Whether Emptoris' new Overdrive solution ends up being the fourth gear of a Ford Pinto or the incredibly clever new top "manu-matic" in Audi's new clutchless DSG (Direct Shift Gear) transmission -- OK, now you know I'm a car geek as well -- remains to be seen. According to their announcement last week, Overdrive "is designed to accelerate business impact and drive self-sufficiency for customers." The program is intended to help "companies create and run an effective program management office to support the roll out of Emptoris' sourcing capabilities enterprise-wide and push adoption to the next level. The offering combines new tools and services including a benchmarking assessment, adoption workshops, advanced analytical reporting and access to a broad user community for the exchange of knowledge."
It sounds to me like Overdrive is a combination of Hackett-"lite" benchmarking, SAP/i2 value engineering, Big-5-esqe program management and SIG-like networking and support. Whether Overdrive succeeds or not, we can all agree that it is a smart marketing ploy. Other vendors have had acceleration and adoption programs before, but the difference this time around -- at least in theory -- is that Emptoris is going beyond just the program management aspect of older approaches and explicitly tying together active benchmarking, prescriptive consulting and community in a single offering.