The most pragmatic research brief that Spend Matters has published this year by far is: "Surround Strategies" to Get More From Existing eProcurement and P2P Investments. Contained with the Spend MattersResearch Library, it's one of over 50 papers and research briefs available for download for free to qualified procurement practitioners. In this paper, we argue that there are five core surround strategies for organizations to get more from existing eProcurement and P2P investments. These are:
- Investing in a new user experience layer that creates a usability buffer and potentially adds new capability
- Augmenting existing eProcurement or P2P investments with third party tools or solutions in targeted areas that improve the basic capability of the system itself
- Investing in complementary technology that goes above and beyond the original capability of the eProcurement or P2P solution
- Working with a third-party solutions provider that will provide technology and significantly more services-driven capabilities
- Purchasing new solutions that gradually consume their hosts
As a first step to implementing surround strategies, we recommend that organizations decide what type of surround model (or models) they want to use while also building a business case for both investment and adoption with other internal stakeholders -- especially those who may not have fully realized the benefits of initial programs. As part of this process, procurement technology leads and management should use surround strategies to think about the needs of frontline users.
We also believe that while it is critical to consider specialist providers as a cornerstone of any type of "surround strategy" that even incumbent providers like SAP and Ariba should be consulted to enhance their own solutions (both SAP and Ariba are releasing new user interfaces on top of their frontline user eProcurement tools). But above all, companies should keep in mind that surround strategies are not about mining for gold without knowing where to look. For this reason, it is essential to pursue incremental and measurable returns from the start. Surround strategies are not about a "big bang" but a series of sustainable and constant improvements.
For those interested in learning more about surround strategies, we recommend downloading: "Surround Strategies" to Get More From Existing eProcurement and P2P Investments today (registration required, free for qualified practitioners).