Spend Matters Fireworks: Top Posts From the First Half of 2018

Each year brings new procurement trends and surprises, and 2018 has been no exception. As we celebrate the halfway point of the year this Fourth of July, we’re taking a look back at the 10 most popular articles on Spend Matters during the last six months — call them our “firework” posts of the year. Below, we count down to the No. 1 most-read article of the year, leaving the best for last, just like the finale of the typical July 4th fireworks show.

10. Top 3 Procurement Mergers and Acquisitions of 2017 (and 2018, So Far)

If we had to pick one procurement technology trend that stood out above the rest, we’d probably have to pick increasing market consolidation. Throughout 2017 and the first several months of 2018, we saw several key linkups whose ramifications have already begun to ripple throughout the sector. In February, Managing Editor Taras Berezowsky rounded up some of the most consequential moves that readers have been analyzing, including ADP’s acquisition of WorkMarket, Coupa’s string of deals and the head-turning merger of Jaggaer and BravoSolution.

9. What is Market Intelligence, and is it Relevant to Procurement?

As procurement takes on increased strategic importance within companies, purchasing professionals are being asked to do even more with their limited time. For this and other reasons, organizations are increasingly asking how market intelligence can help them improve their performance. In partnership with Beroe, a provider of third-party market intelligence, the Spend Matters Brand Studio team developed a primer on what exactly market intelligence is, why it matters to procurement and key reasons why businesses should seek help from a third-party provider to build out a market intelligence program.

8. Procurement in 2018: Guidance and Predictions from an Industry Veteran

The Spend Matters team has little love for the wave of bold predictions that accompanies the start of a new year. At the beginning of 2018, however, procurement veteran Peter Smith, managing director of Spend Matters UK/Europe, offered some sound advice for procurement professionals that we were more than happy to point our readers toward.

Rather than pontificating about the importance of digital transformation or rehashing hollow motivational slogans, Smith advised readers to remember four key points about procurement and challenges the function faces today. His guide intended to help leaders within the profession take stock of themselves and their teams, so that they could consider the importance of committing to gradual improvement in their ability to serve the business and others.

7. A P2P Cloud Surprise: Oracle Leapfrogs Ahead in E-Procurement and Invoice-to-Pay

Our first E-Procurement SolutionMap release in 2018 produced a result that went against the procurement technology grain: Oracle’s capabilities ranked as a top functional contender alongside SAP Ariba, Coupa and Ivalua. To understand how Oracle pulled off this standout performance, Jason Busch and Xavier Olivera explored the provider’s core capabilities in e-procurement and invoice-to-pay, offering their perspectives on where Oracle will likely surprise potential customers and how it stacks up against competitors.

6. How Shiftgig CEO Wade Burgess Plans to Scale Gig Worker Adoption in Procurement from Niche Services to Enterprise Platform

If you needed to choose an executive for your young technology company that is seeking to change the future of work, whom would you choose? A former LinkedIn executive who keenly understands the way the digital world is changing the labor market would seem like a smart bet.

This scenario describes the move Shiftgig made earlier this year when it named Wade Burgess as its CEO. From the shift to job seeking online to the rise of the gig economy, Burgess has seen and shaped the changing talent landscape, even made it his mission in life to empower professionals and create greater economic opportunity for a broader base of the workforce. To learn more about how Burgess would apply that background at Shiftgig, Research Director for Labor and Services Procurement Andrew Karpie sat down with the newly appointed CEO to discuss the future of the company, as well as its role in the changing world of work.

5. Coupa vs. SAP Ariba: E-Procurement Head-to-Head Technology Evaluation and Comparison

When two e-procurement software titans clash, there’s bound to be blood. At least, that’s what we imagined happening when we put Coupa and SAP Ariba in a head-to-head bout in May. In this most popular installment of our ongoing head-to-head column, Spend Matters Founder Jason Busch threw both companies into the e-procurement evaluation ring, using exclusive SolutionMap benchmark data to compare their e-procurement capabilities. Who remained standing at the final bell? We won’t spoil it yet — but just know that only SolutionMap Insider members can get ringside seats.

4. Clarifying Robotic Process Automation: What It Is (and Isn’t) for Procurement

One of the hottest technologies of 2018 is actually a fairly simple solution. We’re talking, of course, about robotic process automation (RPA), a type of software that mimics the activity of a human carrying out a task within a process (e.g., opening an email and copying its contents into a spreadsheet). RPA is often confused with technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, so we set out in January to clarify once and for all what RPA is, what it isn’t and how procurement organizations can apply it in both practical and advanced contexts.

3. Getting Real with Artificial Intelligence in Procurement

Disruptive technologies often enter a hype cycle from which they emerge less impressive than as they entered. But artificial intelligence may be the exception to this trend. The long-discussed technology is starting to have really effects on the way procurement professionals run their operations. Chief Research Officer Pierre Mitchell explores the hype and reality of AI in his April post of the subject, in which he concludes with some examples of how the technology is being applied in sourcing today.

2. Creating a Legacy at SAP and Beyond: Where Barry Padgett Plans to Lead Ariba

Right as the year kicked off, SAP made some major leadership changes, moving Alex Atzberger to president of SAP Hybris and naming Barry Padgett as the new CEO of SAP Ariba. To learn how Padgett plans to leave his mark at the procurement software giant, Spend Matters Founder Jason Busch conducted a wide-ranging Q&A on SAP Ariba’s future.

1. 50 Providers to Know and 50 Providers to Watch for 2018

We swear we’re not tooting our own horn: This year's 50 Providers to Know and 50 Providers to Watch lists were by far our most popular news of the 2018. Now in its fifth iteration, the 50/50 lists are the result of intense debate, discussion and refinement among all of the Spend Matters analysts and reflect our unbiased, independent view of the providers you should have on your radar. If you haven’t already, check out the 100 providers that made the cut this year, and be sure to head over to the Spend Matters Almanac for more information on these and other companies that can help take your procurement organization to the next level.

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