Afternoon Coffee: Office Depot, Alibaba.com Partner Up; Certify, Chrome River to Flow as One

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Office Depot and Alibaba.com are joining forces to empower small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with the ability to more efficiently tap into the global B2B commerce market, according to a recent release.

Based on the two powerhouses’ supplier networks and customer bases, the partnership will result in a new co-branded online destination, enhanced sales and U.S.-based customer support, faster, more transparent and cost-effective distribution and fulfillment as well as a new sales channel for U.S. SMBs, according to the release.

While Office Depot brings its 10-million-strong customer list and 1,800 sales professionals, among other things, Alibaba brings its global network of 150,000 suppliers and an end-to-end technology platform featuring a range of tools for business growth.

Certify, Chrome River to Merge Their T&E, Invoice Management Capabilities

Certify and Chrome River Technologies, two travel & expense providers who also offer invoice management software, will merge in a deal that’s valued at over $1 billion, a statement Tuesday said.

Portland, Maine-based Certify and L.A.-based Chrome River initially will operate separately but will collaborate on investing in technology like artificial intelligence, machine learning, analytics and reporting, the announcement said.

The companies have more than 11,000 combined customers across more than 100 countries, and the merger adds Chrome River to Certify’s other brands, like Nexonia, Tallie, Abacus and Captio, the announcement said.

For more analyst insight on what the deal means, read more from the Spend Matters team.

Latest Upwork Report Dissects Hiring Manager Behavior Across Key Generations

The freelancer website Upwork, in surveying the hiring behaviors of more than 1,000 hiring managers based in the U.S. in its third annual “Future Workforce" report, dives into differences between Baby Boom managers and those in the Millennial/Gen Z group.

In “a bit of a twist on last year’s report,” writes Andrew Karpie, research director of services and labor procurement at Spend Matters, “this year’s version zooms ‘specifically into how younger generations’ (hiring managers) are shaping the future of work.”

“The study ... is far-ranging, but our coverage will focus on some areas relevant to our procurement audience: younger generations’ attitudes toward changing work models — namely, remote work and external workforce,” Karpie notes.

Read Karpie’s insights and analysis in full here.

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