It doesn’t give broad, generic, totally useless Software Advice on categories so vague that they compare head-to-head vendors doing 3rd party logistics and vendors doing catalog based procurement!
SolutionMaps are on specific Supply (Chain) Management categories, that are precisely defined and tailored to a specific Sourcing, Procurement, or Supply Chain business process. Right now, they are defined for e-Procurement (e-Pro), Invoice-to-Pay (I2P), and the broader Procure-to-Pay (P2P) areas, (Strategic) Sourcing, Analytics, SRM, and Contract Management with Contingent Workforce Management and Services in the pipeline. Future areas may include GRC (Governance, Risk, and Compliance), Direct Sourcing (focussing on BoM, Should Cost Modelling, Production Planning, Etc.), WIMS (Warehouse and Inventory Management Systems), and Logistics/Freight Management.
We do not compare apples to oranges (as such a comparison is pretty useless) in SolutionMaps, but we definitely don’t compare apples to bananas, peaches, pears, and oranges in a single market basket. They might all be fruit, but that’s about all they have in common.
Granted, there are analyst firms that think that pretty much all Supply Chain Management Solutions are the same. One even has a big bold advertising page which says it can help you compare the following 12 vendors:
3PLCentral, Bellwether, CobbleStone, Coupa, CongaNovatus, ContractWorks, Deltek, Fishbowl, FreightView, Halo, Kinaxis, and Procurify.
If you ever compare more than any set of three of these at a time, either you don’t know what you’re doing or the advisors don’t know what they are doing. These vendors fall into the falling seven distinct categories:
- Business Intelligence
- Contract Management
- Freight Management
- Procurement Software
- Supply chain Management
- Warehouse Management
SolutionMaps only evaluates vendors in a defined market segment, and then it only evaluates demoable product. We know that some (not all) analyst firms review the solution component of vendors based largely off PowerPoint and other documents. Given some of the hyperbole the marketing gurus at the market leaders can generate with the flick of the wrist, this is also quite scary. Just because a new cloud-based SaaS solution can provide you with community intelligence, that doesn’t mean it does. The crowd has to buy into the solution in order for its wisdom to be shared. That usually takes time. But forcing demos forces reviews on real functions, not perceived capabilities.
And, finally, as we hinted at in yesterday’s post, rose colored glasses have no influence on the scoring. It doesn’t matter how much we like, or do not like, a vendor, it only matters whether or not they can meet the binary requirements to advance up the scoring scale.
SolutionMaps are based on the existence, or nonexistence, of functionality, in a well defined domain, tailored to real-world buyer needs. And even the customer questions, and scores, are meaningful to other real world buyer needs. SolutionMaps are different. And that’s why they are awesome.