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GEP SMART OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

GEP SMART is #1 ranked solution in top Procurement Software tools and top Contract Management Software tools. PeerSpot users give GEP SMART an average rating of 8 out of 10. GEP SMART is most commonly compared to SAP Ariba Procurement: GEP SMART vs SAP Ariba Procurement. GEP SMART is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 81% of users researching this solution on PeerSpot. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a logistics company, accounting for 26% of all views.
What is GEP SMART?

GEP SMART is an AI-powered, cloud-native

software for direct and indirect procurement
that offers comprehensive source-to-pay
functionality in one user-friendly platform,
inclusive of spend analysis, sourcing, contract
management, supplier management,
procure-to-pay, savings project management
and savings tracking, invoicing and other
related functionalities.

GEP SMART was previously known as SMART by GEP.

GEP SMART Buyer's Guide

Download the GEP SMART Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: January 2022

GEP SMART Customers

  • Exxon
  • Chevron
  • Macys

GEP SMART Video

Archived GEP SMART Reviews (more than two years old)

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Director, Supply Chain / Design & Construction Technology at a hospitality company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
RFP templates save us time; RFP management features capture intent to respond and signing of NDAs
Pros and Cons
  • "There are additional time savings in managing communications. If you have an open RFP and there are questions, you can manage all of the questions and answers in the thread inside that RFP. All the suppliers will get any notifications that you want them to get, and everything is within the body of the RFP so you don't have to worry about things in email, outside of the system."
  • "I'd like to see drag-and-drop reporting. They have the old model for reports where you have to click the "run" button. The thing runs and then you have to export it to PowerPoint."

What is our primary use case?

We use SMART by GEP for spend management. It is heavily used for enterprise spend and diversity reporting. We've been using it primarily for the latter, which is good. We report our diversity spend out to our board of directors on a quarterly basis. In order to do diversity spend, you've got to get your denominator right, which means you have to figure out what the enterprise spend is.

Some of our category groups have been using the enterprise spend for their initiatives.

In terms of e-RFx, we've been using a tool for a number of RFIs and RFPs — mostly RFPs depending on the category and the use case. We work with the teams try to figure out what the needs are, where they need our support, whether we need to build the RFP on their behalf and facilitate it, or if they will build it and we will just monitor and help them out throughout the process.

We also work with suppliers who may be having issues. We're getting a little bit more strategic with that in 2020, building out a robust pipeline and timing, so that we can make sure that we have support in that area.

Sustainability is actually the next thing that we're going to be focusing on. That one's a little bit tougher, not from a tool perspective but from a data perspective, because there's a sense that having suppliers identify sustainable products will be a lot of work. Then we have to remap the data schema. A whole bunch of stuff that needs to happen, so that's an initiative for 2020.

How has it helped my organization?

SMART definitely saves us time when setting up an RFP, on the order of many hours. We have templates set up with our legal-approved terms, NDA, all of the language about the company, the code of conduct. We have our agreements attached to them as well. The team can take them and add in the information that's specific to the project and push things out. They don't need to build it out in Word. Technically, you could take a Word template and do that, but SMART helps with the facilitating of sending it to people. Recipients have to submit their intent to respond; we get that electronically. Before they can open the RFP we get them to sign off an NDA electronically, so there's a time saving there. Any supplier code of conduct or the like, they have to attest to and sign off on that electronically, so we save that step.

There are additional time savings in managing communications. If you have an open RFP and there are questions, you can manage all of the questions and answers in the thread inside that RFP. All the suppliers will get any notifications that you want them to get, and everything is within the body of the RFP so you don't have to worry about things in email, outside of the system.

The back-end is probably where we see the largest time savings and efficiencies. Sending out an RFP in a Word doc seems really easy. Email it to everybody. They will fill it out and send it back. But then it takes hours upon hours — and I know this from experience — to consolidate and normalize all those responses, trying to get them into a cohesive summary. That can take days' and possibly weeks' worth of work, depending on the size of the RFP. That can be done as soon as it comes back. It's summarized, it's normalized, and it makes the scoring process a lot easier. The setup in the back-end, in particular, is a huge time saver. It could save anywhere from five to 10 hours in a 30-day period.

SMART by GEP has also helped us with diversity spend management.

One of the situations that we had was that our company split in half. We had to work with GEP to clone everything that we have and split it out. So the other half of the company had their version of the GEP tools and we had our version. During that process, our sister company made significant changes to the spend module. Their leader, the VP of procurement, told me that he actually wasn't impressed with the toolset, particularly the spend tool from GEP, and he put it out to bid. As part of the proposal that came back, GEP came up as one of the top-tier candidates.

GEP came in. Tony Butler is an amazing dude. He's really revamped and reinvigorated the organization. He's our relationship manager and he serves us well. So, he got the team together and said, "Hey, how can we make this process better? What can we do"? He went in with ears open, listened, did a needs analysis, came back and said, "Okay, we hear where the issues are. We hear what you want to do. Here's how we can address it." They put a very comprehensive strategic plan together and implemented it. They were able to clean up and rationalize the data. They were able to reduce the cycle time from about 45 days to 14 days.

They were able to get down to level-four reporting, which is very detailed reporting. They didn't have that before. They were able to significantly reduce the number of reporting categories as well.

Now, our sister company is very happy with the data. I actually had a confidential conversation with the VP of procurement and he told me, "We were not happy with these guys and we put out the bid. They came in, they impressed us with their plan, they implemented the plan, and cleaned it up. We have great insights into our data. We have very detailed metrics, now, as a result of their efforts and their strategy." He was thrilled. In fact, they ended up buying more modules because of that. 

So I reached out to GEP and said, "Hey, let's share those best practices because our data is originally from the same source. We have a similar problem to the one that they had. Why don't we use it? Let's not reinvent the wheel. Why don't we employ some of those strategies on our spend?" We're doing that as we speak. I was able to get them in to our new VP of procurement and do that same presentation. We didn't put them out to bid. Now, we're going to talk about what they were able to do for our sister company; how they were able to rationalize and how they were able to save time. We're going to try to employ those same types of things to improve our data. That's a real story of how they were able to really turn things around. They almost lost the business but they turned it around.

In addition, we had an end-of-2019 wrap-up meeting, and 2020 strategy meetings, a couple of weeks ago. We had all of our directors and those above them creating strategies. The IT team, which rolled out the new SMART spend tool was just raving about how great the tool is and about the capabilities. Our spend management expert just couldn't say enough about how great that team was and how they were able to make all these changes quickly. He said that had helped them to really focus on different strategic initiatives for that area. So I can absolutely say it has impacted the organization in a positive way.

What is most valuable?

Overall, the ease of use of the solution is good. I really appreciate their flexibility, when it comes to the voice of the customer, and their sensitivity. While their tool wasn't the best out of the gate, they continually make updates to it to make their tool best-in-class.

What needs improvement?

On the spend side, we had some difficulty with the usability, initially, but then they rolled out SMART and they built out a new spend cube, and that was light-years better. Part of the reason I hadn't rolled it out fully to the team was because it wasn't as user-friendly as I would have liked. But they addressed that in a newer version last year.

I rolled it out to a subset of my team earlier this year. It was almost a proof of concept type, phase-one rollout, and it actually went very well. We plan on doing a full-scale rollout training in 2020 for the rest of my category teams. Everybody will be running their own spend reports and using this to manage their businesses.

I'd like to see drag-and-drop reporting. They have the old model for reports where you have to click the "run" button. The thing runs and then you have to export it to PowerPoint. If you're doing a presentation, you have to export it out as Excel, and then you have to go through all this stuff. There is a concept called portlets, which are like an app or a window within a window. If they had a page with four different portlets on it and four quadrants, then each one would be independent and you could run and filter down each individual portlet in each quadrant. That would be beautiful. If you wanted a nice view that has spend data from a particular business unit or a particular region, you could do all of those individual filters on one page as opposed to having to export it to Excel and run four different reports. That's a big one for us.

There is some stuff related to RFP on their roadmap, like the ability to pause an RFP. It could be that you're running an RFP but the business changes; you acquire a company, or the leadership or initiative changes. Instead of canceling and then reissuing, you may want to pause it. That's something we brought to their attention. That's something that may be on their roadmap. They have a track record of making changes and implementing those updates, so I'm sure they'll address that.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using SMART for about 10 years. Our previous senior vice president came over from another company where he was working with SMART and he brought it over to us.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Overall, the stability has been good. We've had some issues with RFPs, suppliers couldn't get in or were having an issue submitting something. That happens occasionally. But that's not a common situation. It's been stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

From our end, the scalability part is invisible. It's not like we're going to be throwing a few thousand people on it. We're dealing with onesie-twosie users.

We're looking at self-service spend reporting. Our buyers, our category team, will be able to go in and run their own reports. I asked them a question during our department strategy meeting and said, "By a quick show of hands, how many people have access to the reports and run their own reports?" Only one person raised his hand. I'm going to change that.

I inherited the spend. In the past, they would run reports for the team because the data was taking it out of context. The data wasn't inaccurate but it wasn't complete either. Data was counted twice in certain areas. It was a train wreck to give the team access at the time. We're trying to fix the reporting structure, clean up the data, and then we're going to roll it out to the teams so that they can run their own reports. They should be able to manage our business and run reports whenever they want.

How are customer service and technical support?

We reach out to tech support. Sometimes we'll reach out to our relationship manager or the tech lead for the given tool that we're working with and that we're having issues with.

Tech support could use a little bit more work. We've had a conversation with GEP and they understand it. There were a couple of issues with RFPs where a supplier was having issues. They called and, unfortunately, tech support had them on the phone for an hour. That's a long time. Our concern was that these things weren't getting resolved quickly enough and people were getting frustrated. I had that conversation with the leadership team and I think they've addressed it because I haven't heard much since that point.

There were a couple of things in the tool that were a little bit frustrating. But when we brought it to their attention, I can honestly say — and I have been working with these guys for a long time — almost everything that we've brought to their attention has been put in their development pipeline and worked on and actually implemented. They haven't implemented every single thing, but the majority of it they have, which is pretty phenomenal. Most companies don't do stuff like that.

Their tool has become a much better tool over the years. They take customer feedback very seriously. They look at how the feedback will impact other clients, positively or negatively and, if positively, they will put it into a development pipeline and they'll usually implement.

That's not something you typically hear. It may change every once in a while, but these guys are pretty astounding at taking things as seriously as they do.

It's a good tool. It's a solid tool, depending on which part we talk about. The RFP tool is good. It has a few little quirks, but they've worked them out. They are constantly rolling out updates, which is good.

We have a direct line to their management. They've made some changes by way of staffing levels and tremendously boosted their effectiveness. They have made some really good moves. I've worked with them for a very long time and it's almost a night-and-day difference between then and now. They are sensitive to issues and changes.

How was the initial setup?

We've done the setup in different stages. The earlier version of their RFP tool wasn't great. Not to say it was bad, but it just wasn't great. There were a lot of constraints. But again, they've done a good job of taking customer feedback and making changes. So we had some growing pains with that one. There were also some technical issues at first, but they've addressed most of those. They hop on those things, typically, relatively quickly. 

An example would be the ability to attach large documents. There was a limit and we were sending out a huge RFP or we were going to be getting back huge files. It was for furniture specs, so there were a lot of images and spec documents. We ran into some major issues with a big RFP. We ended up having to use Dropbox and it was really messy. Those were early days. Unfortunately, a couple of people, because of that experience, were soured by the tool. We've upgraded two versions since then. It's gotten better. 

