Category Archives: Commentary

Strategic Sourcing and Driving Spending with Small Businesses Don’t Have to be in Conflict

- September 2, 2014 2:28 AM | Categories: Commentary, Strategic Sourcing, Supplier Management

Regardless of whether it’s public or private sector, I would argue that the basics of strategic sourcing (i.e., aggregate and consolidate spending with fewer suppliers to create leverage in negotiations and more strategic relationships overall) are in conflict with the drive to encourage supplier diversity. But they don’t have to be. Here’s why: strategic sourcing does not only have to focus on demand aggregation and sourcing strategies based on driving down price with tier one suppliers.

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Marking Labor Day with a Summary of Labor-Related News from 2014

- September 1, 2014 9:42 AM | Categories: Commentary

Bratislava In the 120 years that Labor Day has been a federal holiday, it has morphed from a day celebrating the blue-collar working class to a handy if inaccurate marker of the end of summer. As for Spend Matters, instead of the usual programming, here is a run-down of significant news relating to labor from this year.

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Comments from Readers: Air Canada’s Friends and Foes

- August 29, 2014 10:30 AM | Categories: Commentary

plane A week ago, Spend Matters' Jason Busch wrote a rant about Air Canada Rouge after traveling on the airline’s discount service on his way back from Italy. He later shared some pictures from his flight, which showed gum stuck to the plane’s carpeted floor, a messy lavatory, and grime, food particles, and even hairs (eww) in nooks and crannies of the plane. Needless to say, this post garnered a lot of comments from our readers - some thanking Jason for the warning, others defending Air Canada. Here’s a review of the feedback we received in this edition of our Comments from Readers column. Read on to see what people had to say.

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Prediction: USA 2020 – Will We Have Any Major Corporations Left?

- August 29, 2014 6:30 AM | Categories: Commentary, Friday Rant, Innovation, Outsourcing

Maybe it’s not so much a question of “will we,” but should we have any major corporations left in the United States come the start of the next decade? I’m speaking of corporations headquartered in the country, that is.

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Purchases: Don’t Take Supplier Ethics Too Seriously, Let Them Buy You a Cup of Coffee

- August 29, 2014 2:00 AM | Categories: Commentary, Friday Rant, Supplier Collaboration

In my years of researching and assessing sourcing sophistication and approaches inside procurement organizations from around the globe, I’ve noticed there’s a universal bent – except perhaps in the most corrupt developing markets – to begin to discourage biases to/for one supplier or another in the sourcing process at the early stages of procurement maturity (after, let’s say, a base “stage zero”).

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Beware Ariba’s Patent Treasure Chest (Part 6): Dynamic Data Access and Storage

In Part 6 of this Spend Matters Plus series on Ariba's patent portfolio, Thomas Kase (VP of research) looks at a patent that, interestingly enough, a former Procuri colleague of his (David Woods, a talented data base analyst with an insatiable appetite for coffee) has his name on. Note that this particular patent predates Ariba. It came from Procuri and from a different platform and development environment than what Ariba uses. So it’s not indicative of Ariba’s current solution or technical prowess, and David, the creator, has since moved on to other opportunities. The patent has to do with dynamic data access and storage. Read on for the layman's explanation of what the patent covers and its impact.

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Air Canada Rouge — A Pictorial Guide to An Airline That Needs Some Deep Cleaning

- August 25, 2014 10:27 AM | Categories: Commentary, Friday Rant, Travel

Last week, I provided a business and personal travel review about a recent transatlantic trip on Air Canada Rouge — Air Canada’s “discount” airline-within-an-airline. After hearing from a number of people who have also “been rouged” — a new verb which I might define as “thinking that you are flying Air Canada when you are really flying a completely different airline that looks for the oldest, most inexpensive planes to fly and then only partially updates them" — I thought I’d shared some pictures from my recent trip. Enjoy the visual tour.

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Rant: On Corporate Inversion

- August 22, 2014 2:24 PM | Categories: Commentary, Friday Rant, Industry News

AbbVie's $55-billion bid for UK drug maker Shire was approved, providing yet another footnote in the history of corporate inversion on the part of US companies mainly looking to avoid corporate taxes. The combined firm will move to UK, saving upwards of $8 billion in US corporate taxes by some estimates. While such a move certainly rubs policy makers the wrong way, in reality isn't this a perfect case study in the free market economy?

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Beware Ariba’s Patent Treasure Chest (Part 5): Analysis of a Recently Awarded Patent

Has Ariba built a solid brick wall of IP gold or is it all just so much legal papier-mâché to scare us off? Huff and puff – will it hold? If so, will it be used to drive other solution providers into the wall? Back in May 2012, when the acquisition took place, we didn’t think SAP bought Ariba for their technology. Well, we still don’t think so, and we went on record stating that it was really for their network approach – it obviously can’t hurt if you can find a model to propel yourself to SaaS multiplier heights.

In Part 5 of this multi-part Spend Matters Plus series on Ariba’s patent portfolio, Thomas Kase (VP of research) will look at one of Ariba’s most recent patents, one that was awarded just two weeks ago. This patent covers a way to use structured content from another site (i.e. a supplier of something) in another solution (e.g. e-procurement solution – something with a supplier network perhaps) to avoid stale content.

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Best of Spend Matters: Incendiary Tidbits

- August 19, 2014 6:15 AM | Categories: Commentary

Unlike “general news” or “technology,” the Incendiary Tidbits tag gives editors some power to decide what is incendiary. As the tag is (self-aware) hyperbole, posts are categorized under it as long as they are incendiary in relation to other Spend Matters posts. Some of these posts aren’t even tidbits; some are in fact rather long. As for the degree of overlap with Friday rants, the relationship should look like a Venn diagram. So which posts made "Best Of"? Read on!

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Beware Ariba’s Patent Treasure Chest (Part 4): Supplier Approval and Activation in a Network

One of the primary motivations behind SAP buying Ariba was its network approach model. It was theoretically a business model that could deliver scale benefits to participants (and Ariba shareholders) beyond standard software or SaaS applications. There were numerous archetypes for the Ariba Supplier Network. Spend Matters analysis suggests Ariba was a fast follower, copying Commerce One (which had its own stash of patents that was eventually acquired by Perfect Commerce and Novell) and others in building out such a model. Yet Ariba quickly scaled its own IP and approaches in the area of supplier enablement and connectivity. In Part 4 of this Spend Matters Plus series on Ariba’s patent portfolio, VP of Research Thomas Kase considers Ariba’s patent for supplier approval and activation in a supplier network (essentially a one-to-many supplier network approach).

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The Politics of Performance Analysis

- August 12, 2014 2:53 PM | Categories: Commentary, Guest Post

Without necessarily our being aware of it, technology is empowering the people like never before. In procurement, this all kicked off with a vengeance when buyers and sellers started peer reviews on auction sites. Now, a growing number of us are engaged in systematic supply chain performance analysis, even if we’ve never heard of such a thing. Companies and personalities and memes are proliferating and growing through electronic approvals and increasingly there is nowhere to hide for poor-performing service providers.

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