The Innovation Category

Coupa R20: Incremental Disruption in Action [PRO]

The Spend Matters analyst team recently spent some time going through a deep dive demo on Coupa R20 and found it to be a solid incremental product release. But in this brief, we wanted to discuss the “revolution through evolution” we saw in addition to the new product details that we cover. Coupa’s product releases are now running about three times per year, and it’s refreshing to see more than 500 clients quickly moving through these releases. Such is the promise of SaaS, right?

R20’s main improvements are focused on services procurement and community-based intelligence, which allows users to extract insights from the B2B data generated within the Coupa buyer and supplier base. The disruptive aspect of R20 is twofold: its attempt to tackle the big nut of services procurement with Services Maestro and its efforts to derive intelligence from its installed base through what it calls "community intelligence."

This last trend is really the most disruptive aspect of what’s happening in digital value chains. It changes the provider value proposition from serving up “empty apps” that process the data of a single customer enterprise to one that provides a collective intelligence derived and captured from mass adoption of cloud-based tools that generate the data used to drive key insights.

There are some potential risks that companies face, however, when platform providers attempt to monetize (directly or indirectly) proprietary commercial information between buyers and sellers. Just as Facebook is not really free to the users who themselves are the “product” sold to advertisers, there’s a similar effect happening with suppliers who can use business networks for free but whose data is aggregated and repackaged in ways they aren’t necessarily aware of.

In this Spend Matters PRO analysis, we explore these topics and more, as well as share our initial thoughts on some of the more interesting features in R20.

Preparedness for Data-Driven Procurement Lags Among Manufacturers, New Study Finds

The term “digital transformation” — whether applied to procurement or another field — is bandied around frequently, but as far as the average company is concerned, that transformation is still not in the near future. In a survey of more than 100 senior executives, LevaData found that although nearly all of them agree that data-driven procurement is critical to value creation, cost reduction and efficiency, only half think that their own procurement teams are ready to make use of predictive tools.

Procurement’s Innovation Deficit: The Wisdom of ‘Why Not?’

Procurement doesn’t have customers, it has prisoners. Although the statement is paraphrased (borrowed from sentiment long associated with enterprise software companies), does our profession deserve such criticism. Is it fair? Let’s face it, when it comes to driving innovation, procurement’s less than stellar reputation is well earned. Its inability to act as an intelligent and informed customer of the would-be innovator is generally so bad that companies have established separate offices dedicated to the practice. And here’s the rub. What do these innovation offices typically cite as their single biggest obstacle to success? You guessed it: internal procurement. We’ve got to fix this.

Q&A with Coupa Board Member Leslie Campbell on the Big Ideas: AI, Automation and the Future of Procurement as We Know It

digital business transformation

Leslie Campbell, former CPO of Reed Elsevier and vice president of procurement at Dell Inc., has certainly seen a lot in her years as a high-level procurement practitioner from her perch in the c-suite. Having joined Coupa’s board of directors relatively recently, Campbell had been excited about where the solution provider was headed. We recently had a chance to get her thoughts on some of the trends and predictions swirling around the industry.

Is Total Talent Management Really the Next Big Thing? Or is There Something Else? [Plus+]

SciQuest

We hear the terms total talent management (TTM), holistic talent management and blended workforce bandied about with great frequency by analysts and writers these days. But when and how it will be achieved remain unclear. While some declare the time is right for such an approach and hazard conceptual roadmaps, others have wondered whether the idea is really feasible. This concept of a unified way of sourcing and engaging both permanent and contingent labor/talent is appealing and probably inevitable, but its realization is – even according to its promoters – admittedly still some ways off. Spend Matters believes there could be another, more near-term development, closer to home in the areas of contingent workforce and services that has already started to occur and is of more practical relevance to procurement. This is a trend toward a comprehensive independent workforce ecosystem and eventually workforce as a service, which will mean correlating capabilities and outcomes under an expanded services taxonomy. But what exactly is this other development? Read on...

