1. As we now enter into our fifth year of business, we'd like to share with you some of the more unusual goods and services that we've seen tendered via our software!
     
    For example, foodstuff seems to be a recurring category of choice.  We've witnessed eAuctions on anything from gourmet cheese, whipped deserts, biscuits, cooked chicken, banana purée and even pet food!  
    eSourcing prevents you making a dog's dinner of your negotiation
    It certainly makes the weekly shop more interesting, as we know the back-story of how that supplier's products came to be on the shelves.
     
    We've encountered eAuctions on goods that we will never fathom, such as 'Gas Spuds' or our personal favourite 'Pig Launcher/Receiver'. 
    The infamous pig launcher
    We truly hoped it might be something to do with Angry birds or perhaps even a fantastic device for aerially transporting swine from A to B in a highly efficient manner.  Sadly we have since been told it is something to do with cleaning industrial pipelines.

    Speaking of industrial, we've witnessed a number of eAuctions for items that seem like your everyday, run-of-the-mill product but quite simply aren't!   Dishwashers that can clean up to 3000 dishes per hour.  Ice machines that produce up to 24,500 ice cubes per day!  These are quite serious pieces of kit.

    Then we move onto quite literally life-saving products that have been reverse auctioned.  Vaccines, medicines, drugs, medical sutures.  The old adage seems to apply: if you have a liquid supply market and you can define precisely what you need, you can auction it.
    Sometimes reverse auctions can be a tough pill to swallow
    Something we hear quite a bit on our travels is that only commodities or products can be eAuctioned.  Well, looking through some of our past successful events, it would appear that not everyone holds this view.  We've had auctions on pre-employment checks, canteen services, voice outsourcing services, print management and design agency services amongst many others. Our Lot Matrix can give you the detail required for those complex tenders with many pricing aspects.

    Training and consulting seem popular choices as well, from contract management training to general management consulting.  It goes to show that not everything needs a like-with-like spec as you can instead opt for a weighted auction to normalise the proposals. 

    Anyhow, back to bizarre stuff.  There have been quite a few auctions on dangerous chemicals including quite a worrying amount of Sodium Hydroxide.   Add to that the Aluminium Chlorohydrate and Potassium Permanganate and it sounds like we have something from Breaking Bad!
    Hope you ran a reverse auction for that stuff
    Before we go too off-piste, let's end with a couple of interesting automotive items we've seen eAuctioned, such as machined parts for Maserati, BMW brake pedals, golf carts, fork-lift trucks and some shiny new transit vans.

    Lastly, we've seen a fair few construction and extension tenders, including the house extension and loft conversion for Market Dojo's very own Nick Drewe.

    As for what is next going to be tendered via Market Dojo, I think you can see for yourselves that it is anyone's guess!


    About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com
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  2. When we started working on Market Dojo, we decided early on that we would use the SaaS model. This was an obvious choice for us, and has helped us and our customers throughout our history. Because we often get asked about this, I wanted to share the reasons for our decision in a bit more detail.
    Google Trends - comparing interest in SaaS, Enterprise Software and On-Premises search terms.

    History

    Over the last 15 years, enterprise software has undergone a radical shift. In the 1990's, customers would usually install software on their own servers. Today it is now usually hosted by the application provider, and delivered over the Internet. For a more detailed definition of the two terms - see Wikipedia articles on On-premises Software, and SaaS.

    So what are the benefits of SaaS?

    Running Costs

    Running and support costs are lower, in all except the largest on-premises implementations. This is because all clients share the cost of servers and operations staff. On-premises software would duplicate these costs for each installation.

    Time / cost to implement

    Implementation for SaaS software is almost always much faster than for on-premises.
    Staff must install an on-premises solution at the customers data centre and integrate it with an existing IT infrastructure.

    In the case of Market Dojo a new customer can enroll themselves and setting up licences can be done in a few minutes.  Here’s an earlier blog post of our’s that shows how you can set up your organisation and be fully operational in 21 minutes.

    Support cost and time to resolve issues

    Support is simpler, as access to log files and identical system environment is available to the support team. This leads to a cost reduction and also to faster resolution of issues.

    Contract length / agility

    Because of the reduction in time and cost to install, SaaS vendors can be offer shorter contracts. It also means that they can add or remove users faster. Market Dojo can be purchased on a month by month basis with no minimum contract length.

