I'm looking forward to spending time next week at Forrester's Sourcing and Vendor Management Forum 2010 event in downtown Chicago. Of particular interest to me when it comes to what the industry analysts (e.g., Gartner and Forrester) have to say in these area revolves around the relevance of what they often cover deeply, IT sourcing and vendor management, to the broader procurement and supplier management landscape. Granted Forrester continues to expand its coverage in services procurement, eProcurement, invoice automation and related areas, but their core focus has always been on the IT side when they talk about strategic sourcing and vendor management.
I must admit that this confused me when I was first getting my start in the strategic sourcing world. For most practitioners, strategic sourcing refers to a specific type of vendor selection process with specific stage gates and defined steps and tactics. But in the IT space, strategic sourcing takes on a more narrow definition of the buying and vendor negotiation for hardware, software and associated services (and now BPO as well). Moreover, when it comes to vendor management, as part of the IT area, there are often various nuances and practice/focus areas, which serve to separate out the role from broader supplier development and performance management functions.
I'm looking forward to seeing if I can pool some of these points from the Forrester event for a broader buying audience, as clearly there's a tremendous amount we can learn from the buying of both technology and technology related services. I'm also looking forward to catching up with a number of members of the Forrester team, who have really put the pedal to the ground recently on the research they've been cranking out in the broader procurement area.
I just learned about the Procurement Leaders event in Chicago taking place on March 30th, called: Next Generation Sourcing -- The Route to World Class. I've had the chance to go to both Procurement Leaders events in the US this year (Chicago and Boston) and came away quite impressed at much of the content, quality of attendees, and above all, discussion that took place in between sessions. I also briefly caught up with the Procurement Leaders team when I was in London last week and I can say, this is one organization that is maintaining a razor focus on serving the needs of their senior practitioner members and vendor sponsors. There are many points of intersection between our organizations and we look forward to some exciting developments and announcements in the coming months. But in the meantime, do put the Chicago event on your calendar. I know I'll be there.