David Plus Goliath: Exploring a Collaborative Digital Procurement Ecosystem
Any time there’s a size mismatch between two players in the same space, the buzz always focuses on whether or not David, the small upstart, can take on Goliath, the well-established giant. It’s a classic trope whose utility ranges from sportscasting to analyst reporting.
In the world of Procurement, there are a number of Goliaths—well-established suites and ERPs that are known as must-haves in any digital transformation project. At the same time, there are countless Davids—best-of-breed solutions—on the prowl that offer more focused functionality in an attempt to become the next formidable procurement platform. Over the past 25 years, they’ve waged wars on the larger players and won a loyal following to their side. Now, Procurement is split in its opinion on the two types of solutions. Some procurement professionals swear by suites while others are adamant that the only way to maximize performance is to build a collection of best-of breeds.
As a best-of-breed provider, SpendHQ takes a different approach and asks, “Why not both?” Why can’t David and Goliath work together, and if they do, what will the outcome look like? Using integrations with over 40 of the market’s leading digital procurement solutions, we’ve explored this situation for years, and believe the results speak for themselves. Here are three reasons why combining the power of suites with the functionality of best-of-breeds allows everyone to win.
No solution can be everything to everyone
Large source-to-pay suites and ERP systems have enabled teams to do most of their work in one place. They can manage contracts, set purchasing catalogs, handle purchase orders (POs) and so much more without investing in a dedicated platform for each function. However, no single piece of software can do everything a business needs, especially in a function as complicated as Procurement.
Without integrated solutions, teams must bend their operations to their software’s limitations or invest in and juggle multiple disconnected tools. The result is inefficient operations, frustrating processes, inaccurate data, and suboptimal performance. Down the road, these problems can create turnover and erode other departments’ trust in Procurement.
However, when teams have solutions that work together, they can rely on the power of a suite and the functionality of a best-of-breed without data silos hindering their potential. For example, SpendHQ’s Spend Intelligence (SI) and Procurement Performance Management (PPM) integrate with several suites and data providers to create a seamless flow of strategic and tactical data. With this integration, teams can use their suites and ERPs to generate execution-level data and then turn to SI to identify opportunities in it. Using that same data, they can then use PPM to drive strategic initiatives and track the results.
The procurement ecosystem needs symbiotic relationship
Business is an ecosystem, not a boxing ring. Sure, there are times when two companies may go head-to-head, but in most cases, they thrive when they work together. Take the plover and the crocodile for example. The plover is a brave little bird that sits in a crocodile’s mouth and plucks food from its teeth. The crocodile could eat the bird, or the bird could try chasing the larger animal off its meals, but neither do. They play different roles in the ecosystem, so both animals know that working together is the best option.
SpendHQ views the procurement ecosystem in the same way. Our solutions help teams analyze spend, highlight opportunities, facilitate communication with stakeholders, and track projects and their results. Alone, that can be invaluable to procurement teams. But when paired with the rest of the digital procurement ecosystem, the seamless, two-way flow of data enables companies to get more value out of their tech stacks. Instead of focusing just on tactical outcomes, our solutions empower them to sync their execution-focused solutions with strategy from SI and oversight with PPM. On the other end, our platform makes our integration partners stronger as well. By adding dedicated spend analytics, project pipelines, opportunity finders, and savings trackers, teams can set themselves up for strategic advancements while carrying out their daily tasks. Like the plover and the crocodile, everyone wins in this kind of partnership.
The union of trustworthiness and innovation
Many procurement teams hesitate to work with best-of-breeds because their providers aren’t as well known as the largest players in the space. This is yet another reason why the David and Goliath fight is unproductive for everyone involved. Large companies need solutions that they trust will be around for a long time, so they usually opt for established suites instead of niche solutions. When best-of-breeds try to take the place of suites and other large solutions, most companies won’t choose them. Unfortunately, they lose out on key functionality that could revolutionize their procurement impact in the process.
However, when best-of-breeds establish themselves as partners in the procurement ecosystem, they become a safe bet for companies of all sizes. Businesses can choose a well-established member of the ecosystem for their tactical execution and then pick and choose best-of-breeds like SpendHQ’s solutions to supplement and extend their functionality.
Enterprise business software exists to make work more effective for end users and stakeholders. When solutions providers of all sizes find ways to supplement each other’s capabilities, procurement teams across the globe win.
At SpendHQ, we believe that the answer to the David and Goliath question is simple. There are best-of-breeds and there are suites. Both are fantastic at the tasks they’re designed for. However, Procurement handles far too much responsibility in today’s market to choose one type of solution to the exclusion of the other. Doing so only locks away functionality that will unlock the function’s full potential. That’s why SpendHQ is proud to boast its collection of 40+ integrations with various players in the digital procurement ecosystem. We know that when we all work together, the procurement teams win, and most importantly their overall organizations win.