Author Archives: Pierre Mitchell



About Pierre Mitchell

Pierre leads Spend Matters procurement research activities and has broader solution development responsibilities for intellectual property creation and firm strategy as Managing Director of Azul Partners. This includes spearheading efforts to build new types of interactive and social communities of interest within the procurement profession including overseeing the evolution of spendmattersnet.com, Spend Matters PRO, MetalMiner, and other digital assets within Azul Partner’s umbrella. Pierre has 25 years of procurement and supply chain industry and consulting experience, and is a recognized procurement expert specializing in supply processes, practices, metrics, and enabling tools and services. He is a regular contributor to business publications, a frequent presenter at industry events around the world, and counts himself fortunate to have served and interacted with so many CPOs and future CPOs. Prior to his positions in research and advisory, he led numerous operations and systems transformations at Fortune 500 organizations. Industry positions include manufacturing project manager at The Timberland Company, materials manager at Krupp Companies and engineer at EG&G Torque Systems. He holds an engineering degree from Southern Methodist University and an MBA from the University of Chicago. In the early 2000's, Pierre was the first supply chain practitioner to become a procurement "industry analyst" as the VP of supply management research at AMR Research (now part of the Gartner Group) where he provided trusted counsel to procurement executives, business leadership, IT, and the solution providers who serve them. Most recently, he was the head of procurement research and adjunct business advisor at The Hackett Group, where he helped expand Hackett's procurement benchmarks and research studies while growing the Procurement Executive Advisory Program into a gold standard membership-based procurement advisory service in the market today.


GEP: Solution Review & Analysis

apinan/Adobe Stock

GEP (formerly Global eProcure) is an integrated procurement solutions and services firm that offers managed services (including full BPO capabilities), transformation services (i.e., consulting) and its own internally developed source-to-pay (S2P) technology suite. The combination of these individual capabilities from a single provider, especially as they become increasingly synergistic, makes GEP truly standalone in the industry. Ultimately, the company made the strategic decision to develop its own native source-to-pay cloud platform suite (“SMART by GEP,” released in 2014). It’s a strategic bet that procurement organizations of varying sizes want the agility and depth of a single provider that can flexibly assemble a solution of technology, managed services and transformation services to support their dynamic needs. This Spend Matters Plus analysis provides an introduction to the GEP solution for procurement organizations looking to understand whether they should consider adding the provider to their shortlists for consideration and competitive alternatives.

GEP: The Swiss Army Knife of Procurement Providers — Year-End Tech Review

apinan/Adobe Stock

This post is part of our 2016 Year-End Procurement Tech Review series, in which we offer procurement practitioners a bird’s-eye view of some key vendors and their solutions in select categories. This week, we’re highlighting companies in the sourcing (including e-sourcing) and supplier management spaces.

GEP (formerly Global eProcure) is an integrated procurement solutions and services firm that offers managed services (including full BPO capabilities), transformation services (i.e., consulting) and its own internally developed source-to-pay (S2P) technology suite. The combination of these individual capabilities from a single provider, especially as they become increasingly synergistic, makes GEP truly standalone in the industry.

GEP: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Competitive Analysis and Recommendations

apinan/Adobe Stock

For those procurement organizations that have not looked at GEP’s procurement technology suite in recent years, they will likely be surprised when exploring its breadth of functionality, as well as the nuances associated with different capabilities that differentiate it from other suites. These areas include clever takes on category management, integrated suite analytics, mobile support and a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and cloud-native solution built and hosted on the Microsoft Azure platform.

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering GEP series provides an objective SWOT analysis of GEP and offers a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as alternative vendors to GEP and offers provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides summary analysis and recommendations for companies that may consider GEP’s suite or individual modules. Previous installments provide an in-depth look at GEP as a firm and its specific solutions (PART 1) and a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses and a review of the product’s user experience (PART 2).

GEP: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths, Weaknesses and User Interface

apinan/Adobe Stock

In the race to deliver integrated procurement technology suites, a number of vendors have focused 80% of their effort on certain areas or groupings of products (e.g., analytics, sourcing and supplier management or eProcurement and e-invoicing), while underserving others in functional depth. Yet the future of source-to-pay (S2P) solutions will not just be measured by how strong, on a relative basis, the individual components are in a handful of areas — or even collectively.

Rather, Spend Matters believes we will measure future suites based on a more holistic approach, in which functional comparisons become only part of the equation. These variables will include the points of intersection between modules; the ecosystem that each provider can foster overall; decision guidance and decision support that comes from market intelligence and related insights; and, of course, the underlying capabilities of the solutions themselves.

