To say that services procurement is becoming a top procurement initiative would be an understatement in most organizations. In fact for some companies, services procurement is procurement if you consider either the absolute dollars spent on it or the strategic value to the business. Some companies (e.g., Accenture) have even helped refine their core business model in certain markets based on their ability to look at the management of non-permanent labor from a buy/sell, almost trading-company-like perspective.
Here at Spend Matters, we often get mired in the weeds of services procurement – how does one VMS differentiate from another, what do specialized category solutions look like, what is inherently incorrect about the way typical MSP ecosystems look at the broader opportunity, and so forth. But in this Spend Matters PRO research brief, Jason Busch, founder and managing director of Spend Matters, takes things up at least one level, introducing 10 overall strategies that companies can take to reinvigorate their services procurement and contingent workforce programs. Today, we consider the first five strategies.more ▸
Earlier this month, Procurement Leaders published a blog post titled: Has The Cloud-Based Solutions Market Turned A Corner In 2014? Citing the case of a relationship between Accenture and SAP/Ariba to deliver “a new cloud-based solution … designed to transform the delivery of procurement and finance and accounting (F&A) business services to its customers,” PL then raises the question of whether “the hype around the cloud signaled a wider shift in the market.” But the cloud isn't so simple. There is a range of vendors (including SAP/Ariba) selling solutions that can be configured in a hybrid manner in which data is stored and delivered through different applications in a virtualized manner.more ▸
In yesterday’s announcement of a new Spend Matters Plus series, Fifty Shades of Pay, Pierre Mitchell wrote about the importance of spend analysis in procurement transformation. Now let’s look at making it happen. As spend analysis scenarios become more sophisticated and complex, they draw in broader data sets and use deeper types of analytics. Pierre developed a graphical context diagram, or blueprint if you will, of spend analysis. Not a Plus subscriber yet? Contact us to inquire about a free trial.more ▸
You know spend analysis. So basic. So primal. Wham, bam, spend cube, thank you ma’am – you’re done, right?
Not so fast. Spend analysis is not a quickie event on your long-term procurement transformation. It is an evolving competency, one in which as you become more skilled with it, you can bring so many different forms of [business] satisfaction to many stakeholders. In fact, there are so many incremental levels of value that can be developed here that I challenged myself to write a 50-part series on what such a journey might entail. I will also be using a consistent graphical model to show different aspects of such increasingly detailed capabilities to help illustrate the techniques. It’s not the Kama Sutra or anything, but it will be helpful. But before I launch into the series, a bit of a preamble is first in order. Why is spend analysis such a deceptively alluring topic that I’ll be looking under the covers with you? There are many reasons.more ▸
You may have caught Pierre Mitchell's piece from last week on this topic (In Defense of the Signed Document), and we want to take it even further. Therefore, we're opening up this week's Ask the Expert webinar (on Thursday from 11-11:30 am Central) to ALL Plus/PRO members and procurement practitioners. As the orchestration between buyers, suppliers, and other third parties becomes more complex and increasingly digital, the need to seamlessly move across the document/data spectrum becomes more critical. Why? Jason Busch will count the ways.more ▸
Six Sigma, the process measurement methodology originally developed by Motorola and popularized by GE, has far-reaching applications beyond its manufacturing roots. Applying the discipline of Six Sigma to improving sourcing and procurement processes will undoubtedly produce systemic and sustainable business process improvement. But the bigger questions for procurement leaders to address in considering Six Sigma are these: What level of performance is realistic, which projects would produce the most benefit, and what enabling technologies will be required to apply the DMAIC principles (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) of Six Sigma effectively?more ▸
We've been talking for some time on the different Spend Matters sites about how social media principles and approaches will inevitably make their way into the business and procurement world, yet progress has in reality been pretty slow. The innovative Rollstream has been assimilated into GXS, now itself part of OpenText, and seems pretty low-profile these days. However, there are signs that things are changing. Sourcemap is a more recently established firm that has an interesting approach, including some aspects of supply chain collaboration with a social media slant. Mark Perera, one of the founders of Procurement Leaders, is involved in Old Street Labs, whose new Vizibl platform is in its testing phase (we'll feature it as soon as you're ready, Mark). The platform looks to use some of the core social media principles in a business environment. And now we have LeanLinking starting to make a splash. This Spend Matters Plus research brief, by Peter Smith (managing editor of Spend Matters UK/Europe), looks at what LeanLinking has to offer and which organizations would benefit from the technology.more ▸
Many people refer to ERP systems (notably master data stored in them) as the “system of record," which is interesting terminology. Think about supplier master data entered in the buyer’s ERP system that immediately can become “stale” the moment it’s entered. Let’s even take a better example of the penultimate document of record between the trading parties: the contract. A buying organization can use a contract lifecycle management solution that is fully integrated with an e-sourcing solution and even Microsoft Word documents that can be used as the user interface of sorts in contract authoring. Data is tracked at a detailed data element level and built up from low-level clause libraries. Yet when it comes time to seal the deal, the buyer and supplier print the contract and then start scurrying around for the final signatures, usually hand-written and faxed, only to then be stored and scanned so that the document image can be attached back to the CLM/ERP system. In today's Spend Matters PRO research brief, Pierre Mitchell makes an argument for the need of systems to accommodate the data types and user types across the source-to-pay continuum.more ▸
Art van Bodegraven, managing principal of Van Bodegraven Associates and founding principal of Discovery Executive Services, is back with another essay for Spend Matters. As we look for better ways to integrate and synchronize sourcing and procurement activities intelligently within the greater supply chain, it is easy to become confused about who and where the customers are. You know, the ones we are supposed to be delighting? This is a burning question in both the B2B and the B2C worlds. And the obvious answer is not always the complete answer. For example, when a company's customers are the ones actually paying the bills, and the sales and marketing mission is to get them to buy as much as can be rationalized, plus some extra “just in case,” we cannot afford to overlook sales and marketing as an internal customer, whose needs and demands we must at least recognize.more ▸
This is the second in a two-part Spend Matters Plus series from Thomas Kase, VP of research, on strategies for providers to deliver procurement solutions and services in Asia. This second installment covers specific trends and recommendations for Singapore, Japan, Korea, China, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia. So what should a company looking at an Asian expansion do? If this is a topic that interests you and you're not a Spend Matters Plus subscriber, contact us to inquire about a free trial.more ▸
“Asia” is obviously an impossibly broad label, covering so many countries, with such a range of cultures, languages, and political, ethnic, and demographical issues that we have to paint with broad, sweeping strokes. That said, there are definitely procurement culture traits worth pointing out. Depending on a solution provider’s strengths and capabilities, we think the region is ready for a more serious look – consider it hedging your bets, since everybody is already slugging it out in the U.S. and Europe. So the question is, what are you doing in Asia, the region that outgrows Europe and the US at a rapid clip? In this first of a two-part series on Spend Matters Plus, VP of Research Thomas Kase gives a backdrop on regional issues to know.more ▸
Trojan Rabbits and Project Portfolios: Procurement Market’s Freemium Applications and Services (Part 1)
The old Trojan horse trick has its place in the procurement market. This Spend Matters Plus research brief, by Chief Research Officer Pierre Mitchell, covers the good, bad, and ugly of “freemium” technology for different types of procurement solution providers across the solution spectrum, from technology providers to membership-based advisory firms. Pierre then makes some recommendations for not just solutions providers, but also practitioners who themselves are providers in their own right. If you are not yet a Plus subscriber and are interested in this topic, contact us to inquire about a free trial.more ▸