Doing What Comes Naturally: Accessing Zycus Spend Management Innovation Through A Simplified and Practical User Interface (Zycus Inc. Profile)

Posted on October 23, 2008

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“Recognizing that adoption or end-user compliance is one of the main barriers to a successful program, the ability for project champions to leverage user comfort with known applications such as Excel to access certain functions within the SAP architecture could stimulate stakeholder buy-in, at least internally.

By promoting the utilization of SAP through a familiar, easy-to-use interface, the overall level of possible resistance may diminish to the point of making the SAP PPS offering more viable.

The key of course will be the degree of dynamic connectivity that Duet offers between the MS software and the SAP application relative to an organization’s procurement practice.  Given that one of the many benefits of Duet being advocated by Microsoft and SAP is the purported short implementation time lines and lower corresponding costs, means further investigation would seem warranted.”

From the SAP Procurement for Public Sector White Paper (by Jon Hansen, 2008)

Referring to an SAP – Microsoft collaboration in a profile article on another vendor may seem somewhat contradictory, even unnerving at first.  After all, why would Zycus want SAP mentioned in an article that is supposed to be centered on introducing their innovative spend management solutions? 

The answer of course is as simple as Zycus’ solutions are easy to use!  While SAP was “compelled” to team-up with Microsoft to develop a solution that would address the inefficiencies and inconsistencies inherent in the gap between desktop productivity and their enterprise business applications (an 85 percent e-procurement initiative failure rate does create a sense of urgency), Zycus’ comprehensive spend management suite was already far advanced in terms of user friendliness and adoption.  In short, Zycus is “simply” one of the most powerful spend management solutions available in the industry today.     

And perhaps this is the basis for the company’s confidence in making the statement that “Innovation and Ease of use is at the core of every Zycus offering.”

Or perhaps it is the fact that the Zycus intuitive user interface evolved naturally as an original element of the suite’s “evolution to excellence” strategy.  Compare this with being an adjunct by-product borne out of an urgent necessity to address the multitude of challenges that are associated with all ERP-centric supply chain solutions.  After all, the 85 percent rate of initiative failure is not indigenous to the SAP offering alone.  It is an industry-wide malaise that appears to be the impetus behind undertakings such as Duet, whose champions are striving to arrive at a destination in where Zycus as long been a part of the landscape . . . doing what comes naturally!

In this light can SAP or for that matter any tier one organization effectively compete with the Zycus spend management offering?    

Simplifying The User Experience

Considered to be the world’s “leading provider of spend management solutions to global 1000 companies,” Zycus’ “cutting-edge technology and domain expertise,” is specifically geared toward increasing organizational user adoption while continuing to drive sustainable savings.

To achieve the balance between user acceptance and the operational imperatives that are needed to drive savings on a consistent and meaningful basis, a vendor organization must have an unsurpassed level of technological expertise and practical understanding.  Those foundations are built upon the Zycus edict that one must focus on “the results that spend management technology can achieve rather than just the technology itself.” 

Many of you are already well aware of my unwavering belief that technoolgy, while being an important element of a sound program, is secondary to identifying, understanding and responding to the unique operating attributes (nee requirements) of key stakeholders both within and external to an organization’s supply practice.  This alone is one of the key tenets that appears to have propelled the Zycus solution  to “drive maximum user adoption, sustainable savings and reduced cycle time.”

And the process of maximizing user adoption is a far less onerous task when you have proactively versus reactively placed yourself in the users position.

Simplicity and Size Does Not Imply a Diminished Outcome or Result 

Far too often our tendency to confine a particular set of circumstances into a known or familiar context means that we often overlook the greatest opportunities to enhance outcomes.  What is the old saying about generals who are fighting the last battle today?

What this means is that we are inclined to take the safe route that corresponds with the sentiments of years past when no one ever got fired for choosing IBM – regardless of the outcome.

Today, with outcomes being of paramount importance in an increasingly globalized market, this past mindset has limited our ability to both seek and discern the viability of alternative solutions.  Instead, we spend an inordinate amount of time and money pursuing Band-Aid fixes such as Duet and Service-Oriented Architectures through familiar partners versus pursuing leading-edge web-based solutions that are grounded in practical, real-world experience and expertise.

For this reason, and in an attempt to capitalize on the innovative competencies of newer and smaller firms, there has been a gradual yet steady reversal in vendor selection practices for both public and private sector enterprises.

One such example is the U.S. Federal Government’s 2002 decision to begin unbundling contracts as a means of engaging an increasing the number of SME suppliers who are technologically savvy and offer creative pricing models (i.e. Software as a Service) that is capable of delivering win-win results to all parties.

In line with what I had once been told at a Price Waterhouse Conference in 2002, that “out there somewhere are struggling small companies who will one day emerge to become the IBMs and Microsofts of the future,” I now realize that the “one day” is today, and that Zycus is one of those emerging companies.        

Why Zycus?

For those of you who are part of my regular readership, you already know that an important tenet of the Procurement Insights Sponsorship Program (which includes these profiles) is my total commitment to neutrality.  And as such I will continue to leave the assessment surrounding the viability of the Zycus value proposition entirely in your hands, (as always, I will direct you to the Link To Our Sponsors section of the PI Blog to investigate the Zycus offering in greater detail, and at your own convenience).

That said, what I found interesting about the Zycus value proposition are the intuitive elements of a technology that has clearly been formed around understanding and adapting to the user experience in the real-world.  Using this non-technological approach to technology development meant that the complexity that drives the suite’s results engine remains hidden behind the outward-facing simplified user interface.  In short, I do not necessarily need to know how an engine operates to be able to put a key in my car’s ingnition and drive.  

This is a similar premise with the Zycus web-based spend management suite of solutions.  Using the automobile analogy once again, as an end-user I merely need to understand the mechanics surrounding how to start and drive my car, not how to build it or even mainatain it beyond putting gas in the tank and changing the oil.

Within this context it is easy to understand why Zycus is rapidly becoming the spend management solution of choice for Global 1000 companies, and why they are a company to watch in 2009. 

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