    New versions

    New versions are immediately available to all users, without the need to be installed on customer systems.

    Maintenance

    On-premises solutions tend to be bespoke to each customer. This increases the maintenance costs and ability to roll out new features.  A SaaS application usually has only one version, which means these issues do not arise.

    Software costs

    Due to all the efficiencies that come from true multi-tenanted SaaS applications software companies can supply their SaaS solutions at a much lower cost than on-premises applications.


    So why isn’t everything SaaS?

    Great question!

    There are some good reasons why not everything is SaaS. SaaS (as it exists today) is a newer concept, so some older software solutions are on-premises for historical reasons.

    There are applications which are not so well-suited to a SaaS. Video editing software involves processing huge volumes of data, and is often done more efficiently on a powerful workstation, rather than across a network. This may change as technology improves.

    For some classes of applications (e.g. Bank Networks) the risks may outweigh the benefits.

    Here are some points that a buyer should consider when evaluating a SaaS product.

    Data Security

    Data security is a key issue with SaaS software. It has made the headlines due to events such as revelations about the US Government PRISM programme. These are valid concerns. SaaS companies are taking steps to secure their products from these risks, but a wise buyer would consider this point.

    System availability

    SaaS solutions usually have less downtime than those hosted on-premises, but relying on external vendors is a risk which should be considered.

    Dependence on high-speed internet

    SaaS applications depend on an internet connection to function. Several factors will affect actual network requirements. These include number of users, type of application, level of interaction.


    Conclusion

    We believe that most enterprise software is moving to the SaaS model because the benefits of this approach outweigh the disadvantages.

    The preferred architecture for computing has swung like a pendulum between a centralised and distributed approach. In the 1970's a mainframe computer with many dumb terminals was state of the art. In the 1990's a distributed, client-server model ruled the roost. Long term, we cannot be sure if the pendulum has settled or will swing again. Will current innovations such as MS Office 365, Amazon AWS and Google Chromebook continue? Will the end of Moores law and the Internet of Things give rise to new and better tools and usher in a return to a more distributed model?

    Unfortunately, we don’t have a crystal ball*. However, we do believe that, in the short and medium term, at least, SaaS will be the preferred choice for most applications.


    *For more information about the Moores Law and accelerating technology, these links are a great place to start:
    https://www.ted.com/talks/ray_kurzweil_on_how_technology_will_transform_us
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9wFXHYJgdo



    About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com
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  3. The last 4 weeks have been exceptionally busy for us all at Market Dojo as we firmly enter into the conference season! 

    eWorld September 2014
    Firstly we exhibited at the eWorld event on the 24th September, where one of our clients, Milla from Creative Education (seen above), held a talk on how to encourage innovative solutions with suppliers using social media to create best value for both parties.  The talk was very well received, as echoed by Supply Management in their article here. 

    The rest of the event flew by in a blur as usual.  There were plenty of familiar faces plus a few new ones as well.  We heard mixed reviews on the quality of the talks, with the usual feedback that some sponsors just can't help but use the center stage as a chance to sell their solutions instead of engaging their audience with novel ideas and approaches.

    As always we ran the prize draw for our customary one month eSourcing licence, which was won by Mark Revell at East Thames Group:
    CIPS Annual Conference

    Just a week later we found ourselves once again manning the stand, this time in the recently opened 155 Bishopsgate venue on Liverpool St.   

    And what an excellent venue it was, spaciously spread out over one level with the conference rooms feeding directly off the main exhibition and catering space.  The food was tremendous, especially the ham and cheese toastie with a fried egg on top served in canapé proportions!

    Both delegates and sponsors have to pay to attend this conference, and you could tell judging by the quality of the entire event, from the venue to the food to the speakers.  Many delegates had travelled far and wide, particularly from regions with a growing CIPS presence such as Africa and the Middle East.  

    There was even a 'celebrity' talk to round the event off, given by Jay Rayner, a regular judge on Masterchef.  His presentation focused on debunking the myths in food supply chain and was an excellent light-hearted way to end the day.  

    The winner of our free prize draw this time was none other than Kemi Ore from Trinity-Led Ventures.  Congrats Kemi!


