Usually during this week in May, I'm headed down to Orlando for SAP Sapphire. But this time out, I'm skipping the trip because short of a rumored Ariba acquisition (heck, it's been rumored for the past five years), there's not much new happening when it comes to SAP and procurement. E-Sourcing, SRM and other solution areas continue to gain customer traction but trail the market in many ways on the innovation front, as SAP's glacial development pace is showing no signs of being melted by volcanoes or global warming. Sure, there are some positive signs in new product areas such as Spend Performance Management, but we've been covering these already and plan to drill down further throughout the year with the product teams, especially as reference customers become available. So instead of Orlando, I'll be speaking this week at Zycus' Houston Experience on Tuesday and then headed up to Boston to find out the latest on what Genpact has planned in the procurement BPO arena.
Procurement BPO is one of the topics that people say will heat up every year. This time, however, I actually believe that procurement BPO will catch hold, thanks to both the evolution of provider capability and offerings as well a general maturation of the target market and its understanding of what is core and non-core. I've covered ICG Commerce quite extensively on Spend Matters (here, here, here and here) in recent months, and believe their largely onshore approach (serving customers in local markets) is a winner. I've also tackled IBM's procurement outsourcing efforts as well, and have positive inclinations to support their philosophy and model as well. But I've been negligent in catching up with the latest from the offshore providers.
Genpact represents the first of numerous providers I'll be digging in to in the coming months, in preparation for a body of research we'll publish later this year on Spend Matters, primarily in a Compass research series on the topic. We'll also be coordinating our research with Horses for Sources (a new analyst firm covering BPO exclusively) published under their label as well. So stay tuned as we dig into what some of the offshore providers are doing. I'll be honest in my comparative skepticism of some of these providers based on interactions in years past where their hubris around process excellence and category knowledge seemed to serve as little more than a smoke screen for offshore labor cost advantages. But I'm open to being convinced otherwise and I know that Genpact, as one of the first India-based organizations that I'll be looking at this year, has a number of success stories to tell.
- Jason Busch