Author Archives: Taras Berezowsky



What Procurement’s Talking About at the Thanksgiving Table This Year

Spend Matters has very special powers.

We were able to travel into the future and become a fly on the dining room wall, joining several procurement practitioners gathered around the Thanksgiving table.

What is Procurement mad about this year? What are their concerns? What do they want to see changed? Here are some highlights of Procurement’s Thanksgiving 2017 discussion.

China’s Single Biggest Trade Issue, and Other Current Policy Must-Knows

Our sister site MetalMiner recently launched a new podcast series called "Manufacturing Trade Policy Confidential." Procurement organizations with a domestic manufacturing footprint and global supplier networks — especially those with a significant steel or aluminum spend — take note. (If you'd rather bone up on some trade policy intelligence for work rather than half-focus on your latest James Patterson on the plane to visit your in-laws, you're welcome.) The latest episode takes listeners through China's recent setback at the hands of the U.S. Department of Commerce regarding China's non-market economy status, and which other trade cases and investigations matter in the current political and economic landscape and why.

A Tale of Two Case Studies: Centralizing and Getting Spend Under Management in Fast Food and CPG

Centralization of sourcing operations and overall spend has literally been at the center of debate in a number of ways for procurement practitioners.

A few months ago, our editor at large Sydney Lazarus answered a reader’s question on the very topic. In her reporting on whether centralizing or decentralizing sourcing structures of procurement organizations is the way to go, she wrote that “company size, location, expansion rate, purchasing category and industry are all factors that affect whether a more centralized or more decentralized structure is better.”

Several of those factors played into two case studies from BuyerQuest focusing on how a large quick-service restaurant corporation and a CPG organization used e-procurement technology to confront their centralization challenges.

Commodity Price Volatility in the Cannabis Supply Chain: The Biggest Growing Pain?

As I write this on the eve of participating in a conference panel discussion about how corporate communications can better work with trade media firms, I can’t help but think about my relationship with the legal cannabis industry — and particularly its supply chain. Sounds like a stretch, right? Not so much.

How Coupa, SAP Ariba and Basware Really Did in Our Q4 SolutionMap

In a paean to the recent Q4 SolutionMap release and subsequent personal analytical take on the three solution providers in this headline, Spend Matters Founder Jason Busch let everyone in on a not-so-secret secret. “Despite our marketing claims of having invested ‘hundreds of hours’ of analyst time in the process, the actual number felt like more in the thousands, by my own accounting,” Busch wrote. “I told one of my colleagues I felt like I was ‘in the Matrix’ at one point when looking at technology provider demonstrations.” While we’ve created a PO for an exact replica of the spectacles worn by Laurence Fishburne’s Morpheus in “The ‘Matrix” films to give Jason as a surprise (oops!) gift, we wanted to make sure to do justice to those many hours of collective team effort — by filling users in a bit more about what they can get out of SolutionMap.

Q

ICYMI: SolutionMap Q4 Release is Here

In case you were looking for a new analyst framework by which to compare procurement technology solutions for your organizational needs — in a more customized way than ever before — boy do we have something refreshing for you. Enter the Q4 release of Spend Matters SolutionMap. In a video, we take you on a '50-cent overview tour' of how SolutionMap works, what it contains, and how it's created.

Is Artificial Intelligence in Procurement Mostly Just Overblown Marketing Hype? Basware’s Eric Wilson Weighs In

In Part 2 of our conversation with Eric Wilson, VP of P2P at Basware, we touched on the inherent risks of computers making decisions that have historically been reserved for humans. While it may not seem as life or death in procurement as it is in the case of, say, autonomously driven Uber-Volvos being involved in rollover accidents, there is still a lot of work to be done when it comes to massaging out the kinks. How much work, exactly? Are we in the full throes of the revolution, or in the eye of the storm? Enough with the metaphors — here’s the final installment of our conversation with Wilson.

Q&A with Eric Wilson, Basware’s VP of P2P: Can We Teach Machines to Get It Right 99% of the Time?

NLP

In Part 1 of our conversation with Eric Wilson, VP of P2P at Basware, we dug into the links between data and AI — is data the be-all, end-all behind AI advancements? What does one do with the data once they get it? And how best to manage it? In this second installment, we get a bit beyond the data collection and management, and more into how context and eventual wisdom play into it — and whether those are even truly attainable.

Data as the ‘Alpha and the Omega’ of Artificial Intelligence: Basware’s Eric Wilson Makes the Case

Spend Matters’ digital pages are no strangers to coverage of big data and artificial intelligence as they pertain to procurement over the past couple years. But while the exact degree of interplay between the two may be up for debate, what’s not is that data and AI are still the hot topic of the moment. Eric Wilson, vice president of P2P at Basware, will be taking up that very topic at an upcoming conference this week, and we got the chance to catch up with Wilson for his point of view on two of the biggest buzz-phrases in digital technology.

Q&A With Graham Wright: The Tools IBM Procurement Is Using and Why

tech

In Part 1 of our interview chat with Graham Wright, IBM’s vice president of global procurement and IBM procurement services, we had just gotten down to brass tacks on what he considers to be the hallmarks of procurement transformation for organizations today. (ICYMI, catch up on Part 1 here.) Wright was also — for once — back at home in the U.K., which is not a regular occurrence lately. However, upon a minor run-in with a hotel room doorway, he’s had to take it a bit easy. Luckily we caught up with him post-recovery. Here’s the second part of our conversation.

Q&A With Graham Wright, IBM’s VP of Global Procurement: It’s Not the 80s Anymore

When the term “global” is in your title, chances are you’re going to be a jet-setter. That’s indeed the case for IBM’s Vice President of Global Procurement and IBM Procurement Services Graham Wright, who is based in the U.K. and has been ping-ponging around the planet on behalf of the Global 100 giant for the last several years. Between meeting with clients and presenting at conferences, Wright made some time to catch up with Spend Matters about how he and IBM see the state of procurement technology within our increasingly digitalized business ecosystem.

Post-Hurricane Harvey, 3 Supply Chain Risk Mitigation Strategies to Keep in Mind

It’s a simple yet excruciating irony that in a natural disaster that dumps more than 50 inches of rain on a single region, water becomes widely unavailable for consumption — for either people to drink or factories to function — even as it floods scores of neighborhoods. So it’s no surprise that water, and the havoc it continues to wreak in Houston and other areas, is central to the issue of supply chain risk management in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Spend Matters has been covering the hurricane (see related stories below), which had been downgraded to a tropical storm soon after, and the disaster spurred a recent webinar presented by Resilinc, a supply chain resiliency solutions provider.