The Category Management Category

Why It’s Important for Logistic Category Managers to Be the Gateway to Emerging Disruptive Technologies in the Marketplace


Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Rodrigo Sánchez, consultant in strategy and operations management at GEP.

Procurement strategies aim to identify the service providers that can offer the products and services an organization requires at the most competitive prices. At the same time, they also need to meet the requirements established by the different departments across the company. Logistics, however, defines the strategy that will allow companies to move raw materials into manufacturing plants and distribute its finished goods across its supply chain. And all of this aims to be cost efficient. So how is it possible for procurement to identify additional opportunities for logistics, since it does not own the logistics strategy?

ICYMI: Tackling the Complex, Multifaceted “Hairy Beast” of Risk Management


Last Friday, Spend Matters Founder Jason Busch and Chief Research Officer Pierre Mitchell teamed up to present the webinar Risk and Compliance Management: Embedding Risk Management in Procurement and Supply Chain. Busch and Mitchell began with a segmentation of the types of supplier and supply chain risk and compliance management technologies out there, before moving into the topics of how to embed these technologies throughout your procurement and supply chain functions. They discussed the best ways to create linkages with other areas of procurement technologies, as well as how to create a procurement culture that is risk-aware.

Category Management Survey and Report: Groundbreaking Results and Webinar Next Week

category management

Consultancy Future Purchasing completed late last year the largest category management survey of its kind ever attempted (as far as we know). With more than 300 respondents from a range of sectors and countries, the results provide much fascinating material to help understand just what differentiates the best exponents of “CatMan” from the pack. And if you have any interest in the topic, as a category manager or a procurement leader looking to improve performance, or indeed as a less mature organization in the field, we are confident you will get something useful out of our upcoming webinar next Tuesday, March 14, at 11 a.m. EST.

Shining a Light on Dark Procurement: Getting Complex Categories Under Control

category management

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Brian Miller, vice president of services at Proactis.

“Dark” procurement, a new label for a well-known challenge in the discipline, is elevating concerns over purchasing waste and threatening efficient, optimized procurement. This is especially apparent in complex spend categories, particularly business services. Characterized by a lack of procurement awareness and process transparency in these categories, “dark” purchases leave organizations exposed to inefficiencies, greater costs and more risks.

Top 10 Ways to Radically Expand Category Management Value Creation [Plus+]

category management

In the never-ending quest to deliver more value, procurement organizations are trying to squeeze more savings and innovation out of spend categories. But, eventually the well starts to run dry, and when that happens, you need to either get more out of that well (fracking for spend savings, perhaps?), dig a deeper well, find another place to dig, or find another way to get the water.

My point? To improve category management, which we sometimes affectionately refer to as CatMan, you sometimes have to expand it or blow it up completely. Here are some ideas that I’ve seen work elsewhere that can hopefully give you some inspiration and raise your category management game.

BravoSolution: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Competitive and Summary Analysis [PRO]

BravoSolution, a procurement technology suite provider, has undergone significant transformation on the product level in recent years. It emerged from a replatforming effort in the source-to-contract area, after which it expanded the breadth of its suite by acquiring procure-to-pay from Puridiom (this followed a time of partnering with providers such as Basware and Verian). While Q1 2017 will see the introduction of BravoSolution’s first integrated source-to-pay suite under its own control, the more important differentiation in capabilities and approach arguably comes not from P2P but rather its core analytics, sourcing and supplier management capabilities (as well as integrated contract management).

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

BravoSolution: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses [PRO]


BravoSolution currently delivers a benchmark set of capabilities for procurement organizations in the “upstream” procurement suite area. It is not without weaknesses, (which we will also explore in this analysis), but BravoSolution stands apart in how it has constructed and how it delivers integrated suite components to support real-world procurement needs by country, industry and procurement organizational structure. With an emphasis on analytics, sourcing (core and advanced/optimization) and supplier management, BravoSolution provides one standard by which to measure the market from an upstream suite perspective. The provider also offers P2P capabilities (“downstream”) today and will be releasing its own solution, gained through acquisition, in 2017.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores BravoSolution’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. 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.

