In a few weeks, I'm giving a virtual keynote (how cool is that) for ProcureTech Live 2007, an online conference taking place on November 21st. Rather than recycle -- I sometimes call it "green" keynoting -- the same material that I've been using as my stump speech on Spend Management technology for the past few months, I thought I'd reach deep into the back of my brain to come up with updated and further fleshed out ideas on what I believe will emerge as key procurement technology trends in the coming years. As European Leaders/ProcureTech Live explains my presentation on their site, "we'll plan to get into the specifics about how emerging web-based technologies, third party content, social networking, community features, advanced analytics and data visualization will come together to make today's procurement and sourcing applications appear the equivalent of the green screens of yesteryear."
But what do all of those jargon-laden terms really imply? For one, I believe we're about to stumble upon a whole new breed of application that puts content and market intelligence ahead of workflow and business process -- the two key building blocks of most enterprise applications in the past decade. In other words, perhaps the next generation of Spend Management technology investments will look more like the Internet itself rather than traditional ERP or back-end system monoliths. But more important, I think we'll also see communities of similar interests develop to share information in controlled ways both inside and outside of companies. In fact, rather than hoard and protect information, leaders will learn to share it with others for their own benefit. While Facebook might not be the exact model here in a business-to-business setting, we’ll certainly see aspects of Web 2.0 models adopted in Spend Management environments.
Another prediction I plan to discuss is how the current breed of sourcing vendors will most likely lose the direct materials game to new competitors and other players currently residing in adjacent enterprise areas who plan to more aggressively enter the procurement space in new ways. Of course I'll also talk about how existing vendors can defend themselves, but why many will dismiss the threat and my suggested response as nonsense. Along similar subject lines, I will also talk about how new types of approaches to Spend Management will factor in performance, risk and quality at the core of the analytical and decisions support process, rather than at the periphery.
Stay tuned for this and much more in my virtual keynote in a few weeks. My main intent during this speech is to drum up some debate and controversy. By the way ... if you have an idea on what you believe will be the future of Spend Management technology, drop me a line or post a comment. I'll be sure to include "reader thoughts" in my commentary as well.