The more time I spend in and around technology companies, the more I am struck by the dichotomy of vendors that tend to fall into two camps regarding R&D and technology investment. To wit, there are those that spend nearly all their time listening to customers to guide investment decisions and there are those that take the opposite approach by focusing on disruptive innovation that they believe customers will want to consume.
Category Archives: Conferences
When building out broad capabilities, vendors often fail to play to their core strengths across the range of capabilities on offer. Zycus is hoping not to make the same mistake as it incorporates capabilities from the artificial intelligence and auto-classification technology that it pioneered in procurement going back well over a decade ago in the spend classification area. Leveraging and extending these capabilities, Zycus is building natural language capability into procurement-centric search. Think of it as Siri for corporate procurement.
Rework should be a supplier’s middle name. In today’s procurement technology world, suppliers are expected to log into multiple portals to check on invoice status, inquire about payments, register their interest in working with organizations, collaborate around performance management and development initiatives and more. Through both its application and supplier network vision, Zycus is hoping to tackle some of these inefficiencies today by providing a common portal for suppliers to work with buying organizations.
On Oct. 15 and 16, the New Jersey affiliate of the Institute of Supply Management will hold its seventh annual Women & Leadership Conference, a unique event focusing on women in the supply chain and procurement industry and featuring presentations by female corporate and procurement leaders. The conference will discuss the underrepresentation of women in senior leadership positions as well as feature presentations on topics such as salary negotiation and a panel discussion on professional and personal advancement.
Suite is the word of the day at Zycus Horizon 2015. As Aatish Dedhia, Zycus’ CEO, put it earlier today during his keynote, the “integration of operational and strategic procurement is critical.” Zycus’ suite vision is a bit different from competitors that tend to emphasize modular strengths. In contrast, Zycus emphasizes integration over the sum of the parts and the underlying stack-level innovations that tie it together in new ways.
Earlier Monday morning, Zycus CEO Aatish Dedhia shared his firm’s vision and product roadmap in a speech that could have been taken in one of two ways by the audience. On the one hand, Aatish came off as highly conservative, offering almost a “fast follower” perspective on building out his firm’s suite of products on a modular basis that sounds identical to peers. But on the other hand, Aatish dove into the core of Zycus’ technology and innovation outside of simply modular areas by showing the “how” and not just the “what.”
Early this morning, I landed in Atlanta, on route to the Zycus Horizon event, held at a resort in Reynolds Plantation, Georgia, outside of the city. Horizon is Zycus’ annual customer event, and the majority of speakers are Zycus customers, using everything from Zycus’ original spend classification solution to its modern modular source-to-pay suite. Zycus puts a tremendous amount into this event every year, and I’ve had the pleasure of attending it going back to the inaugural conference.
I stopped by eWorld, the biannual procurement event, in London, earlier today for a couple of hours to catch up with a range of faces, both old and new. I engaged a few firms that I had never heard of before in conversation, learning about new – and sometimes not-so-new – niches different providers are trying to fill in the market.
I have spoken at many conferences over the years, and people ask all the time what conferences to attend. The answer is always the same – it depends. A conference like Lendit can draw 2,500 people today, given the hysteria with all things fintech. Traditional lending conferences, however, struggle to get 1,000 at their annual events. I find some of the best conferences come when the material is focused and flows – they don’t try to cover the world. Instead, they come at it from a practitioner's point of view and minimize the number of consultants giving presentations.
The latter approach will be on display at Exchange Summit 2015, at which I’ve been invited to give one of the keynotes. Given the expectations and sophistication of the audience, the pressure will be on to deliver insights that matter.
Standardizing the Research and Delivery Process: Building a Procurement Market Intelligence Center of Excellence
Building a procurement market intelligence center of excellence (CoE) requires more than just hiring the right analyst resources and experts. It also requires a dedicated research model and approach. In the first installment of this series, we covered many of the core elements of functional definition and skills required for success among team members when considering how to build a market intelligence center of excellence. Today, we turn our attention to the market intelligence and research delivery process. And if you're looking for metrics to measure and guide a procurement CoE – in market intelligence efforts and beyond – be sure to take the ISM/Spend Matters snap poll on supply management metrics.
Market intelligence should be a core competency of procurement organizations. Yet far too many companies and public sector organizations either leave market intelligence to individual buyers and category managers to manage informally or outsource aspects of the function to a third party without sufficient internal understanding or investment to leverage the information that comes back. Last week, at the Institute for Supply Management’s Metrics and Analytics Symposium in Philadelphia, Grace Zacharek, DuPont’s global market intelligence team leader, gave a great talk on all the steps involved in building a global market intelligence function for procurement. No doubt some of her advice is best aimed at larger companies, but much of it is extensible even to larger middle market companies that want to develop a proactive understanding to drive market intelligence centered on suppliers, supply markets and categories.
On Thursday at the Institute for Supply Management Metrics conference, in Philadelphia, Camille Batiste, vice president of sourcing operations and compliance at Honeywell, gave an engaging talk on procurement measurement and metrics. At Honeywell, her organization, sourcing and procurement, also owns operational excellence, which manages reporting as part of its charter. While much of the talk engaged the audience in an interactive manner, Batiste also shared both historical and current metrics she recommends for using to measure impact of procurement on the organization. Historical metrics include many focused on delivering costs savings. But there are also more valuable metrics procurement can deploy, Batiste argues, that can help tie its success directly to business success.