The E-Sourcing Category

What You Should Expect from Best-in-Class E-Sourcing User Experience and Functionality (Part 2) [PRO]

E-sourcing technology is becoming increasingly defined by the user experience as much as the underlying functional and technical capability. But in the future — and we see this trend starting already with best-in-class capabilities — the combination of the user experience (i.e., design) and underlying technology solution components and feature/function capabilities will become increasingly intertwined and inseparable. This Spend Matters PRO series examines the intersection of what a best-in-class user experience and functionality capability means for e-sourcing solutions today and tomorrow.

In Part 1 of this series, we explored what capabilities and experience procurement organizations should expect from best-in-class guided event creation, clutter-free views and simplified template creation and management within e-sourcing solutions. In this installment, we turn our attention to how the world of best-in-class user experiences and underlying functional capability are coming together to support bulk upload/attachment association, starting bid population, bid validation and verification and procurement/supplier delegation for strategic sourcing, category management and auction/negotiation enablement. These are capabilities that buyers of these solutions should evaluate vendors on based on demonstrated capabilities, approach and planned releases, and they are capabilities that technology providers should continually strive to enhance.

What You Should Expect from Best-in-Class E-Sourcing User Experience and Functionality [PRO]

E-sourcing technologies have been around for two decades now. The authors have played various roles over the years in helping architect them, design them, configure them, select them and use them. Yet while today e-sourcing should be a mature and functionally rich technology out of the box, the reality is that there are still a number of offerings that don't have some of the most basic features you would have expected some years ago.

In contrast, other offerings continue to push the envelope in various areas of what the product can offer. In this two-part Spend Matters PRO brief, we outline what specific elements you should expect from best-in-class e-sourcing user experience and functional components. In the first installment, we cover how best-in-class solution designs feature guided event creation, clutter-free views and simplified template creation and management. As will soon become clear, it is impossible to separate a best-in-class user experience from underlying functional capability in many areas of strategic sourcing technology — the two are becoming increasingly yoked. Form following function. Or function following form. You decide!

Tell the CEO: Strategic Sourcing and Procurement’s Role in Business Success

According to a new report from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, the role procurement and sourcing play in defending organizational cybersecurity is but one sign that the function has ceased to be simply a back-office operation. And yet, a previous HBR Analytic Services survey of 376 senior executives found that companies are not much inclined to devote advanced technological resources to non-customer-facing functions, including procurement and sourcing.

Wednesday, May 31. Downtown Chicago. Sourcing, AI and Optimization.

I rarely pimp things I'm participating in, but I'm really excited to go back to my FreeMarkets roots tomorrow (May 31) at this breakfast and morning session in Chicago on the future of strategic sourcing and e-sourcing. The event is free, and it’s open to procurement practitioners and consultants.

Keelvar is hosting the event and the topic is about the massive transformation (thanks to artificial intelligence [AI], robotics, optimization and more) starting to take shape in strategic sourcing and e-sourcing. Alan Holland (Keelvar) and Josh Brogan (A.T. Kearney) are speaking as well.

IBM Emptoris and SAP Ariba Partnership: First Take Customer Analysis [PRO]

Spend Matters provided initial coverage Wednesday of the SAP Ariba and IBM Emptoris partnership. We also offered a personal essay, a eulogy to Emptoris. This Spend Matters PRO First Take provides an analysis and recommendations for IBM Emptoris customers, including how they should think about an overall migration to a third-party solution as well as the role of IBM and its professional services organization as an advisor in the transition.

This brief also provides insight into comparable SAP Ariba solutions to those that Emptoris delivers, as well as comprehensive shortlists of vendors in the spend analytics, sourcing, contract management and supplier management areas in a segmented frameworks for each, including SAP Ariba (e.g., suite based, best of breed, specialization, industry focus, etc.).

Finally, this PRO analysis offers insight into artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive applications that SAP Ariba and IBM Emptoris may develop together by combining the Leonardo (SAP) and Watson (IBM) AI engines, as well as Spend Matters insights and research into different AI use cases applied to different disciplines within procurement, including sourcing and contract management.

Emptoris: A Eulogy for a Great Company

When the dust settles from the death of Emptoris, many people will quickly forget the debt of gratitude we owe to its founders, managers, software developers and various owners over its many years. Perhaps more than any other company from the first generation of procurement technology firms, Emptoris had a greater impact on the sector than even, I would argue, FreeMarkets, my former employer, or Ariba, for that matter. While others on the Spend Matters team will no doubt have additional comments about Emptoris on a personal level, I wanted to be the first to put some words to paper this morning.