BravoSolution: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview [PRO]


The procurement technology and solutions market, inclusive of source-to-contract (S2C) and procure-to-pay (P2P) technology segments, is one with a wide degree of choice for customers. Procurement organizations that want to prioritize absolute capability in specific functional areas (modules) or technology innovation (e.g., platform as a service) can have their pick of providers. Organizations that want integrated suite capabilities also have an array of choices, and those that want to prioritize usability and adoption have choices, too.

But if you want a broader combination of these capabilities in a single provider, the choices narrow significantly, especially at the suite level. At the intersection of these requirements is where BravoSolution comes in. This source-to-contract provider that historically has partnered for procure-to-pay capabilities — and will soon have its own P2P solution based on initially integrating and enhancing and ultimately re-platforming Puridiom, a recently acquired asset — excels compared with its peers.

For procurement organizations looking for more advanced, single-suite source-to-contract functional capability from a single provider that includes integrated spend/ procurement analytics with core sourcing, sourcing optimization and both basic and advanced supplier management capabilities, BravoSolution is likely to be a strong shortlist candidate to consider. Today, BravoSolution has limited suite competitors that can closely or fully check the box in these areas. Even fewer still are the competitors that can demonstrate the value of a suite approach by showing the benefits at the intersection of these areas rather than just the modules themselves, while still covering all the other ground it does.

This Spend Matters PRO vendor snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help buying organizations make informed decisions about BravoSolution’s source-to-contract capability, as well as limited background on its procure-to-pay capabilities and roadmap. 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 BravoSolution in the procurement technology area. The rest of this multi-part research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses; competitor and SWOT analysis; user selection guides; and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

New Category Intelligence Coming to Spend Matters Plus


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.

UNSPSC Adoption at eir: Benefits & Lessons Learned


Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Anthony Ryan, head of procurement operations at eir, in which he discusses overhauling the telecommunications company’s commodity structure to the UNSPSC taxonomy.

Our spend analysis process was not easily extensible, difficult to administer and did not deliver the clearest picture of spend. The need for a standardized method to categorize items was obvious, moving to a structured taxonomy such as the United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC) presented a logical solution.

ISG SpendHQ: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary & Competitive Analysis [PRO]


What happens when you cross the expertise and tenacity of one of the largest independent sourcing and procurement consultancies in North America with a long-enough time horizon to construct a purpose-built analytics application for both their own purposes and to serve their customers with a highly competitive streak that says, “We can do this differently and better that software companies.” You get SpendHQ, that’s what. SpendHQ is a spend analysis solution designed by sourcing and spend experts that blends a SaaS-based deployment model with managed services. SpendHQ manages the entire process of implementation, data integration, spend normalization, classification and enrichment, as well as regular refreshes and the creation and maintenance of savings opportunity reports.

SpendHQ designed its spend analytics as a complete package for procurement organizations that want third-party oversight, guidance and deep insight into “what to do with the data.” The provider’s parent company, Insight Sourcing Group, has been doing spend analysis projects for almost 15 years. While perhaps the largest differentiator of SpendHQ comes from how it unearths different types of savings opportunities and spoon feeds this information to users, the solution is particularly suited for those organizations with a “portfolio” of spend that want to be able to roll-up and roll-down different views of data (e.g., private equity firms, holding company structures, distributed P&Ls).

This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering SpendHQ offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other similar or related vendors that companies may wish to shortlist. It also includes a user selection guide, user interface and user experience (UI/UX) analysis and summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provide a company and deep dive solution overview, a SWOT analysis, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider SpendHQ.

Market Dojo: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary & Competitive Analysis [PRO]

Sourcing suites today compete in a fragmented global marketplace with everyone from large ERPs to well-funded startups to bootstrapped ventures competing for a growing pie, consisting of Global 2000 organizations often going to market for a second or third time (or buying an alternative technology), as well as a growing number of middle market organizations adopting and digitizing strategic sourcing processes for the first time. Market Dojo is one of dozens of providers in this large market, but when you consider how many of its peers represent pure-play sourcing providers versus broader source-to-pay (S2P) and procure-to-pay (P2P) suites, the market thins considerably — and does so even more if you narrow the list of e-sourcing providers to those with a strong middle-market track record and orientation.

This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering Market Dojo offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other vendors that companies may wish to shortlist that compete in the same markets. It also includes a user selection guide, user interface and user experience (UI/UX) analysis and summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provide a company and deep dive solution overview, a SWOT analysis, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider Market Dojo.