This future bodes well for GEP from a solution perspective, and it’s why, in part, the provider has been so successful in winning business (including from the largest incumbents at some of the largest Fortune 500 customers) in the market in the past 12 months — albeit without making much noise about it. Granted, the modules within the “SMART by GEP” procurement technology product suite are not without both strengths and weaknesses (which we explore in this research brief). But overall, the combination of the individual components within SMART by GEP, the broader suite capabilities on both a collective and holistic basis, as well as the consulting, market intelligence, managed services and BPO capability that GEP delivers makes the solution set stand out in the market.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explore GEP’s product strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide if they should shortlist the vendor. It also offers a critique (pros/cons) of the user interface as well. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company and detailed solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering it. The remaining parts of this multipart series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

GEP: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview

FM Global Resilience Index

GEP (formerly Global eProcure) is an integrated procurement solutions and services firm that offers managed services (including full BPO capabilities), transformation services (i.e., consulting) and its own internally developed source-to-pay (S2P) technology suite. The combination of these individual capabilities from a single provider, especially as they become increasingly synergistic, makes GEP truly standalone in the industry.

GEP has been around the block for a while. Founded in 1999, the firm has been known primarily for its deep knowledge in strategic sourcing and its flexible approach to building and delivering capabilities to its paying clients. These capabilities grew organically, and perhaps somewhat opportunistically, into more repeatable technology-enabled solutions (e.g., spend analysis, e-sourcing, etc.).

But GEP made the strategic decision to develop its own native source-to-pay cloud platform suite (“SMART by GEP,” released in 2014). It’s a strategic bet that procurement organizations of varying sizes want the agility and depth of a single provider that can flexibly assemble a solution of technology, managed services and transformation services to support their dynamic needs. The wager is prescient on many levels, and is starting to massively pay off in growth and business scale which no one could have imagined at GEP 5 years ago -- including cloud-based stand alone application growth outside of services. And this success is increasingly creating consternation with traditional software, solution and service providers alike.

This Spend Matters PRO vendor snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help buying organizations make informed decisions about GEP’s source-to-pay capability, as well as limited background on its services capability. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider GEP in the procurement technology area. The rest of this multipart research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analysis, user selection guides and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Icertis: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview

contract

Icertis is a best-of-breed enterprise-class contract lifecycle management (CLM) application platform that spans the buy side (i.e., purchase contracts to support the source-to-pay process) and the sell side (i.e., sales contracts used in the quote-to-cash process), and supports any type of commercial agreement. Icertis is a purpose-built CLM platform (and associated CLM app suite) that itself is built primarily on top of Microsoft’s Azure technical infrastructure. Its design really shines for complex enterprises that need not just a deep functionality stack but also a great deal of flexibility, scalability and personalized usability, all geared toward enabling commercial excellence beyond core contract management workflows.

Icertis’ deep and flexible technical stack is not a technology story, though, but rather a business story of how to embed CLM outside of core functionality (i.e., contract authoring, approvals, repository management and compliance analytics) and into the broader fabric of commercial excellence in large enterprises. Why? Out of all of the information entities in a business, there is nothing more foundational, or business critical, than the contract. A contract is the ultimate commercial system of record, and as value chains become increasingly complicated and outsourced, the required business agility must get translated into commercial agility. Fundamentally, CLM systems help mitigate risk and prevent value leakage, but they will also increasingly be critical to enabling new commercial relationships that support collaboration, new sources of value and the total lowest costs to treat the risks within the relationship.

Additionally, the platform can be used to transform agreements from mere commercial artifacts containing legal obligations to “containers” of commitments that are used to satisfy stakeholders such as shareholders, regulators and NGOs. The commitments can also be used as risk mitigations for various risk types that can be modeled in the system. The CLM platform thus becomes a way to drive risk and compliance workflows alongside commercially related workflows that touch the contracts. All of these requirements in turn dictate the need for an equally agile CLM platform that is functionally deep and highly configurable (e.g., APIs, analytics, workflow integration, data model extensibility).

