Market Intelligence Content

The CPO’s Conundrum (Part 1B): How Outside-In Issues are Shaping the Course of Procurement [PRO]

As we noted in yesterday’s Spend Matters PRO article, if you were to ask a roomful of CPOs what was their top concern was, for this year or even the coming decade, chances are the majority would lead with cost management and supply assurance. And while this makes sense, supply assurance and cost reduction are just two of a host of broader issues that are being pushed to the front of mind for today’s CPOs. So we are dedicating a series to the broad scope of issues that the modern CPO must face, starting with an overview of how they break out in the common PESTLE framework. Yesterday we addressed the “PES” — Political, Economic and Social — and today we will address the “TLE” — Technological, Legal and Environmental.

The CPO’s Conundrum (Part 1A): How Outside-In Issues Are Shaping the Course of Procurement [PRO]

If you were to ask a roomful of CPOs what was their top concern was, for this year or even the coming decade, chances are the majority would lead with cost management and supply assurance.

This makes sense. Within the hierarchy of procurement value, providing the right goods and services at the right time and place, preferably at the right (or better) price, constitute a foundation without which organizations cannot function.

Because of this requirement to secure and manage supply markets, procurement’s value proposition to the business is ultimately defined by its ability to access and derive value from markets. This means procurement value, then, is driven heavily from an outside-in perspective. That value starts with assurance of supply, just as top-line growth and brand development are foundational to sales and marketing.

The problem, however, is that supply assurance and cost reduction are just two of a host of broader issues that are being pushed to the front of mind for today’s CPOs. Because the CPO must manage multiple changing supply markets, and because those supply markets are affected by numerous external forces over which the CPO — let alone the business or even some governments — has no ability to influence, the CPO’s agenda is in reality much broader than assuring supply and reducing costs.

This brings us to what we call the CPO’s conundrum: Procurement organizations are primarily measured by the C-suite on supply assurance and cost control, but the agenda that the outside world is setting for the CPO is far bigger than just that. How, then, can procurement leaders meet the agendas recognized and prioritized by management while also addressing the equally (or perhaps more) important agendas of the changing, external supply world?

This Spend Matters PRO series examines the roots and resulting challenges of the CPO’s conundrum. In this brief, the introduction to this series, we discuss the current items on the CPO agenda, as well as the outside-in forces that are most notably butting their way in.

In subsequent installments, we will analyze overarching issues on the new CPO agenda individually, including corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability, digital business strategy, political and economic instability, and regulatory risk.

Streamlining Supplier Management to Scale Globally: A Case Study of Geosyntec Consultants and AdaptOne

MRO as a service

Geosyntec Consultants, an engineering and consulting firm, needed to upgrade its supplier management system so it could streamline and improve its business. The Florida company works with public and private sector clients across the U.S., Canada, Malaysia and the U.K. It employs more than 1,200 consultants (engineers, scientists, technical personnel) and manages more than 8,300 suppliers, many of which require stringent safety certifications and compliance requirements that come from their clients.

As Geosyntec expanded its practice, it looked for a supplier management solution that could streamline its manual and disjointed processes, all while maintaining needed organizational accountability. Find out what it learned in the process and how it made its choice: AdaptOne.

B2C E-Commerce Has Some Lessons for B2B Platforms Being Built, Report Finds

As B2B e-commerce platforms try to match the level of maturity found in B2C systems, a recent report takes a snapshot of how CEOs, chief digital officers and innovation executives are investing in technology, which innovation they’re pursuing and how they’re making those decisions.

In addition to that benchmarking aspect, a trend emerges in how B2B customers want their online shopping experience to be — and they want many of the same bells and whistles that consumers get when using B2C marketplaces online.

The survey found that technology that can seem cold or off-putting — like artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML) — is actually playing a role in connecting people and the products or brands they want.

Supplier Management: Dozens of Markets in One (Market Introduction) [PRO]

supplier management

The supplier management technology and services market is one of the broadest, most complex and mysterious to those who try to make sense of it — and take advantage of the many solutions that it offers. Spend Matters tracks well over 100 providers in this market, and they fall into more than a dozen individual areas. Some vendors and services firms offer solutions that address multiple components, but not a single provider comes close to offering a comprehensive solution.

This Spend Matters PRO Research brief explains and segments the supplier management market into five solution categories: core supplier process and data enablement; supplier and supply chain risk; community/network; supplier and worker/contractor; and disruptive enablement.

Focusing on the Other Rich Vein of Procurement — Public Spend

Spend Matters plans to broaden its views on procurement in the new year with occasional forays into public spend issues — but let’s unwrap a present early to see what’s what.

There are numerous challenges that public sector procurement organizations face now and in the coming year. Mazes of emerging regulatory structures, high barriers to entry for suppliers and digital disruption, to name a few, all weigh on practitioners looking to better serve their governments and constituents.

