What value does the Determine Cloud Platform add? How can its Big Data offering assist buyers? And what advantages are offered by the predictive and prescriptive analytics developed by Determine?
This interview about recent and forthcoming developments of Determine’s Cloud Platform Source-to-Pay and Contract Management solutions, which cover the entire finance procurement process, originally appeared in the French procurement magazine, Décision-Achats.
What fundamentally distinguishes you from your competitors? What would you say is the main value you add?
Determine’s motto is “Vision. Insight. Control.” These three words are much more than a slogan… they’re a promise.
The majority of Procurement Information Systems applications were developed more than 10 years ago using technologies dating from the beginning of the century. Determine has devised its own proprietary Cloud framework, which includes a business process management (BPM) engine. These two components enable us to offer an incredibly powerful platform designed to take on the challenges of the next 20 years.
The second-generation Cloud incorporates adaptable applications that can be configured by business for specific goals: cross-organizational, adaptive workflows enabling both control and collaboration via independent management of their behavioral rules; as well as the ability and desire to produce actionable intelligence from both structured data and from the huge volumes of secondary data generated by our business. In this regard, Big Data, predictive analytics and prescriptive analytics will drive future performance for our customers. The result will be Vision. Insight. Control.
Can you explain to us how your Strategic Sourcing module and its constrained scenarios work?
First and foremost, as a technology company, Determine is always on the lookout for the most elegant solutions offering a user experience that drives genuine adoption. When creating eSourcing events, once the supplier responses have been completed it’s time to analyze the offers. And the complexity of that analysis increases in direct proportion to the number of suppliers, batches or items. This is what Strategic Sourcing solutions are designed to do. Many combinatorial or constraint analysis offers make use of scenarios of the type: “retain 25% of the traditional supplier’s market and distribute the balance between a maximum of two suppliers.” These engines are both powerful and complex. Determine, however, has succeeded by providing complex constraint analysis in just two clicks. What procurement professional doesn’t want to achieve time savings like this?
And how does your Contract Management module work?
Contract Management is a major differentiator for Determine. Although competitors in the Source-to-Pay space are household names, Determine Contract Lifecycle Management is a solution that squarely targets enterprise, thanks to twenty years’ worth of pioneering experience. Procurement organizations will be delighted to achieve visibility into their contracts, alerts and monitoring of spend, volumes and dates for deliverables; legal departments will be excited at achieving compliance through clause libraries, contract templates and negotiations tracking; business processes will love having ready-to-use contracts available on a self-service basis. On the other hand, sales, human resources and R&D departments (with IP and patents) can all use one single solution that provides the company with the means to master its contractual risk. Because Determine’s competitive advantage sits squarely in the Enterprise Contract Lifecycle Management real, we deliver Vision. Insight. Control.
What does your solution still need that would make it THE solution adopted by all companies?
The direction taken in October 2015, with the merger of three industry leading firms, is now reaping its first fruits in the market as companies with such different interests as Monoprix, Norauto, Hervé Thermique, Natureo, Cerba Healthcare and Servier come aboard. What’s surprising us the most is the way large integrators are focusing on our vision and solution. This is a very positive sign, considering how important their business is to us. If we keep adding value, then of course, people will come to us because of our values.
Is your Big Data offering compatible with large corporate procurement processes? Given that prices are generally negotiated with suppliers on a yearly basis, what value does this offering add?
In a globalized world with changing business models and markets, the concept of prices being set annually is now a fairly rare one. Such cases relate either to raw materials or first-stage processing (agricultural goods or electronic components), in which case the concept of price and reserved quantity is a decision made by the professional buyer in response to hedging or supply disruptions. These decisions are always difficult, and Big Data will supply information about markets, competitors and competitors’ suppliers, which, when correlated, can yield critically important information.
Products known as “indirect purchases” or indirect production products, are often so volatile that professional buyers rely on information such as, for example, a declining trend for Intel components, which suggest future drops in the price of personal computers. In such cases, waiting two months for a decision could offer a lever for negotiation. Or, more prosaically, why negotiate procurement terms for products that have more aggressive prices in the B2C market than in B2B? Determine’s Big Data solution, linked to its Procure-to-Pay platform, will offer items at the best prices.
It’s finally becoming possible to control the management of C categories with the help of Big Data and the virtualization of Procure-to-Pay processes.
How can predictive analytics assist buyers?
How procurement will drive significant advantages from using predictive and prescriptive analytics is described as follows:
- Predictive analytics, or the ability to assess the likelihood of an event that lets you trigger an alert or an action, or create expected scenarios. Maybe this immediately suggests risk management; you can also think in terms of a pre-filled purchase request based on the frequency of its occurrence, enabling a biologist, an engineer or a salesperson to spend less time using the Procurement Solution.
- Prescriptive analytics, or the recommendations engine. Emails, alerts, notifications – so much information to process. Our Procurement Solution is able to push recommendations to users, taking into account personal business rules to create interactive situations. Imagine a direct production buyer monitoring her two accredited suppliers in serial mode: She receives a recommendation informing her that a competitor of one of those two suppliers has increased its turnover by 17%, while her two suppliers have managed 1% and 3%, respectively. The buyer will then reasonably ask herself: what’s going on here? What have they found? What are my own competitors gaining by working with those sources?