The Conferences Category

3 Insights for Procurement from aPriori’s Cost Insight Conference

Spending the last 24 hours surrounded by design and cost engineers has taught me quite a bit about operations beyond procurement and supply chain management. Those in the buying and sourcing profession often spend a lot of time thinking about cost, and they sometimes get a bad rap for it. But based on my discussions with attendees, it’s clear to me that procurement is far from the only organizational unit worried about helping revenue get to the bottom line.

Yet procurement struggles with its image: it’s slow, it’s a roadblock to progress, it’s not knowledgeable enough to be valuable in new product development. The practitioners in attendance at Cost Insight, however, have worked doggedly to change perceptions such as these at their firms — to great success, in many cases. Here are three insights for procurement I’ve gleaned from various sessions.

Why Product Cost Management is (Finally) Gaining Acceptance with Global Manufacturers

The background music at this morning’s introductory session to aPriori’s Cost Insight conference said it all: “Never get fooled again.”

Manufacturers big and small waste time and money iterating on product designs, and the gap between “should cost” models and real total cost of ownership (TCO) is known to many procurement groups. But a growing openness to product cost management processes and tools, aPriori says, should end this confusion once and for all.

That’s not just the provider’s narrative either. With 65 companies in attendance this year at Cost Insight, the desire for better platforms for new product development, cost management and supplier collaboration is clear.

Contract Management: Yes, You Do Need A Solution (and Here’s Why)

contract

Pierre Mitchell and I recently attended Icertis’ customer advisory board meeting in Seattle, where Pierre spoke about trends in the contract lifecycle management (CLM) solution space. Pierre’s speech quickly turned into a lively interactive session, one I figured readers of Spend Matters would want to listen in on. After Pierre first stressed the foundational concepts of contract management in procurement, we dug into when companies hit the “breaking point” that caused them to adopt a CLM solution.

IQN’s Chicago Community Event Panel on SOW and Services: There’s Gold in Them There Hills

Chicago

I recently joined an IQN Community Event as a panel discussion participant in the Windy City (where those who stayed on a day longer found themselves experiencing pouring rain and gale force winds). Now, flying back home to Northern California — the locus of the great American gold rush and since then many wildfires — I am compelled to memorialize the event by adding a few entries in my captain’s log.

Zycus Horizon Dispatch: Partnerships and Partner Ecosystems Matter

Tradeshift Baiwang

A subtle shift took place at Zycus Horizon this year compared with past events. Partners started to do more than show up, instead engaging with both the Zycus team and customers. Zycus has a huge opportunity to increase its customer base and defend its existing customer fort from an increasing number of competitors by building out a partner ecosystem that can expand the value of its own solutions. Yet it has been slow to the game to date — a significant tactical mistake, in our view.

Zycus Horizon Dispatch: Bad Seinfeld References Meet New Procurement Tech “Ingredients” (Including Blockchain)

food

Yesterday at Zycus Horizon, I gave a talk to a small breakout group titled “Cooking in a New Source-To-Pay Kitchen.” The topic gave me carte blanche to essentially bring up trends and ideas shaping the future of procurement and combine these with some bad references from my favorite Seinfeld episodes (for example, imagine the equivalent of procurement saying “no soup for you” to stakeholders that it would rather avoid engaging). Here are the five core cooking ingredients for new procurement dishes, according to yours truly.

Zycus Horizon Dispatch: ‘Pseudo’ Suites Do Not Lead to Sweet Adoption Levels

VMS

During his strategy and keynote talk Monday at Zycus Horizon, CEO and Founder Aatish Dedhia dropped one of the more consistent, direct and humorous phrases he has ever used to describe what Zycus is not doing: pursuing the development of a “pseudo procurement technology suite.” For Dedhia, a suite is about breadth, depth and, ultimately, adoption levels. And there’s nothing “pseudo” about that. I think.

Zycus Horizon Dispatch: Head West, Young Vendor (But Not Too Far West)!

I touched down late last night to Zycus Horizon (along with my colleague Pierre Mitchell), the procurement suite vendor’s annual customer (and prospect) conference. The event is truly managed from the heart – the Zycus team is so committed to the details (and running it themselves), from being on top of every aspect of speaker planning and scheduling to orchestrating a great set of morning sessions, including one of the best outside keynotes I’ve heard in recent years (Space Shuttle Captain, Mark Kelly). But as impressive as Mark was, Zycus’ founder and CEO Aatish Dedhia has come such a long way as a leader and voice over the years at the helm of Zycus. Aatish is an engineer and strategist at heart, who gets more comfortable every year with not only explaining Zycus’ position in the market, but offering a truly personal view of why his firm is making investments in key areas and why.

BravoConnect Dispatch: Where Configuration and Data/Analytics Architecture Converge

One of BravoSolution’s mantras in North America in recent years has been: get out of the professional services business.
Now, this is not entirely true – as a cloud-based solutions provider, there’s an inevitable amount of configuration associated with deployments (and source-to-contract vendors tend to do this in-house as opposed to with consulting partners). But what’s curious is that one aspect of professional services BravoSolution has not given up is one that separates it out from many other providers we’ve recently examined...

BravoConnect Dispatch: The Components of Future Procurement Technology Suites

I’ve known Jim Wetekamp, BravoSolution’s CEO, for well over a decade now. Before he got too busy and before I was able to surround myself with an analyst team far more savvy than me, Jim was one of my “go-to” folks to understand the latest around procurement products and ideas (and for virtual sniff tests) back when I was getting started with Spend Matters and Azul Partners. I previously thought of Jim as someone who was not only close to products, but close to both current and emerging customer needs. Now that he’s running the show at BravoSolution, Jim is as close to his firm’s solution strategy as ever. Here are 5 highlights from his talk at BravoConnect earlier today.