SciQuest “Sales” Execution Troubles? by Jon Hansen

Posted on November 26, 2014


I appreciate your analysis from an external point of view and its very valid but reads like talking points from the CEO and Marketing. Now let me give you an insiders view of the truth. It’s NOT a sales execution issue, that’s the CEO’s version of creating a fall guy to mask the product development and failed executive strategy in commercial markets – comment from reader regarding November 12th article SciQuest’s Execution Issues Are Impacting Its Future

The above reader comment sums up perfectly my sentiment behind the suggestion that SciQuest’s expanding problems somehow originate in the sales department.

The fact is, and going back to when I first began covering the company in 2005, the only thing that surprises me about SciQuest is that they have lasted this long.

Between Colorado and Oregon cancelling contracts with the company – by the way there are more cancellations on the near horizon with other governments, and press releases that recycled old contract wins as being new, to CEO Stephen J. Wiehe’s dumping of shares under a 10b5-1 plan, one has to wonder how long this sorry saga will continue.

Perhaps the only thing keeping the company going, is that it is being buoyed by the very financial analysts and investors who are trying to salvage whatever personal stakes they have in what has obviously become the on-demand eProcurement solution equivalent of the Titanic.

The real problem with SciQuest according to numerous insiders is their dine and dash implementation process.  Specifically their approach, in which after a relatively short engagement period, they leave the client feeling abandoned and ill-equipped to utilize the solution.

The take away lesson from this is that just because a company calls themselves an on-demand vendor, does not mean that they are one.

While the SciQuest story will continue to unravel to its inevitable conclusion, another insightful revelation caught my attention.  Are the SciQuest challenges merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg.  Or to put it another way, are their challenges indicative of a much larger problem in the world of on-demand solution providers?

Sources in the know – the same ones that alerted me to industry events well ahead of the general media such as the September 1st, 2010 post OECM Punts Ariba, Taking a $20 Million Dollar Hit In The Process? – suggest that other on-demand players appear to be encountering similar execution challenges.  Companies I might add, that are presently at the zenith of their popularity.

While I believe that SciQuest stands alone relative to its own inherent and longstanding failings, industry rumblings do point to a possibility that the transition from the traditional enterprise implementation models that spanned years to the on-demand models that span months and even weeks may not, at least for some players, be as seamless as one might think.

Stay tuned.

falls short


Posted in: Commentary