The Category Intelligence (Indirect) Category

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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.

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

Torchlite

Trying to apply a generic source-to-pay technology solution to marketing spend at the agency level would be the same as using a mountain bike to compete in the Alp stages of the Tour de France. Both less favored approaches could certainly work, but the pack would leave you far behind on the first hill. Moreover, the strategic sourcing processes for marketing spend can look materially different than for other categories.

Granted, when it comes to procuring and managing agencies, sourcing best practices apply at a meta-level, but their implementation is drastically different from the identification of vendors through the award of a contract. For example, in agency sourcing, the goal, of course, is to enable optimal resourcing, project outcomes and key deliverables based on specialized knowledge and skills brought together to arrive at a targeted objective. It is also important to ensure these elements come together and do not deviate from the methodology and underlying creative components that drove the selection of a particular agency in the first place, although the ultimate campaign may in fact change from an original pitch as an agency learns more about the project, client and situation later in the process.

It is within this unique category, with truly unique requirements, that Decideware, a global provider of an agency lifecycle management solutions, presents a compelling case for a category-specific strategic procurement solution that is fundamentally different than standard procurement suites. This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Decideware’s specialized procurement technology capabilities — and showcases one approach to agency sourcing and management based on Decideware’s methodology.

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 Decideware in the procurement technology area. It also explores the strategic sourcing process for the procurement of agency services. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Accenture Spend Trends Category Insight

Top 10 Airline Sourcing Strategies [Plus+]

This month’s installment of Accenture’s category insights may just to be the best yet in terms of rigor and practicality. The specific spend category in question is airlines, but there are also broader issues here surrounding travel management in general. Although consumerized airline shopping can make this category seemed commoditized, it is anything but. You have an extremely diverse set of stakeholders with different business objectives surrounding the airline travel, and a supply market that looks like a supply chain transportation market, which in a sense it is, if you think about air freight — except the freight is a business traveller.

The 10 strategies outlined are a perfect example of how to manage a complex category. Understanding the demand side of Airline sourcing, for example, is essential, especially related to stakeholder management. Corporate “road warriors” are usually critical talent to be empowered and supported. Loyalty programs are key enablers (and barriers) to success, and the change management and time involved for sourcing require strong planning and commitment. The article gives some excellent guidance on negotiation tactics, but also on some of the “softer” strategies that are no less critical to this fast changing category.

Affordable Hotel Rooms Get More Expensive

hotel

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from H. Cole Hassay, economist, pricing and purchasing, at IHS Markit.

The hotel industry experienced healthy demand this past summer. With this strong demand, hotels with the least amenities increased the most in price, as limited-service hotels became more expensive in the United States. While the typical surge in demand from summer travel was partially responsible for a normal seasonal upturn, there were other factors at play, too.

Print Procurement Coverage – Prospective Themes and Topics: Please Vote!

I received some very helpful comments and perspectives on last Friday’s introductory post about our new coverage on the printing industry, service, and supply chain. They have reaffirmed for me how the recent recession, subsequent recoveries, and unrelenting technological advances must remain at the forefront of effective coverage on these markets – and they are individual supply markets. I plan to verify and provide well-referenced metrics where needed, but for now let’s consider what is widely believed to be the current state of the industry, much of which is counterintuitive and reminiscent of the quip often attributed to Mark Twain: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”