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, 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.

Spurious Correlations, 150% Cost Savings and How to Justify Your Next Procurement Project

data Last week, I presented on a webinar alongside Tim Cummins, the founder of International Association for Contract and Commercial Management, and Ulf Zetterberg, the CEO of Seal Software. I was sharing some analysis that I did on Apple Corp.’s purchase agreement templates and how contracts sometimes can create more relationship risk than they prevent. On the risk side, I referenced a great case study that David Simchi Levi’s team at MIT performed for Ford. On the reward side, I mentioned the oft-quoted research by John Henke regarding his ‘Working Relations Index” research in the Automotive industry. What followed was a classic example of correlation being used to infer causation.

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Examining the Implications of the BravoSolution/Verian Partnership

partnership In previous Spend Matters coverage of the announced partnership between BravoSolution and Verian, analysts discussed some of the implications of the new relationship. I had a chance to spend some time with Tehseen Ali Dahya, the CEO of Verian, to do a bit of a deep dive, and it gave me a much better idea of the what the partnership is and is not all about. In this Spend Matters PRO analysis, I’ll lay out the details and explain the implications for current customers, future customers and the market in general.

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Spend Matters 50/50: SAP – A Provider to Know in 2015

- June 19, 2015 3:10 PM | Categories: Featured, Solution Providers

SAP is one of our 50 Providers to Know. We will be highlighting all 100 companies (50 to Know, 50 to Watch) in our 2015 Spend Matters Almanac over the span of 100 days. Practitioners are encouraged to browse the categories listed in our Almanac to find the provider that best fits their needs. SAP is obviously a provider to know. If you aren’t familiar with SAP, you have been living under a rock. SAP is essentially a holding company of many business units and acquired companies. It, of course, offers its SAP ERP product suite, but also offers its SRM product line that was a self-service e-procurement product (including catalog management) acquired from Commerce One. SAP also offers its SAP CLM and SAP Sourcing products that it acquired from Frictionless Commerce.

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Buying Everything as a Service – Don’t Miss Our Webinar This Thursday!

man-hands-working-technology-large (1) In an increasingly services-based economy, procurement organizations should stay on top of the latest everything as a service (XaaS) trends that are increasingly having an impact on their organizations and ultimately their commercial relationships and agreements. If they aren’t keeping on top of the latest trends with regards to buying services, whether contingent labor, SaaS, BPO/MSP, then they’re not going to really earn a seat at the table with their counterparts in IT, HR, shared services and others. As such, the Institute for Supply Management Services group asked me to do a webinar on the topic this Thursday at 3 p.m. CDT with the help of Mark Trowbridge at Strategic Procurement Solutions. Register here!

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Diving Into the Best P2P Benchmark in the World

- June 16, 2015 6:22 AM | Categories: Analysis, P2P, Technology

92FD3561EC Every 2 years The Hackett Group refreshes its procure-to-pay (P2P) benchmarking database by running its P2P performance study. It may be called a “study,” but it is a true deep-dive benchmark that is better than any other P2P study in the market, and for the money, I think it’s without question the best one in the world. If anyone wants to discuss or debate this and compare it to another study, I’d be happy to (but I can’t share anything that is not publicly available, of course). So, why is it the best? First of all, it’s absolutely free, other than the time to collect the data (which is not trivial – as I’ll discuss later). If value equals utility divided by cost, and the cost is basically zero, the value is pretty damn high! But what utility is derived? Read on…

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BravoSolution To Become Single Platform S2P Provider

sea-dawn-sky-sunset-large As part of our continuing coverage of BravoSolution and its BravoConnect event that we’ve been attending, CEO Jim Wetekamp took us through the new BravoAdvantage platform, which not only enhances functionality in current Bravo products, but also focuses on a supplier management-centric approach called "supplier value management" (SVM) that is at the core of its platform. But, the bombshell that was quietly dropped (in a good way) was the news that Bravo is expanding beyond its current focus of sourcing and supplier management and working on adding P2P to the source-to-pay (S2P) space.

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BravoConnect: The Power of Procurement Community and Innovation

copy I’ve been attending this year’s BravoConnect event in the UK and have found it to be a true practitioner’s conference. (I am also having a blast.) A few years ago, this conference drew in just a handful of people but now has more than 200 attendees and is chock-full of great content and offers a community vibe. The theme of the conference focused on unlocking the power of procurement and the broader impact it can have on the organization. A few big surprises have come out of the event as well. I round up the main lessons I have learned and biggest takeaways from the conference thus far. Stay tuned, too, as coverage from the event continues on Spend Matters.