    Procurement Summit 2014

    To round off our exhibiting this side of 2015, you'll be able to find us in Manchester at the Procurement Summit event on the 11th November.  Please do visit our stand to learn what new features we've been working on and of course to drop your name in the hat for our unique prize draw worth £500!


    About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com
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  4. We would like to thank Sourcing Innovation for two great blog posts on Market Dojo. The Sourcing Innovation blog was started in June of 2006, is authored and edited by Michael Lamoureux, aka the doctor, a Computer Science PhD who has been heavily involved in the Sourcing and Supply 


    A Dojo Where You Can Walk Your Own Way


    marketdojo is a company that many of you haven’t heard of and a company that I’m sure many of you who have heard of them dismissed because of the Western notion of what a dojo is. In western thought, a dojo is believed to be a training school for Japanese martial arts where students to to learn from a sensei. So when you hear marketdojo, the first thing you probably think of is a training school for (e-)commerce best practices and a services company — not a do-it-your-self SaaS e-Sourcing platform.

    But that is what marketdojo is — a state-of-the-art do-it-yourself e-Negotiation suite that supports complex RFX and e-Auction events as well as integration with their categorydojo product that helps a user determine appropriate sourcing strategies for each category and prioritize those categories based on the expected size of the opportunity.

    Read more here


    A Dojo Where You Can Plan your Own Path


    In our last post, we introduced you to marketdojo, a state-of-the-art do-it-yourself e-Negotiation suite that supports complex RFX and e-Auction events as well as integration with their categorydojo product that helps a user determine appropriate sourcing strategies for each category and prioritize those categories based on the expected size of the opportunity.

    In yesterday’s post, we described their basic marketdojo product which consists of an RFX and e-Auction offering (which supports multiple RFX types and Auctions). Today we are going to discuss their categorydojo product, which is one of the two real differentiators between them and the other players targeting the low-end of the e-Sourcing market (in an effort to bring smaller companies out of the Purchasing Dark Ages where some still remain).

    Read more here.

    About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com
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  5. Two years of development has resulted in our most ambitious release yet. The Lot Matrix allows you to build very complex sourcing events, very easily. Here are some videos, please have a look and let us know what you think?
    Introducing the Lot Matrix - General overview
    Creating advanced lots - How to create a complex sourcing event
    Managing an event with advanced lots - What does a live event look like
    Bidding in an advanced lot - How does a participant bid
    Lot Matrix Demo - See the whole process to music
    Our Lot Matrix allows you to build complex lots with different line items, components and include totals with bespoke calculations. You essentially start with a cell and grow a full matrix around this to cope with almost any scenario. You can create different unit of measure sets, chose which cells are ranked and we will be releasing mutli currency very soon and transformation bidding close after. As always we make things simple from the participant bidding side with excel upload and the host has the ability to see all the detail in real time during an auction. You can read more here.

    About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com
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  6. (Editor's note:  this article was first published by Supply Management and is a review of a seminar given at eWorld Purchasing & Supply by a client of ours, Milla Harloff-Bernyk from Creative Education.)
     
    By understanding suppliers' needs, teacher training provider Creative Education has been able to reduce procurement spend without compromising on quality.
     
    When faced with squeezed budgets as a result of the economic crisis, the firm’s procurement manager Milla Harloff-Bernyk said she used innovation to make sure the company could still offer the same service.
     
    She said she was determined not to drop quality – for example using budget hotels as venues instead of Marriot Hotels – because she knew how much the customers valued the experience.
     
    Harloff-Bernyk told delegates at the eWorld Purchasing & Supply conference in London yesterday she made use of an e-sourcing platform from Market Dojo to free up her team’s time for “human interaction and communication”.
     
    “I believe the data is good, software is brilliant but without adoption it’s not going to happen,” she said. “So that’s why we have used something that suppliers will find very user-friendly and easy to interact with." 
     
    Please read the full article in Supply Management here.


     
    About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com
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  7. Last weekend we were hugely proud to have made one of our biggest software releases since our incorporation four years ago.  The project has taken our dedicated team over 12 months to complete, pulling out the stops to make it happen in time for eWorld on Wednesday (24th September 14).

    May we please introduce you to the crux of our Lot Matrix upgrade:  

    Advanced Lots

    Advanced Lots helps you run complex tenders easily.  

