Group Purchasing Organizations remind me of the misunderstood teenager, awkward in his own skin, who actually has genius potential underneath. Indeed, few folks in the Spend Management world really know too much about them, and are sufficiently put off by the metaphorical acne and body odor to investigate further when the concept comes up. That's too bad, because GPOs have the potential to produce significant purchasing savings for organizations, and are a strong alternative to outsourcing indirect (and even some direct) categories completely to a BPO provider like an Ariba, IBM or Accenture. And now GPOs are actually using some of the more advanced Spend Management applications in the market to capture and implement sourcing results. I hope to get an update about these misunderstood pariahs of the Spend Management world when I stop by Corporate United's shindig in Chicago in a few weeks. Perhaps 2006 will be the year that GPOs begin to garner the respect they deserve.