We pretty much have full adoption from our team members to whom it has been rolled out. No pushback. GEP has done a good job of doing the updates. We're going to do a full-scale adoption next year on the spend side. On the spend side, adoption is moderate right now, but it will be full-scale adoption in 2020.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I've used SAP Ariba, as well as Oracle Sourcing and Oracle's spend management. I trained on Siebel, but that was not sourcing. I've used some other tools, like BirchStreet, which is a P2P, and Adecco.

It's been such a long time since I used Ariba. They've been bought by SAP. At the time, their tool was more sophisticated than GEP's tool but it's an unfair comparison. This was back in the early 2000s. I can't really compare the two. I'm sure Ariba is a way different tool now. 

My time using Ariba and my time using SMART are two different time periods in the progression of technology: the reporting technology, communication protocols, etc.

What other advice do I have?

The biggest lesson I've learned from using SMART is that the evolution of technology can be affected by the voice of the customer. It's very powerful.

We have only used the e-auction module twice since we got it. We are trying to get the team to use it, but we don't make anything. We're a hospitality company. There are some things that can be done in e-auction — I'm not saying we can't do anything there — but my team is not really experienced with the e-auction tools. We're trying to get them up to speed and figure out a category where it makes sense to run it through an e-auction tool.

Their AI and machine learning features are one area that I'm highly interested in. I've talked to Tony Butler, our relationship manager, and let him know I want to learn more about it. I heard it about it at a high level. That's something that would help us tremendously because we are a little resource-constrained and we do have repetitive issues with data. I really want a detailed presentation on how GEP is using it because we'd like to potentially leverage that.

In terms of integrating SMART with our ERP, we get a feed. It's not really an integration. We get exports out of those systems which are imported into GEP. It would be nice to have full integration. That would be great. But we're not there.

I have one system administrator on SMART who manages the technical aspect of it. We will have about 50 people using it. The sourcing procurement managers and buyers are facilitating and setting up the RFPs and managing them. And then the stakeholders use it to score them. Those are the guys who might review the RFPs electronically before they go out, and approve them electronically. 

I would rate the solution at eight out of 10. I'm never that guy who always rates 10. I'm very impressed with the solution overall. With the rating of eight, there is room for growth. Maybe, once we implement those AI tools, it might be a nine. Had they not made the recent changes that they made, it would have been more in the seven range.

Their tool wasn't the best out of the gate. They have worked really hard and have been really focused on becoming a best-in-class company and they've been able to do that. They've been at the top of the industry reviews for years now, and that is a result of focused effort, hiring the right resources, as well as trial and error. The main thing that has made GEP successful is being sensitive to the voice of the customer. I can definitely attest to that.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Associate Director, Sourcing and Contracts Technology at a non-tech company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Leaderboard
Gives us a single sourcing solution which helps to reduce redundancy
Pros and Cons
  • "The biggest selling point for us was having the contracts repository centralized for both systems. People are able to search for a contract. Typically, before they go out to bid or engage with a supplier, procurement folks come into GEP SMART and they search for a contract and check to see if there is an existing contract in place."
  • "There are no mechanisms for them to check up on how they refresh their data. So oftentimes, when we go into the tool and we don't see something, we alert them and they say, "Oh, the data hasn't been refreshed, so we'll go ahead and refresh it," and then what we're looking for pops up. We should not have to be the ones to tell them they need to refresh. There should be a mechanism in place for that."

What is our primary use case?

There are two university systems within our state. In the two systems together, we have a total of 35 campuses. We use GEP SMART as more of an upstream, front-end procurement software. We don't have a full P2P installed. We only use it to facilitate requests for quotes, requests for proposals, and requests for information. When the sourcing event is done, we leverage the GEP SMART contract module to store fully-executed contracts. 

We also leverage the supplier management module, but that is only to facilitate sourcing events. We don't use it as a full supply-relationship management tool.

We do use their spend to run analytical reports and for opportunity-finding. 

It is a SaaS solution for us.

How has it helped my organization?

We didn't have a single sourcing technology within the two university systems. With GEP SMART, we have that one sourcing technology. There's a huge process improvement. If one campus wants to send out an RFP to multiple suppliers for lab supplies, for instance, they can search for any sourcing events on lab supplies and see that we did a lab supply RFP six months ago. They can assume it's closed and ready. They can then check if a contract stemmed from that particular sourcing event. If there is one, then this particular location doesn't have to go through the same process all over again. Some such processes can be very lengthy and it's wasteful for them to do exactly same process again, qualifying the same supplier, and then finding out that we already have a contract in place.

GEP SMART gives people the visibility that we need. A second campus that needs to source for the same category, instead of focusing on the bidding process, can actually focus on implementing and working with a supplier and their stakeholders to make sure that they implement the contract properly. They are able to manage that category, as opposed to spending their time on the bidding process. That has been a huge process improvement for us.

In terms of the solution contributing to the digital transformation of our organization, being in higher education we're a little bit behind. A lot of things are done manually. We have a very strict contract code that is driven by the state. Where private companies are not obligated to follow that code, as a public entity we have to follow it. The technologies to mimic exactly how we do business didn't exist. RFPs would be put into an envelope and handed to suppliers who would come on campus to get them. Who does that these days? Now, all RFPs are digitized. They get stored in a central location and are available for people to search, rather than sitting in somebody else's filing cabinet.

Similarly for contracts, campuses have a big file cabinet containing them, with signatures. People had somebody physically sign those contracts. Now we have electronic signature functionality, so contracts are routed through approval flow, electronically signed, and then automatically stored in the contract module. It has been a huge transformation. It was a huge culture shock for a lot of us who have been here for 25 years and doing the same things all that time. There are still some people who are not as accepting of the change. Others say, "This is great. I don't have to keep a big file cabinet in my office. I can get rid of all of this." We still have something of a mixed group of people in our organization, but it has definitely transformed the way that we do business.

The digital transformation and people being able to search and the reduction in redundancy are all part of the efficiency and process improvement, from our perspective, and there's a huge benefit to it.

The solution definitely saves us time when setting up an RFP. Not everyone is going into GEP SMART to search right away, but at our current adoption rate, it is saving us about 60 to 65 percent of the time RFPs used to take.

What is most valuable?

GEP SMART is a very intuitive technology. Most of the time people can get a pretty good sense of how to navigate within the tool, although there are some areas that are not as easy to figure out. 

The specific functionality that we use most is the contract module. People liked the idea because we never had a system — a central contract repository for both university systems. The biggest selling point for us was having the contracts repository centralized for both systems. People are able to search for a contract. Typically, before they go out to bid or engage with a supplier, procurement folks come into GEP SMART and search to see if there is an existing contract in place. That's one of the highlights: having that centralized contract repository. I don't know if it's really something that GEP SMART is providing, or it's more process-driven, now that we have a place to put contracts. People put them in and are able to look for them. So it's a starting point.

We do have a very diverse workforce. Many of our people are very system-savvy and they tend to say that it is extremely intuitive. They click here and there and can use it. But some of the folks are not system-savvy. Whether it's intuitive or not, they have a hard time navigating.

What needs improvement?

I don't think their supplier management module is ready, from a full supply-relationship management perspective. The scope is very limited for supplier management.

Also, in the contract module, the searching capability is sub-par. Most people are used to Google search and Amazon search. That's what's available on a day-to-day basis. GEP SMART's searching capability is extremely difficult to use. Their logic is different from Google and Amazon, so they return a lot of search results, which is something we're not really happy about.

Another issue that I want to provide feedback on is that their icons are not as visible and as accessible as they should be. If we have someone with some form of disability, it's not easy for them to figure things out. When you hover an icon a little message pops up and tells you what it is, but the icons are so small and look very similar. It's a design element that looks great but it's a little hard to hover and makes for an accessibility issue. But overall, in general, it is intuitive to use.

Also, I know that GEP, as a company, has been in business for close to 20 years, but they still operate as more of a startup and smaller company. They need to revamp their processes and put in controls in terms of quality assurance and quality control.

In terms of their processes, there are no mechanisms for them to check up on how they refresh their data. So oftentimes, when we go into the tool and we don't see something, we alert them and they say, "Oh, the data hasn't been refreshed, so we'll go ahead and refresh it," and then what we're looking for pops up. We should not have to be the ones to tell them they need to refresh. There should be a mechanism in place for that. They're a technology company and their product is where we put our data. The refresh cycle should be automatic.

As for quality control, I don't know if they do enough testing. When they release new enhancements, they do testing and it passes and that's why they push it to production. But it seems they only test that particular functionality and that they don't test how that functionality interacts with and impacts other functionalities. So that particular functionality itself is working, but oftentimes functionalities are interdependent and when we try to click on certain things which should behave in certain ways or bring us certain results, they don't work.

We have to tell them, "Hey, it's not working. You need to fix this." Quite frankly, we're tired of informing GEP. They should be scrubbing from the left and right and from top to bottom to make sure that anything that they're releasing is fully tested. I get it, that one or two fall through the cracks. But it happens consistently that we're concerned with the data integrity because a refresh cycle didn't happen or there's a stability issue where something is working but when coupled with other functionalities it fails and we get an error message.

Those are some of the things that the GEP is lacking. If they do want to compete in this market with other, bigger players, they need to up that game. GEP, as a company, is putting so much focus on artificial intelligence and machine learning. That's great. We love it. And that's where the industry is moving. We like seeing those on their roadmap. However, foundationally, they need to fix some of their processes before they bring in the above-and-beyond bells and whistles. If their basic functionalities are not functioning the way that they're supposed to and they keep building on a broken foundation and adding more, eventually it will collapse. It will become too top-heavy. This has been a message that we've been sending to GEP over the course of the last two years.

I understand that to keep up with the industry, they need to bring in some of the newer technologies, a newer perspective. That's a business decision. But they still need to go back to their core technology and really enhance that, so that when they add something it really couples with that core and enhances their technology overall.

In addition, from our perspective, the way that they manage their technology is very fragmented. I mentioned that we use four different modules of GEP SMART but they were built in silos. Although they actually promote this or sell it as a fully-integrated solution, the way that we search in the sourcing module is different from the way we search in the contract module. Why are they different? It should be consistent. Another example is that the supplier ID in the supplier module is different from the supplier ID in the contract and sourcing modules, although it's the same supplier. Even though we enter and register our supplier in the supplier module, when they float through to the contract module and sourcing module, they generate a different supplier ID in the backend, so it's extremely difficult to trace back to see if it's the same supplier. If it's stemming from one module, it should be duplicated across all modules, as opposed to creating another copy of it. That confirms that they're building their technology in a very fragmented way. That needs to be addressed.

We have a huge number of duplicate suppliers created. When someone facilitates a sourcing event, they enter suppliers' names differently. A classic example is IBM, which can be entered as "IBM Corporation", "IBM Corp" or just "IBM". Sometimes it's entered as "International Business Machines." GEP has been trying to work with us to leverage machine learning and AI to prevent people from creating duplicate suppliers. It hasn't been fully built-out. And there still needs to be some manual intervention. The human element needs to be there. Once it's fully built-out, it might help us. One of the things they proposed was that machine learning and AI would pop up a window that says, "Hey, we have all these similar company names." Based on what was entered — not just the supplier name but the contact information and addresses — it would say, "This company is about 80 percent matching to what you entered, so why don't you use this one instead of creating another one." There is stuff coming, but it's still not there. We're testing it out right now. We're hopeful that it will at least provide some guidelines for our folks, and at least cause them to pause a moment before they create another supplier.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using the solution for two years. We went live early in 2018 and leveraged it throughout 2018 and 2019.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The way that GEP SMART is designed, I don't know if it's truly scalable. It does handle more of the basic purchasing or sourcing of simple, tangible items. That's seamless. But when it comes to buying intangibles such as very complex consulting services, it just doesn't do what we're looking for at this time.

