Category Archives: Industry News

Convicted Murderer Drives for Uber: Is ‘Misidentification’ Risk Heightened in a World of Platforms and Independent Workers?

WIP

While the use of work intermediation platforms (WIPs) and independent workers may be starting to look attractive even to procurement practitioners, there are risks. The most well-known and recently publicized of these is the risk of “misclassification.” However, a lesser-known and potentially greater risk may be “misidentification” risk – being mistaken about who a person actually is and what their real background is.

This risk of misidentification was highlighted in a recent report that an Uber driver in Los Angeles was actually a convicted murderer. In this case, the convict used a fake identity to pass the company’s background check, which in most cases is performed by one of a multitude of third-party providers. However, the failure to validate the identity of the person in the first place reveals the potentially fatal breakdown in the identity verification process.

But this article isn’t about just Uber. Hundreds of such cases for employees and contractors likely occur every year without all the media scrutiny. Still, the number of occurrences could certainly be reduced through better focus, rigor and technology, such as electronic fingerprints.

Intuit Divests Business Units, Shifts Focus To Cloud-Based Accounting and Taxes Solutions

Intuit

In a surprising move, Intuit announced Thursday it would divest Quicken and 2 other business units to focus on its cloud-based accounting and tax ecosystem, which includes its new and fast growing “QuickBooks Self-Employed.” The accounting solution, designed to support freelance and independent workers, serves those working through work intermediation platforms (WIPs) like Uber, TaskRabbit, Fiverr and UpCounsel.

Accenture Acquires EnergyQuote JHA – ‘A No Brainer’

Accenture

Accenture announced Tuesday it completed its acquisition of energy management and procurement services provider EnergyQuote JHA. The deal with the London-based provider, originally announced in late July, will give Accenture a boost to its existing energy procurement offerings.

EnergyQuote JHA has customers in more than 22 European countries – an asset Accenture said will help improve its own influence throughout the continent – and offers specific services such as energy risk management, energy contract management, portfolio management and utility billing validation.

DC Circuit Court Says Conflict Minerals Disclosure Rule Violates First Amendment

conflict mineral

US companies struggling to determine and report to federal officials if their supply chains contain conflict minerals may have felt some relief this week when the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit struck down the federal government’s conflict mineral disclosure requirement, saying it violated the First Amendment.

Our sister site MetalMiner reported on this news in more detail this week in its article DC Circuit Rules Against Disclosure Requirement in Conflict Minerals Rule Again, authored by MetalMiner Assistant Editor Jeff Yoders.

“The court’s rulings did not overturn the entire Conflict Minerals Rule, it actually upheld requirements such as having companies investigate whether their products include the minerals and a requirement to file public reports on their investigations, a process that began last year,” Jeff wrote.

Trends in Trade Financing: Our Experts Tell You What You Need to Know

Finance concept

On this Flashback Friday, we are looking back to another popular Ask the Expert webinar we held back in April on current trends in trade financing. Spend Matters’ Jason Busch and Trade Financing Matters’ David Gustin teamed up in Ask the Expert: The State of Trade Financing Technologies to provide an impressively detailed overview of what’s happening in the trade financing world and how these events are signaling a changing market – all in under 30 minutes. Check out the full recording of the webinar and tell us if you have seen these trends play out during the second half of 2015.

Coupa Reports Best Quarter Ever – No Surprises Here

coupa

Coupa recently announced its Q2 2015 financial report, which shows the provider is still on the path of gaining market share and had its 26th consecutive quarter of subscription revenue growth. Its customers also continue to experience positive results – as of June, the provider’s customer base had accumulated $5 billion in calculated savings. We can’t say we’re surprised by these positive Q2 financial results – Coupa has been very clever in delivering the message of “savings,” which remains the most wanted word in procurement, at least from a business requirement perspective. Yes, procurement needs to deliver value beyond cost savings, but for Coupa installed base customers who are slightly earlier in their spend management journey compared with the typical Fortune 500 firm, cost savings is usually king.

