As you can problem gather from reading this blog, I spend too much time in the Spend Management world. The irony is that my day job, which focuses on strategy and marketing, is the only really real break from it I get. Last night, my wife and I had the opportunity to catch up with an old friend who leads part of a sourcing practice for a large consultancy. Instead of talking politics or family matters, you can probably guess the conversation would quickly go down the path of sourcing and procurement. Which it did, of course.
I won't get into all of the details, but one of the side conversations which caused my ears to perk up revolved around Frictionless Commerce, a Spend Management suite vendor that many experts I know had largely dismissed as somewhat irrelevant (outside of financial services) in the past year. This is unfortunate -- and untrue. According to my friend, who has used Frictionless and a number of other vendors, Frictionless compares extremely well to "Ariba and others," in his words. He told me that the flexibility and experience of using Frictionless is top notch (and this is someone whose opinion I value far more than passive industry observers). Combine this feedback with Frictionless' announcement that they have received a "Powered by NetWeaver" SAP certification, and it sounds like good things are in store for this Spend Management provider in 2006. But their claim announcing that they're the first SRM vendor to receive "such a designation" is a bit misleading. Ariba has a stealthy but formal relationship with SAP and NetWeaver as well which you can read more about here (scroll down for post) and here.