I'm hoping that GEP does invest into it and captures all the categories that their clients procure and try to source. That needs to be addressed as part of their scope.

We have about 500 power users who are procurement people, and we have about 200,000 business users who can log in and search for contracts but they don't have access to the RFPs.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Our previous solution had a very limited scope. We didn't have a full-blown source-to-contract suite implemented. It wasn't apples-to-apples. Some of our campuses didn't have anything at all.

How was the initial setup?

Implementing the technology was pretty straightforward. We took an off-the-shelf approach. 

However, as we were testing, that's where the challenges came in. We were the first client to be on version 2.0. When we were going through the RFP process, it was on 1.0, which was a pretty mature product. As they transitioned to 2.0, they wanted to hit the market so quickly that they overlooked some things and cut some corners. We felt like we were testing their product as opposed to implementing it. That was challenging for us. When we were doing user training, users would say, "Oh, isn't it supposed to be doing this — but it's not doing it?" We had to bring someone in from GEP for all our training, and have them document all the issues that we captured. It wasn't really a training session, but more of a testing session with live users.

It took about six months to go live. But as we were going through hands-on, in-person training, we captured many issues. We didn't do a full deployment until about three months after go-live. So it took about nine months for us to confidently say we had gone live.

What about the implementation team?

We had a GEP consultant onsite for training and deployment.

While they have a service arm that does full implementation and training, we didn't actually purchase that option. The person who was there was more like a backup, help-desk person. In the event that something was not working as intended, he might know more about the technology. He was there for handholding. It was good to have that person there, but I don't know if it was as effective as it could have been because some of the things that we discovered were glitches in the system. At times, we couldn't even move forward.

They kept changing people too. We had about eight weeks of training, although not continuously because we went to different locations. We didn't go to all 35 campuses. Neighboring campuses came to a central location. But by sending different people GEP made it a little challenging because we had to sit with each one and explain all the issues that we were having challenges with. It would have been nice if they had assigned the same person.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We reviewed about 25 suppliers. The finalists, in addition to GEP SMART, were

  • Coupa
  • SAP Ariba
  • JAGGAER
  • Apttus. 

Coupa dropped out during the final round. Apttus didn't have a spend module, which was important for us, so they dropped off which left us with the top-three.

The reason we went with GEP SMART was the cost-effectiveness — cost played a big role. All three companies were very closely ranked. Ariba was just too expensive, and JAGGAER is our incumbent supplier, but we didn't feel that they had what we were looking for.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure you test every element of it and make sure any problems are fixed. We communicate with some of GEP's current clients and they don't do enough testing. After they implement it they start discovering things. So do a full testing and full vetting before you roll it out.

Technology-wise, I would give GEP SMART 6.5 out of 10. But the people we work with there are awesome. They understand that they're behind on certain things. They pick those things up and, because they're still a little bit small, they're a nimble organization and are able to quickly mobilize their team and fix things or provide a work-around. I would give their people a 9.5. Even if something is lagging a little bit, having the really great partnership with the folks who are working on our account makes a day-and-night difference. My hat is off to them for having such a good, strong account management team.

Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
Learn what your peers think about GEP SMART. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: January 2022.
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Sr. Manager, Procurement & Systems Support at a media company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Provides us with more frequent, fresh spend data and alerts us about contract renewals
Pros and Cons
  • "Spend gives us a way to put all of our spend in one area and use a category hierarchy to pull real-time spend data."
  • "It's really simple to use. That's one of the reasons we chose GEP over some of the others. It's very Google-like. On the homepage, you just type whatever you need. And there are tabs that can come up if you're looking for a certain word or phrase..."
  • "The loading of the contracts could be a little bit easier. I'd like to see a little bit more of AI brought in, to the point that it's actually reading the contract and automating some things, like expiration dates and renewal terms. That is an area for improvement."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for everything from source to contract. We're not using any P2P, but we use it for all of our spend analysis, all our RFXs, managing and tracking savings, and we use the supplier database strictly for contract and other sourcing events. We also use the contract repository and have automatic notifications set up for 30, 60, 90, and 120 days for every contract.

How has it helped my organization?

The spend module is helpful because, while the way we used to do it didn't take a lot of time, we were waiting on data. We'd only get it a couple of times a year and there would usually be a pretty big lag in the data. It would be last year's. We didn't have very fresh data. Now, we get our spend refreshed every single month.

Another big area where it has improved our organization is contracts. We get automatic alerts about them and we're able to see every contract that's coming up. When we get a notification, 120 days in advance, we'll send a note to the owner of that contract or the signatory or the team that's involved and say, "Hey, this contract's coming up in a couple of months. What do you want to do? Do you want to continue it? Do you want to renew it? Do you want to go out to a competitive bid?" It's a good way to kick off those conversations.

A lot of times our stakeholders have no idea when contracts are actually coming up. The worst thing that can ever happen is that you have a contract that you want to get out of but it just renewed 30 days ago. It's then so much more of a pain to try to get out of it. 

It definitely helps our procurement process to be more efficient but it depends on how you define procurement process. It definitely helps streamline our internal processes for managing our projects, but we're not reusing the projects module and then actually putting in dates or timelines. But the way it works, on contracts and sourcing, we're able to see, during an RFP, who has participated or who is planning to participate, and the percentage of RFP completion.

When an RFP is due in a week and we're sitting at zero percent, we can make those calls and send those reminder emails. That's as opposed to sending out an RFP via Excel where all you can do is hope you get it back by the due date. In that scenario, if the due date comes up and you didn't receive anything, you send it to the vendor and they might say, "Oh, I never saw this," or whatever the excuse may be. We now have a little bit more transparency into what they have. We can see if they logged on to the system and if they spent some time in the RFP, which definitely helps keep things on track throughout the sourcing process.

The solution also helps us save time when setting up an RFP. We're able to templatize things. With templates, you have to be very careful to not miss something though, so that you're not bringing something in from an old RP where the language wasn't relevant and may confuse people. We typically try to build a lot of them mostly from scratch, but we can bring in questions or guidelines that are relevant.

What is most valuable?

The spend module is the most valuable. After that would be sourcing and contracts.

Spend gives us a way to put all of our spend in one area and use a category hierarchy to pull real-time spend data. We have it updated every single month. It used to take months for us, where we used really old data by getting giant, raw data fields pulled out of SAP from our controller. The spend module helps us with our analysis, and gives us the ability to be able to communicate with our shareholders on particular projects. We can identify spend and areas of opportunity for process improvement, saving, etc.

It's really simple to use. That's one of the reasons we chose GEP over some of the others. It's very Google-like. On the homepage, you just type whatever you need. And there are tabs that can come up if you're looking for a certain word or phrase in contracts, or if you want that word in sourcing, or related to a supplier. It's pretty simple to use. There are some things in the sourcing-auctions module that are a little bit more complicated, but the training wasn't very difficult.

Our spend team uses the AI and machine learning. We approve it each month. We look at any new suppliers to make sure they're categorized correctly but they do use the machine learning to make sure that the rules fall within our category tree mapping.

What needs improvement?

The loading of the contracts could be a little bit easier. I'd like to see a little bit more of AI brought in, to the point that it's actually reading the contract and automating some things, like expiration dates and renewal terms. That is an area for improvement.

There is also some stuff coming that we've been asking for that should be in the next release, in terms of some automated reminders in the sourcing process. And we've also asked to be able to do a little bit more visualization of responses in terms of pricing and completeness for RFPs. Those things are coming some time next quarter and we're looking forward to them.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using it for about two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability has been fine. We've only had one time in the two years where we had any significant downtime with the product. That was an Azure-related issue. It wasn't GEP's fault.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's extremely scalable. We just haven't taken advantage of that yet.

We don't really have any plans to increase usage. It's a sourcing tool for our team. We're not P2P and we're not paying for P2P. Unless our team massively expands, which I don't see happening anytime soon... We're trying to focus on G&A costs as much as possible and not grow our employee base as much right now. So I don't see us rapidly growing. 

There may be some more business users who might use it to view the RFP responses. But we just consolidate all the responses and create an executive summary that we're able to share with vendors. We don't have them go into the system to review anything. You don't want to give them another tool to have to try to learn or figure out, even though it is easy. We just want to make sure that we're doing that administrative work for our stakeholders.

How are customer service and technical support?

They're constantly updating, which is good. We also have a bi-weekly call and whenever there are release notes we walk through them with our account manager. A lot of the enhancements, again, have been on the P2P side, which we don't utilize. But they're constantly listening to us, the things we're asking for.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not have a previous solution.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was pretty straightforward. Again, we're a very small team so we didn't have to train 50 people on how to use it. 

We had a timeline and they had a project plan for it. We started with spend and then worked with some of the other modules as well. We didn't try to do it all at once, to make it a little more digestible.

What about the implementation team?

We only worked with GEP. They came onsite and spent one day going through all of our spend for vendors that their system couldn't automatically categorize. We were able to clean that up. We meet quarterly with each of our business divisions to go through spend, especially significant spend.

What was our ROI?

We have absolutely seen ROI. We track all of our savings, but it allows us to do a lot more.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did a comprehensive RFP before we narrowed it down to SAP Ariba, which we mostly kept as a finalist due to our relationship with SAP as our ERP system. And we also had Zycus as a finalist. But throughout our due diligence, GEP represented the best value.

The ease of use of GEP SMART stood out. It wasn't the cheapest, Zycus was even cheaper, but it was the interface, the ease of use, and having everything in a single platform.

What other advice do I have?

My advice is that it's "garbage in, garbage out" in terms of the data. You want to make sure your data is as clean as possible going in. Take the time, at first, to categorize with it in the spend module to make sure that your reporting is going to be as accurate as possible. There is always going to be clean up, things can always get better, but take the time and energy to make sure that, if you don't know what certain vendors do, and if GEP can't figure it out based on the invoices, that you go through it and do the manual work upfront. It will save loads of time later.

The fact that it's a single, unified software platform hasn't really affected our procurement operations. 

GEP SMART doesn't integrate directly with our ERP system. We get exports on a monthly basis from our SAP team. It's a file that transfers through an FTP site. They do all the work and usually, within a week or so, it's loaded within the system. We have three spend sources. We had four when we started, but we've since moved one over to SAP. So we just have one pull for that. 

I give GEP SMART a nine out of 10. What comes to mind is its ease of use, having actionable data, having everything in one spot, being able to manage our contract renewal process, and being able to create visualizations of our spends which we are able to present the leadership.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Sheila Bridge
Senior Director at True Value
Real User
Leaderboard
Enables us to evaluate multiple vendors' responses to questions in one view
Pros and Cons
  • "The one we use the most is the sourcing module... It's really easy to use. You don't have to train vendors. You can add a new vendor at any time, and that vendor will get an email saying, "You've been selected to participate in our RFP, and you do X to get your ID set up." That works really well."
  • "One of the areas where they could do better is by creating more standard templates when it comes to IT cost. IT cost has various components to it and if I want a vendor to be able to reply about cost related to IT, I would have to create that template. If I want them to tell me the hardware costs, the software costs, the professional services costs, the cloud or subscription costs, etc., I would have to build that template myself. Once I built it, I could save it and use it again and again. But sometimes building a template takes a lot of time."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use it so that we can do sourcing with suppliers. We're able to send out notices to our suppliers to say, "We have an RFP or an RFI or an RFQ that we want you to bid against." We use it to collect their input and evaluate what we're getting to decide which vendor we will use in the particular situation.

