SciQuest Consumerizes B2B Commerce




SciQuest, a leading public provider of cloud-based business automation solutions, has announced the next major version of its spend management product suite. The latest version includes a redesigned user interface (UI) with consumer-like features and experiences similar to popular Web sites such as Amazon, Facebook, and LinkedIn. In short, SciQuest is bringing a consumer-like experience to business-to-business (B2B) shopping.

The new version features a Digital Mailroom that offers organizations the ability to route paper, fax, and e-mail invoices directly to SciQuest for scan and capture. Once final visual verification is completed to ensure accuracy, the invoices are available to the organization for matching and approval in the SciQuest Accounts Payable Director module, which significantly improves productivity within accounts payable (A/P) departments. A new Workflow Inspector tool enables organizations to view data on a document that caused a specific behavior in a workflow step. In addition, the SciQuest solution includes new Advanced Dynamic Workflow options for administrators to set up their own workflow rules.

Overall, the new version makes it easier for customers to use SciQuest to automate paper-bound processes such as purchasing and contract management and achieve significant savings via tighter contract management integration and shared shopping cart. The latest product enhancements are the result of direct customer feedback and wishes to cut costs, automate processes, and gain transparency to turn spending into savings. The new product was previewed to customers at NextLevel 2013, SciQuest’s recently held annual user conference.

Consumer-like B2B Experience

Customers have reportedly provided truly positive feedback about the new UI in particular, commenting on the ease of navigation and intuitiveness of the experience. The previous SciQuest look and feel was a bit antiquated—more tab-driven and busier on the page. Now, SciQuest has taken a progressive approach so that important information can be seen without distraction (via slide-out side menus) and details are readily available. In-application notifications and action items as well as detailed cart previews are some other user experience improvements.

SciQuest has also designed the UI with the tablet in mind, knowing that users will use notebooks, desktops, and tablets for tasks and activities (and the momentum of the tablet continues to grow). SciQuest's use of the Facebook metaphor in its UI design is in tune with salesforce.com’s recent announcement that Salesforce Chatter will become the primary UI for all salesforce.com’s applications.

The aforementioned Shared Cart feature allows organizations with lab workgroups or small departments to combine shopping and purchasing into shared carts for group orders. All group members will be able to simultaneously shop and monitor cart contents, avoiding duplication, while alleviating workload on lab managers and administrative personnel that are currently processing multiple individual orders. With group shopping, shared carts can also be used to achieve discounts with those suppliers that provide bulk order discounting.

Ongoing Acquisitions Integration

The latest release has both platform/suite enhancements (including integration, UI, etc.) and specific module enhancements. The latest release includes important new features that demonstrate how SciQuest is more tightly integrating the contract lifecycle management (CLM) solution it acquired from Upside Software last year. Integration is an ongoing process; that said, one of the focus areas of this specific release was the integration of the SciQuest Contract Director module (formerly Upside Software) with SciQuest shopping, requisition, and order modules. Organizations will be able to integrate the CLM product with the spend management module to track spend against contracts and set up item lists and price sets.

The recently acquired Spend Radar has also been integrated. It is an engine to manage, cleanse and classify, and enrich spend data to report and analyze results quickly. SciQuest’s related data can already be pulled into this engine, but SciQuest has added some new rules and reports in the application. One significant items is the new add-on module called Performance Manager, which extends Spend Radar’s advanced spend management capabilities by including financial and nonfinancial performance measurement goals to track performance. This provides a way to measure the success and progress of savings and sourcing initiatives.

The suite is designed and primarily offered as software as a service (SaaS), although SciQuest has a few modules that can be deployed on-premises, such as the aforementioned Contract Director and Enterprise Reagent Manager.
 
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