Spend Matters PRO highlights the key takeaways of Ivalua

Jason Busch – one of the leading technology pundits and thought leaders in the trade, procurement and operations worlds – wrote an article for Spend Matters online in November 2013: Value of an Integrated Suite and Platform Model, Ivalua Sees 50% SaaS Growth from Large Deals“.


“Spend Matters recently caught up with the Ivalua team for an update that was long overdue. As a side note, if you want to learn more about Ivalua and speak Dutch or can maneuver Google Translate, Gert van der Heijden of Spend Matters Netherlands profiled some of the highlights from Ivalua’s recent “On Air” (http://bit.ly/ICYC1e) customer event in Paris—a spectacular affair based on a number of reports we’ve heard from Gert and others.

We’re just starting to re-engage on going deep with Ivalua’s solutions set (see past coverage at the end of this post) as the leadership, product, and marketing teams appear to be finally coming up for air following a year of serious in-the-trenches intensity, highlighted by a 50% growth in SaaS revenues, much of it from a handful of large, very competitive suite deal wins in which it bested Ariba, SAP, and others.

Ivalua’s growth is all the more remarkable given their limited investment in marketing and channels, especially in North America. For example, Ivalua is not formally working with any of the large consultancies or SIs. It is working with boutique firms such as Nitor and Shelby for implementation support, but we think that if Ivalua were to build formal relationships with firms such as Deloitte, KPMG, PWC, and E&Y (which should embrace it), Ivalua’s growth would be even greater. These firms, which have embraced Coupa as a procure-to-pay suite partner alternative to Ariba (in KPMG’s case, almost exclusively) would be pleasantly surprised to learn what Ivalua can offer—and we strongly encourage them to extend a partnering olive branch.

This type of growth and the large customer wins (without much marketing) is a big deal for a company at their stage of maturity – and it suggests that Ivalua will make it to the next level as a $25MM+ procurement solutions provider in 2014. One of the reasons we believe in this level of growth goes beyond the integrated suite value proposition that spans the entire source-to-pay savings, process, and compliance bridge – and helps differentiate Ivalua from its most direct functional competitors, including Ariba, SAP, Oracle, Coupa, and others. This differentiator, of course, is the embrace of a true platform as a service (PaaS) model that does not attempt to paper over the need for coexistence in a broader systems, network, and supplier ecosystem inside companies – and outside their four walls. Ivalua has moved beyond just delivering a single solution set built on a common data model to offering a true platform approach.

Companies are often standardizing on Ivalua for longer than a typical SaaS deal length of three years. Ivalua’s new contracts are often five and even seven years in duration. And they’re doing this across a wide (and deep) suite. Ivalua divides its functional capabilities into five different areas (really 12 if you further break apart the individual modular groups). These include:

  • 1. Purchasing Intelligence (inclusive of spend analysis, performance evaluation, action plans/ savings tracking, and purchasing dashboard)
  • 2. E-Sourcing (which includes sourcing project management/category management, bill of material management (BOM), RFX, auctions and services procurement capabilities)
  • 3. Contracts & Catalogs (inclusive of contract authoring, contract repository, e-signatures/ signing, contract lifecycle management, and catalog management)
  • 4. Procure-to-Pay (which includes budgeting, purchase requisitioning, purchase orders, goods receipting, e-invoicing, and T&E)
  • 5. Supplier Relationship Management (inclusive of supplier repository, supplier registration, supplier sourcing portal, P2P portal, credential/profile management, and supplier development/ improvement plans)

The secret sauce involves not only leveraging a single connected suite, but also a platform environment that allows Ivalua to work in the real world of highly complicated and global environments with levels of configuration that cross over far beyond what is even typically possible with limited code level customization of Ariba, SAP SRM, and Oracle eBusiness suite procurement deployments. Indeed, this is why Ivalua is growing fast. Very fast for a SaaS vendor. We look forward to sharing our findings from a new deep dive look at Ivalua next year, but for now, we hope this analysis whets our readers’ appetites to learn more about this highly nuanced (and surprisingly broad and deep) French suite provider and their PaaS approach.

The Platform and Broad Suite Advantage is Leading to Big Suite Wins

Ivalua’s embrace of a PaaS approach built on a service oriented architecture (SOA) model is allowing it to come in as one of the few suite replacements for Ariba – but one that can in fact extend the original vision for why companies selected Buyer and other Ariba tools in the first place. Some of the deals Ivalua is winning in North America (Whirlpool, Fannie Mae, etc.) are those that have requirements that would cause the solution consultants from rival vendors to scratch their head – which is precisely why Ivalua is winning them. And it also explains the size of these deals and why Ivalua is growing largely from big customer wins of companies standardizing on their suite across modules, rather than cherry picking a single component or two.

The Ivalua platform model allows for truly remarkable levels of configuration (rather than code-level customization) and includes its own workflow engine, document management support, SOA/web-service integration capabilities, template/field/form and related editing, security, reporting, collaboration, and third-party supplier/partner network connectivity (think Ariba, Basware, or OB10 network) at the core. This broader platform value proposition not only unites the Ivalua suite through a common code base, but more importantly (in our view), also enables it to work inside extremely complex customer environments and link procurement organizations with their global suppliers. This factor is core to why Ivalua is winning deals and how it is so different than others in the market.

Key Takeaways

  • Ivalua is ready made as a potential replacement for any company looking to switch from a customized Ariba Buyer (and broader suite) CD set-up. We would be hard pressed to come up with another provider that could take a heavily customized source-to-pay implementation and adapt it for a SaaS based environment with the level of flexibility and interoperability that Ivalua brings to large, global and complicated deployments
  • Procurement organizations looking for anything beyond a modular fix (e.g., e-sourcing, eProcurement, e-invoicing, supplier management, etc.) to specific ills should add Ivalua to their list of integrated, end-to-end “real” suite vendors if they have not already. There are many providers masquerading as suite vendors (including all of the ERPs) which are truly not integrated with a common data model, workflow and deep capability across end-to-end procurement processes.
  • When evaluating Ivalua in comparison to the competition, do especially comparative due diligence not just on feature/function but also the platform advantage the suite can bring. The only other vendor we are aware of with a similar broad and deep end-to-end functional suite (at this stage) built on top of a PaaS model is Intenda (which has no presence in North America).
  • Unlike Coupa, Ivalua does not yet have a strong set of implementation partners in North America aside from select boutiques. If the company’s growth continues as we expect it will, we foresee a potential skills challenge for implementations until Ivalua builds tighter linkages with the larger consultancies and SIs.”

Previous coverage

Ivalua: The Broadest Spend Management Suite Vendor You’ve Never Heard Of (Part 1)

Ivalua: The Broadest Spend Management Suite Vendor You’ve Never Heard Of (Part 2)

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