This Spend Matters PRO vendor snapshot provides facts and analysis to help buying organizations make informed decisions about whether they need a solution like Icertis, and how this provider stacks up against our CLM solution framework and other competitive CLM solutions. Spend Matters walked through detailed demonstrations of the product and also conducted multiple reference call interviews to help formulate this analysis, which has also been guided by existing Spend Matters analyst knowledge based on ongoing discussions with practitioners, competitors and consultants. Part 1 of this Icertis Vendor snapshot analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider this provider. The rest of this multipart research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analysis, user selection guides and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

A TRULY Open Supplier Discovery Network: Spend Matters Crowdsource #1

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As I hinted at yesterday, the notion of a truly open supplier network doesn’t exist today. My first contribution – and request of you – has to deal with the best ways of overcoming the notion of closed supplier search, ratings, rankings and connectivity. Instead of pointing fingers at the effect of closed systems (e.g., supplier network fees for transactions, business credit rating agencies “double-dipping” on fees, etc.), let’s together come up with solutions. Together. This is the first installment of a crowdsourcing series where Spend Matters analysts will offer up an “open call” to the market for a B2B problem that exists in the value chain. It’s easy to complain generically about broad problems, but we thought we’d provide a more granular specification for a crowdsourced solution that we feel is needed in the market. There’s no cash prizes here other than bragging rights…and world domination (maybe).

Will Blockchain Kill Ariba, Basware, D&B and Others?

supplier network

Imagine a new world, where the concept of a ‘supplier network’ becomes a set of discoverable and available web services and associated data that has persisted in trusted/distributed registries that buyers can access directly or through authorized channel providers. The data is written once by the supplier and accessed flexibly by the buyers and other value chain participants as needed. Let me say I’m certain Ariba, Basware and D&B will continue to provide value to customers. The ROI of e-procurement and P2P is undeniable. They won’t die — but Blockchain does have the potential to be a revolutionary disruptor in supplier networks, procurement technology, and supply risk ratings.

Are We Solving the Right Problem with Supplier Risk Management?

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Supply risk is almost always at the top of the CPO agenda (and if it’s not, it should be). Most organizations focus on supplier risk elements that are relatively easy to implement, such as supplier financial risk management, which is a good start. It essentially helps monitor supplier viability through the lens of the financial statements (assuming you can get them from your private suppliers too). But, supplier financial risk management only goes so far. It does provide an "assurance of supplier,” but it doesn’t necessarily protect your assurance of supply from that supplier. We have a handy diagram that illustrates this concept.

How to Use ISO9001 to Achieve 100% Mandated Spend Under Management

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The latest version of ISO9001 (called ISO9001:2015) is a “quality system” that is really a business management system customers might ask you to get certified in — and that you may in turn ask your suppliers to get certified. The beauty of ISO9001:2015 is that it can actually help you do both of these things simultaneously while also using the power of a customer-required certification as a way to drive internal change management. In the previous two installments that I wrote on ISO9001, I focused on using ISO9001 for such transformation, specifically on how to align risk and compliance, and to build a business case for supply risk management.

In this two-part Spend Matters Plus brief, I highlight how to use ISO9001:2015 to not just run the business but more specifically the business of procurement. This will illustrate how to make a quality management system that is more than just a transformative business management system — a transformational supply management system.

More important, this brief delivers deeper dive into ISO9001:2015 and shows procurement professionals how exactly how to use it to drive 100% spend influence in strategic sourcing and supplier management. People often forget that spend/supply influence also includes supplier management, when, in fact, the leader of ISO9001:2015 described the capabilities from ISO9001 simply as “confidence that customers around the world right through the supply chain — business-to-business and business-to-consumer — right down to us as individuals, can have confidence in the products and services they’re receiving from their certified suppliers”

It makes complete sense, and the certification can help procurement drive a case for change on this simple idea.

Procurement organizations almost always say, “We can’t mandate anything around here.” Well, now you have a mandate. So, use it to your advantage. We’ll show you how.

Using DMAIC 2.0 to Blow Up the N-step Procurement Process

An n-step chevron process is a siloed procurement-centered sourcing methodology geared towards supplier rationalization. It’s a fine start for procurement hitting cost savings goals, but it’s not a great way to align to the broader organization as procurement evolves. So, we’re proposing DMAIC as an emerging, superior approach, but it’s far beyond the DMAIC that you usually think of. The n-step sourcing process has had a good run, but let’s not try to make it do unholy things. Read on to see how other companies have used DMAIC.

New Category Intelligence Coming to Spend Matters Plus

Accenture

I’m excited to announce a new relationship with Accenture that I know our Spend Matters Plus+ readers will be excited about. Accenture currently publishes a broad set of category intelligence and analysis to its community of procurement clients. These Spend Trends insights offer some of the latest thinking, from strategies for third-party management to optimizing MRO spend and risk management approaches in critical categories like energy.