Still, while it is certainly one thing to promise savings, it’s quite another entirely to deliver it both for procurement organizations and for solution providers, and Coupa is smart to align its strategy to that of its customers. Coupa CEO Rob Bernshteyn said in the company’s press release on the report: “We are committed to revolutionizing the spend management space by bringing to market solutions that employees and suppliers actually use, which is the only proven way for our enterprise customers to bring previously unmanaged spend under control and achieve millions of dollars in savings.”

What a Devalued Chinese RMB Means For China Sourcing Strategies

Chinese yuan

We recently received a note from a reader with questions regarding the latest China currency devaluation and how sourcing professionals ought to engage with their Chinese suppliers. The questions included: 1) Should I be approaching all of my Chinese suppliers for a 3.5% price reduction? 2) Should I expect to get it? There are several ways to answer that question. This Spend Matters Plus article begins with the narrow answer and then expands into other aspects of China’s currency announcements.

Zirtual – The Sad, Seedy Saga Continues

e-invoicing

Earlier this week, Zirtual, a virtual assistant platform based in Las Vegas, announced it was unexpectedly shutting down. Management later announced that the company had been “acquired” by Startups.co, a “start-up launch platform.” It was also announced that the company would resume operations and would be attempting to hire back some its former employees. According to management, this string of careening events was the result of a funding deal that fell through at the last minute and the company having “grown too fast,” burning through its reserves of cash. Here's what we think of the latest news from an industry analyst standpoint and as a former Zirtual customer.

Infor to Acquire GT Nexus: ERP + Global Trade = New Network Vision

acquire

Infor announced Tuesday it was acquiring GT Nexus for $675 million. The transaction is expected to close before the end of September, based on regulatory approval. Infor has a long history of financially-driven acquisitions that keep investors happy and deliver enough innovation to customers to keep them on their systems. But the GT Nexus deal appears to be something more. The worlds of ERP and global trade are so sufficiently different that to combine 2 companies serving these markets effectively will require a new approach and vision – or as CEO Charles Phillips labels it, “postmodern ERP.” Indeed it is.

Virtual Assistant Platform Zirtual Suddenly Suspends Operations – Buyer Beware

services procurement

The virtual assistant company Zirtual suspended operations without warning Monday, freezing all accounts and leaving both clients and their assistants effectively “locked out.” The company, headquartered in Las Vegas, sent an apologetic email in the early morning indicating it would be “pausing all operations.” The email explained further that “due to a combination of market circumstances and financial constraints we must re-organize our current structure.” Spend Matters came to know about this early today, because we were a happy customer of Zirtual phoned up by our Zirtual assistant, who gave us the news.

Is Your Supply Chain Conflict Mineral Free? 80% of Companies Say They Don’t Know

conflict mineral

A large number of US companies are struggling to determine if their supply chains contain conflict minerals, those sourced from or connected to violent militia groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and surrounding countries. While reporting on conflict minerals in the supply chain is required by federal law, the task of making this determination is also costing companies millions of dollars and man hours each year, a new report has shown.

Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act mandates that publicly traded companies report conflict mineral information in annual reports, but new research by Tulane University and consulting firm Assent Compliance showed more than 80% of companies could not actually identify whether or not their products contained conflict minerals in 2014.

Maersk E-Sourcing Efforts Lauded by The Wall Street Journal

e-sourcing

Anyone who has met Jacob Gorm Larsen, Maersk Group’s global e-sourcing manager, knows he is passionate about sourcing and market design. In many ways, he is the heir to some of the best thinkers that I worked with at FreeMarkets 15 years ago, who pioneered the concept of online auctions for sourcing with different price discovery and feedback mechanisms – nearly all of which are par for the strategic sourcing course today. Jacob deserves to be recognized. But it’s good to see his efforts acknowledged outside of just the procurement world itself. Earlier this summer, The Wall Street Journal covered what Jacob and his team were up to at A.P. Møller-Maersk.