The E-Sourcing Category

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

Future of Emptoris Within IBM Unclear Due to Recent Departures, Other Uncertainties

The Spend Matters team has learned the situation of the Emptoris business unit within IBM appears to be in flux, according to several sources. Spend Matters received a briefing from IBM in Q4 2016, during which time the company shared a number of 2016 enhancements Emptoris had made to its product suite focused on usability. Yet recent events suggest the overall future of Emptoris within the IBM portfolio remains uncertain. Spend Matters has spoken to numerous customers, partners and others close to the organization in recent days and has learned about significant changes that appear to be taking shape.

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

consultant

The market for strategic sourcing technology is highly competitive. Procurement organizations have many choices within a fragmented landscape. As Spend Matters observes in our 2017 report, Landscape Definition and Overview: Sourcing, Contracting and Supplier Management, procurement organizations can chose from four different classes of solution: procurement technology suites, which offer either source-to-contract enablement or broader source-to-pay capability; standalone sourcing solutions; direct materials-centric solutions; and sourcing optimization providers.

Within our market segmentation, Spend Matters classifies Serex, which offers a reverse auction solution, as offering technology that falls within a sub-segment of the standalone sourcing solution area.

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering Serex 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 Serex and offers provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides summary analysis and recommendations for companies considering the vendor. Part 1 provided an in-depth look at Serex as a firm and its specific solutions, and Part 2 gave a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses, as well as a review of the product’s user interface and user experience.

Serex: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses [PRO]

RFP

Procurement groups often emphasize different strategic sourcing technology requirements based on the needs of the organization. For some, capturing and automating a basic RFX process through the most easy-to-use technology is a top priority. For others, advanced bidding/auction format and highly detailed cost breakdown capabilities take center stage. Still for others, the most highly sought after capabilities are those that allow them to reimagine the strategic sourcing process entirely by fully considering both external (i.e., supplier, supply market and supply chain) and internal constraints. Yet other companies just want a reverse auction solution that maximizes the efficiency and speed of their teams for simple (“three bids in a box”) and complex (thousands of line items) bids alike. It is this latter procurement organizational profile that is likely to most appreciate the e-sourcing capability that Serex, a recent entrant into the procurement technology market, provides.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Serex’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider using as a core strategic sourcing technology. The first installment of our analysis provided a company and solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering Serex. Part 3 will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Serex: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview [PRO]

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Serex is a relatively new (and still nascent) entrant in the strategic sourcing technology market. Serex is one of over more than 30 vendors that Spend Matters tracks that offer capability in this area. However, it is not a new firm. Serex was founded in 1993 and began to focus on supporting CRM and marketing automation for customers as its core business. In fact, it developed strategic sourcing technology at the request of one of its sales/marketing automation clients, an organization that had tried more than a dozen different e-sourcing solutions and could not find one that met its needs. Serex took up the challenge to architect a new sourcing approach and its current solution, which addresses only part of the requirements of end-to-end of strategic sourcing technology today, offers a different take on enabling reverse auctions in a highly efficient manner for buyers and suppliers alike.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Sexex as a potential provider of sourcing technology capabilities. 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 Serex in the procurement technology area. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Finding Synergy in a Procurement Transformation: AGCO’s Partnership with SynerTrade

tractor

In 2012, AGCO stood at a crossroad. The agricultural equipment manufacturer faced stiff opposition from competitors, and knew that to extend its global reach, the company would need to transform the way it operated. The key to this transformation was a reimagined supply management function. The former AGCO purchasing organization ran a decentralized, regional and brand-oriented procurement model that had proven sufficient for those needs. But to become the operating company management envisioned, AGCO knew it needed to establish a single, global procurement organization, based on a global commodity management approach and setup, a strategic procurement philosophy and the technology platforms necessary for a streamlined supply chain.

Resolutions, E-Sourcing and You: How AGCO Stuck to its Transformation Goals

transformation

A few months into any new year, many people’s New Year’s resolutions start to unravel. Psychologists can offer numerous reasons why you have (yet again) failed to maintain that new diet, but when it comes down to it, there’s really one explanation: accountability. Whether you’re trying to cut carbs or make it to the gym, your chances of sticking to a new habit increase greatly if you don’t take on the challenge alone. In the business world, if you’re trying to get adoption of new approaches and tools, you may become dismayed when end users don’t adopt a new tool that you know will create value. In procurement, take the example of strategic sourcing. Many large organizations buy a new e-sourcing solution, but don’t get adoption. The reason? A shared tool doesn’t imply a shared commitment to continuous improvement.

Strategic Sourcing and E-Sourcing: Level 1 [Plus+]

Strategic sourcing does not just involve a five- or seven-step flowchart. Nor is it just a “leave behind” by consultants once they’ve helped your organization to identify savings. Rather, strategic sourcing is a process that maximizes the value of each purchase made by a company — at least in theory! And it’s one that, in our opinion, requires the support of a solid technology solution that in turn must support each step of the process.

Strategic sourcing does not come in a one flavor. In fact, in the introduction to this series, we suggested there are six different approaches to strategic sourcing. Starting with the foundation (Level 1) today, this multi-part research brief will delve into the six approaches to strategic sourcing and the requirements, technologies and checklists required to pursue sourcing on the right foot.

Graphically, a Level 1 sourcing platform may look something like this: As one can see from the above diagram, there are four primary requirements for a solution to support e-negotiation. Such a product may contain more capabilities, but it will generally contain at least these four (although very basic platforms, especially those embedded in suite-driven platforms, may not support the full extent of reverse auction capability). In this article, we will discuss each of these four core requirements and some of the key features that define them.

Ready, set, source!

Strategic Sourcing and E-Sourcing Defined and Explained: A Preamble

What the heck is strategic sourcing? As with most things in life (and business), it depends on whom you ask.

One cynical definition might suggest it was an initial set of activities to make purchasing become more strategic without having to more broadly embed the function within the business — or at least sound more strategic. Another cynical lens might suggest that the terming of the phrase was a ruse by consultancies to prove they could identify savings (and of course leave behind a “process” to further justify their fees).

Yet we won’t just start the New Year with our cynical cap on. Strategic sourcing really does have multiple definitions.