Last Thursday, the 30 NBA teams spent an evening drafting the top college and international prospects in the world of basketball. Drafting the right player can potentially impact a team’s fortunes for a decade or more. Likewise, making the wrong selection can keep a team down for many years. Selecting the right player is clearly very difficult – so much so, that even the so-called “draft experts” frequently get it wrong, typically because they work at the big industry shops which means that their analysis is forced to address the least-common denominator elements in a market. This results in research that by design and intent is very broad, very general, and absolutely unable to consider any nuance or specific team needs or budgetary requirements (this is a common, perhaps universal, problem when cookie cutter analysis is applied to nuanced areas or topics like investment decisions, cars, and enterprise technology).
In many ways, selecting the right supply management solution(s) is like the NBA Draft. There are published reports and there are experts and there is coverage of the market (As our loyal readers know, Ardent Partners does all three of these things and we believe we compare favorably to others both large and small in the market). And, just like the NBA draft, decisions are high-profile and have a lasting impact – selecting the right solution can drive a multi-year transformation, just as selecting the wrong solution can drive a procurement or P2P team directly into a ditch and cause a few heads to roll.
This brings us to our first annual CPO Rising Hot Tech Prospect list where we introduce and analyze the hot new prospects in the supply management technology market for 2014. Before we begin, let’s answer the big question – What’s the criteria for selecting a new prospect? [Sidebar: please feel free to direct any additional questions to me or editor@] First, the emphasis here is on “new” when we use the term prospect; as such, established providers who have been successfully selling their solutions for years are not eligible (they were drafted years ago and are seasoned veterans if we are to continue the NBA analogy). Second, like the top picks in this year’s NBA draft, the members of our “CPO Rising Class of 2014” have had their early successes and are now ready for the big leagues (literally). The solutions provided by each Class of 2014 member vary, but what unifies them is that, over the past 12-18 months, each has arrived or graduated fully into the competitive supply management enterprise technology market (Note: Their is context in the evaluation as our analyst team has been following each of these providers since their earliest days). What also unifies this year’s draft class is that we believe that each prospect is worthy of your consideration when you run your next supply management tech RFPs and select your supply management solutions. Ladies and gentlemen, your CPO Rising Hot Tech Prospect: Class of 2014.
CPO Rising Hot Tech Prospect (2014) – BuyerQuest
Prospect “Bio”: BuyerQuest was launched in October, 2011 as a spinoff of PunchOutCatalogs.com which was founded in 2009. The BuyerQuest founding team was also behind Nitor Partners, the U.S.-based consultancy that specializes in sourcing and procurement. BuyerQuest offers P2P solutions including eProcurement, P2P with eInvoicing, and a marketplace solution that can supplement other eProcurement systems. It is headquartered in Cleveland and has other offices in North America and reports that it has approximately 100 people working in its offices currently.
Ardent Partners’ Analysis: With direct links to established technology companies and consultancies, BuyerQuest understands the supply management technology landscape, the competitive marketplace, and user requirements. Nonetheless, it acts like a new technology start-up and offers a fresh take on enterprise-level P2P solutions. By focusing first on the usability found in the online consumer world and working backwards to build in complex product, user, and system requirements found in the large enterprise P2P solutions market, BuyerQuest has been able to develop a solution set with a unique look and feel and a broad feature set. Even in its earliest days, the BuyerQuest solutions “demo-ed” very well. But today, it has successfully deployed its solutions inside some of the world’s largest multinational corporations bearing out its initial vision and establishing it as a CPO Rising Hot Tech Prospect and an otherwise competitive player in the enterprise-level P2P solutions space.