The Innovation Category

Disruptive Technology Meets Strategic Procurement: Short-Term and Long-Term Outcomes

digital business transformation

Blockchain. Robotics. Internet of things. Big data. Peer-to-peer connectivity. These are some of the newest and most talked-about technologies that Spend Matters expects will prove disruptive to the spend analytics, sourcing, supplier management and contract lifecycle management markets. They are collectively referred to as strategic procurement technologies in The Impact of Disruptive Technologies and Solutions on Strategic Procurement Technologies (Analytics, Sourcing, Supplier and Contract Management), a new research paper from the Spend Matters analysts.

Forrester’s Artificial Intelligence Report Spawns 10 Hot Technologies — For Procurement, Which Ones Matter Most?

We recently came across a Forbes piece that distilled the findings of a Forrester report on artificial intelligence into the 10 “hottest” AI technologies. As suckers for clickbait, as well as folks interested in the implications of AI for the procurement sector, we checked it out. ICYMI, here they are, according to Forbes contributor Gil Press, taken from Forrester’s TechRadar™: Artificial Intelligence Technologies, Q1 2017.

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me a Buyer/Supplier Match!

Matchmaking is an age-old practice. And as Tzeitel, Hodel and Chava will tell you, it’s a tough world out there when it comes to traditional matchmaking. The same goes for buyers and suppliers in the marketplace. Just as matchmakers once met with mothers and fathers to match their daughters to prospective husbands, businesses used to pound the pavement trying to find prospective clients, buyers, suppliers and anyone who would take a business card and put it in their pocket full of loose change and car keys.

Predictive Procurement Gets Real

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Dr. Marcell Vollmer, chief digital officer at SAP Ariba.

The physical and digital worlds have officially collided. In the old days, we’d get the morning paper delivered to our doorsteps and read it on the way to work while drinking the coffee we made upon waking up. Today, the news we care about is automatically delivered to our mobile devices and we scan it while enjoying the beverage that we ordered via mobile app to have ready and waiting for us when we arrive. We used to attend events after work to expand our professional networks. Now we link to our peers — and their peers — around the world online in real time.

Risky Business — Our Illogical Attitudes to Risk, Regret and Gambling [Plus+]

supply risk

We've featured aspects of Daniel Kahneman's brilliant book, Thinking Fast and Slow, over a number of articles looking at his concepts such as Priming and Anchoring, and in particular what they (and other ideas he and others in the field have developed) mean for procurement professionals.

Kahneman won the Nobel Prize for Economics, with his collaborator Amos Tverksy — not bad going for two psychologists. And the work that led to the prize was largely around the area of risk, which is what we will look at today.

He and Tversky showed that the assumptions economists made about human behaviour — that we acted rationally in hard economic terms — could be proved false. That meant many of the standard economic models and theories were also flawed, which rather upset many in the economics community!

Kahneman called the strange beings who behaved in this perfectly rationally manner "econs" as opposed to "humans," who behaved — well, like humans do. And his work on risk shows exactly why the assumptions of rationality doesn't hold up. Our decisions aren’t rational — but driven by factors like the “endowment effect,” risk-aversion, and regret.

There is obviously a huge amount of detail that we could look at here — an entire Nobel Prize's worth, we might say. But we will just focus on a few key conclusions and a handful of implications for procurement. As before, we strongly recommend you read the book if this interests you (and, really, it should).

So let’s get into three key Kahneman findings.

2017 Prediction of the Moment: How Big Blockchain Will Be in Sourcing and Supplier Management

blockchain

It’s no secret that the Spend Matters team has been geekily excited about the procurement implications of blockchain for years — seemingly right on the heels of the Dark Web, TOR and Silk Road becoming a thing. What is far more important to the world of procurement — and for that matter, the world of broader supply chains and global trade — is that blockchain brings the potential to become as important to our technology lives as the spreadsheet, ERP/MRP systems and source-to-pay technology suites that we use everyday, as Spend Matters Founder Jason Busch puts it.

Hone Your Procurement Negotiation Skills By Learning the Right Way to Think [Plus+]

In our previous piece looking at Daniel Kahneman's brilliant book, Thinking Fast and Slow, and its implications for procurement thinking and practice, we looked at the concept of Priming.

Granted, Kahneman published the book in late 2011, but is still immensely valuable for procurement practitioners to keep on their bedside tables today — and here's why.

One of the central premises of Kahneman's book is how our brains look for the easy route at all times, what he calls "System 1" thinking. If we can draw a conclusion, make a decision, or find a belief without actually going through a time-consuming and exhausting process of really thinking, we will. That is not our conscious decision — our brains are wired that way. "System 2" thinking, which is more logical, analytical and difficult, is something our brains avoid if they can.

So Priming is the phenomenon whereby something we've seen or heard recently influences our next thoughts. If I ask you to name an animal, and you've just walked past an advert for the zoo illustrated with an elephant, you are more likely to say "elephant." And remarkably, this is true even if you don't recall seeing the advert. Our sub-conscious is quite capable of priming our future thoughts.

