How is AMR's Research Agenda Shaping Up?

Earlier in the month, I had the chance to catch up with AMR's Mickey North Rizza about the future of her firm's research direction in the Spend Management world. And the news, for all those in the Spend Matters audience who might be curious, is good indeed. AMR has an ambitious agenda and program for the remainder of 2007 and into 2008, but most important, since talk is cheap, I know that it's supported by a very strong team -- not to mention great client relationships -- to help bring it into reality. From a quantitative perspective, AMR's market sizing and forecasting report for sourcing and procurement (subscription required) came out in late June. In addition, AMR also published a couple other thought provoking pieces on the future of procurement technology, organizational structure and solutions around the same time.

One of these other reports that Mickey co-authored is a fascinating piece of research titled Advanced Sourcing and Procurement: The Demand-Driven Transformation to Strategic Supply Management. In it, AMR segments organizations based on a number of areas including organization and leadership, skills and talent, performance measurement, cost/value tradeoff and a number of other elements. It's an absolutely splendid piece of research. What I found so valuable about it was that it was not just about the numbers or benchmarks, but about AMR's interpretation of them that made it so valuable. I also trust AMR's quality control on the benchmarks given their end-user relationships -- something that everyone evaluating the use of third party data in decision making should consider.

Going forward, there are a number of areas where I expect we'll see AMR continue to place emphasis. In the near future, they'll be coming out with a number of reports later this year and next that examine such areas as sourcing and procurement in a demand driven world, the executive and CPO use of spend analytics to drive decision making, "full" supplier performance, and the procurement outsourcing BPO landscape. Later in Q4 and into 2008, Mickey and the team plan to tackle such areas as contract lifecycle management, catalog technologies, the sourcing technologies and the sourcing technologies and services landscape. Based on our conversation, I would also expect AMR's 2008 research agenda to tackle the integration of Spend Management practices with Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) as well as the integration of sourcing and PLM -- a topic that's been on many manufacturers' minds recently and plays right into where UGS and others are headed.

From a client inquiry perspective of late, a number of users are reaching out to AMR to examine sourcing capabilities and technologies. While many "already have procurement technologies available to them", sourcing technologies, despite solid market penetration numbers already, still get a significant share of the inquiry calls. In this area, Mickey advises her clients based on what they plan to do with the package, the problem's they're trying to solve (e.g., is it just quick savings or sustained efficiencies), adoption, ease of use, and the advanced category strategies they're attempting to pursue. Clearly, AMR Realizes that there's not a one size fits all Spend Management technology or solutions approach. And their client advisory practice and research more than reflect this!

Jason Busch

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