As Industrial Supply Chains Undergo Digital Transformation, Talent Gaps Persist

The digital transformation of supply chains is well underway, but finding the right talent to drive this transformation remains a challenge for many industrial companies. According to a survey of senior executives from the industrial manufacturing sector conducted by Korn Ferry, talent is viewed as the “secret to sustainable success” when it comes to digital transformation, regardless of whether a company is in the beginning stages of digitization or well along in the process.

Self-Sourcing Contingent Workforce: What it is and Why it Matters Now [Plus+]

Many services procurement and contingent workforce managers in mid-to-large enterprises are already at various stages of implementing supplier and spend management programs to control and enable their businesses’ consumption of the contingent workforce. These programs typically allow business users to submit a request specifying the characteristics of the kind of worker(s) or business outcome(s) they desire. From that point, it is typically the program — and its rules, processes and systems, like a vendor management system (VMS) — that will source the specified worker(s) or project(s) from third-party supplier firms, which are almost always temp agencies or statement of work (SOW) suppliers, and hopefully deliver what the business user specified and desired.

In effect, it is the program, not the business user, that sources the worker(s) or project(s) for the business user. And the business user directly engages with the worker(s) or project resources at the end of the sourcing process, which can go on for weeks, often with many repeated cycles, until the business user is satisfied with the program’s deliverable.

By contrast, self-sourcing, which will be discussed in this Spend Matters Plus brief, allows the business users to identify, engage, select and procure labor resources (today typically independent workers) on their own, directly. Self-sourcing will increasingly become a contingent workforce buying channel, driven by user demand and enabling technology, and procurement and contingent workforce managers must now begin to understand it and prepare to management it.

How AI Will Help Procurement Overcome the Historical Flaws of Spend Analytics

spend analytics

Spend analytics technology is not new to procurement. Yet a significant number of practitioners report feeling overwhelmed by the amount of data they have to handle, let alone knowing how to make sense of it all in a meaningful way. How can this be when the technology to solve such problems has existed for several decades? The answer lies in the historical flaws of the spend analytics market. Up until now, the dirty secret is that analytics technology has actually performed worse than humans at classifying spend data. But with advances in machine learning, particularly the power of deep learning, the gaps in analytics offerings are beginning to narrow.

Enabling Innovative Workforce Engagement Through a Multichannel Approach

SpendLead

The time, resources and technological capabilities needed to effectively address today’s non-employee labor challenges typically exceed what is available to an in-house procurement group. Bridging this gap requires contingent workforce program managers to embrace an innovative approach to program management. This innovative approach allows them to tap into a broader extended workforce ecosystem to source, engage and manage much-needed talent through a multichannel approach. So how does a company accomplish this? One option is engaging a forward-looking, innovative managed service provider (MSP). This partner can serve as the ecosystem hub, orchestrating access to the many sources and channels for workers procurement cannot fully and optimally manage on its own.

How Blockchain and Bitcoin Can Disrupt the AP Process — In a Good Way

blockchain

Spend Matters welcomes this guest contribution from Laurent Charpentier, chief innovation officer, Yooz Inc.

Blockchain. Cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin. These are certainly hot topics in today’s daily business news. It’s all still a bit of a mystery to most of us. It started with bitcoin (a cryptocurrency) in 2013 and the idea of a digital currency used to buy anything from music to cupcakes couldn’t have been more exciting — or more timely — as technology continues to advance at lightning speed. And blockchain is the platform used for verifying and recording transactions that’s at the heart of bitcoin, and is considered as having the potential to reshape the global financial system, among other industries.

State of Flux Releases SRM Report: What is Supplier Relationship Management Really? (Part 1)

What business doesn’t want more innovative suppliers? According to research from State of Flux, supplier innovation is a goal that eight out of 10 companies are actively working toward. From a study of 372 companies representing more than 25 industries around the world, State of Flux found that getting this innovation strongly depends on how well they manage their key supplier relationships. Put more simply, businesses need to master supplier relationship management (SRM).