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Spend Matters 50/50: Oracle – A Provider to Know in 2015

- June 9, 2015 1:19 PM | Categories: Featured, Solution Providers

Oracle is one of our 50 Providers to Know. We will be highlighting all 100 companies (50 to Know, 50 to Watch) in our 2015 Spend Matters Almanac over the span of 100 days. Practitioners are encouraged to browse the categories listed in our Almanac to find the provider that best fits their needs. Oracle Corporation has perhaps the longest pedigree in the e-procurement arena with its iProcurement self-service procurement application that is part of its Electronic Business Suite (EBS) of integrated applications. Oracle also offers a cloud-based suite of applications known as Oracle Cloud (or “Oracle Fusion”). This SaaS suite is less functionality rich as EBS, but is the “heir apparent” as the application suite that will take Oracle into the future.

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How Can Amazon Business Close the Gaps in B2B? Review, Analysis and One Big Recommendation

- June 9, 2015 2:53 AM | Categories: Analysis, Industry News, P2P, Solution Providers

ZPKNKYW4GH In our previous posts on Amazon Business, we highlighted numerous areas where the solution could be improved to make it more attractive to larger-sized buyers in the upper mid-market and enterprise segments. For buyers, the biggest issue currently is the lack of depth of functionality, support and services to provide the domain expertise to serve industrial buyers. Other limitations include the fact Amazon Business isn’t global, it only supports SKUs (although Mechanical Turk offers an IT freelancer marketplace, and we do see the writing on the wall for Amazon Home Services to potentially creep upstream into B2B), its notion of e-procurement support is a PO reference field, its customer service levels are not designed for B2B and so on. But Amazon Business is alive – and despite the limitations, there are current use cases for large buyers and small procurement organizations alike. In this Spend Matters PRO brief, we dive into a range of Amazon Business considerations including drawing comparisons to Grainger (Zoro) and others. We also make an easy-to-implement recommendation to Amazon that would be disruptive to the industry – and highly valued by buyers – if adopted. Put on your P2P, MRO and distribution flack jacket and read on.

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Spend Matters 50/50: CAPS Research – A Provider to Know in 2015

- June 1, 2015 1:26 PM | Categories: Featured, Solution Providers

CAPS Research is one of our 50 Providers to Know. We will be highlighting all 100 companies (50 to Know, 50 to Watch) in our 2015 Spend Matters Almanac over the span of 100 days. Practitioners are encouraged to browse the categories listed in our Almanac to find the provider that best fits their needs. CAPS Research is a non-profit procurement research and benchmarking firm that also provides procurement executive networking. “CAPS” used to stand for The Center of Advanced Purchasing Studies and was initially a venture between Arizona State University and The Institute for Supply Management (ISM), but is now funded nearly exclusively through donor/member corporations.

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Opportunities Await Within the Amazon Business Marketplace

- May 27, 2015 2:33 AM | Categories: Analysis, Solution Providers, Sourcing

fishing-fishing-tackle-large In our previous Spend Matters main site coverage of Amazon Business and Part 1 of our Spend Matters PRO analysis, we dove into some of the details of Amazon’s re-vamped foray into B2B e-commerce, particularly regarding the user experience and Amazon’s selection and pricing features. In this next edition, we’ll dive into some of the marketplace solution functionality and some opportunities to close the key gaps. In the next installment, we’ll also analyze some of key opportunities we see for Amazon to improve its B2B solution for larger firms – and even form smaller ones, too! Many associate the term “solution” only with software applications, and while Amazon Business is initially basically a re-skinned version of, we expect to see more e-procurement-like functionality embedded in it to serve the needs of smaller firms where a large percentage of their spending could come from a provider like Amazon. For larger firms, the story is, of course, different as we’ll explain...

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Spend Matters 50/50: Amazon Business – A Provider to Know in 2015

- May 21, 2015 2:37 PM | Categories: Featured, Solution Providers

Amazon Business is one of our 50 Providers to Know. We will be highlighting all 100 companies (50 to Know, 50 to Watch) in our 2015 Spend Matters Almanac over the span of 100 days. Practitioners are encouraged to browse the categories listed in our Almanac to find the provider that best fits their needs. Amazon is a “provider to know” on many levels, but this also applies to B2B procurement. Amazon Business is the B2B version of Previously running as, it is somewhat of a “re-skinned” version of the consumer e-marketplace.

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