that is somewhat unique in financial automation technology. While the company is relatively new in its market, its modern user interface and comprehensive invoice management strategies have made it a disruptive presence among providers typically slower to shift design approaches and offering strategies.
Tradeshift's supplier network connects over 800,000 companies in nearly every country, and its application ecosystem allows third parties to create their own applications to run on the Tradeshift platform. The software is one of the few AP automation providers to offer support for Chinese VAT compliance, making it well-suited for global businesses.
Wax Digital is a U.K.-based company, and its industry experience includes business services, education, entertainment, healthcare, hospitality and retail. The product, web3, supports over 245,000 users in 102 countries, as well as compliance with B2B requirements in both Latin America and Europe. Web3 covers both P2P and source-to-settle automation and is offered as a holistic suite or in modular units to promote timely implementation and scalable adoption. Web3's tool set offers strong support for compliance and control over organizations' purchasing processes, and its reporting and analytics module is a leading feature.
Xeeva has offices across the world and provides P2P software for some of the world's largest global brands in over 40 different countries and across a range of industries, including automotive, industrials, aerospace, services, manufacturing, life sciences, and energy and utilities. Xeeva offers software for P2P, source-to-settle and supplier collaboration, as well as several value-added tools, such as category management and inventory management. Xeeva is known particularly for its strong invoice creation and receipt tools, as well as its intuitive user interface, making it a good fit for small and mid-sized organizations. Xeeva's market standing and company value has recently increased with its acquisition of ProcurePack, a cloud-based provider of e-procurement and vendor relationship management software.
Founded 18 years ago, Zycus offers spend management automation to companies of many sizes across many verticals, including manufacturing, automotive, oil and gas, health and pharma and higher education. After launching its first procurement tool in 2000, Zycus has expanded its offering suite to include e-invoicing, spend analysis, contract management and supplier management, as well as electronic sourcing, for which it has received particular acclaim from industry analysts. Zycus offers strong upstream capabilities that simplify the P2P process, and its requisition workflow and purchase order management capabilities are leading among its peers.
PayStream, a Levvel company, specializes in helping organizations evaluate their current and future procurement states based on pre- and post-automation initiatives. Recently, they have assembled a report, the 2016 Purchase-to-Pay Navigator, which covers in detail the strengths, weaknesses and differentiators of each of the providers above, and it is a powerful resource for organizations currently looking for an e-procurement tool. The Navigator will be released in October; to sign up early for a free copy of the report, register here.
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