To help navigate these and other issues, we’re diving into the Public Spend Forum archives to bring you some of the best public procurement-related news and research around. Our colleagues at PSF suggest we start by examining a story on the techniques for conducting efficient, effective government market research.

Efficio Panel Debate: Good Banter, Robot Jokes and 3 Points About the Future of Procurement

Last week in London I participated in one of the livelier and more spirited panel debates on the future of procurement (skills, technology and more) in recent memory. The event, held at Efficio’s offices Thursday to mark the release of its latest report, “Procurement 2025: Is Digital Transformation Driving More Effective Procurement,” included not only a handful of esteemed panelists and facilitators from the procurement/CPO, consulting and academic ranks, but also a robot — which led to many robotic process automation jokes throughout the discourse. If Efficio does something like this again, ask them for an invitation — you won’t be disappointed!

Here are three points that stuck in my mind from the different panel discussions and chats that I had.

‘More people in the tools, lower risk, faster processing, better results’ — Roy Anderson sums up procurement’s future (Part 3)

“Use your suppliers to get the work done more efficiently, effectively and start to manage the overall supplier base like an orchestra leader,” procurement veteran Roy Anderson says, laughing at the image — but not the lesson. “That orchestra leader can’t play every instrument and certainly isn’t going to sing every song, but has to be able to have the structure and the reporting and the analytics to be able to manage it more effectively.

“That’s the future. A virtual procurement operation living on a marketplace of capabilities is the future of procurement.”

In Part 3 of Anderson’s conversation about his career and digital changes in the industry, he talks about being at Tradeshift (“where ideas win”),  how “every CPO has a bandwidth problem” and the promise of AI.

Anderson, who became Tradeshift’s CPO and digital transformation officer in September, sat down with another procurement veteran, Pierre Mitchell of Spend Matters, to share some laughs and lessons about how the industry adapted to technology over the last 40 years.

The following is the last of a three-part series of their conversation, which has been edited for clarity. Part 1 ran Monday, and Part 2 ran Wednesday.

Commodities Roundup: LME Nickel, Auto Sales Down in China and Oil Price Sliding

Chinese demand

For the buyers and category managers out there, especially those of you deep in the weeds of buying and managing commodities, here’s a quick rundown of news and thoughts from particular commodity markets. From price movements to policy decisions, we scour the landscape for what matters. This week: Surcharges fall on LME nickel and stainless steel, auto sales stall in China and oil prices drop after a peak in September.

Tradeshift Analyst Day: The Marketplace Strikes Back

I touched down in New York City today for a quick stop at Tradeshift’s fall 2018 analyst day. The theme of the event is marketplaces, a topic that brings me back nearly 20 years to the heyday of the B2B marketplace era. But now — unlike when Commerce One, Tradex (which Ariba purchased), Metiom, i2 TradeMatrix and all the industry-based “exchanges” looked much better in PowerPoint than they performed in theory —  the technology to support them is real.

Amazon Business Prime Updated: Analysis and Procurement Recommendations (October 2018 Update) [PRO]

AnyData Solutions

Earlier today, Amazon announced a host of enhancements to its Amazon Business Prime offering. To help procurement organizations understand the implications of these added capabilities, this Spend Matters PRO research brief provides an overview and analysis of the new solution components and offers recommendations to procurement organizations already using or considering Amazon Business.

The emphasis of this PRO analysis centers on the spend visibility/analytics, e-procurement (guided buying) and working capital/payment capabilities of the October 2018 Amazon Business release. While some of these areas are likely to be less interesting for organizations that already use a third-party e-procurement solution that integrates with Amazon Business (either via punch-out or API), Amazon’s enhanced invoicing, working capital and payment components can be applied to all potential users.

But perhaps most important, these enhancement offer some signals of how Amazon may continue to build out the capabilities of its Prime business solution. Let’s delve in.

Upwork Post-IPO Rising: A Next-Gen Staffing Industry Analysis [PRO]

On Oct. 3, 2018, Upwork became a public company listed on the Nasdaq exchange. Its stock was offered at $15 per share and has since been trading in the $19 to $21 range, giving it a market valuation on the order of $2 billion. This was a company that emerged from a new segment of innovative, online platform intermediaries, and just six years ago, was widely considered to be a non-starter, even dismissed as a “flash-in-the-pan,” by practitioners in the staffing industry. Now, based on gross revenue/gross services volume, it would rank among some of the world’s largest staffing companies. The Upwork IPO was not only an important milestone in the evolving and increasingly digitized contingent workforce space, it also presented an opportunity to look more clearly into the company and assess where it stands (and might eventually stand) in the space. In this Spend Matters PRO brief we take a look at both. We provide a snapshot of key Upwork information to highlight what the company actually is and what it represents in the industry vs. common industry perceptions.