It’s rare to describe anything procurement does – or uses in its daily activities – as a thing of beauty. Procurement is functional, pragmatic, and purpose-driven – as are the tools of the trade. Yet as our Spend Matters 50/50 coverage continues (see Providers to Know and Providers to Watch), we turn our attention to a provider, Sourcemap, with an aesthetic more at home in the R&D studio of an Apple or automotive manufacturer than a software provider in this market.
The Sourcemap business arose from an initial innovative and valuable idea – enabling an open, public crowdsourcing approach to understanding supply chains, with contributors feeding in their knowledge of supply chains for the main consumer products. While some of these elements remain, the firm developed more corporate tools, helping organizations understand and “map” their own supply chains and collaborate better with suppliers.
Sourcemap’s product doesn't fit neatly into the broader solutions ecosystem – "supplier information management" would be the general area, with elements of risk, supplier performance improvement, and collaboration, we suppose. Yet they’re worthy of inclusion in our 50/50 list for a number of cleverly aesthetic (and useful) reasons. For example, the actual mapping angle is powerful, with the ability to see where your suppliers are, look at inter-dependencies, analyses risks, etc. Pure data is fine but visualizing it in this way adds a new dimension – and this is where Sourcemap excels.
We're perhaps even more impressed by the work they are doing in the chocolate industry, taking the crowdsourcing idea to another level with cocoa growers in Africa - pulling data together and driving collaboration in a manner that will help buying organizations commercially, but also has potentially huge social and economic benefit to the growers.
Sourcemap is not for everyone – and it’s probably, at least by headcount, one of the smallest firms on the 50/50 list – but it is genuinely innovative, genuinely value-adding for the right client. And it also contributes to the wider and greater human good while putting a truly elegant, aesthetic – and inspirational – set of capabilities in front of procurement team members.
So what's not to like? Welcome to the 2014 50/50, Sourcemap.