That process requires that we have both the sourcing module and the supplier management module. The supplier management module is where we keep track of our suppliers and we can communicate across the platform to the supplier in multiple ways. We can send information back or get information from them, rather than go through email.

The third module is the spend analysis module. That is where we're able to evaluate how much we spend on different vendors, both from a CapEx and an OpEx perspective, year over year. We're able to say, "This is how much we spent with vendor A in 2017, 2018, and 2019." We use that information both to see whether that spend is increasing or decreasing, and primarily, so that we have the ability to see those spends and determine whether we want to push more at a particular vendor or less.

We're also using it for auctions. We're able to send out information to all the vendors for a particular product and say, "You have X amount of time to respond, and we want to see who's got the lowest price." They can't see each others' bids, so they have to sharpen their pencils to be able to win.

Some of the reasons we went with a solution like this were 

  • to keep everything in one place
  • to have a tool that helps us facilitate sourcing 
  • to facilitate some of the hard-to-do things when it comes to evaluations.

How has it helped my organization?

The sourcing module is a place we can always go to find all the information we submitted to a vendor and what they submitted back to us. We don't have to worry about, "Where is that file that we received?" We can then keep track of all the vendors that we use and we can determine which vendor has a better shot for us if we want to get some information really quickly. 

An easy example that we use this platform for is that we want to hire a person to augment our staff. We have six or eight vendors who would do that kind of work for us. We're able to send the requirements for that staff position to all of those vendors. We're usually looking for a contractor, not to hire. We're able to ship that out really quickly to the vendors. They read the requirement and respond back with the resume of someone they have available who fits the requirements. We're able to quickly get that information from them. It doesn't get lost in emails because someone on the team is monitoring the system. We do get emails, but we're monitoring the system to get this information as quickly as possible. It's really meaningful and effective in getting that information out to the vendors.

The time it saves is when you have already created several RFPs or RFQs or RFIs and you can leverage those templates for the next time you have requests. So you don't have to recreate everything from scratch. You can say, "Create an RFI and use X as a template," where you're picking something that has a similar approach. That's where there are time savings.

You can also evaluate the dollar responses very easily and quickly, and compare them to those of the other vendors. One vendor says they'll charge $10, another one is $15, and a third one is $25. You can evaluate all the vendors in terms of their costs and see them on the screen together. So some of the evaluation functionality is great for time-savings. It doesn't save you any time in reading the RFP or reading the proposals and the information that the vendor sends back. With those, if you have to read them, you have to read them.

What is most valuable?

The one we use the most is the sourcing module, sending requests for information or requests for quotes or proposals to our vendors. We use that quite a lot.

It's really easy to use. You don't have to train vendors. You can add a new vendor at any time, and that vendor will get an email saying, "You've been selected to participate in our RFP, and you do X to get your ID set up." That works really well. 

Another thing I am really happy with is that you pay for the super-users but you don't pay for the vendors. You can have as many vendors as you need, to do what you need to do. They're all-inclusive with the price that you pay for the subscriptions for the super-users, who are typically the people in my company who are putting together the requests and putting them out there.

It also gives you an opportunity to evaluate multiple vendors' responses to the questions. You can actually compare them in one view where you can see each question and what each vendor has responded to. That's a great way to do it rather than trying to do it on spreadsheets.

What needs improvement?

One of the areas where they could do better is by creating more standard templates when it comes to IT cost. IT cost has various components to it and if I want a vendor to be able to reply about cost related to IT, I would have to create that template. If I want them to tell me the hardware costs, the software costs, the professional services costs, the cloud or subscription costs, etc., I would have to build that template myself. Once I built it, I could save it and use it again and again. But sometimes building a template takes a lot of time.

In addition, what we do now is write out a Word document with our requirements and submit those requirements by attaching that document to the information that goes out to the vendor. Similarly, we send a template out with it and say, "Please respond in this format." That gets attached as well and then the vendor downloads that information and creates a proposal offline in the template that I've sent. They then reattach that information to send it back to me. That's fine and it's effective. 

But I wonder if there is a different way where we could physically write in the requirements, rather than having to create a separate document and then attach that document. And similarly, have responses back without being put in a Word or an Excel document. On the other hand, as I think about that, there are advantages to having the separate document because you can download it and go off and read it. You don't have to be connected to the network to do that. Similarly, the vendors can type it up offline and then attach it. So I don't know if that's really something that they can move on.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using it since 2017.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's been very stable. I haven't had any issues with it. I did notice, however, that last week they had quite some issue that they were trying to resolve. It took them a couple of days to resolve it but, overall, we don't have any issues with its stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I can only speak about the two modules we have. As far as I'm concerned, for those two modules, scalability is no issue at all.

How are customer service and technical support?

Support is very responsive. When we reach out to them, they're very easy to work with and they're very conscientious to help get to a resolution as soon as possible.

We've only reached out, in many cases, to add in a new user, because my team turned over and the person who was doing that left. The new person had to learn how to do it and needed help from time to time to get that going. Other than that, because of the modules that we use, there have been no issues with tech support. They're extremely responsive, and we more so around the time when we were implementing the solution.

They have added a person who is focused on making sure that we, as clients, are successful. We didn't have that at the beginning, so that's a good thing. That person has been very meaningful for us, having someone to whom we can reach out to and be in touch with. She does not live here with us but she's local, so that gives us an opportunity to reach out easily. And she's reaching back on a regular basis, asking if there is anything else we need, and what can she do to help us be more successful?

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used Word, Excel, and email.

How was the initial setup?

They had to set it up for us. It was a configuration, not a customization. It was a matter of working together to decide if what they had would work for us. The hardest part of the setup — and I have to tell you, it's the same thing with Oracle, even as big as Oracle is — is that you have to get your supplier information into a spreadsheet which is uploaded. And you have to get other sets of information, such as whoever the evaluators are, and things like that, into a spreadsheet. Everything has to be put into a spreadsheet to be loaded up. Getting all the information together and handing it off to them to be loaded into the system is the hardest part. 

Then you have to get whatever templates you want to use set up so that they can be loaded in as well. Otherwise, they did the work. We didn't have to do it. We provided the information that would be loaded in and we did the testing.

I don't remember exactly how long it took, but it was between three and six months. That was primarily because our availability was affected by the fact that we're doing procurement and we're busy. So getting that information together took time. It could be done in three months, including all the testing, since we were just doing two modules.

We don't have anyone specifically managing the solution, but my procurement team, which has three people, uses it and administers it. There's not much to administer, other than if we're adding a new vendor. And now vendors can go in and update their profiles. We create an outline and they can go in and update them.

What about the implementation team?

We worked directly with GEP, only. There were two to three people we worked with on their side. We worked with one guy to make sure we had the right set of requirements and information. They showed us how to do the templates and how to set up the data that would be loaded in. Then it was someone offshore who could load it all up. Then we worked with a PM to take any issues we had and get them resolved.

What was our ROI?

I haven't tried to do return on investment. It was better, in my mind, to have something than to have nothing, and at this point I'm not trying to convince anyone that we should keep it because nobody is bothering us. But if I were to extend to more modules, I would definitely have to show some kind of a business case. I'd have to do some analysis on how much we have used it and what it brings back in terms of return.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

There was one other option called Determine. The contract system that we had was from a vendor named Selectica. Of course, GEP has a contract module as well, but since we had a contract module from Selectica we didn't try to change that. But then Selectica was bought out by Determine. Determine came in and said, "Hey, we're going to switch you out of Selectica to Determine at no charge." The legal people went ahead and did that. 

When we started looking at procure-to-pay, we also looked at Determine to see how it compared to GEP, especially in the procure-to-pay space. On the procure-to-pay side, from my point of view, they were pretty comparable. We did not go into a whole lot of detail. We thought that since we use Determine for our contract system, and it has all the other modules, our leadership would be okay if we moved everything to Determine. But we did not pursue that at all. So that we have a contract system in Determine, and we have GEP for sourcing. 

What other advice do I have?

We're only using two modules. My lessons learned are that this is great, but if I were able to use the whole suite it would make my life in the procurement space so much better. I actually have an individual who sits there and does nothing but key in invoices because we don't really have a good way of dealing with that. If we were able to get all the modules, that would eliminate that position, or I could use it to do something else. My lesson learned is: You actually need the whole suite. Just using one-off modules here and there is good, but it doesn't give you all of the return that would be meaningful.

It's important to note that we need to spend enough time to make sure that we have the team learning how to use it. We've done a couple of different training sessions, especially when the team turns over, or if someone else is added to the team. It's the kind of tool that you might be using a lot for over several weeks, if you're doing multiple RFPs, but it's also the kind of tool that you may not be doing anything with for a week or two.

If we had all the modules, it would be different. Then we would be using it pretty much every day. The piece that I would recommend, if you pick up this system, is to make sure that people understand that training is important. My team thought it was, "Oh no, you don't really need that much training because it's a simple thing to learn." And it is simple to learn, but it's also complex in that you have to understand procurement and the different parts to procurement. Some people on my team may have been new to procurement or they did it differently in a different company. So they have to know how to do all parts of it.

We have three people using the solution directly and another two on another team who use the auction module. In terms of adoption of the system, the team that is doing the auctions got one set of training and they seem to be doing very well with that. The procurement team, doing the RFPs and RFIs, has gone through quite a lot of turnover so I've had to schedule a couple of training sessions for them. 

When we first initiated the system in 2017, it was a little kludgy, but it had the capabilities we were looking for, so we were okay with what it was. But over the last two years they have modified it and some things are much simpler. For example, it was really hard to set a time and date for when all the responses needed to come back. They've changed that so that it's much easier to set that time and date. And sometimes we might need to change the time after we've sent out the requests for information or quote or proposal. We might say we're going to extend the time by two days or three days. It's much easier to do that now and extend the time.

The other area was using the questionnaires. When we send things out we're able to say, "We want you the vendor to respond to these questions." Creating those questions was a lot harder. Now, it's much easier to create such questions and for the vendor to respond.

My initial intention with the solution was to make use of more modules from a procurement and invoicing point of view, the three-way match, which this tool will allow you to do. I started that effort but it got railroaded because we are going to be putting in an ERP system to handle just about everything. So I had to stop that part of the project which would have allowed the system to help me create POs and help me do that three-way match between the invoices and the PO. That would have been a great time-saver because you can create the POs. Right now, we create the POs manually in a separate system, and then we manually look at the invoice and manually look at the PO and confirm. The manual nature of that process doesn't allow me to say "I have a PO with only $10 left on it and this invoice is for $20." This system would have allowed me to do that but I wasn't able to get that.

Because I'm not integrated, my spend analysis module is a lot more manual than I would want it to be. If I were using all the modules, that's when analysis would pick up information from all of them and give me that information without me telling it anything. 

