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Determine: Enhancing P2P and More in 2018

Members of Ardent Partners’ analyst team took a briefing from the team at Determine covering the company’s recent procure-to-pay (P2P) product enhancements and its product roadmap for 2018. The briefing was led by Julian Nadaud, chief product officer, and included both Gerard Dahan, CMO and SVP of EMEA, and Tom Chung, VP of brand marketing.

Company Background

Determine, Inc. is a provider of cloud-based source-to-pay solutions that automate the full workflow across sourcing, contracts, procurement, supply management, and accounts payable activities. Founded as Selectica in 1996, the company rebranded itself as Determine in 2015 (click to read our coverage) after a major company and solution transformation that included the acquisition of French procure-to-pay (“P2P”) solution provider, b-pack, in August, 2015 (click to read our coverage) and US-based strategic sourcing specialist, Iasta, in July, 2014 (click to read our coverage). The company has combined the best-of-breed capabilities of the three companies onto a single platform, offering a blended solution suite encompassing the procurement and AP workflow.

Today, the integrated Determine Cloud Platform serves as the underpinning to six core modules that comprise a suite of cloud-based solutions that automate practically every aspect of the source-to-pay value chain. Ardent’s briefing with Determine focused on the latter half of its cloud-based platform, its modules that provide users with a unified P2P capability. A second briefing is being planned. From the Determine delegation, Julian led the briefing and P2P product demonstration, which broke down into two parts – a tailored demonstration of some newer P2P capabilities on the Determine Cloud Platform and a discussion regarding key items on the 2018 product roadmap.

Enhancing P2P in the Cloud – from Catalog Management to Savings Management

First, Determine discussed and demonstrated the benefits around its catalog management capabilities and the revamped shopping experience on the Determine Cloud Platform, from both a supplier management standpoint and from a user’s requisition to purchase order (PO) standpoint. Determine’s catalog management tool now enables buyers and suppliers to manage different versions of a catalog and both archive and update them in a streamlined way that saves time for all parties. Specifically, at the start of the upload process, the Determine platform discerns which items and data points are new, being updated, or eliminated and only uploads that smaller subset of information. This means that the upload process can be dramatically shortened because large memory items like images are only included in the new upload if there has been a change.

Beyond the new, streamlined catalog management capabilities, the Determine Platform leverages new Business Intelligence capabilities so that buyers can analyze the new catalog to understand the impact of price changes across different catalog versions. Determine also shared with us improvements that the company has made within the PO approval process. At a high level, PO approvers will enjoy a streamlined approval process that will also provide them with greater visibility into the requisitioning and PO-creation process, as well as more nuanced approval features set in place during the PO change order process. These new approval capabilities join other recent improvements, such as the ability to reference spend analysis during the PO process, and push non-compliant/non-approved POs back to the line of business.

Users can also use supplier scorecards and other supplier performance management tools from the Determine Cloud Platform to enhance future requisitioning. For instance, users can rate or score a supplier’s performance in terms of the delivery or quality of the item, which will automatically link to the PO. In doing so, it will provide future buyers with a view into a suppliers’ past performance surrounding a given item/category and order.

Roadmap for 2018: Big Data, Real-Time, and Predictive

When it comes to the 2018 roadmap, Determine continues to strengthen the connections and flow between sourcing, contracts, procurement, catalogs, and payment, and its 2018 product roadmap reflects this. Determine is developing a web-based, self-service supplier catalog search tool, plus a catalog analysis tool that will leverage a business analytics engine to analyze catalog and pricing data and tie it to spend and sourcing events. Determine is also developing and enhancing capabilities that will allow buyers to see current market pricing during the catalog search and requisition process. The goal will be to provide users (and/or the supporting buyers and the P2P team) with visibility into current market prices for different categories so that they can either validate the current requisition and possibly present alternative (and cheaper) sources of supply.

Determine also says that Big Data and predictive capabilities are also planned for release in 2018. The current plan entails capturing roughly 200 data points on items, including historical pricing data and other relevant market data, and developing predictive pricing capabilities based on complex analysis and the development of category-specific algorithms. Determine plans to introduce these predictive pricing and spend capabilities on a category by category basis, and it is working with partners in the development of these capabilities. Determine is also enhancing its savings tracking capabilities, which will illustrate to buyers the differences in pricing on items in order to help them make the right buying decision (or looking backward, understand why they did not).

Managing Complex Spend in 2018

As Determine continues to enhance its core product offerings, particularly within P2P, it is also preparing to expand its services procurement offering. This would provide enterprises with capabilities that are designed to support marketing spend, professional services procurement (SOW), contingent labor with time tracking, and other complex or indirect spend categories.

Ardent Partners analysts look forward to continuing the conversation with the Determine team to learn more about this push, and to providing our readers with greater breadth and depth of Determine’s complex spend / services procurement capabilities. Stay tuned for Part Two of the update!

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