A “Perfect Vision” and Determined Execution: Laying the Foundations for Sustainable Success (Perfect Commerce Profile: http://www.perfect.com/)

Posted on January 26, 2009

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“A true centralization of procurement objectives requires a decentralized architecture that is based on the real-world operating attributes of all transactional stakeholders . . . in other words, your organization gains control of it’s spend environment by relinquishing centralized functional control in favor of operational efficiencies originating on the front lines.  This is the cornerstone of agent-based modeling.”

From the White Paper, Acres of Diamonds: The Value of Effectively Managing Low-Dollar, High Transactional Volume Spend, Procurement Insights Publishing (Fall 2005)   

 

The above statement was made as the result of extensive research into the utilization of an agent-based model operating within the framework of a Metaprise platform.  A Metaprise or centralized private hub is the intelligent conduit that connects and manages the seemingly disparate relationship between various internal and external stakeholders on a real-time, real-world basis to achieve the desired collective “best value” outcome at that particular point in time.

Solutions that are developed in accordance with an agent-based methodology, or meta-enterprise applications as they are called, deliver an on-demand capability that provides the purchaser with the needed insight to consistently make the best spend decisions possible.    

Unlike the equation-based models or platforms upon which traditional, ERP-centric applications have been built, on-demand solutions represent the future of eProcurement/supply chain application development.  This reality of evolution was driven home in what has turned out to be one of my most popular posts ever.  Titled “The Ariba Interviews: Re-engineering the Future of On-Demand?”, the August 31, 2007 post was based on a series of interviews with a senior company executive and the organization’s marketing and public relations people.

While the post provided numerous points of significant insight, the reference to a 2005 article which reported that like Ariba “software companies from Microsoft Corp. to SAP AG and Oracle Corp.” were “embracing the on-demand model,” was the most telling for a number of reasons.  The most important being linked to the fact that by late 2007 little movement had actually been made by any of these vendors relative to making the actual transition to the new format.  In essence, the tier one vendors acknowledged the reality of the on-demand concept’s eventual emergence as the defining platform for supply chain automation, but based on their commitment (nee dependence) to the traditional enterprise model were reluctant to potentially cannabalize the associated revenue streams.             

This is one of the reasons why, in his August 30, 2007 article titled “Small fish, big sea” Canadian business writer Mike Ouellette identified the on-demand “hosted ERP and SaaS” models as a “potential competitive advantage for smaller ERP-type providers.”  It is also the reason why Perfect Commerce, whose origins go back to 1999, is uniquely positioned to truly deliver the “on-demand applications that cover every aspect of Spend Management, from spend analytics and sourcing to contract management, procurement, and invoice management.”   

An Actionable Vision Within a Dynamically Evolving Framework  

While the majority of tier one vendors were talking about the viability of the on-demand model, Perfect Commerce’s elemental roots were based on actually doing something in terms of establishing the foundations for what has now become one of the most proficient on-demand solutions suite available. 

The fact that Perfect Commerce currently “powers the SAP Supplier Network” to support the vendor’s SRM, MM and R/3 solutions gives testimony to this fact.  What is worth noting however, is how they actually did it.

In 1593, George Herbert said that “step by step the ladder is ascended.”   

It is an axiom that is particularly poignant in the case of Perfect Commerce which first began operations in Kansas City in 1999 as eScout LLC under founder Sandy Kemper.     

From the early days in Kansas City, to the 2004 merger with Pantellos, a Houston-based services/software company that was founded in 2000 by a group of energy companies that included Duke Energy and American Electric Power, to the Head Office relocation from Kansas City to Hampton, Virgina as a result of a 2007 merger with Cormine LLC, Perfect Commerce is the epitomy of both enterprise adaptability and perseverance of vision.

Despite what some may perceive as a tumultuous journey, Perfect Commerce continued to develop and deliver tremendous value to its growing client base.  This would lead one to conclude that although the key players and geographic surroundings frequently changed, the foundational principles upon which the original vision had been established is sound from both a historical, and even more importantly, a current day perspective where the complexities of an increasingly globalized supply practice demands a great deal from any solution provider. 

And while an October 2004 article in the Kansas City Business Journal, which cited Ariba as a primary Perfect Commerce competitor, indicated that the Sunnyvale, California firm had at that point seven times more revenue, the fact that the present day Ariba is grappling with the challenges of balancing the need to maintain their traditional licensing model with the urgency of making the transition to the more effective, client friendly on-demand model is an indication of Perfect Commerce’s enduring strength.  (Note: for those of you who may not be familiar with the Ariba story, and the reasons behind the reported urgency in making the transition to the on-demand model, it is important to note that between 2001 and 2005, Ariba lost $3 billion on $1 billion dollars in sales.  Continuing losses prompted the question, is the company’s move to an on-demand model predicated by a technological epiphany?  Or is it tied to a more basic need . . . survival?  While the Ariba war chest parallels that of a small country, eventually the losing trend must be reversed.  The critical decision for that organization is when to abandon the old model in favor of the new, and at what cost?  I asked this question in the 2007 series of interviews, and despite being promised an answer I am still waiting for a response in 2009.)

Why Perfect Commerce?

For those of you that 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 Perfect Commerce value proposition in your hands, (as always, I will direct you to the Link To Our Sponsors and Sponsor Presentations Sections of the PI Blog to investigate the Perfect Commerce organization and its offerings in greater detail, and at your own convenience).

While a veracity of vision combined with an unwavering commitment are the cornerstones of a enduring strategy, the practical execution of a plan by way of tangible breakthroughs is equally critical.  And this I believe is where Perfect Commerce has effectively turned innovative concepts into practical applications.

From their Product Information Management (PIM) suite, which  leverages Web 2.0 technology, to the 12,000 strong Open Supplier Network (OSN) which “compliments” a client’s existing ERP system, Perfect Commerce solutions represent the ideal balance between innovative technology and dependable, proven performance.    

Based on the above, one might say that perfection is in the vision and execution is reflected in the outcome.  If that is in fact the standard by which perfection is measured, then what was once the little company from Kansas City has been appropriately named.   

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