Jul 16, 2021

SirionLabs, Empowering True Collaboration and Partnership

Vodafone Procurement Company
4 min
Ajay Agrawal, CEO & Co-Founder of SirionLabs, discusses their fruitful partnership with Vodafone and how CLM enables smarter contracting enterprise-wide

SirionLabs’ CLM solution connects all enterprise teams on a single, easy-to-use platform and delivers real-time insights across the contracting lifecycle for improved risk control, operational resilience and accelerated growth. Bringing a host of benefits, both to the hard and soft sides of contracts and procurement. The setting of baselines and leveraging of the valuable data that lays within contracts after they’ve been signed allows for a fair and democratic process where true collaborations and partnerships can be nourished and mined for further opportunity.

Ajay Agrawal, CEO & Co-Founder of SirionLabs, shares how the alignment of values and the power of CLM have made for an effective partnership with Vodafone. “We believe in the power of cost savings and superior customer experience, and therein lies the synergy between our organisations. What started out as a post-signature value realisation exercise back in 2016 has since grown into a full suite CLM solution encompassing customised pre-signature features to cater to local markets spread over more than 40 countries. Nothing gives me greater happiness than a customer who has been able to gain increased visibility and get a tighter grip over their contracts.” 

“Vodafone has today around 2000 strategic supplier contracts managed through SirionLabs, which oversee a spend of close to 6 billion euros annually. Through our initial discussions, we saw great potential in addressing Vodafone's commercial engagements, tracking and realising value at scale through a myriad of systems that were retrofitted to suit existing infrastructure.”

“Our four-way automated invoice matching solution has contributed to Vodafone’s bottom line, enabling them to save hundreds of millions of dollars. It has also reduced the friction in their supplier landscape, from missed commitments or complaints to disputes or disagreements. Automation also reaps many benefits and has enabled Vodafone to cut costs in contract management and supplier governance by more than 60%, reducing manual effort by almost 50% and generating further savings through reduced headcount cost. Post signature activities have also become smoother and a lot more efficient, with one enterprise contract repository across all suppliers and managing them according to their footprint.”

The effects of the global pandemic and the need for sustainability and innovation have brought to light the need for collaborative partnerships. By leveraging AI and extracting valuable data, SirionLabs’ CLM solution empowers collaboration and continued cooperation and partnership long after contracts have been signed. 

Agrawal explains, “Collaboration is essential to any partnership. That is really the heart and soul of any SirionLabs project. Unlike many conventional contract management systems that create, store, and maybe extract information from contracts, SirionLabs is unique because it allows both the contracting parties to have continued access to the system, even after the contract is signed while giving a single, consolidated view of data, further enhanced by rich dashboards and insights which help make quick business decisions. The purpose of that continued access is true collaboration, across multiple business functions.”

Over 3000 Vodafone users log into the SirlionLabs platform, spanning from sourcing, procurement, contract management, technology, finance, and legal. SirionLabs has also held multiple workshops which  helped Vodafone stakeholders collaboratively monitor obligations and service levels across strategic contracts with thousands of vendors. 

Agrawal highlights the criticalness of AI in mitigating risk, safeguarding profits and managing supplier performance.

“Expectation baselining: This is the notion that logging into the same platform after the signing of a contract allows you to continue to remain in agreement on what each one of us is supposed to do. And this is what we believe true contract performance management really is.  Capturing and measuring KPIs, presenting them through digestible chunks of data, and insightful reports have also become possible after lots of brainstorming. Today, Vodafone is at a stage where predictive intelligence has kicked in, and they're able to predict contract failures proactively as well.”

“One of the most important features of our relationship with Vodafone is the ability to cut across the conventional boundaries of contract creation and storage and be able to integrate with their other enterprise systems. This has allowed us to generate value for them in a way that would not be possible without these systems interoperating with each other, without the use of artificial intelligence.”


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Jul 31, 2021

3 Marketplace Myths in the Rush to Digital Supply Chains

Lincoln Lincoln, Vice Presiden...
6 min
Lincoln Lincoln, Vice President, Head of Global Sales at CloudBlue, exposes 3 marketplace myths in the rush to digital supply chains

The coronavirus-induced rapid digital transformation has thrust online marketplaces into the spotlight. Sellers now desperately want and need to get in on this revolution but do not always completely understand the implications of marketplace selling in the rush to establish their digital supply chain.

The hype is understandable. Online marketplaces offer a flexible business opportunity with relatively low start-up costs, provide an additional channel to market and sell products, reduce marketing costs, and facilitate expansion into new geographic markets.

They also help vendors meet consumers where and how they shop as consumers prefer marketplaces over brand websites for various reasons, including customer reviews, product comparisons, fast and free shipping, and easy returns. In 2020, marketplaces comprised 62% of global e-commerce sales, with the top 100 selling a total of $2.67 trillion.

The prospects are enticing. However, setting a marketplace strategy up for success calls for understanding what it actually means to sell digital services and subscriptions at scale. Let’s clear the air by dispelling some common myths.  

1) It’s just one marketplace and done.