    Should you find yourself asking your suppliers for cost breakdowns, Total Cost of Ownership, Bill of Materials, Quotation Analysis Forms etc., you can build the entire bid sheet online to centralise all the responses into your desired format.  No more shall you have to receive from your suppliers botched Excel bids with partially completed information.  Instead Advanced Lots will ensure the quotes you receive are fully completed and qualify against the budget costs you can choose to enter.

    Intiuitive Design

    We've invested a lot of effort into making the design as user-friendly as possible, with a great deal more to come.   Online you can construct bid templates that consist of many line items, multiple price and text components and even bespoke total or sub-total calculations.  There's a checklist for each Lot to ensure you're on the right track.
    We've also added the option of increasing the number of decimal places for price fields to 6 for those very low value bids. 

    Unit of Measure sets

    Advanced Lots introduces the concept of 'Unit of Measure Sets', which allow you to group your own Unit of Measures (for example:  gram, kilogram, tonne) and specify their relative conversion ratios so suppliers can to bid in their preferred Units.  The software will then convert those bids into your preferred unit of measure so you can compare all bids evenly.  This is particularly useful where you have suppliers that export bids from their own systems and are unwilling to alter them (the energy sector for example).
    Coming soon we shall also be adding in the same principle for multiple exchange rates to allow your suppliers to bid in their own preferred currency.

    Excel integration

    We have enhanced our Lot upload via Excel to also handle the upload of Advanced Lots.  You simply add the components (essentially column headers) that you want, download the Excel template and populate it offline.  When ready, save the template and upload it to complete your Lots.  

    We have used the same easy Excel download/upload feature for bidding as well, so it's no trouble to have many hundreds of line items.

    All results gathered online can be exported at the end of the event into Excel for your own records and analysis.

    Compare price breakdowns in real-time

    We previously released our revamped user interface for comparing supplier bids side-by-side, in anticipation of Advanced Lots.  Now it really comes into its own as you can expand the line items within each Lot to see the leading bidder(s) across the items, as well as expand the supplier to see the multiple price or text components that they have offered you. 
    Advanced Lots will give you an understanding of the relative strengths and weaknesses of each proposal to help you reach your decisions faster.   You can choose which individual price elements you wish to rank suppliers on and whether you want the rank to be made visible to them during an eAuction.  Therefore you can decide what level of feedback you wish to provide.

    Create multiple Event Total scenarios

    We appreciate that sometimes making the award decision can be challenging, especially when you have multiple Lots and multiple suppliers.  Add into this the situation of multiple line items and price components and it can become very opaque.

    And so we've created the concept of the 'Event Total' where you can build your own formulaic scenarios based on combinations across the Lots and even the line items and price components within.
    These are made visible to suppliers, although you choose whether you wish to rank and share the rank with them.   Therefore Event Totals act as an extra guidance to the suppliers on the value of their overall proposition, especially if your scenario includes a year-on-year cost down or perhaps amortisation of tooling costs. 

    Run the eAuction at Lot level

    Simplicity is sometimes still the best option.  And so we've built a pioneering approach in the tool that lets you gather the detailed bids from suppliers during an RFQ / Qual Bid process but run the eAuction at a Lot level instead.  Suppliers will give you a single bid for all items in the Lot and will be given their position / lead bid / next bid round accordingly, depending on the eAuction type.

    Once the eAuction is over the items are once again unlocked for suppliers to re-complete their detailed breakdowns.  The software will automatically check that the value of their detailed bid matches their final eAuction offer, saving you the head-ache of trying to match up offline Excel files.

    Fully compatible with our existing capabilities

    Advanced Lots is simply a new approach to requesting additional detail for supplier proposals.  It can be used with all of our previous Event Settings, such as weighted tenders/eAuctions, Japanese eAuctions and sealed bids.   And for those of you who wish to continue using Simple Lots and offline Excel bids, you're more than welcome to ignore all of the above and continue to do so!

    We hope you enjoy the new release and if you're planning to attend eWorld, please do stop by our stand and ask us for a tour of the new features.


    About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com
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  8. Last night we released a fantastic new feature for Category Dojo that will be of great help to our users with many spend categories.