In this Plus brief, we will consider what is in effect a particular sort of priming, with an obvious implication for procurement and negotiation behaviour specifically. Anchoring is the tendency for us to fix our thoughts around a particular number, point, or fact rather than thinking logically and independently about a decision.

In Kahnemann's words, "it occurs when people consider a particular value for an unknown quantity before estimating that quantity." The estimates then stay close to the number considered. And this is one of the most tested and robust results in experimental psychology; it is an absolutely proven phenomenon.

In a somewhat frightening example quoted in his book, German judges were asked to throw a dice before being asked what sentence they would give for a particular crime. The dice came up with either the number 3 or 9. When the dice said 9, the average "sentence" was 8 months. When it said 3, the average was 5 months!

Anchoring and Procurement Negotiation

The implication for procurement is very clear in the negotiation arena. Whatever number gets anchored in your brain is in danger of becoming the starting point and indeed the expectation for the negotiation. You may work up or down from there, but it is difficult not to mentally accept that as an anchor for the discussion.

Let's get into some tangible examples.

Coupa’s Release 17: Features and Approach

Coupa’s first update of the year, Release 17, offers a new application called “Perfect Fit Insights” for cross-customer B2B insights and more than 50 features across the platform including new collaboration mechanisms to work with suppliers and additional e-invoicing compliance templates.

We published an in-depth analysis of Release 17 on Spend Matters PRO, but here is a quick recap on what you can expect from the solution update.

Human Capital Innovation (Part 1): Technology, Talent and a New Playbook for Organizations

C-level executives, hiring managers, HR professionals, procurement directors and contingent workforce management practitioners at top-performing companies are recognizing that the way of engaging and leveraging talent is changing. They realize that ongoing high performance and competitive advantage require an entirely new approach to meeting their organization's needs for specialized, knowledge (i.e., business) talent — one that supersedes traditional work arrangements (e.g., “permanent” employment, stalwart consulting firms, staffing agencies) and organizational models.

In Part 1 of this three-part series, we address organizations’ changing requirements for how work is delivered, executed and managed in an increasingly digitized and networked business environment.

Coupa Release 17 Analysis — And a General “How To” Lesson for Upgrading Products [PRO]

On Jan. 27, Spend Matters published a quick post on first update of the year, Release 17. It offers a new application called “Perfect Fit Insights” for cross-customer B2B insights and more than 50 features across the platform, including new collaboration mechanisms to work with suppliers (SMS messaging and extended sourcing communication windows), additional e-invoicing compliance templates, and additional system configurations options such as extended customer branding. Recently, Donna Wilczek (VP of Strategy and Product Marketing at Coupa) and Gabe Perez (General Manager of Power Applications at Coupa) gave us a demonstration of Release 17 and talked to us about their innovation process and other analyses they do to continually improve the user experience, usability and value of their platform.

Coupa has a long history of out-innovating the competition, and this is not an accident. The company uses a rigorous process to identify, prioritize and implement ideas — putting the customer front and center in helping drive innovations that have the highest probability of actually being adopted.

In this Spend Matters PRO analysis, we’ll share what we’ve learned about Release 17 including expanding more on its new features and our key takeaways from them. We’ll also discuss Coupa’s general release planning, development and roll-out methodology to capture ideas that drive practical (and usable!) innovation for customers.

These are critical lessons that should not be lost on organizations evaluating Coupa in comparison to other vendors (which generally innovate more slowly), let alone any other provider developing technology to bring to market.

Sponsored Article

Disruptive Technologies Are Driving New Supply Chain Transformation Initiatives

Spend Matters welcomes this sponsored article from Mark Morley, director of strategic product marketing at OpenText.

Over the past decade, CIOs around the world have been mainly focused on deploying complex IT projects such as ERP and CRM environments. These projects have high visibility with corporate boards as they are high budget, high in resource requirements and high in expectations.

Things have changed considerably today, as CIOs wrestle with new types of networks; new disruptive technologies such as wearable devices, 3D printers, advanced robotics, drone based services and the Internet of Things (IoT); and new types of structured and unstructured information coming off of these devices. The digital world is certainly becoming more complex.

3 Insights for Procurement from aPriori’s Cost Insight Conference

Spending the last 24 hours surrounded by design and cost engineers has taught me quite a bit about operations beyond procurement and supply chain management. Those in the buying and sourcing profession often spend a lot of time thinking about cost, and they sometimes get a bad rap for it. But based on my discussions with attendees, it’s clear to me that procurement is far from the only organizational unit worried about helping revenue get to the bottom line.

Yet procurement struggles with its image: it’s slow, it’s a roadblock to progress, it’s not knowledgeable enough to be valuable in new product development. The practitioners in attendance at Cost Insight, however, have worked doggedly to change perceptions such as these at their firms — to great success, in many cases. Here are three insights for procurement I’ve gleaned from various sessions.