Technology Round-Up — February 20, 2019

CPO Rising’s Technology Round-Up returns today with an assortment of supply management technology news and updates from the past month to share with our community. If you are a sourcing, procurement, or spend management solution provider and you are continually innovating the way that procurement and supply chain leaders and practitioners drive value, we’d love to hear from you. Please drop us a note at editor at cporising dot com. Thanks, and enjoy!

Corcentric to Acquire Determine for $32 Million, Deal to Close in Q2 2019

Last week, Corcentric, Inc, the New Jersey-based provider of financial process automation and procure-to-pay (P2P) solutions, announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase Determine, Inc. (NASDAQ: DTRM), the Indiana-based provider of contract management and source-to-settle solutions for the cloud. The deal is worth roughly $32 million and is expected to close within the second quarter of calendar year 2019. The Boards of Directors at both companies have approved of the pending sale, but Determine shareholders must also approve of the deal, and the company must clear other local requirements in order for it to close.

Officials from both companies described the deal as synergistic in nature and a boon for their customer base, which at time of print, numbers more than 244 customers for Determine and more than 6,000 for Corcentric. Together, the two companies will benefit from new revenue growth opportunities and the opportunity to up-sell an expanded customer base with additional features and applications. In particular, Corcentric will benefit from the innovative feature functionality of and growth potential on the Determine Cloud Platform, while Determine will have access to a massive pool of potential customers exploring digital transformation within their source-to-settle value chains. Ultimately, the two companies intend to create a “one-stop shop” for their current customer base and future prospects that are looking to transform their sourcing, procurement, contracting, accounts payable, and accounts receivable organizations and operations.

Determine Launches Online B2B Marketplace that is Compatible with SAP

In other news from Determine, it announced late last month the release of its own B2B eCommerce marketplace, the Determine Online Store. The new offering provides SAP Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) users with the ability to access the Determine Online Store via an Open Catalog Interface (OCI) to select items for purchase and import them into SRM for purchase, invoice, and payment. Put another way, the integration provides SAP SRM users with an eCommerce solution that mates catalog management, including internal and “punch-out” catalogs that are configurable, and Google-like search capabilities with an Amazon-like buying experience. The Determine Online Store and its ability to connect to SAP SRM are meant to serve as a stop-gap measure for SAP SRM customers until SAP ceases maintaining SRM 7.o on December 31, 2025.

Avetta Acquires Browz to Create a Unified SCRM Provider

Late last week, representatives from Avetta, a cloud-based supply chain risk management (SCRM) solutions provider, informed us that it has acquired Browz, a contractor pre-qualification and management solutions provider, to offer a unified SCRM platform under the Avetta brand. The two companies have a reputation for helping customers ensure that they work with safe and sustainable vendors. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, although three of Avetta’s existing shareholders, Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, (WCAS), Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV), and Norwest Venture Partners (NVP) financed the deal. Avetta’s CEO, John Herr, will continue to lead the combined company, whose customer base now includes more than 450 customers worldwide and whose supplier base now exceeds 85,000.

Coupa Boosts Business Spend Management Platform with Innovations

Earlier this month, Coupa, the California-based provider of spend management solutions for the Cloud, announced a plethora of product enhancements to its Business Spend Management (BSM) platform. These enhancements are meant to drive “simpler, safer, smarter” business transactions during a time of increase digital security threats, fraud incidents, and privacy concerns. Based on customer feedback, Coupa developers integrated intelligent capabilities into the BSM Platform to help users address these concerns.

Product enhancements include: Coupa Spend Guard, which analyzes community data across all spend categories to help enterprises identify fraudulent behaviors and spend in real time rather than historical auditing. Another enhancement is Coupa Open Buy, which provides a “Google-like” search experience to users by enabling them to access products and services from external providers, like Amazon Business, Staples, and Office Depot, without “punching out” to their sites. Users can also use Amazon’s Alexa to verbally access the Coupa BSM Platform and manage transactions and spend via voice activation. Finally, users can now use the BSM Platform to drive compliance efforts in Italy, Mexico, and elsewhere in Latin America and Asia.

Maersk Tests Virtual Assistant to Help Track Global Cargo Shipments

We also learned earlier this month that Maersk, the Denmark-based provider of worldwide shipping and logistics services, is beta-testing a virtual assistant to help its customers seamlessly track cargo shipments as they make their way across global supply chains. “Captain Peter,” the avatar persona created for Maersk’s virtual assistant, works in tandem with Maersk’s Remote Container Management (RCM) platform, which relies on machine-to-machine (or connected devices) to transmit data from point-to-point. Leveraging data collected from the RCM Platform, Captain Peter will send updates to users via email or text on a container’s location, temperature, and atmospheric condition. When the container arrives, Captain Peter will send another status update. If “the Captain” detects any potential issues along the way, it will notify the customer who can then notify the shipper and have “boots on the ground” inspect the container. Early intervention in such cases could prevent total or partial loss of the shipment. Maersk has rolled out the pilot program to a limited number of users who are beta testing it in the first half of 2019.

We have a bit of affinity for Maersk here at Ardent Partners/CPO Rising, as Maersk’s Director of Digital Procurement, Jacob Gorm Larsen, is a pioneer in the concept of “Moneyball” for procurement and sourcing, a concept we have written about extensively. Jacob’s also a longtime “friend of the site” and a onetime Keynote Speaker at our annual CPO Rising Summit. Anything that can support Jacob and his team at Maersk gets our coverage (and our kudos).

Ellucian Expands Spend Management Suite with Procurement Tool

Finally, Ellucian, the Virginia-based provider of Spend Management Solutions for higher education institutions, announced last week that is has added a procurement tool, Ellucian Purchase, to its cloud-based Ellucian Spend Management Suite. To do so, it expanded its strategic partnership with Pennsylvania-based P2P solutions provider, ESM Solutions, by integrating ESM’s purchasing tool with Ellucian Invoice, a cloud-based invoice and expense management tool. Ellucian Invoice, itself, is powered by Chrome River, a Los Angeles-based provider of digital spend management solutions.

With Ellucian Purchase integrated, the Ellucian Spend Management Suite now offers an end-to-end P2P tool that enables business users to purchase goods and services from only approved vendors and contracts. It offers guided buying for the occasional purchaser, automated workflows to help route approvals and reduce requisitions and purchase orders, and supposedly fast and seamless integration with Ellucian’s ERP system, which handles payment remittance. In providing these added capabilities, Ellucian Spend Management Suite will also enable approvers and managers to gain greater visibility into and control over purchases.

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