Gregory Mark, CCOMany players in the procurement solution space do not understand the market that they are in. However, once in a while, there is one that stands head and shoulders above the competition. In this case, that honor goes to Zycus. Having been called a leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Strategic Sourcing Application Suites for the fourth consecutive year, Zycus has a strong market understanding and strong suite-wide functionalities and advanced analytical capabilities. Zycus, a leading provider of complete source-to-pay solutions for procurement requirements of organizations offers a comprehensive portfolio of applications for both the strategic and operational parts of procurement.“Adoption still remains a huge challenge within most organizations as they deploy the 'procure-to-pay' or 'source-to-pay' solutions into their organization. Mainly because there is this tension and complexity that exists in the business process,” says Gregory Mark, Chief Customer Officer at Zycus.
The company’s solutions meet the complex needs of its global corporate customer base—a balancing act that is inherent to the complex business rules. When Zycus observes that a customer’s business processes are complexly laid out, it works with the customer on the basis of the ‘five whys’ principle. “This enables us to peel back the layers of the old system design and find what has to be done and see if it is indeed required to have such a complex solution,” asserts Mark. Zycus also deploys robotic process automation (RPA), machine learning, (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) aspects of its solution. From the customer’s standpoint, Zycus’s technology absorbs the user experience consequences and complexities, thereby delivering an easy-to-use solution. All this is done while still maintaining all the regulatory and compliance complexities associated with today’s global environment.
Having been in the procurement business for over 20 years, Zycus began with an AI-based spend analytics solution. “Everyone keeps thinking that AI is a new concept, but it has been around for a very long time,” says Mark. Zycus is working toward automating compliance instead of it being enforced through oversight, review, and work. To this end, every solution that the company offers has AI integrated into it. In doing so, Zycus ensures that compliance is maintained, while also removing the heavy lifting that regulations and compliance measures bring to the table.
Zycus is a strong advocate of engaging its customers in the overall direction of its products. From a user experience and functionality standpoint, many of the modules that Zycus has developed have been upon customer requests. The organization employs a process called ‘Voice of Customer,’ where on a bi-annual basis; it requests customers to submit enhancement and product suggestions which are later voted on. Zycus’s customer advisory board consists of what the company sees as ‘best-in-class’ customers regarding adoption, utilization, and mindset. “We meet with them on a regular basis just to bounce our roadmap ideas and to get direct feedback in terms of where they want to see the products go,” explains Mark.
Zycus offers a range of solutions for both source-to-contract as well as procure-to-pay requirements. The organization keeps adding modules incrementally to its solutions, thereby implementing features and functionalities to already existing solutions. Many of these modules have been developed at the request of Zycus’s customer base. Five years ago, the company developed a procure-to-pay solution to help customers through the requisitioning, procurement, and automation aspect of procure-to-pay. Zycus is easing the requisition and approval process so that requisitioners can interact with the system in a non-threatening way. Unlike other providers in this segment that offer quarterly or monthly refreshes in visibility, Zycus provides real-time visibility into the spending of a company. This adds real value as well and when combined with its other offerings, “We are able to really take a shift-right, shift-left approach to business process so that when you are in procurement, you know exactly what your contract base looks like, you know exactly what your preferred suppliers are, based upon performance metrics,” extols Mark.
The company’s source-to-pay suite consists of modules that cover all the aspects of spend analysis, e-sourcing, contract management, supplier management, procure-to-pay, and financial savings management.
Every solution that the company offers has AI integrated into it. In doing so, Zycus ensures that compliance is maintained
One such module is iPerform—Zycus’s supplier performance and KPI solution—the supplier management solution cuts through the complexity and offers a 360-degree look at supplier performance measurement and risk management. Zycus is able to expose this into the procurement requisitioning process so that product or service selection can be guided to that of the best performing supplier. Additionally, Search employs natural language translation thus allowing customers to interact with the system in terminology that they are familiar with. Using machine learning, Zycus enables users to get into the system and automatically categorize things in ways that are appropriate for them. The system can look for contracts that exist and direct it toward the appropriate vendor of that particular category or item. As it is adaptive, depending on the user’s query, the solution can create a workflow or the approval routing that is associated with the procurement policies that they have in place. Having been built entirely in-house instead of through mergers and acquisitions (M&A), Zycus is able to focus its R&D processes to better utilize this natural integration between its products to leverage the information and data. Thereby, removing the complexity of the process without using compliance and the regulations needed in the system to achieve end-business goals.
Zycus’s procure-to-pay suite offers a simple Amazon-like interface that provides a simple user experience. It uses an AI-based classification to aid users to find items that match their exact requirements. “Like a Google Search of your policies that have hyperlinks necessary to take you exactly where you need to be in the system to be able to do what you are supposed to do,” explains Mark. With the addition of ML, the system gets smarter along the process to a point where users can achieve over 95 percent accuracy on the auto-coding in the system. Zycus can incorporate this in the area that the workflow system operates from, so that it takes care of itself, depending on the policies customers have in place. This also takes the heavy lifting away from the procurement process from a user's/ requisitioner's standpoint.
A healthcare provider approached Zycus for its full suite of solutions as it had nothing in terms of system infrastructure. They needed everything—not only from a compliance standpoint but also to cut costs because of the competitive nature of the healthcare industry.“We were able to work within that organization and roll the entire family of Zycus products in just over six months. It does not have to be an 18-24 month engagement,” says Mark. Zycus implemented the spend-analytics capability for them actually to see where their money was going. Using AI, Zycus enabled the client’s system to begin recommending ways in which they could create savings projects by vendor consolidation, aggregation of spend in terms of negotiating positions, amongst other things. This helped the customer to create projects to engage with spending initiatives and sourced products. With Zycus’s procure-to-pay suite, the customer ensured that compliance was achieved regarding procurement.
Zycus’s partnerships with customers are mutually aligned, and with many customers, this relationship has been successfully progressing for more than ten years. “We are constantly innovating and looking at enhancing the user experience. We are dramatically increasing the number of APIs that exist because the pendulum is swinging again,” explains Mark. “Integration is key again—with everything being on the cloud or delivered via SaaS. This means that the ability to integrate with all these products is the key to the success of this sort of deployment architecture.” In a bid to further capitalize on this architecture, Zycus has recently developed an Inventory Management module and is currently building an AI Studio and logistics module to support the supply chain.