The solutions AI and machine-learning features have not yet affected our processes in any way. Those would come with some of the other things if we were able to do them. It would be probably in the procurement space. And there is also having the vendor be able to take its POs and flip them into invoices and submit them right there. Another thing that could be done by AI is in validating or reporting, but I'm not using any of that yet. I don't have any AI or machine-learning in the modules I'm using.

Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
Senior Manager at a outsourcing company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Visibility into purchase-order, invoice, and spend data allows us to compute our accruals more accurately
Pros and Cons
  • "Among the most valuable features are the ability to send out purchase orders, create catalogs, and accept invoices through procurement. And the reporting function is robust."
  • "Very recently, they implemented a customer success team to manage our expectations and communicate them to their technical team. That function is relatively new and some work needs to be done to build that connection so that it's a little more seamless."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use it for two things: as a purchase-order invoicing system and for reporting and spend management.

How has it helped my organization?

We're doing two-way matching for our invoices and purchase orders, and those invoices do not have to be reviewed by our AP function. That takes that workload off them. It saves them time, although it's hard to say how much at this point.

There is also a lot more visibility into purchase-order, invoice, and spend data. That allows us to compute things which are adding to our accruals process on our month-end, so we can be a lot more accurate on what is owed, what's been paid, etc. The spend function has helped our procurement organization identify likely areas in procurement where we can drive value.

The fact that GEP is a single, unified software platform for our whole organization certainly unifies the information in one place. Since it's cloud, we can fairly easily grant access to whomever we need to grant access, to be able to leverage that data. Similarly, we have a very wide and dispersed user forum for procure-to-pay and it's something that we can quickly give them access to, including our purchasing catalog, with very minimal training. It's very intuitive for them if they've ever ordered from the web.

In addition, the solution is one of the keystones for our digital transformation. We have a larger project where we're also moving our ERP to the cloud, and this has been cited as one of the key functions to enable that. SMART is very well integrated so any design that we have for procure-to-pay has to keep that in mind, as we integrate with our financial system. That's blueprinted as part of our program.

In terms of the efficiency of our procurement process, the key is the invoicing piece. Also, the ability to interface directly with our suppliers and have them invoice us directly gives them more access to what they need to submit their invoices, returns, and credit memos. And any changes in pricing are immediate, so they can send things directly to us or interface directly in SMART and make pricing changes when necessary. We can distribute those to our customers or our users very quickly.

What is most valuable?

Among the most valuable features are the ability to send out purchase orders, create catalogs, and accept invoices through procurement. And the reporting function is robust.

In terms of ease of use, for the most part, it is what I would call "standard" for procure-to-pay software. Of course, with any system, there are quirks and we are working through those, but it's largely "as expected."

What needs improvement?

A lot of the things in the system are not client-facing. So we weren't able to edit certain types of master data, and we're relying on them to edit it for us. I assume it's partly how it's designed and that it's also a safety net that we're not able to essentially ruin our installation. So it's understandable. But there are some components that we would like to have a little more control over.

And there are things regarding how the process for procure-to-pay works that differ slightly from how we do things, but that's expected with an out-of-box-solution.

As an organization, GEP is very technically capable. Very recently, they implemented a customer success team to manage our expectations and communicate them to their technical team. That function is relatively new and some work needs to be done to build that connection so that it's a little more seamless. They need to be managing our requests for enhancements and our requests for fixes with their engineering team and getting anything that needs to be fixed, fixed. 

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been officially deployed with GEP for about 18 months. There was a long leading-in period of implementation, due to the fact that there were some integrations and changes to our organization and source systems for several years before that.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is fine. As expected, it gets complex. It's going to be dependent on local internet speeds and it's hard to peel away actual server issues. But things that we've identified as actual server issues have been few and far between.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is definitely scalable and we're illustrating that by the number of users we're putting it to. It scales well.

We have plans to increase usage. We focused, during our initial deployment, on what our core materials would be, which, in our industry, would be janitorial supplies. With that, we have adoption rates depending, on the industry of 60 to 80 percent, and that's good. As we start moving out into other stuff, such as services and corporate functions, we'll monitor that as well. Those teams will tend to be more technically able, so we don't expect as much pushback on those.

How are customer service and technical support?

They help us manage the technical support. Customer service and technical support are relatively closely linked. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Due to mergers and acquisitions, one of the companies we merged with had Coupa. So we're actually currently maintaining two procure-to-pay systems for our legacy organizations. That will go away once we move to our cloud-based financial system, which is coming in the next few months. But we have experience with Coupa as well.

Coupa seems to have a lot more resources to work with, and that that comes with the price — and that's the balancing act. Also, they are a lot less willing to compromise or design outside a system or do workarounds with customers. With them, what you get out-of-the-box is what you get out-of-the-box, with some configuration. One of their strengths, because of their resources, is that have time to do things that other procure-to-pay organization can't. For example, they have level-two or level-three punchouts from Amazon. They seem to be able to push that around or even potentially make it exclusive, which other companies might not be able to do. But that's paired with the fact that they're a little more difficult to work with and design out a system which fits a specific business.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was complex because we made it complex. When we kicked off, we were dealing more directly with an engineering team. That engineering team was very lax in not helping us improve our process before we put it into a system like SMART. Because of that, it introduced complexity which we didn't need to have in the system. As we work more closely with them, and better understand our requirements — and they understand our requirements through their customer success team — we're able to make it more an out-of-the-box experience and less about workarounds. That would have been more helpful to do on the front-end. They're better suited right now to be able to help customers do that.

Our implementation strategy was to focus on a pilot group. We selected a medium-level branch of ours in Florida and really ran through the system to make tweaks to it before we rolled it out. We then rolled it out through our industry groups and geographically, in stages throughout 2018.

Altogether the deployment took about nine-plus months. Our core implementation team included about eight to ten people, but there was a strong SMU support team, particularly with IT and procurement, which might have been another ten to 15 people. We have a large organization with the number of potential users in the tens of thousands, with a lot of connections to our business. So we needed to manage all that.

The way the implementation is going, we're focusing on users who were identified as prepositioners and that's in the single-digit thousands. But as we push out, we're likely to be adding more.

In terms of maintenance, right now we lean on about five to ten folks who are dedicated to the process. The fact that there is a lot of transactional data, when there are reconciliations and things like that to do, means it requires a larger team.

What was our ROI?

We're working on the model for ROI. It's difficult because the ROI on this will involve FTEs and time-based savings. To truly do it would mean headcount reduction, which is something that we haven't done yet. But I have the feeling that it's saving time. We haven't done a robust calculation of the time saved by it, but the savings are currently on the AP function and some others.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Pricing is module-based.

What other advice do I have?

The biggest lesson we've learned is that, for customers who are looking to go down a procure-to-pay path, they really need to be sharp on their blueprinting and make sure that all the requirements are clearly defined and carved in stone. If any sort of consolidation or process improvements need to be done, they should be done before engagement with GEP, because GEP's goal, at least during our integration, is to get through it, not necessarily get it right.

It is a very transactional system, and you have to be set up for it. That's especially true regarding keeping track of all the orders and invoices. Be honest with yourself on what that that staffing needs to be.

In terms of the adoption of the solution within our organization, as with anything new, you get pockets of people who are resistant. But those are definitely balanced by pockets of folks who found it to be second nature; they didn't have any issues. We're definitely siding on folks who find it relatively easy. One thing about our user group is that they can be, depending on who we're talking about, relatively nontechnical and unskilled. That presents a barrier for this. But the fact that they are, in general, able to get it, speaks to the fact that procure-to-pay, in general, is meant to be relatively easy.

SMART's AI and machine-learning features haven't yet affected our procurement processes, but I expect they will very soon, knowing that things like OCR are coming down the pipeline over the next couple of months. They also have what I believe are called "buyer desks" and those things are very dependent on AI. We're very eager to see how those will interface with how we do business. OCR is kicking off over the next couple of weeks, and implementation is through the end of the year, leading into 2020. I'm not sure when the other stuff is due to come online.

Overall, I would rate the solution at eight out of ten. They're very strong technically. They are now set up with a very strong customer support function. There were growing pains on both our side and their side. But it's definitely workable and they've been a very good partner as we have moved into this space.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
Senior Legal Specialist at a healthcare company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Intuitive, covers the contract lifecycle, and makes the info available to those who need it
Pros and Cons
  • "I love it because everything is done within the contract module. The previous tool that we had really acted more as a repository, whereas this is the lifecycle. Once a business owner gets to the point where they want to enter into a contractual relationship with a party, from that point, including the drafting of it through to the signature on it, it covers the lifecycle. It's from the beginning to the end to even the archiving. It's all done within the tool, including e-signature."
  • "We definitely have some asks for enhancements. One of the big ones we'd like to see is what we call "drag-and-drop." If I have an email that I want to maintain in the SMART record for whatever reason — for example, it has supporting information in it — I would love to be able to just drop that into the notes and attachments section without having to save it as a PDF and then upload it."

What is our primary use case?

For my area, it's the contract module. It's for the lifecycle of contracting. I am in the legal department, and we have attorneys as well as senior legal specialists and legal specialists who work with this, strictly from the drafting and reviewing of the legal side of things. I'm the contract module administrator for the SMART program within our organization. 

This year we did add the sourcing procurement modules to it, which are being used more on the procurement side of our business supply chain. I do nothing with the supply chain sourcing side of it, such as the requests for proposals, the metrics that they're doing with spending analytics, etc.

How has it helped my organization?

From a contract perspective, in my opinion, SMART has improved things a hundred-fold. Change is hard for anybody, and we had a rough start with it. The first year that we were in it, it was a nightmare, to be honest. And GEP is very aware of that. But it definitely is a time-saver, once people learn how to correctly use it. It also reduces our risk at a lot of different levels. Eventually, people are going to trust it as a source of truth for contracting purposes.

Our compliance and accreditation agencies are able to see that we have our arms around this. 

One of the most important things is that the risk is reduced. A good example is that we have corporate compliance language in all of our documents. The reason we have that is because, as a healthcare organization, there are certain regulations we have to follow with Medicare exclusions or government payer exclusions. Those things get updated yearly, if not more. We know for a fact that there were people out there using corporate compliance language from three years ago. Even though I had updated it in certain templates, people didn't have access to them. Now, I will have that in the clause library in SMART. That alone is a huge risk reduction for this organization. It could literally cost millions of dollars if not done correctly, if something were to happen because we didn't have the right language in there. If something bad happened, we could have to pay back the U.S. government X amount of dollars. That's worst-case scenario, obviously, but it happens. Healthcare is vicious. By having those clauses available right in this tool for everyone, and everyone knowing that they are updated as needed, that risk is reduced to almost nil. You still have human error in there. Anytime you have a human touching it, you're going to have a potential risk, but it's certainly a lot less than it was a year ago.

There's a transparency here we didn't have before. For example, our system is pretty large. We have 11 or 13 hospitals now. With our previous tool, the regional hospitals, outside the main hospital, were not able to view certain agreements, but they were required to pay invoices under them or to abide by the terms and conditions of certain agreements that they couldn't even see. Now they can see them, because of the way that the users have access to this tool. They're able to go in and see the terms and conditions and see what their part is in that arrangement and see what they should be billed. That way, they know that they're paying the right amount and know that the deliverables are correct. We didn't have that in the past. They were getting copies of contracts that they thought were the right contracts, but they weren't certain. So that risk level has been reduced.

What is most valuable?