IBM to Sunset Emptoris, Transition Customers to SAP Ariba as Part of Broader Partnership Agreement

SAP Ariba and IBM Emptoris announced this morning at Sapphire 2017 that they were creating a strategic partnership. The deal represents a significant commitment by both organizations that spans applications, cognitive collaboration (SAP Leonardo and IBM Watson) and professional services. The combination of efforts is not, however, an acquisition of IBM Emptoris by SAP Ariba, which had been a rumor in the market for a number of weeks. Earlier today, I had the chance to speak to Alex Atzberger, president of SAP Ariba, and Michael O’Leary, director of procurement solutions and supply chain insights at IBM Watson Customer Engagement, to learn more about the partnership.

3 Reasons Why E-Sourcing Providers Have Failed Procurement

Gigster

Many procurement practitioners know the basic components and capabilities of an e-sourcing solution. Yet getting users to fully adopt e-sourcing still remains a perennial challenge in procurement organizations large and small. Many organizations are using their e-sourcing platform on only 25% of applicable events, according to one CIPS study. How can this be, when the technology and purported benefits are anything but new? For several reasons, the provider community at large has failed procurement when it comes to designing sourcing solutions. Here are three reasons why they’ve gone astray — and how to fix it.

Getting the Most from Sourcing Optimization (Part 1): Lessons From Leaders [PRO]

Global Risk Management Solutions (GRMS)

The combination of Trade Extensions and Coupa may seem a curious one for those unfamiliar with either organization, and may even raise questions for those who know both. As Trade Extensions’ recent customer event showed (see our live coverage here, here and here), the sourcing optimization specialist and its customers continue to push the limits of what is possible with e-sourcing. In contrast, procurement organizations that gravitate to Coupa — even highly sophisticated ones — tend to do so because they want to avoid complexity for their users and make the transactional buying process as simple as possible, all the while guiding users to make the best decisions for the business.

This two-part PRO research note provides additional perspective from Trade Extensions’ customer event on how this spectrum of complexity and simplicity may not be incongruous in the future; rather, sourcing optimization could serve as a better mousetrap to identify complexity, deconstruct it and ultimately redefine procurement’s role in the business by changing how the function is conceived. But before that can happen, there’s a more important topic address: the fact that most firms using Trade Extensions (and other sourcing optimization technologies) have only begun to scratch the surface of embracing complexity — let alone containing, controlling, distilling and simplifying it.

Part 1 of this series explores how an organization can get the most from sourcing optimization once it has signed up for it, which is easier said than done. We explore three areas: selecting the right users and training them effectively to use optimization, leveraging a center of excellence (CoE) to scale efforts and thinking big (i.e., beyond category-driven events alone). Spend Matters would like to thank all of the conference attendees and Trade Extensions for sharing these ideas.

Trade Extensions Dispatch: Is The Supply Chain Ready to Be Defined by Sourcing?

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Trade Extensions sells the most advanced sourcing optimization technology that Spend Matters has encountered on the market today (read our research, linked below, if you want to understand why). It’s capable of tackling extremely complex multitier sourcing challenges. This is one of the reasons Coupa is buying it. Yet today, most customers are just scratching the surface of what the tool can enable in the majority of their sourcing events (if not all).

Trade Extensions: Redefining E-Sourcing (Coupa and Beyond)

There are only a few events left that focus primarily on strategic sourcing over broader procurement topics. And there are fewer still at which you can learn something new in every presentation. Trade Extensions customer events have always done just that. The Spend Matters team has attended half a dozen or more of these events over the years. Earlier today I continued the tradition, touching down in Atlanta to attend “Redefining E-Sourcing,” Trade Extensions’ U.S. customer event, which so far has lived up to its name, albeit with a current chapter in the history of the provider's story coming to an end with its acquisition by Coupa -- and a new one about to begin.

Jaggaer Beyond the Rebrand: Building an Integrated Procurement Suite and Industry-Specific Capabilities

Earlier in the year, Jaggaer (formerly SciQuest) announced a new release Gazelle (17.1), which marked the largest set of enhancements to the solution set since Accel KKR’s acquisition of the company and the subsequent changing of the product development and management guard at the vendor. While the Spend Matters team is looking forward to getting a full deep dive of the latest product releases as part of our SolutionMapSM efforts in the coming weeks, we recently spent time with Jaggaer to understand some of the product philosophies and investments the new team is embracing, as well as to take a cursory look at some of the suite's new capabilities and new stack-level investments