Unfortunately, if we measure the adoption of Sourcing Optimization technology over the last 15 years, it’s not a rosy picture of success. Despite long years of development, many facelifts and refocused efforts in converting business models from customized projects into “self-service” solutions, the adoption rate of these technologies is still hovering at a small percentage of the organizations that could benefit.
eSourcing has suffered from low adoption rates because first generation tools simply failed to present users with the flexibility and power they needed to control sourcing processes in exactly the manner they needed. Smart buyers don’t forsake flexibility; having the freedom to adapt rules, enter into expressive negotiations, and cater for special conditions is of paramount importance. First generation tools singularly failed to support the type of power and flexibility needed. With Keelvar, that has changed and AI-backed eSourcing that delivers flexibility, speed, power and expressive bidding can drive adoption to levels never previously witnessed.
Wide adoption is the ultimate measure of success for an eSourcing SaaS solution. Neither revenue, nor customer logos (“shelfware” anyone?), nor the ability to provide a solution that is so niche that you’ve cornered the market with only a few dozen customers are indicators of success. Any eSourcing vendor that is achieving high adoption rates and is clearly focused upon that automatically has perfectly aligned incentives with all stakeholders within the customer organization.
Adoption that is simultaneously broad, deep, and frequent is the most important KPI. It means the solution adds value for many users across the organization that must see the solution as important to their work. It also means they are comfortable using it because there are too many options to continue using something clunky, even if the option is a spreadsheet and email.
At Keelvar, we’re not building solutions to solve the most complex supply network design problems through an eSourcing paradigm. We’re not burdened with a legacy code base that includes so many one-off requests for niche functionality that the solution intimidates new users. We’re focused on developing an easy to use eSourcing solution that can be adopted more broadly than our predecessors, so unintimidating and intuitive that most users won’t even know that they’re leveraging advanced optimization technologies to run their sourcing events.
Spend Matters’ Jason Busch and Michael Lamoureux recently summed up our focus nicely, by writing “Keelvar’s primary differentiation is that, unlike the majority of sourcing optimization software providers, it realized from day one that the solution wasn’t a better optimization module, it was a better sourcing platform where ease of use was the most important driver of adoption.” (emphasis added)
Keelvar is not content if our customers only use our solution occasionally, or only focus on their largest and most complex sourcing events. We want them to use Keelvar broadly, for strategic spends and for the easy stuff too. Once they do, they will begin to see the value optimization can bring to even the most straightforward of sourcing events, managed by staff that don’t require specialized skillsets. They will become high performance teams, leveraging sourcing optimization to support their sourcing processes, rather than limiting their processes to fit into underperforming solutions. Then this class of technology will finally see the adoption it has been waiting for.