I love it because everything is done within the contract module. The previous tool that we had really acted more as a repository, whereas this is the lifecycle. Once a business owner gets to the point where they want to enter into a contractual relationship with a party, from that point, including the drafting of it through to the signature on it, it covers the lifecycle. It's from the beginning to the end to even the archiving. It's all done within the tool, including e-signature. Rather than having negotiation and revisions and different versions outside of the tool and using it as a filing system, everything is done within the tool. It's more transparent. Anyone who needs to see what's going on can see it. It saves a lot of time for people trying to track things down. I love it.

It's so intuitive. Version 2.0 is head-and-shoulders above what 1.0 was. It's a lot more user-friendly. I like to call it "Google-ish." The search mode makes more sense. It's more what people are used to. I think it's super-easy to use.

I'm doing less and less training, which means that when I train, people get it. And when I do my education session, you can see the light bulbs going on. I'm not training as much because it's a lot easier to understand. They provided really detailed, quick reference guides for us this time, that make sense. That's been really helpful.

What needs improvement?

The difficulty we had when we first started was that we had to migrate all of our records from our previous tool which is a program called Ntracts, a contract tool. We were only using it as a repository. They have upgraded it where it's supposed to be more of a lifecycle tool, like SMART is, but I've not heard good things about it.

GEP had never migrated anything from Ntracts before, and the information within Ntracts was not compatible with the information that was needed for SMART. Then, they put somebody new on the migration but it was a huge process. We had 50,000-plus contracts in Ntracts that had to be migrated to SMART. It was a big ask and it went horribly wrong, and we ended up having to do a second migration. We spent a year trying to migrate, and then we had to just tank it and start over. Needless to say, it was not well-received. It put a bad taste in peoples' mouths at first but we're past that. We got the migration done and we have happy people. 

Some of the rough spots in it have more to do with the things that we want and require within the tool, rather than the tool itself. Some of the forms or questions that we've asked them to incorporate and customize for us are the things that our users sometimes struggle with. It's more what we're asking them to provide, versus how to use the tool.

We definitely have some asks for enhancements. One of the big ones we'd like to see is what we call "drag-and-drop." If I have an email that I want to maintain in the SMART record for whatever reason — for example, it has supporting information in it — I would love to be able to just drop that into the notes and attachments section without having to save it as a PDF and then upload it. And that would be helpful if I have a pre-signed document rather than having it e-signed in SMART. There are times when we have to have it signed outside of SMART. I would like to be able to just drag-and-drop that from my computer, rather than having to upload it. It would save three steps.

We have a lot of asks that we've found over the last two years of using this. There are things that we have felt, "Oh my God, this would make so much more sense. Why isn't it like this?" 

I've got a pet peeve. They have different terms that they use throughout the systems. For example, on the cover sheets that we use, under Basic Terms, they might refer to the author as the "contract administrator." But if I go into the system to run a report, and I'm the contract administrator who is the author, if I want to run a report about every record that I've worked on, it's called "author" in that section. It's really confusing, although not so much for me, because I'm in it every single day. But for other people who don't, it's confusing. "Contract type" means, in some areas, the coordinating area that's working on it. But in other areas it really means, what is this contract. But sometimes that's referred to as "document type." It's confusing and inconsistent.

We've talked to them and they're aware of it. To me, that's low-hanging fruit. Fix it. It's just being sloppy. It was a problem in 1.0. When they went to 2.0, it became worse because they changed terms on the cover sheet. So now, not only are they still different, they're new. So everything we got used to in 1.0 — even though it was not consistent throughout, we were starting to get used to it — was changed in 2.0. And it's still not consistent.

For how long have I used the solution?

We went live with SMART 1.0 in 2017. We upgraded to 2.0 in May of this year.

How are customer service and technical support?

The team that we work with weekly, our customer support team, is amazing. They're very responsive. We go over what tickets are open and we go over what we call "questions." Some of our stuff doesn't rise to the point of being a ticket. It's not like a fix is needed. It's more like, "We have this question. Is this working right? or, "Are we doing this right?" or, "Is this is how this is supposed to work?" We do those kinds of things every week and it's great.

But then we have times where we submit a ticket and it's not something our customer support team can handle because it has to be sent to the engineers, or it has to be sent to the technical team. Once it gets away from our team, oh Lord, it can take forever. I think that that is very common in IS worlds. Different teams have different relationships. If you're lucky to be with a team that has a cohesive relationship with the other team, you're good to go and you can get anything done that you want to. But I think that's rare.

For example, in our organization, if I need something done in IS, I don't send a ticket. I call somebody I know in IS and I say, "All right, I'm going to put it in this ticket. And I'm telling you I'm putting in this ticket because I need you to pull it and get it to the right person." If I don't tell somebody that, it won't get done. And I think the same kind of thing goes on at GEP. If I file a ticket and it gets done fast, it's because our dedicated customer support team was able to do it. 

What other advice do I have?

In terms of the adoption of the platform in our organization, people in general are really resistant to any change. It was a lot of work. The work upfront was so time-consuming that people were really resistant to it. I don't think everybody felt like this was the answer to our issues at the beginning.

Then, when we got into it and had problems with it, it was a nightmare. But with that said, once we were able to migrate our legacy documents from our old tool into this, and were able to show that, yes, in fact, the tools that we need work in this, people started to come around. They saw we were able to find what we need. We were able to connect master agreements to their amendments, master agreements to their SOWs. We were able to archive as we needed and could clear them per our retention policies. We could do everything we needed to do, right within this tool, rather than having to go through boxes of stored files. 

People are really becoming comfortable with this. And now, with these added modules and having everything connected and being able to actually pull valuable information about their metrics, to get their arms around spend here, it's going to be even more significant in the coming year.

In terms of the solution's AI and machine-learning, a bunch of people from our organization are at the GEP Innovate '19 conference that's going on right. AI is one of the big things they're focusing on there. We have not really gotten into that. One of our attorneys actually just got back from a fraud-and-abuse conference that the American Health Lawyers Association put on, and that topic was addressed in a big way there. AI and cybersecurity were two big topics that were covered at that conference. I'm sure AI is something our organization will be exploring in the future with GEP. I'm sure it has already been brought up. I'm sure that the individuals who went to that conference this week will bring it back and follow up.

Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
Procurement Analytics Manager at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Leaderboard
Enables us to classify spend so that we can look for opportunities to save, as a procurement team
Pros and Cons
  • "We operate with three different systems that input data. The fact that GEP consolidates all that information into one place is a big deal for us. It streamlines that data for us."
  • "The AI tool definitely has learned from the information we've given it but also from some of the corrections that we've made. It may have auto-applied a classification and then we have gone in and corrected it, given it some feedback. With that, more and more, we are not having to touch the information once it gets processed. It's classifying it from the get-go in the correct category."
  • "We didn't like their dashboard initially, but they responded to that very well. They've given us some customizable dashboards and have also made it so that the dashboards can be exported into PDF and other formats, so that we can share them with the rest of the company... That was a weakness at the beginning, but one that they have responded to adequately and we're really pleased with the result."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for spend analytics. I'm on the procurement team in my company and it's used for reviewing how each of our departments is spending.

We also use it for payment-term analysis, evaluating how many payment terms our company has with vendors. We try to use that information to standardize the payments that we have and to look for working-capital benefits, in some cases, with vendors that we have shorter pay terms with. 

How has it helped my organization?

It has consolidated a couple of different spend avenues that we have. Our accounting team, our finance team, and procurement used to have three different realms in which we would look at the spend information. We would get fairly close, but not as close as we would like. GEP has helped gather the spend from those different arenas and put them into one, singular case so that we can compare apples to apples each month.

It's given us greater visibility to all-spend. It's helped with the classification of spend. We can look at things based on GLs, but it's allowed us to classify spend so that we can look for opportunities to save, as a procurement team.

In terms of that classification, the AI tool definitely has learned from the information we've given it but also from some of the corrections that we've made. It may have auto-applied a classification and then we have gone in and corrected it, given it some feedback. With that, more and more, we are not having to touch the information once it gets processed. It's classifying it from the get-go in the correct category. That helps us because it allows each of our procurement managers in different departments to really see everything that's in their realm, without having to look for mistakes or nuances. It's become fairly knowledgeable.

It has given us visibility, and we'll see historical data, whenever we are creating an RFP. It does give us a better insight as to all the spend in that category. We can formulate future project requests more clearly.

What is most valuable?

We operate with three different systems that input data. The fact that GEP consolidates all that information into one place is a big deal for us. It streamlines that data for us. 

There are also some AI tools that GEP uses in helping us find opportunities. That has been beneficial as well.

What needs improvement?

We didn't like their dashboard initially, but they responded to that very well. They've given us some customizable dashboards and have also made it so that the dashboards can be exported into PDF and other formats, so that we can share them with the rest of the company, people who are not necessarily users on GEP. That was a weakness at the beginning, but one that they have responded to adequately and we're really pleased with the result.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using SMART for about two years. The organization has been using it for two-and-a-half years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not had any significant crashes. We've had minor bugs, but their customer service has been really strong and they've responded, each time, very quickly and given us fair timelines as to when they expect to have it up. They are usually right on time with those timelines for fixing bugs. We have not had any significant stability issues, just small ones with tweaking. It's mainly when there have been upgrades. They've come out with a new version and they have had a couple of bugs. They responded quickly to those.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We implemented the tool at a time when we were tripling in size as a company. They've been able to handle a massive increase in data fairly well. In terms of users, we haven't changed much since we first implemented it. We have about ten users. Each of them is a procurement manager over a different spend category, mainly in the indirect realm but a couple of them are in the direct materials realm as well.

We have some plans to increase its usage in the future. We met with them recently just to discuss what additional resources and tools they offer. We're not subscribed to every bell and whistle they have. We're strongly considering what it would be like to increase the number of tools and more fully use the services that they offer.

How are customer service and technical support?

I deal with both first-tier tech support and our account manager. We filter a lot of our requests and information through him and he's been great.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not have a previous solution.

How was the initial setup?

I was not part of the integration of it into our system. I came onboard about six months after they had done that.

It's fairly easy to use. There was a short time period for onboarding SMART, where GEP gave plenty of instructional training. And they've provided some good responses to questions, as I have continued to learn. But I and my team find it could be fairly quickly adopted.

To fully understand what the product offers took a month's time, but that was because there were a number of different tools and tricks within the software. There were multiple things that we had to learn.

There has been fairly good adoption of the solution in our organization. I'm one of the main, super-users. In a lot of cases, my colleagues have relied upon me to find the information for them because I am in it daily. They feel comfortable using the tool as well, but not to the degree that I do. They've been good users of the tool, but because this is my specific role, they've simply relied upon me for that usage.

There are two other teammates of mine who help in maintaining the tool. They are also procurement managers.

What was our ROI?

We have seen a return on investment, both in the direct materials and indirect material realms. Whenever we get a line-item price variance, we've seen some ROI in terms of being able to capture when pricing has changed and wasn't what was contracted. We've also seen it in terms of the payment-terms analysis. There's a monetary value to that.

It has definitely saved time. Before, we were bringing financial information from three different systems and that was laborious. GEP does it for us now.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The costs are all built-in.

What other advice do I have?

We have found it to be a beneficial program with a lot of different resources that we still have yet to explore. I don't think we've tapped out yet on what it offers.

Through using GEP, we've been able to gain respect. The other departments in our company have come to rely upon us even more. We have become a more trusted department within the company, among our peers, because we can speak to their spend at greater depth.