    Filtering categories

    You can now graphically view your category hierarchy to easily see what you've created so far.  The top of each branch shows a count of categories that have been completed within it, so you can quickly establish where the most analysis has been done.
    Futhermore, you can click on various branches of the tree, or even specific categories, to select or deselect them for your filter. Your selected categories will be highlighted in yellow.
    Save the filter and from that point on the reports will only include your selected categories.
    The filter is applied per user and so you can forever have your own unique display of results without affecting your colleagues, and vice versa.  Therefore you can use the tool to interrogate what matters most to you, whilst also seeing the bigger picture.

    Continuous improvement

    As well as the release of this entire feature, we also released some minor fixes and enhancements to improve our general user experience.

    We hope you all enjoy the latest release and we are hugely looking forward to the next one - our Lot Matrix!


    About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com
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  9. Many senior professionals in the public sector feel that mini-competitions in Frameworks are not used enough, resulting in “less than competitive” pricing compared to wider external markets.
    Like many other providers, Market Dojo has tried to address this market gap with careful developments. To date we have had considerable success with Bedford Borough Council, Kent County Council and Shropshire Council.
    There is an opportunity for the new breed of eSourcing providers to evolve their functionality in order to broaden their appeal beyond the Private Sector. Essentially to apply their methodology and provide low-cost, EU-compliant and fully auditable tools that can assist Public Sector organisations across all member states of the European Union. One particular problem area to address is where Frameworks have underperformed (amongst other things).
    The majority of orders raised within the frameworks are from ‘call offs’ for which there is obviously scope for increasing their competitiveness by using mini-competitions. Mini-competitions, and hence weighted auctions, are currently not readily used due to the complexity of current systems, so this represents a massive opportunity.
    Please read more here on procurement Insights

    About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com
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  10. Over the weekend we achieved our latest milestone of completing our 4th successful year of Market Dojo.  
    Starting from nothing 4 years ago and investing a lot of our time and energy, we are very proud to reflect upon what we've created.  When working at the coalface continuously, it is rare that we have the chance to look back at past achievements, yet it is important that we do so.

    Sure, the original business plan went out the window pretty quickly, but we've adapted our model into new arenas and picked up recognition where we never expected, such as the 3 government-backed grants that we've been awarded for innovation.

    Today as we look across our 50+ clients, many of which are high street names plus some who are no bigger than ourselves, we feel we are building a good sustainable brand in this industry.  Reputation is everything so we make sure we provide first class service and support for our clients as that will be the real differentiator in times to come.  Sometimes it doesn't work out but we're never ungrateful and will always strive for the next opportunity.

    One of the things that has surprised us most over the years is just how far our product portfolio has come.  We initially started Market Dojo to be a straightforward tool for running professional eAuctions affordably.  For nostalgia's sake, here are some screenshots of our first release

    We're still true to this today but what we didn't expect is to have the family of 'Dojos' around us such as:
    Public Dojo - our 2012 enhancement to the tool to make it suitable for weighted tenders and eAuctions, such as sub-OJEU tenders and mini-competitions.  This was really Market Dojo version 2.0, which we called Samurai.

    Innovation Dojo - in 2013 we released a new tool to help organisations collaborate with their supply chain to solicit new ideas for mutual gain, as we wanted to prove we were not just about reducing margins.

    Category Dojo - towards the end of 2013 we released another new tool, this time one to help organisations better understand the opportunities in their spend to formulate their category strategies. You can even find this on the iPad app store!

    Lot Matrix - this is one of our biggest developments to date, which we kicked off in 2013 for a planned release in early autumn 2014.  There will be more fanfare on this over the next few months, but it is likely to be the biggest enhancement to our solution, judging by the feedback from those who have seen it in action already.

    Our continuous investment of resources into our R&D has certainly helped our product evolve faster than most in this marketplace.  It does come at a cost and that would be at the expense of our time.  Being a self-funded company, there are only so many hours in the day and money that we can spend so perhaps that has held back our rate of growth, although not our potential.  Doubling our revenue year-on-year is still a fantastic achievement.

    Furthermore, we've built ourselves a great foundation with renewal rates on annual licences over 95%.  A number of our clients have been with us since our first release, including our first ever client Hamworthy Combustion (now part of John Zinc), which is a pleasure to see.  They, along with many others, have contributed so significantly to our business that they shall always have our gratitude. 

    We look forward to a fantastic 5th year in the making and thank everyone that has helped us come this far.


    About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com
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