Category Archives: Procurement Research

50 Shades of Pay: Shade 4 – Analyzing Total Spend, Payments by Supplier Type

money in the form of some coins In our previous ‘shades’ (begin with Shade 1 here), we helped describe a foundational capability: to analyze and make visible how much money has been paid to suppliers. We also discussed how to wrangle the supplier master data that feeds the payment data that in turn, feeds the analytics. Now, in this Spend Matters Plus Research brief, Chief Research Officer Pierre Mitchell explores and classifies the types of suppliers with which you've held transactions to analyze your spend – ultimately signaling the shift from spend analysis to supply base analysis.

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Centralized vs. Decentralized Procurement: No Debate Necessary

- September 17, 2014 3:30 PM | Categories: Procurement Research

Earlier this year, my colleague, Peter Smith, penned a very thoughtful paper exploring the age-old concept of centralization and decentralization with a modern twist and set of observations and recommendations: Centralise or Devolve Procurement? Why not Both? How Technology is Enabling New Operating Models. In the coming weeks on Spend Matters, we’ll take a look at some of the highlights and observations that Peter makes in his work, starting first today with what he aims to achieve with his effort. We’ll also include additional observations and commentary as we explore some of the elements of his analysis in detail.

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50 Shades of Pay: Shade 3 – Total Cash Disbursements to Suppliers (with supplier details) Part 2

- September 11, 2014 2:32 AM | Categories: Analytics, Procurement Research, Suppliers

This post continues our exploration into shade No. 3 of our 50 Shades of Pay series. In this PLUS post, Pierre Mitchell discusses what happens when you aggregate all your supplier master data alongside the aggregation of your spend transaction data. According to Pierre, you will find "wonderful things" like your supplier master field names will be called different things and suppliers will be classified in all sorts of dimensions by different groups. Read on to learn more.

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50 Shades of Pay: Shade 3 – Total Cash Disbursements to Suppliers (With Supplier Details) Part 1

- September 10, 2014 2:30 AM | Categories: Analytics, Procurement Research, Suppliers

In Shade 2 of this spend analysis series, we looked at analyzing total cash disbursements to suppliers through the lens of basic A/P data. In doing so, we touched on the issue of data quality, and in the particular, the data coming from the supplier master file (or vendor master if you use that terminology). Obviously, if the supplier master data is bad (i.e., dirty, sparse, duplicated, non-standardized, etc.), the spend data will show it. But, the highlighting of bad data isn’t about improving data hygiene unto itself, but rather is about fixing the data problem to highlight value creation opportunities that you didn't see before. The most frequent example of this is supplier master duplication where multiple supplier records exist for the same supplier.

When you find duplicate supplier master records, you can obviously begin to see where there is additional volume leverage that you can gain within strategic sourcing. This is a key capability for justifying the ROI of investing to get to this level of capability. However, spend analysis is not just about feeding the strategic sourcing process! When you find duplicate supplier master records for the same supplier, it can lead to a whole slew of root causes that should be addressed. This includes a lack of clarity/controls in the supplier master setup process (e.g., who can add/change/delete what fields in the supplier master file) or poor “supplier discovery” inquiry capabilities of suppliers from your own existing supplier network.

Up until now in this series, much of what we have talked about can be done on your own, albeit inefficiently, but in the area of data de-duplication, cleansing, enriching, auto-classification, and harmonization, the tools can really help. But, this area is also where supplier content providers of many forms can be used (i.e., content firms, MDM providers, supplier/business networks, analytics vendors, supplier management application providers, procurement suite providers, etc.). Such firms can also assist in the de-duplication of effort using a combination of fuzzy logic (pattern matching), proprietary databases, and rules-based analyzers to help with this key task.

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Exploring Oracle E-Business Suite Advanced Procurement: Adoption Trends and Roadmap (Part 1)

Oracle OpenWorld 2014 is taking place in San Francisco from Sept. 28 to Oct.2. It typically represents one of the best chances of the year for analysts to peer behind the covers of Oracle’s products and informally talk to both customers and Oracle employees at length. It lets us reach outside of our existing research/advisory client base. Earlier this summer, Spend Matters had a collective update from each of the product groups representing the different Oracle brands most focused on the procurement sector – PeopleSoft, Oracle E-Business Suite, and Oracle Procurement Cloud. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing some of the highlights of what we learned.

You will also receive our initial analysis, subject to additional commentary following Oracle OpenWorld. This initial Spend Matters PRO brief, written by Jason Busch, managing director and founder, Pierre Mitchell, managing director and chief research officer, and Thomas Kase, vice president of research, explores the latest happenings with Oracle E-Business Suite Advanced Procurement including Purchasing, Endeca Extensions, Sourcing, iSupplier Portal, Supplier Hub, Supplier Lifecycle Management, Procurement Contracts , Mobile and related product areas. We’ll also touch on the new Oracle Project Procurement application.