Joining or creating a marketplace is not the be-all and end-all to ensure an efficient digital supply chain. It is just one avenue to digital transformation—and often, the solution is more than one marketplace; it can be two or three or more. Companies might even have a unique marketplace for different verticals, with their small and medium-sized marketplace different to their corporate marketplace.

Ample, convenient, and varied purchase points help shape a next-level customer experience and allows for greater agility. Vendors that promote in three or more channels can see a 200% increase in gross sales. So sellers need to strategically diversify their sales channels with the help of a sustainable strategy and be aware that a marketplace serves as an extension of their overall digital presence and an important part of branding.

In order to prepare for a multi-marketplace offering and draw up a winning game plan, vendors should take some crucial factors into consideration and avoid certain pitfalls:

  • Select the right marketplace: It may be tempting to take a spray-and-pray approach and list your offerings on as many marketplaces as possible, but it usually leads to poor results and wasted resources. It can also leave customers with an inconsistent impression of your products and services. Find your core competencies and look for platforms that fit your multi-marketplace strategy and allow you to sell well with competitive price points and acceptable margins. Remember that quality trumps quantity.
  • Tailor your content to each marketplace: Apart from the fact that duplicate content strategy is a red flag for search engines like Google, it implies lack of discretion and respect for your target audience. Carefully study your chosen channels, identify the unique drivers for success on each of them—including what they require, how their algorithms work, and what its users respond to best.  
  • Know the right timing: A major element of a successful multi-marketplace strategy is listing the right offerings in the right place, and at the right time. This requires you to keep close tabs on the market demand, the latest trends and opportunities, and consumer behaviour on each channel.
  • Align your multi-marketplace sales strategies with your overall objectives: As a marketplace is an extended arm of your business, your sales strategies there should eventually help you advance your mission, vision, and values as a seller if you want to achieve sustainable growth.

2) Backend operations are negligible and a headache.

It is not just the shiny front end of the marketplace. Businesses should have powerful backends for catalogue and subscription management, which involves much more than simple publication. But although selling through multiple marketplaces may seem like an incredible amount of work, a wide range of technologies are available that take this daily tedium off your plate and out of the realm of human error.

Automate all steps of the process for best results, including bringing your offerings to various marketplaces, registering purchase orders and billing as well as managing upgrades, downgrades, and cancelled subscriptions.

It is also paramount that sellers have the right technology in place to seamlessly connect their infrastructure, workforce, and partners through data. It not only optimises the operations but also enables better collaboration across all the players involved, offers easy access to consumer data and analytics from every channel, helps consolidate data silos, and unifies the customer experience.

Most importantly, automation and data integration provide actionable insights. Accessing insights enables sellers to react in real-time and pushes them to improve and innovate around the consumer’s experience, needs, expectations, and buying behaviour—which eventually helps them stay relevant and competitive.  

3) Ecosystem is just a buzzword.  

Sellers should not underestimate the power of strategic alliances. The ultimate goal of marketplace selling is to effectively orchestrate an ecosystem, with partnerships unlocking distributed innovation and enabling new revenue-generation streams for you and your entire network.

Since a strong network of partners can offer products and services beyond that of a single company, a well-managed ecosystem can create a positive feedback loop and help you achieve a competitive advantage that would be unattainable alone.

In fact, an ecosystem advantage is the best result of digital supply chain creation as it can exponentially multiply the value and utility that your business has to offer to your customers without incurring the exponential costs of doing so.

To start building your ecosystem, you should first adopt an ecosystem mindset. Traditional selling is conducted manually and face to face, and any changes in the products, as well as sales and marketing strategy, are communicated to each partner reseller individually. In order to scale in an ecosystem, this is no longer possible. You must shift to automating every aspect of your business such as sales, marketing, and fulfilment or your business will never grow at scale.

And don’t reinvent the wheel. Companies that try to go it alone and build their own marketplace management platforms will get left behind because the time, energy, and expense it takes is too much. Instead, businesses should rally around a standardized technology solution to help companies quickly and easily build and manage digital ecosystems.

Software vendors especially are advised to build products with ecosystems in mind. Ask yourself: “How can I bundle this product into a holistic solution within an ecosystem?” You should also look to simplify full-time product delivery and customer service to fit into and stand out in an ecosystem.

A worthwhile endeavour

Every smart strategy starts with asking the right questions, and jumping on the multi-marketplace bandwagon is no exception. Layout a detailed, clear roadmap from end to end. Ask yourself who you are targeting and what the problem you are trying to solve is. Then chart the entire customer experience from their point of research and purchase to delivery of the product, the payment process, and post-delivery services.

Starting here will ultimately touch on all other areas of consideration, including contract flows, publishing, provisioning, order flows, billing and invoicing, channel management, reporting, business intelligence, and subscription management.

With this sales journey front of mind, today’s myths and misconceptions should not disrupt your move to the digital supply chain. It is just a matter of building your image on different marketplaces slowly and steadily, with a cautious eye on the bottom line of your business. And it sure is worth the effort.


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