GEP, the longstanding industry provider of procurement services and solutions, announced on Tuesday the launch of “SMART by GEP,” what the company is calling “the first unified sourcing and procurement platform native to cloud, mobile and touch technologies.” Some GEP rivals may quibble over whether or not GEP’s suite is truly the first of its kind, but, being first or second is beside the point (they’re very early either way). The big news from this launch, in our opinion, is that GEP has fully arrived as a competitive provider of supply management solutions, offering a suite that is worthy of consideration by procurement departments around the globe for their technology needs.

Today, we’ll discuss the company in general and a few highlights from the announcement. In Part 2, we’ll drill down into announcement including some product details and discuss the potential market implications of GEP’s enhanced suite.

I think it will be helpful to provide a brief background and discussion on GEP’s experience in the industry. To start, while the “GEP” name is fairly new, the company is not, having been founded in 2000 and operating for most of its years as Global eProcure. In those early years, GEP was primarily a consulting/outsourcing company that specialized in sourcing and procurement. It had some success developing and selling solutions even in the early days, but its services group was where the company made its name. Over time, the company developed a global services presence with strong strategic sourcing and procurement outsourcing capabilities while quietly building out a cloud-based solution suite.

On the consulting side, GEP offers traditional strategic sourcing and opportunity assessment support as well as advisory and supply chain services. On the outsourcing side, GEP has a comprehensive offering that includes full procurement BPO, strategic sourcing, operational procurement, category management, tail spend management, spend analysis, market intelligence, and a series of support services. Quietly, GEP also developed a robust technology suite that now includes Spend Analysis, eSourcing, Contracts, P2P (more procure than pay), Supplier Information Management, and GEP Nexus (GEP’s supplier network) that enabled it to build some good momentum over the past two years.

Today, GEP has more than 120 clients in the Global 2000, including many global brands and industry-leading companies like Adobe, Bayer,  Heinz, International Paper, Kellogg’s, L’Oreal, Starwood, and TJX and reports that it manages more than $50 billion in spend and 6 million transactions on behalf of its customers. GEP’s client base has enabled it to develop industry expertise that it utilizes in its services delivery and within its solutions.

Earlier this year, the GEP leadership team came to Boston and spent the day with me demoing their solutions and laying out their strategy. I came away impressed with the breadth and depth of their services and solutions and also pleasantly surprised at the maturity of their technology. As a result, we have been able to recommend them to several of our end-user clients (and other contacts) as well as to other solution provider clients as a technology or service partner.

On the product/solution side, Tuesday’s announcement marks the release of an enhanced solution suite that now includes suite-wide mobile and touch-based capabilities that will allow GEP users to access and use GEP solutions on any smart device. The real news, however, is that GEP has completed its transformation from a traditional services company (albeit one with a few applications) to a solutions company that offers a strong supply management suite and a broad set of complementary sourcing/procurement-focused services.

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