The Category Intelligence (Indirect) Category

Taking Control of Your Unmanaged Indirect Spend

AnyData Solutions

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Scott Dever, vice president of member development at Corporate United.

Targeting areas of unmanaged indirect spend is a key way procurement leaders can deliver value and maximize savings, and ultimately extend their reach and influence. Traditionally, this unmanaged spend has challenged procurement for a number of reasons. Decentralized decision-making and fragmented buying creates a lack of visibility into spending, supplier proliferation and limited opportunities to support competitive sourcing. But increasing spend under management enables teams to realize many worthwhile benefits, including incremental cost savings, supply base consolidation and reduced risk.

Managing Employee Spend Strategically

BuyerQuest

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Guy La Corte, general manager, Americas, at Concur.

Employees have access to and are spending more of your company’s money across more spend categories using more payment methods than ever before. And for finance and procurement managers, it’s increasingly challenging to track spending in a world where employees are paying supplier invoices directly with company checks; booking and managing travel directly on their mobile devices; using their corporate, ghost, virtual, corporate or even personal cards for just about everything; and vendors are marketing directly to them with upgrades and offers. This employee-initiated spend has become the largest unmanaged spend category in almost every company’s financial program.

New Research: Using Best Practices to Maximize Travel & Expense ROI

T&E

Travel and expense management goes beyond making sure employees aren’t submitting dubious expenses like, say, $1,000 toward adult entertainment or $80 worth of drinks to keep a spouse “calm and occupied” (both of which were real expenses, by the way, as reported by Inc.). According to a new London School of Economics report commissioned by Amadeus, companies can cut the cost of processing a transaction by more than 50% by actively managing T&E and implementing best practices.

Sponsored Article

Evolving Indirect Purchasing: Traditional vs. Real-Time E-Procurement

We live in a world that increasingly demands immediate information and results — from streaming players (Roku, Apple TV) and cell phone apps, to two-hour deliveries for online orders and voice-assisted technologies (Amazon Echo, Google Home, Siri). People expect easy, comprehensive and accurate responses “in the now” for everything they do. The consumer expectations of “in the now” extend into the work environment, as well, where employees are often frustrated to find business systems and processes that fall short on the promise of delivering easy, comprehensive and accurate information on demand. Employees’ increased expectations for getting things fast and accurate is outpacing the traditional ways of doing business.

Sponsored Article

New Ways to Achieve Unprecedented Savings on Indirect Spend

In Deloitte’s 2016 Global CPO Survey 2016 report, 74% of respondents stated cost reduction as their top priority in 2017. Also, 70% of the surveyed procurement executives cited indirect spend as a top focus for controlling and reducing costs. Recent studies have found that indirect spend can account for up to 50% of a company’s purchases, and manufacturers specifically can spend 20% or more of their total revenue on indirect expenditures. It is clear the next profound impact area for procurement professionals is in accessing hidden and unexploited areas of indirect spend.

What’s the Cost of Having a Long Supply Tail, and How Do You Determine the ‘Right’ Supply Base?

tail

We recently put up an interactive Ask Spend Matters box so that you, our readers, can tell us about the topics you want us to investigate. One of the first questions that came in was about tail spend: “What is the cost of having a long supply tail, and how are organizations determining the ‘right’ supply base (number and percentage) as relates to spend?” As Spend Matters Chief Research Officer Pierre Mitchell put it, "This is a great question, but it’s a bit tricky to answer.” Read on to hear his reply!

Sycamore Partners to Acquire Staples: What is the Broader Strategy Here?

Private equity firm Sycamore Partners announced Wednesday that it would acquire office supply company Staples for $6.9 billion, though rumors of the deal had been swirling for a week. The acquisition comes after the Federal Trade Commission quashed a Staples-Office Depot merger on antitrust grounds a year ago, which Spend Matters covered extensively.

