The Great Debate: Will Supplier Networks Thrive, Implode, or Evolve?

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The intersection of eProcurement, e-invoicing and supplier networks continues to get quite a bit of attention these days – and is forming the focal point of a large chunk of the cloud strategy for SAP and Ariba, among others. But what will these still largely indirect procurement-centric (think paper clips, IT gear, and MRO – not parts and components) transactional networks look like in the future?

In short: what will the future of the Ariba network, Tradeshift, OB10, Hubwoo, IBX/Capgemini, Perfect, ADP, Coupa, the Oracle Supplier Network and others hold? Many of these providers will need to evolve their strategies to adjust for the changing network environment, including the introduction of platforms that exist between organizations (e.g., Tradeshift, Nipendo) vs. just offering network plumbing, as well as finding ways to address direct materials connectivity, something handled almost exclusively on the EDI side of the house by folks like Sterling/IBM and GXS.

One thing is for sure: there’s not one single opinion on the subject. That’s why we decided to create an invited series of essays on the topic, which we’ve collected in the following Spend Matters Perspective: The Great Debate: Will Supplier Networks Thrive, Implode, or Evolve? (available for free download – registration required). In the paper, we offer contributions from four experts, on four related topics, from four different vantage points:

Semantics Matter: Separating Network/Platform Church and Application State 
Pierre Mitchell, Chief Research Officer and Managing Director, Spend Matters

The Importance of Developing a Point of View (POV): Networks, Platforms and Applications
Jason Busch, Managing Director, Spend Matters

Solving Modern Business’ Connectivity Problem
Christian Lanng, CEO and Co-founder, Tradeshift

Moving Past the Transaction: Upping the Network Value Game
Jay Merenda, Technology Leader - Procurement Operational Excellence, Global Pharmaceutical Company

As further context on what led to the paper, we hosted a webinar on the same topic: The Great Debate: Will Supplier Networks Thrive, Implode, or Evolve? (click the link to register and watch the replay).

We loved the webinar debate so much we decided to invite each of the participants to contribute additional thoughts based on what they shared during the live discussion. The result is this collection of loosely coupled contributions. We’ve also included a Spend Matters PRO reprint on Tradeshift, part of our Five Specialist Vendors You Must Talk To in 2013 series.

Without further ado, we invite you to put on your flak jacket and join the great debate! Download your copy of The Great Debate: Will Supplier Networks Thrive, Implode, or Evolve? from the Spend Matters free research library today!

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