How Tiger Could Have Made Better Use of Spend Management Technology (Part 2) …

Dear Readers: Here is the another installment from Jason "Ladies Man Wannabe" Busch. Jason's wife, MetalMiner's Lisa Reisman, just sent me a digital photo from the cruise, showing Jason posing with Minnie Mouse, a nervous smile on his face. Now, Jason insists that the shiner he's sporting is from an accident on the squash court, but my insiders tell me that Minnie was less than happy about some relationship advice Jason tried to give Mickey. Jason, I keep telling you: never take on a rodent bigger than you. --Joy

In the first of this series, I examined how Tiger could have better managed his affairs using a variety of Spend Management technologies including spend analysis, sourcing, optimization, and contract management. In this column I'll continue my analysis, turning my attention to other areas of technology that Tiger might have taken advantage of. Let's start with supplier diversity. In the procurement world, supplier diversity is really about two things: First, intentionally allocating more spend to minority and women-owned suppliers, because they represent a good potential revenue segment, and you've got to spread the love to get the love (even if you're spreading hundreds and getting back dimes, at least you've got something to show for it); second, it's about bureaucratic reporting, because our government feels sorry for all the centuries of discrimination that it condoned against certain protected minorities (but not the Jews, Irish, Italians, Japanese, or any other non-protestants who came over on the boat, were denied jobs, or who were interned by our government at various points in history, but don't get me started on that one).

Still, even if it's hard to quantify supplier-diversity benefits, we can all agree that, in principle, encouraging a diverse supply base is a good thing. Moreover, perhaps our spending decisions really should go to what amounts to a cross-section of our country (at least the cross-section that stays on-shore, weekend jaunts to Bangkok and other LCCS regions not withstanding). Given this, if we knock down the number of Tiger's alleged affairs by 30-40%, we'll still get a number in the 10 or so range. Which would imply that, based on the melting pot that -- thank goodness -- is the United States, some of these vendors would have been minorities. Statistically speaking, as a random sample, of course. Given this, Tiger clearly failed this test on a tier-one supplier-diversity level, opting to concentrate his spend among non- diverse ladies (tier-two reporting might have shown a different result, mind you). Now, there is nothing wrong with this (to each his own) and I suspect his time at The Masters with the good old boys down South might have had something to do with this decision, but seriously, what a lost PR opportunity.

Personal note to Tiger: just because you embody what it means to be a truly racially diverse American who is nearly impossible to stereotype doesn't mean you get a free pass when picking out the ladies once the sample size becomes significant enough to measure. Moreover, supplier-diversity technology could have helped you in in many ways, not just with the PR gain. Consider how an automated portal technology could have registered and vetted potential vendors. Heck, you could have requested the equivalent of safety (e.g., disease-free) or quality (hmmm … ) certifications as part of the registration process. Moreover, Tiger, you could have used preferred-supplier lists to save time when it came down to final vendor selection. Lost opportunity, man. Lost opportunity.

Moving on from supplier diversity, let's turns our attention to transactional purchasing systems (we'll save payment for an entirely different post, given the complexities of such transactions and the need to account for both currency and commodity -- such as diamond-- payments). Clearly, Tiger completely missed the boat here. If he was using an eProcurement system, it was the equivalent of a worthless, early-version, piece-of-junk ERP SRM from circa 2001. Consider all the off-contract maverick purchases that he made (not to mention having to punch out to a different club for every transaction). Rule number one of eProcurement, Tiger: Buy as much as you can from catalogs that you maintain (or that suppliers maintain on your behalf) versus punching out into the ether and having to retrofit work rules to a transaction taking place on someone else's territory. In addition, it's critical to think through all aspects of supplier enablement. Seriously, Tiger, think about how much more spend you might have been able to discreetly and seamlessly enable if you had nailed the on-boarding process. Rather than ... oh, never mind; it's just too easy.

I could go on about the relevance of a good eProcurement system to Tiger's affairs, but I'll stop right here and turn to the fact that Tiger also completely ignored the potential for implementing the most valuable type of procurement system he could have used under the circumstances: a services-procurement platform focused primarily on contingent contracting. Seriously, when you're dealing with hourly (or even SOW-type arrangements), it's possible to get more bang for your buck by moving to a contingent-workforce solution. It also helps you manage and hold accountable your MSPs (i.e., your handlers or, depending on payment arrangements, the folks who represent the ladies), just as in the real world of contingent-workforce solutions.

I cannot overstate the importance of this area. All of Tiger's problems could have been solved if he kept his platforms separate, avoiding the commingling of information among his transactional system of record and his contingent-workforce decisions. Seriously, contingent staff should never be confused with full-time hires (though that is part of a broader talent-management equation). But perhaps, in Tiger's case, systems integration between the two environments might not have really been the best strategy …

Oh, and Tiger, one last piece of advice. It's my view that you really should consider on-demand approaches only; avoid the time and hassle of installed software. Besides, do you really want to wait for the next forklift upgrade when you can just swap out vendors when you feel like it? Just as form should follow function on the golf course and in life, your Spend Management software needs should follow real-world requirements. And besides, by going On-Demand, you'll save that much more by cutting out the middlemen (i.e., the SIs) in the transaction, allowing you to plow the savings back into, well ...

Jason Busch

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