Indirect Spend Management: An Easy Putt for the Quick Serve Restaurant (QSR) Industry

While the market for procure-to-pay (P2P) solutions has exploded over the past decade, in terms of spend coverage, several notable blind spots remain across all industries. Usually, the gaps exist in notoriously complex areas of direct. On the indirect side of the house, the holes generally manifest in purchased services. But in the case of the quick serve restaurant (QSR) industry, the coverage problem isn’t limited to a few categories — it’s the other half of the enchilada.

Accenture Spend Trends Category Insight

Top Challenges and Questions Facing Corporate Legal Departments [Plus+]

UpCounsel

The market landscape for legal services is much more dynamic than it may appear to most outside observers — and as a result we are seeing a number of meaningful trends in the market.

The provider landscape is rapidly changing. Firms are specializing in certain legal matter areas, and non-law firm providers are emerging as viable alternatives to perform certain types of legal work at lower cost and higher efficiency. And as in almost every industry and market, technology is playing a more transformational role in the legal services market, with implications for both buyers and suppliers.

In this article, we share some of the frequently asked questions we have received from GCs, and our responses and recommendations.

On Expense Management, Mileage Fraud and GPS: An Interview with Runzheimer’s Mike Bassi

receipt

Recently I talked to Mike Bassi, director of partnerships at Runzheimer, a provider of mobile workforce solutions that works with more than 1,300 companies. One of Runzheimer’s areas of expertise is mileage spend, and I was curious to hear about technological advances in expense management from a provider’s point of view — as well as ask about how common low-level expense fraud is.

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

Visually

In the world of marketing “spend,” there is a decisive irony. On one level, agencies (and marketing organizations) tend to leverage extremely detailed analytical data (campaign performance analysis, competitive reporting, etc.) to manage and improve digital marketing efforts. Yet marketing and procurement organizations still tend to apply a less quantitative and rigorous approach to managing agencies of record themselves, including selecting them for specific projects and campaigns in a truly analytical manner.

In short, applying a category lifecycle management approach to strategic marketing services providers remains more art than science. And today, only a minority of procurement organizations typically having the upper hand — or an equivalent — as an agency when it comes to the age old question: “Who is managing whom? Granted, while digital campaigns may be managed and administered in a rigorous analytical manner, agency relationships and project/program selection are not.

Many procurement organizations work — or have worked — with consultants at one point in time to develop strategies and implement programs to shift this equation. Yet far fewer have invested in technology to address the same challenge. Decideware is the only technology vendor we have encountered that specializes in addressing this challenge, albeit the level of maturity in customer deployments and usage varies dramatically (based on the organization).

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering Decideware provides a SWOT analysis of the provider and offers a competitive segmentation analysis. It also provides a summary analysis and recommendations for companies considering Decideware and some of the general challenges organizations encounter in attempting to strategically manage the lifecycle of agency engagement from a procurement perspective. Part 1 provided an in-depth look at Decideware 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 experience.

Decideware: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses [PRO]

marketing

In the marketing spend category, sourcing an agency is not necessarily a fair description of the process of selecting an agency of record. Unlike suppliers in the majority of categories, when it comes to strategic marketing spend, the source-to-pay process does not focus significant effort on the collection of catalog data, certificates, insurance and other documentary elements relating to real world products — or, for that matter, rate card, job classification or other contingent labor specifications. Rather, the process emphasizes the collection of information on key resources, representational projects and campaigns and production fees, and often includes the equivalent of a paid pilot or test run as part of the competitive process.

Sound unique? It is. Even agency self-identification and validation is different. For example, each agency can say it’s a "digital" expert and may even offer software to help track digital results and performance. We call this “fox watching the hen house” syndrome when an agency offers technology to monitor itself. But if more than half of a firm’s revenue comes from media management (planning, buying, reselling), digital may in fact be a secondary core competence for them.

Decideware offers a specialized suite of capabilities that address the nuances of managing agency spend and supplier engagement. This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Decideware’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider it as an underlying technology solution to manage their marketing and agency spend. The first installment of our analysis provided a company and solution overview, as well as a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering Decideware. Part 3 will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives and additional evaluation and selection considerations.