The Innovation Category

Tapping Your Most Underutilized Innovation Source: The Contingent Workforce

workforce

It’s no secret that talent is tougher to find these days. From skills deficits and low application levels to intense hiring competition between companies, contingent workforce managers know the search for the right candidates is fraught with challenges. No wonder, then, that one survey from the Society for Human Resource Management reported more than two-thirds of organizations hiring full-time staff are struggling to fill job openings. One result of this talent dearth, understandably, is that the lack of full-time talent translates into a reactionary need for contingent staff to fill the gaps. Scrambling to do this in a cost-effective and timely fashion, contingent workforce managers ultimately approach sourcing workers as a transactional activity.

3 Reasons the Cognitive Era is Not Yet Upon Us — But it Will Be Soon

Forget digital. The 2020s will be powered by super intelligent, human-like applications that all but replace their creators. This is the dawn of the cognitive era. At least, that’s what the software market has been saying for the past year or so. But given that most organizations, particularly those in a B2B or supply chain context, have barely come around to adopting even plain old “digital” strategies, cognitive’s penetration in the enterprise is, perhaps, a bit oversold. To understand why, here are three examples of how we're still laying the groundwork for the transition from digital to cognitive — and what to expect when it really starts.

IT Talent and Services Sourcing: Innovation in a Challenging Environment (Part 2) [Plus+]

IT

In this two-part series, we examine the state of technology-based sourcing, specifically in the IT workforce/services category. In Part 1, we looked into environmental factors that are driving innovation and other elements that are motivating openness to new approaches. In Part 2, we investigate different kinds of innovative sourcing solutions within the IT category and explore the emergence of an alternative supply chain or work/services sourcing ecosystem. We also provide recommendations for organizations to nurture and build alternative sourcing models and programs alongside existing IT services procurement channels. Providers reviewed in this brief include Hired, Toptal, Upwork and Kaggle.

How APIs are Opening up the Machine Learning Markets

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Talk of machine learning (ML) has dominated the inner sanctums of heady supply chain discussion of late. While there’s no consensus on where the first game-changing applications are likely to emerge, most everyone understands that running complex algorithms against big data spells growth for the predictive analytics industry. And with the ML providers now offering their products on a subscription basis, well, it’s not hard to imagine where things are likely headed.

IT Talent and Services Sourcing: Innovation in a Challenging Environment (Part 1) [Plus+]

Technology-based innovation in workforce and services sourcing has been a major focus here at Spend Matters over the past years. And though we have tracked the trend of increasing work platform specialization (platforms serving up anything from data scientists to marketing content deliverables to food service workers), we have not really zeroed in on sourcing innovation in any specific workforce or services category.

In this two-part Spend Matters Plus brief, we take a look at what’s happening in the IT workforce/services category. In part 1, we look into environmental factors that are driving innovation and other elements motivating openness to new approaches. In part 2, we examine some examples of different kinds of innovative sourcing solutions in the category.

Search for the Best Results and Buy Smarter

A supplier can have the best product or service in the world, but if it never appears somewhere the end user can become aware of it, it will never be purchased. Hence the importance of what logistics professionals call “the last mile” in physical supply chains — the final leg of the transportation journey that delivers a product or service to the consumer. The concept of the last mile applies to corporate purchasing, as well.

Human Capital Innovation (Part 3): Is the C-Suite Asleep at the Wheel?

Adopting a new way of leveraging talent means changing critical parts of an organization’s underlying musculature and nervous system. Ultimately, such a change requires a transformation of the reflex response of “how we get things done with talent.” This means a departure from well-established practices for hiring talent and managing work, projects and outcomes. In many ways, this is a decentralized, bottom-up process, but it cannot gain traction without the proactive support and power of the C-suite.

Transforming the Buying Experience by Using Real-Time Data

The transactional process of buying and selling goods and services will always be the essence of the procurement function within an organization. However, the form and substance by which procurement departments fulfill this role is in the process of major transformation. Form is changing in terms of the point of view of processes, roles and tools, and substance is changing in terms of procurement’s impact on the broader organization.

How Real-Time Data Helps Employees Purchase Better

Data has always been of vital importance for how companies measure, control and make decisions. Accurate, relevant and timely data provides powerful information for users of enterprise software — or, in its absence, exposes a significant blind spot. Many organizations struggle to consistently access useful information, and continue to operate with limited, imprecise and outdated data. Current business trends, however, demand agile and resilient procurement processes supported by accurate, timely data.

No, Robots Will Not Run Procurement by 2020

The motion stands thus: This house believes that robots will run (and rule) procurement by 2020.” I believe that the general direction of this argument is not in and of itself wrong. But there are a number of flaws in the nuance of how the motion has been proposed. And we are, after all, asking you to judge the merits of the proposal on its own, as it stands. Let me present you with three arguments against it.

Solution Provider Product and Technology Roadmaps: Are They Important? [PRO]

spend visiblity

The short answer to the question posed in the title is emphatically and definitively “yes” — now more than ever. When screening or evaluating technology solution providers for e-procurement, contract lifecycle management, vendor management systems (VMS) or any other solution, there is frequently an inherent present and backward-looking bias in evaluating and making decisions about these solutions. Considering only what solutions have done or are doing for their clients (and ex-clients) only tells so much about whether or not the solution is a good fit.

There are probably a number of reasons for this bias, including that it may have led to optimal decisions in the past because vendors often over-promised and only partially delivered. But in today’s world, this bias can handicap a procurement organization given the growing number of new solutions and rapid changes in technology. Whether intentional or not on the part of the solution provider, “adverse selection” may come into play here — to the detriment of all. By not knowing where a provider plans or intends to (or actually can) take its solution in the future, the buyer is missing crucial information that could result in a bad decision. Making sure that roadmaps are reviewed and analyzed is an important way to mitigate this risk.

In this Spend Matters PRO research brief, we explore this problem and make suggestions to support ways to move beyond it, including how to look at a provider’s product and technology maps from a 2017 cloud-era frame of reference. For those who are new to this topic, we start with the basics, providing an explanation of what vendor product and technology roadmaps are, what they should contain and what you should expect.

The Hyper-Personalized Supply Chain is Coming: Are You Ready?

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Jim Wetekamp, chief executive officer of BravoSolution .

The concept of the demand-driven supply chain has been around for a decade or more. For supply chain organizations in consumer-centric markets, the model requires the ability to ramp production up and down based on demand fluctuations in short cycles. Think that change was a roller coaster ride? Well, fasten your seat belts.