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Involvement of R&D and Manufacturing Can Benefit Procurement

Many organizations recognize that the procurement function can provide the business with much more than simply getting the lowest cost for purchased materials and services. These organizations understand the potential for having procurement align its efforts with the strategies and goals of other business units as well as the enterprise as a whole.

In practice, this can take the form of involving other business groups and even external partners in the selection and appraisal of suppliers. According to APQC’s Open Standards Benchmarking in procurement, organizations involve a variety of groups in this activity, from marketing and sales groups to other suppliers, depending on the needs of the organization. However, the R&D/engineering group and manufacturing group are most often involved in this process. About 60 percent of organizations involve the R&D group in supplier selection and appraisal, and just over 56 percent of organizations involve the manufacturing group.

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Beware Ariba’s Patent Treasure Chest (Part 6): Dynamic Data Access and Storage

In Part 6 of this Spend Matters Plus series on Ariba's patent portfolio, Thomas Kase (VP of research) looks at a patent that, interestingly enough, a former Procuri colleague of his (David Woods, a talented data base analyst with an insatiable appetite for coffee) has his name on. Note that this particular patent predates Ariba. It came from Procuri and from a different platform and development environment than what Ariba uses. So it’s not indicative of Ariba’s current solution or technical prowess, and David, the creator, has since moved on to other opportunities. The patent has to do with dynamic data access and storage. Read on for the layman's explanation of what the patent covers and its impact.

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50 Shades of Pay: Level 2 – Total Cash Disbursements to Suppliers

50 Shades of Pay is back! Here is the second "shade" in this Spend Matters Plus series from Chief Research Officer Pierre Mitchell. The intent of getting to level two is to gain a complete picture of total cash disbursements to suppliers. To do this, some obstacles must be overcome. If improving your spend analysis is a topic of interest and you're not a Plus subscriber, contact us to inquire about a free trial.

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Making Friends: How CPOs and CFOs Can Come Together in Harmony

Connecting individuals' roles with the planets of the solar system is nothing new (see: Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus) but we’re taking it one step further with this new, downloadable research paper -- Procurement is from Mars and Finance is from Jupiter: How to Align Planets. In the paper, Chief Research Officer Pierre Mitchell examines how the CPO and CFO can come together for the better of both procurement and finance.

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Beware Ariba’s Patent Treasure Chest (Part 5): Analysis of a Recently Awarded Patent

Has Ariba built a solid brick wall of IP gold or is it all just so much legal papier-mâché to scare us off? Huff and puff – will it hold? If so, will it be used to drive other solution providers into the wall? Back in May 2012, when the acquisition took place, we didn’t think SAP bought Ariba for their technology. Well, we still don’t think so, and we went on record stating that it was really for their network approach – it obviously can’t hurt if you can find a model to propel yourself to SaaS multiplier heights.

In Part 5 of this multi-part Spend Matters Plus series on Ariba’s patent portfolio, Thomas Kase (VP of research) will look at one of Ariba’s most recent patents, one that was awarded just two weeks ago. This patent covers a way to use structured content from another site (i.e. a supplier of something) in another solution (e.g. e-procurement solution – something with a supplier network perhaps) to avoid stale content.

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Beware Ariba’s Patent Treasure Chest (Part 4): Supplier Approval and Activation in a Network

One of the primary motivations behind SAP buying Ariba was its network approach model. It was theoretically a business model that could deliver scale benefits to participants (and Ariba shareholders) beyond standard software or SaaS applications. There were numerous archetypes for the Ariba Supplier Network. Spend Matters analysis suggests Ariba was a fast follower, copying Commerce One (which had its own stash of patents that was eventually acquired by Perfect Commerce and Novell) and others in building out such a model. Yet Ariba quickly scaled its own IP and approaches in the area of supplier enablement and connectivity. In Part 4 of this Spend Matters Plus series on Ariba’s patent portfolio, VP of Research Thomas Kase considers Ariba’s patent for supplier approval and activation in a supplier network (essentially a one-to-many supplier network approach).

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Beware Ariba’s Patent Treasure Chest: Spot Market and Importable Template

In Spend Matters’ view, Ariba has amassed what appears to be the largest IP portfolio in the procurement technology sector. It is important for competitors and customers to fully understand the diversity and depth of all the process and related patents that Ariba has filed and been granted. In previous installments of this series, we considered a range of patents (see Part 1 and Part 2) that Ariba has also been granted. Today’s Spend Matters Plus research brief by Thomas Kase, VP of research, explores the following Ariba patents: system and method for creating a spot market (spot market procurement – aka tactical sourcing – automated bids and awards); and importable templates (Excel and XML land grab).

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