It is not currently connected with our ERP system, but that's something that we have discussed with GEP as a possibility in the future.

Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
Executive Vice President, Head of Procurement at a media company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
RFPs no longer get stuck in firewalls and can see vendor progress with them real-time
Pros and Cons
  • "One of the most valuable features is the opportunity-identification through the spend analytics. Another is around the RFX options to benchmark various pre-qualified vendors that are invited to participate."
  • "Their contracts module is kind of clunky and It took a while for them to correct some of the basic functionality, some of the "Contract Management 101" functions, but it seems to be coming around. It wasn't working the way we'd expected."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for streamlining the source-to-contract process, from opportunity identification through to negotiation and contracting for preferred vendors.

It's a SaaS model.

How has it helped my organization?

One of the key functions of the sourcing group is to have a detailed understanding of who we spend money with, how much we spend with them, and what we're buying. It's helped us achieve that objective because we have multiple financial systems and it consolidates all of them for us. It identifies opportunities to save money through our procurement processes.

The fact that it's a single, unified software platform for our whole organization has positively affected our procurement operations because we get a single view of each of our vendors. Unlike some of the other source-to-contract suites, all of the modules are integrated. If we want to look up a particular vendor, we'll be able to see everything about their spend, what contracts we have with them, what sourcing events we invited them to, any of their supplier ratings, any savings that we've achieved around them, and all of that in a single view.

In terms of the efficiency of our procurement processes, in the past we were sending out all of these RFPs through email and they would get stuck in firewalls and we wouldn't have any idea of the progress of the vendors until the due date had arrived. Here, we can see in real-time which vendors have acknowledge receipt. We can see that they are 30 percent done or they're 40 percent done. They can put questions on their bulletin boards that we see, and the other vendors see anonymously. We wouldn't be able to manage these processes manually. Sometimes we invite 20 or 30 vendors for a request for information process to down-select to finalists, and it would be almost impossible to manage without the tool. It saves us days of time. We wouldn't be able to initiate some of our procurement processes without this tool.

It uses AI machine-learning to help us categorize what the vendor does for us and the particular goods or services they have. It looks at various data points and it learns if it's this GL account, the description it should have, and which category that spend should be mapped to. As a result, we understand who the vendors are that are providing fulfillment services or creative agency services. We wouldn't be able to do that without the AI and machine-learning capabilities for the spend analytics solution.

What is most valuable?

One of the most valuable features is the opportunity-identification through the spend analytics. Another is around the RFX options to benchmark various pre-qualified vendors that are invited to participate.

It has a user-friendly user interface. You don't have to be an IT expert. It's intuitive in terms of drag-and-drop and maximizing the functionality. Everyone who's used it has found it to be user-friendly and beneficial. That is positive.

What needs improvement?

Their contracts module is kind of clunky and It took a while for them to correct some of the basic functionality, some of the "Contract Management 101" functions, but it seems to be coming around. It wasn't working the way we'd expected.

In terms of additional functionality, most of what we'd like are on the roadmap, like bid optimization functionality. 

Also, some of the modules don't have the same user interface as the others. We'd like to see them all made uniform.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using SMART for about a year-and-a-half.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It has been relatively stable. We had some performance issues in terms of availability this past week, but they were resolved. There were a few days when the performance was spotty for the sourcing module, but they corrected that.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability has been fine.

Particularly on the contracts module, it's underutilized right now, but we plan to expand usage over time.

How are customer service and technical support?

They are responsive. As soon as we send something, they acknowledge it. There have been a few things that have slipped through, but for the most part they're responsive and they eventually take care of the issue.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We had nothing before this. This is a new, center-led procurement organization. We introduced a whole new team, new processes, and a whole new technology suite. Everything was manual before.

I was brought in to lead the new team and I had used similar technology at my previous employer and realized that we needed to implement it here. We were a small team and had to be as efficient as possible.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. They did everything for us since it's software as a service. There were regular project meetings and they helped us with integration testing. It went smoothly. The deployment took three months. There were only three people involved from our team, so it wasn't anything significant from that point of view.

The goal was to get it up as quickly as possible so that we could benefit from the efficiencies.

What about the implementation team?

We did not use a systems integrator.

What was our ROI?

We saw ROI right away, even after the first year. There were cost savings that we validated which were achieved through the tool.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The solution was somewhat comparable to what is on the market. 

There are no other "gotchas." The licensing and maintenance are all in one. There was a project implementation team cost but that was just one time and they didn't overrun.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We engaged about a half-a-dozen vendors, including SAP Ariba, Ivalua, Zycus, and BravoSolution.

We went with GEP because of the single view, their customer service, and the fact that they also have a professional services arm — sourcing and procurement practitioners — that they use in their software development.

What other advice do I have?

It's a huge efficiency tool and it has really accelerated our ability to drive the procurement business case in terms of cost savings.

I would recommend it. We have had some challenges with the contracts module and some performance issues but they recently resolved all those.

We haven't integrated it with our ERP, which is SAP. If we were to implement procure-to-pay, transactional procurement would have to integrate with that.

We don't maintain the GEP solution, we just use it. They're responsible for uptime and ticket resolution. We have biweekly meetings with our customer account manager to review all the enhancements, issues, and improvements. They do all the work for us.

We have about a dozen end-users of the solution.

Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
Manager Strategy, Resource, and Supply Chain at a energy/utilities company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Leaderboard
With automatic purchase orders, our efficiency is greatly enhanced; our buyers can now perform much more strategic work
Pros and Cons
  • "The spend module is really amazing and lightning-fast. It can give even the most novice of analysts access to the information needed and the ability to tweak it the way they want to see it. It has a lot of flexibility."
  • "In terms of ease of use, GEP has done a lot of work through its enhancements over the years to make the user experience more intuitive. There is a more standard-Amazon-like experience, where manuals and tutorials are not really required, simply because the user experience and what's on the screen are pretty intuitive."
  • "There are certain things within the contracts module — how to upload the line items, for example — that could be done to make that utility a little more user-friendly, a little more like the sourcing module."

What is our primary use case?

We use this tool in our supply chain department as our SRM tool. It interfaces to our business operating system, which is managed by SAP. The supplier module interfaces, through middleware called TIBCO, to our vendor master in SAP. The sourcing events primarily stay in GEP. The contracts module can be created and the workflow executed in GEP, and then it can create an SAP contract. Our purchase orders, requisitions, and work orders are all created in SAP and go to the cloud and the vendor through the portal in P2P.

We have the spend module, the supplier module, sourcing, contract, and P2P. It is 100 percent in the cloud.

How has it helped my organization?

There are aspects that are probably difficult to measure but I'd like to point to them first. One of them is simply compliance. We are a publicly regulated utility, and along with that comes special controls and compliance features. We've got the SOX controls that everyone else has. The ability to create contracts and set them up through the workflow, and have them available, both as a contract to select from, and as a catalog to pull a material or service item from in the GEP tool in the cloud, is really a benefit that is unique. Users simply cannot get that in our SAP system. 

Our requisition-to-PO time has improved because we've got stock, numbered items set up on contracts and those can be picked from and attached to the requisition and issued automatically.

In addition, we have suppliers that go through the supplier module, which links with SAP, and the reporting on those suppliers for sourcing and for contracts is enhanced. And we are writing interface code between ISNetworld, our third-party safety provider, and GEP to better manage our service contractors.

The source-to-pay, or S2P, functionality has contributed to the digital transformation of our company. The source-to-pay would be sourcing contracts in P2P. We built interfaces between it and SAP to help our buyers do their work more efficiently. For instance, when a supplier receives a purchase order, they can confirm that purchase order through GEP. The interface then comes back into SAP and automatically fills out the SAP confirmation that the supplier received the purchase order. Any change requests are managed through the buyer. The buyer can edit the purchase order and re-issue the PO back to the supplier. A great deal of time is saved because, the old way, the buyer had to print off a fax and then manually go into the purchase order in change mode and add the confirmation manually. That would take five or ten minutes of the buyer's time, so if there were five or six that they were going to confirm, that could easily take a half hour. Now, all that is done automatically through the interface.

In terms of the efficiency of our procurement processes, back in 2015, our buyers were very tactical. Their scope of work was primarily managing requisitions and creating purchase orders. Now, our buyers are able to perform much more strategic work, and can begin to set up automatic purchase orders and work with contracts with the suppliers. That is something which, previously, had only been performed by commodity managers. So the efficiency of our team today is greatly enhanced through GEP.

The solution integrates with our ERP system. It's been built into the flow and the processes, so it's a pretty natural interface right now.

In terms of the solution saving us time when setting up an RFP, if we're going to do a three-bid buy, a simple RFP, it is done in SAP and issued out to the supplier through the portal. If we're going to do a sourcing event, that would be done in the tool. The commodity managers can create an event using the templates and have GEP as a complete repository of all of their events. They can bring in subject matter experts to evaluate the proposals. It's really a nice tool with great features that have improved the efficiencies and been of benefit to the commodity managers for sourcing. We do not have any metrics that really measure commodity manager efficiencies, but we do have general meetings between the director and the leadership and the commodity managers to evaluate their progress and understand what strategic things they're working on. Through that, the leadership can see whether we are where we think we should be in terms of managing the projects that we have.

What is most valuable?

I don't really tend to rank the features, but the portal from the supplier experience is dramatically updated and brought into this century from the old fax transmission and even Write Fax.

The spend module is really amazing and lightning-fast. It can give even the most novice of analysts access to the information needed and the ability to tweak it the way they want to see it. It has a lot of flexibility.

And the dashboards can collect all of that information and be repeatably produced almost instantaneously and can be set up in the background.

The supplier module really unlocks the sourcing and the contract modules. 

We really like the contract module because it gives us an established workflow. For those people that love to have established processes, it's great. For people who want to be renegades and do what they want and "speed down the interstate" and make the rules up as they go; those people aren't going to tend to like an established process that they are confined to. But with the workflow that we developed, there's still a lot of flexibility, and the contract owner still has the ability to manage the contract through the workflow pretty effectively. I think we've got a nice, established process with an established workflow, but still have the flexibility so something doesn't get stuck for a week just because one person is not available.

In terms of ease of use, GEP has done a lot of work through its enhancements over the years to make the user experience more intuitive. There is a more standard-Amazon-like experience, where manuals and tutorials are not really required because the user experience and what's on the screen are pretty intuitive. Even basic users can utilize the tool because it's pretty easy and straightforward. They've incorporated those concepts throughout all their modules.

What needs improvement?

I do not know how they could get better in spend. That's a pretty great module.

We could probably take advantage of some of their available wizards and develop some intake efficiencies for the process so that it's not quite as much just data entry and creating certain profiles. We have not gone into the 2.0 version. The whole dynamic and interface between the modules may be improved or it may be the same thing that just looks a little bit different.

There are certain things within the contracts module — how to upload the line items, for example — that could be done to make that utility a little more user-friendly, a little more like the sourcing module. I'm interested to see how that might work.

For how long have I used the solution?

We went live in 2015.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In today's market, the stability into the future can change with a phone call in the next hour. However, the growth that the business side of GEP has achieved over the course of the last five years, and their client-centric view of their business and business model, are things that give me confidence that they will be stable for the future, and for years to come.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It has scalability from a tiny micro-business all the way up to a multinational, multicultural mega-company. I know with their clients that they are able to cover some of the largest companies in the world, as far as scalability goes. I don't know if they would market down to the tiny businesses, ones with less than ten people, but from what I've seen, they definitely could.

