Author Archives: Tom Finn



Back in Coastal Georgia with the Evacuation Blues Again

Hurricane Matthew and Irma. Two evacuations in one year have proven more than enough for me (and I’m hearing there may be yet another one on the way). In both cases I lost more than a week of my life. Whether holed-up with friends hooked on reality TV or moving between cheap motels with my ill-mannered pets, it doesn’t make much difference: it’s a totally depressing scene that has moved me to action. I ain’t going nowhere next time, no how.

Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) — Low-Hanging Fruit

contract

I’ll never forget the reaction of my sales manager when I brought him news of my first significant piece of business. “Congratulations, Tom, but you need to know that the real sales process begins after you get the P.O.!” The review and preparation of contracts central to any business relationship involves a myriad of complexities that rely on legal expertise and oversight. All of those meetings, followed by the work to author “the agreement,” require detailed and sophisticated legal understanding of the applicable laws. Is this still the case? For one-off, special arrangements, there’s no question about it. But for the vast majority of supplier contracts, the effort has been reduced to an increasingly obvious and unnecessary waste of time.

Ubering After Dark — in Wisconsin

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines heavy drinking as 15 or more drinks for men and eight or more for women on a weekly basis. On average, 18% of American adults fall into this category, but the percentage is over 25% in Wisconsin. Some experts will tell you that the Germanic and Scandinavian ancestries of Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota have something to do with it. And others will say that it’s the dreary weather.

Millennials Will Transform Procurement — Not By War, But Attrition

Although barely dry, all that ink covering 2017’s “procurement trends and predictions” will soon give way to a conspicuous rehash of the same stuff for next year. You can set your watch on it. Apparently, some things never get old (e.g., risk, collaboration, transparency, finance and globalization). So with four months left to go, I figured I’d put my safest, long-term prediction on the table. Driven by the certainty of death, it’s an absolute lock.

Consumer Spending and Confidence are Up — Evidence of Trust?

This past week’s retail numbers were the best in a long while. A wave of beat-the-street earnings reports have poured in, as it appears the subdued level of consumer spending in early 2017 has run its course. And surprisingly, for the first time in recent polling memory, the majority of surveyed households across the U.S. are expressing a positive view of their financial health — perhaps the best indicator that consumer spending will continue to power an expanding economy.

Oracle Procurement Cloud: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Competitive Analysis & Recommendations

tech

With planned release enhancements in the coming year, Oracle Procurement Cloud could become the 80% headache (today it is the 70%) for procurement suite providers and even more specialized competitors. Already, Oracle Procurement Cloud not only provides newcomers to spend management an opportunity to build a strong procurement foundation, but for companies that have swung and missed (for whatever reason) in their attempts to establish such a baseline, Oracle brings a lot to the table and will likely surprise those that had previously looked at earlier releases or other Oracle procurement applications.

This third and final installment of our Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot provides a SWOT analysis of Oracle Procurement Cloud, as well as a segmentation and comparison of competitors. It also includes a recommended shortlist of candidates that could serve as alternative vendors to Oracle for source-to-pay (S2P) suites, procure-to-pay (P2P) suites and e-sourcing. Finally, we conclude with a summary analysis and recommendations for organizations considering Oracle Procurement Cloud.

Driving Compliance in Healthcare: Where Good Pitching Still Seems to Beat Great Hitting

Since the beginning of time (it seems), industry-focused supply chain management application vendors have rushed to fill ERP solution gaps. The market’s early-to-mid-stage technology adopters have invested in these “best in breed” solutions and realized the value, accepting certain workarounds, often related to data integration. Despite the staggeringly complex and ongoing problems of core hospital enterprise management, the ERP vendors are already moving into additional application spaces, as their healthcare customers, based on their efforts, are finally getting connected.

Oracle Procurement Cloud: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses

Oracle Procurement Cloud is a procurement technology suite that is targeted primarily at three key market segments. First, net new Oracle ERP Cloud customers who are looking to add procurement suite functionality. Second are those organizations that are current Oracle eBusiness Suite, PeopleSoft or JD Edwards ERP customers that may migrate to the cloud for their core financial system. And third are those customers with “installed” Oracle solutions for procurement (Oracle eBusiness Suite Procurement, PeopleSoft SRM, etc.), although these organizations may or may not (yet) be a fit for Oracle Procurement Cloud based on organizational requirements, including the degree of customization done to previous solutions.

Regardless, in many cases, Oracle customers considering Procurement Could will not have purchased a full source-to-pay (S2P) or procure-to-pay (P2P) suite from third-party vendors in the past, although they may have had experience with individual modules and solutions from Oracle procurement competitors. But in certain cases, Oracle customers have replaced suite capability from providers such as SAP Ariba and Coupa.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Oracle Procurement Cloud’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the solution. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering Oracle. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Oracle Procurement Cloud: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview

You can almost set your watch on it. When ERP vendors decide to enter a particular solution market, impassioned arguments debating the tradeoffs of their approach versus the perceived benefits of those taken by specialized application vendors turn up the volume on a regular basis. “To ERP or not ERP,” that is the question. And while Oracle’s Procurement Cloud has not yet settled this debate, the offering will continue to draw the attention of many companies as well as Oracle’s installed base during their respective source-to-pay (S2P) technology evaluation processes, especially as Oracle’s solutions continue to improve and mature in the area and take their place as cloud-native solutions, turning entirely away from the ERP installed software legacy.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Oracle Procurement Cloud and whether its capabilities are a fit for their needs. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and a detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Oracle Procurement Cloud. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Amazon’s Move into Healthcare: Managing Tail Spend or Redefining its Last Mile?

healthcare

Everyone is consumed with Amazon’s widely reported “move” into healthcare. But what does that mean? While the prevailing wisdom suggests that Amazon has an opportunity to displace the group purchasing organizations (GPOs) and major distributors that dominate care provider supply chains, even if that’s true, is that Amazon’s endgame — managing healthcare’s tail spend?

From MABD to OTIF: Wal-Mart’s Latest Supply Chain Imperative

From must arrive by date (MABD) to on time in full (OTIF), Wal-Mart’s latest delivery standard is not just another supplier scoring metric. It’s actually a dynamic reporting mechanism that could become one of the best tools for measuring inventory flow ever conceived — at least, that’s what logistics experts and various consultancies with a compliance training interest are saying.

The Role of Logistics in Reviving Retail Markets

Everybody knows about “bricks and clicks” in the supply chain, but I have a question: Can the clicks save the bricks for those who’ve been getting Amazoned? In other words, does an increasingly fragmented and tech-enabled market for logistics services have the right “stuff” — the information-based mortar to put traditional retail’s bricks back together? While Amazon’s vertical integration has experts predicting a knockout blow to competitors, across the supply chain the industry’s largest players are getting even larger and they’re learning how to counterpunch.

Amazon has single-handedly accelerated the evolution of logistics from a retail and distribution standpoint. But Wal-Mart is no slouch either, even if it’s generally a step behind. Together, their demand and requirements for ever-increasing service levels have quickly reshaped the logistics services landscape, redefining what’s possible not only for their own businesses but for all businesses across industry. Yet the mega players aren’t just in the retail end of the supply chain. Contract manufacturers are going big and going digital (e.g., Flex’s foray into incubating supply chain startups like Elementumand Jabil, too). Carriers are also supersized, with FedEx and UPS are expanding their digital capabilities, and DHL is doing some extremely innovative work in supply risk management that we’ll be featuring soon in an upcoming PRO series. The logistics market is a very interesting ecosystem for the broader supply chain because logistics is like the circulatory system in an animal — and it’s critical to support all the animals big and small, not just the gorillas.