In our company there are roughly 500 to 600 users who have a login to the tool. The vast majority of them are subject matter experts who are going to review a contract. There are also contract approvers, and then there are people from legal, people from risk, and some people from accounting. Within supply chain there are users in the leadership, as well as administrators, buyers, and commodity managers. Maintenance is relatively small. We don't have very much IT impact anymore; that only happens on enhancements. So maintenance is one or two people and they're from IT.

We are looking to add more contracts and catalogs, and we are looking to potentially utilize the tool as a corporate-wide repository for all of our contracts.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is pretty good. It got better once we got a steady-state customer service representative.

The customer service through the implementation was phenomenal. But once we went live, we weren't sure who we should call. We weren't going to call the main contact for the module anymore. We started to go through the general service desk and sometimes the answer didn't come back like we expected it to come back. We just didn't understand. And we didn't know who to go to. Back in 2017, they recognized the gap and developed within their organization a steady-state customer service department. That has really helped steady that aspect of their customer service.

The customer service rep is typically located in your time zone. That person has become a great resource for us. We have a weekly meeting set up just to talk about and look at the calls that have come in during the last week, and any open action items that we're working on.

In addition, every year GEP conducts a product advisory-council session. Their top clients all come in and meet. That is something that could be fairly controversial for some providers. But GEP welcomes that input and fosters that environment and relationship with its main clients because they want to hear what the thoughts are that are out there, and they want to get better. They want their product to be better because of that cooperative type of environment. They bring us all together in a big room and we talk about their stuff.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not really have a previous solution. For spend, we used Excel and pulled tables from SAP. But we had nothing close to the tool that we've got now. The supplier module was managed inside SAP with an Excel profile template. For the sourcing module, we did have Iasta but we discontinued that relationship; GEP replaced it. We had a home-grown contracts repository and workflow, but that was pretty ineffective, much less effective than GEP.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very complex. We did not have a large team on the implementation so it felt like it progressed slowly. Overall, the deployment took about a year-and-a-half.

Our implementation strategy initially started as a "big bang," but we quickly realized that that wasn't going to be doable, given the amount of work and training and the conversions of the processes needed. We had two project managers on the implementation who quit and moved on before I ever really became involved in the implementation. So the project was on its third project manager, and I went through the third, fourth, and fifth project managers before we got it implemented.

I have made a very flat declaration that I would not advise that type of process to anyone who tries to implement an across-the-board system like this. They need to have a dedicated team. Those resources need to be made available to the team for subject matter experts, and then training and culture change. Whether it's the ADKAR model or something else, experts in that, in their organization, need to be brought along with the implementation team.

What about the implementation team?

We did not have a third-party come in. We had our own IT and our own project manager, and the supply chain group working on the modules themselves.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We had a budget item that got nixed from our budget in 2010 and 2011 and then it finally passed in 2013. We started a sourcing event. I was not part of the sourcing event but we looked at some ten to 15 service providers and roughly half of those are no longer in business anymore. The sourcing event on our side had criteria that evaluated the marketplace which had to do with cost, quality, scalability, flexibility, ease of doing business, and growth with us. It came down to SAP Ariba and GEP and we decided on GEP.

What other advice do I have?

It's very important to have people who understand the depth of the technical aspects of their processes and how their systems work. Also, there needs to be a keen understanding and awareness of what the regulatory requirements are of their processes, what their key controls are. If those members are not on that team, there can be some real problems within a year if there are regulatory requirements that are not addressed in the day-to-day operation of those systems.

As for the adoption of the platform in our company, initially, we were pretty hesitant and resistant to change. But when people started to use it they really started to like the tool. It has taken a while, and the contracts module is probably the very last one to really get adopted. We've been pretty attached to it for the last two years and it is generating momentum to become the corporate-wide contracts repository for all of our corporate contracts, not just those created to work in supply chain. So that is a tremendous win, culturally, for adoption with the tool.

The experience is probably different for every single user, but I like how fast the tool is. The response time is great. It is so fast through the cloud. They've really been able to maximize that. The spend module is just fascinating with how fast it is.

Inside the procurement functionality of supply chain, we put our purchase orders to our suppliers through the portal, through GEP. We can write contracts and approve and execute those contracts through the GEP system. But SAP is where we would create the purchase order and release it in SAP. So we do not create purchase orders or do goods receipts or service entries in GEP. We do that in SAP. 

The fact that the GEP solution is a single, unified software platform for our company has had a positive effect, but it is not our single solution because we interface with SAP. An example of how it has affected our company is that our spend analytics are all in one place. My director sent me a message at something like 6:30 in the evening, when he was at a dinner, and asked me our spend with a certain supplier. I was able to get onto GEP and send him a snapshot of the spend in a matter of moments. The difference between GEP and our previous models is that, back then, he might have asked three different people and gotten three different answers. With GEP, it's going to be the single answer that is correct, because it's consistently pulling from the tables.

The solution's AI and machine-learning features have not affected our procurement processes at this point. We're looking at that from an accounts-payable standpoint, managing and processing invoices, but not on the procurement side.

Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
Contracts Administrator, Supply Management at a energy/utilities company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Leaderboard
Spend module gives us up-to-date information for reports, but the solution needs to be more flexible
Pros and Cons
  • "On the spend side, it's integrated with our accounting system and has bimonthly uploads of data. So we have pretty current spend information that we can access and build reports on."
  • "We had a lot of challenges and disagreements with SMART. It's been a long road, for sure, on the contract side. There is a little bit of pushback on their part when we need stuff done. Things aren't done very efficiently. I'm still waiting on some changes that were requested well over a year-and-a-half ago."

What is our primary use case?

We use it in our supply management group for contract management and spend analytics.

On our contract side, we're in v2.0. And on our spend side we're also in v2.0.

How has it helped my organization?

We brought in a third-party company, Adobe, to do our e-signature. There's an integration there which was very beneficial for us and what we do. And it enables our vendors to not have to log in to the system to sign an agreement. They get a direct email from Adobe, sent from SMART. They can just click on the link and sign it and then it comes back to SMART. That was a huge thing for us. 

The basics of what we use it for and what the product offers work really well for us in terms of contract creation, from beginning to end. Overall, it does what we need it to do. 

What is most valuable?

Since we only have the two modules, we actually find them both very valuable. It gives us everything that we need for building a contract from scratch and using electronic signatures.

On the spend side, it's integrated with our accounting system and has bimonthly uploads of data. So we have pretty current spend information that we can access and build reports on. On that side it's very easy to use, very straightforward. We don't have a lot of issues in spend.

What needs improvement?

On the contract side, we have definitely come across a lot of pain points since I've been here. There were some issues with our initial implementation. It wasn't done correctly and it's been a process over a few years to recover from that. There were a lot of lessons learned on their side and our side, and there are still things that we're trying to work through that, maybe, weren't understood properly in the beginning. We're still continuing to try to build it for what we use it for, which is different than what some of their bigger clients may use it for. We've had to do a lot of cleanup and make a lot of changes.

We had a lot of challenges and disagreements with SMART. It's been a long road, for sure, on the contract side. There is a little bit of pushback on their part when we need stuff done. Things aren't done very efficiently. I'm still waiting on some changes that were requested well over a year-and-a-half ago. These certain items have been bumped up to the president of the company.

In addition, there is a lot of information that we have to put in that is not useful for us, but we have no control over that because it's hard-coded into the program. There's a lot of stuff there that we just don't need or use. It would be better if we were able to turn off all the things that we don't need. The way it is right now makes things seem unclean and not tidy because there's all this information we have to put in that we don't even use. Being able to turn off tabs and fields that other SMART clients use but we don't would be nice, just to simplify it and not have to see them or fill them in.

For how long have I used the solution?

The company has had this solution for about four-and-a-half years. I came in when it had already been in use for a year-and-a-half to two years. In the past, I still was doing manual agreements and printing paper and having people wet-sign documents. So for me, this is a way better solution than how we did things in the past.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's hard to say what the solution's stability is like. I feel like it would be nice to start from scratch, because we still have some nagging issues with our categories and certain other things. However, we've made the best of it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

For what we use it for, the basics work great for us. We haven't used the other module. I've never personally used another contract management system, so I have nothing to compare it to.

How are customer service and technical support?

Overall, SMART's technical support is slow. There has been a lot of miscommunication. There's a time barrier with a lot of the technical support people being in India, as well as a language barrier in understanding.

How was the initial setup?

I wasn't involved in the initial setup but it was kind of an ongoing thing, even when I started. There was never an implementation person from SMART who came here to help with implementation. I think that was an issue. Nobody came here, to our Canadian office, or to our US location. So our US officed opted not to use it because the functionality was a bit of a mess.

One of our employees who is no longer here deployed the SMART solution and one of our team leads was involved as well.

Our implementation strategy for the solution, initially, was to get every single vendor we deal with into the system. And if we didn't have the proper information, they put in "dummy information" such as a made-up email address. This caused a lot of issues for us because when you create a profile, the first contact that you put in becomes your primary contact and also holds the username for logging in. Because there was a dummy user email, none of our vendors could log in. There were a lot of phone calls and it caused a lot of issues. On top of that, we did not need all of our vendors in the system, so I'm not sure why that was decided. We really only needed vendor profiles in there for vendors who had a live contract or agreement with us.

We ended up dumping over 4,000 vendors into the system, and it was a nightmare. When I came on board, I spent a lot of time cleaning that up and had GEP delete thousands of profiles. We don't have the ability to delete a profile. They will not give us that ability. So I had to run reports and send them to SMART and have them do mass deletion. But it didn't come easy because they were very resistant to that for the longest time, until we said this is not an option anymore. We want them gone. There was no need to have all those vendor profiles in the system when we didn't even have contracts or agreements with them.

What was our ROI?

I think we have seen return on investment by going with SMART.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We pay an annual fee but I'm not sure how much it is.

What other advice do I have?

The biggest lesson we've learned from using the solution is around the thinking through of the implementation, having support for that, and doing better planning for it. Most companies have an implementation team and that's definitely the way to do it. If you have to initially, with any program, start manipulating the system by using dummy information, that's probably a red flag.

One of the enhancements that just came out is an idea that came from our group several years ago for a contract and spend integration — bringing in contracts and spend together for reporting. They have always been reported separately. We could report in contract or in spend, but not contract and spend together. They liked this idea, and it's taken them a couple of years to roll it out, but they wanted to roll it out for all their clients. They reprogrammed that into the system and that actually just finally came into production about a week ago, so we haven't had a chance to really use it at this point. But hopefully, we will be able to use it for what we need.

Only supply management is actively using the system here in our Canadian office. We have about 15 to 20 users, mostly on the spend side, and a handful using the contracts side of things. And about three people using it in our US office. Deployment and maintenance of the solution pretty much all falls on me. I'm the admin of our GEP system. Our IT does have admin access as well, but we don't use them, for the most part, for adding or deleting users. It all comes through me.

I don't know how many vendors we have in the system but I would estimate it at 1,000. However, once they do their profile and registration, I would say they don't use it.

Overall, I would give the solution a seven out of ten. It does need some work and there needs to be more flexibility. The big reason we used it was the fact that we could customize a lot of things to fit our needs. However, the system still seems very rigid in how it works, so we've had to do a lot of workarounds. There's definitely room for improvement.

Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.