The Procurement Strategy & Planning Category

From Talent to Category Management: 4 Critical Development Areas for Procurement

Cybersecurity and access to critical talent are the top worries on CPOs’ minds, according to a Hackett Group report, The CPO Agenda: Expanding Procurement’s Influence Through Change and Innovation. The importance of cybersecurity is compounded by the EU’s Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which goes into effect May 25. In addition, cybersecurity and access to critical talent are also expected to be “high risk” in the near future by three quarters of procurement professionals who took part in The Hackett Group’s annual Key Issues Study.

3 Big Changes Driving Procurement Hiring Trends in 2018

Spend Matters welcomes this guest column from Naseem Malik and Nick Lazzara of MRA Global Sourcing.

There’s never a dearth of excitement in the world of procurement, and 2018 has been no exception. The business effects of several new Trump administration policies are coming fast and furious. Fluctuating economic and political conditions are presenting a host of new challenges and opportunities for businesses. Because of these factors, procurement professionals now more than ever need to stay abreast of the latest developments and master in-demand skills. To help, here are the three key areas we’ve seen driving procurement hiring in 2018, as well as our recommendations for where professionals should focus in the coming months.

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5 Ways to Turn Your CFO’s Hate to Love

Imagine your typical CFO and CPO as a couple on Facebook. What do you think would their relationship status be? In my role at Sievo, I get to meet many leadership teams, and I find surprising similarities in boardroom dynamics. In Facebook terms, I would describe the typical relationship between a CFO and a CPO as “it’s complicated,” although I’ve come across some true “hate-hate” relationships, too. To put a positive spin on things, an emotionally charged relationship comes with some powerful energy to work with. No CFO-CPO relationship is completely unrepairable. It can take considerable time and effort, but it is all worth it.

3 Ways to Make Procurement Software Rankings Work for You

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If you’ve been living in a cave — or have been, say, mired in a labyrinthine RFI process with no hope of finding your way out — you may have missed Spend Matters’ Q1 2018 SolutionMap release earlier this week. The Spend Matters analysts and extended team unveiled comparative rankings of 40 procurement and supply chain technology solution providers, based on buying personas across nine total solution categories and presented in the form of two-by-two graphics. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg

Tech Enabling Procurement Shared Services: SAP Ariba Begins the Journey [PRO]

Procurement shared services organizations and centers of excellence (CoEs) are sometimes tasked with the operational management of source-to-pay technologies on behalf of the organizations they serve. But up until now, they have not utilized purpose-built solutions to improve their own operations. While many use core analytics, sourcing, contract management, supplier management, e-procurement and invoice-to-pay solutions in some capacity in the delivery of their services, the actual operational management of shared services organizations and CoEs themselves has been loosely integrated with underlying procurement technology at best.

In other words, there has not been an operational solutions layer specifically designed for procurement shared services and CoE groups that provides a single workbench to manage activities. This is true even though legacy SharePoint, business process management and workflow solutions often loosely hold some knitting together for these teams. SAP Ariba is hoping to change this with introduction of its Procurement Desk product, which Spend Matters PRO recently profiled, covering the solution’s current capabilities in its initial release and planned roadmap for the coming quarters.

This Spend Matters PRO brief explores how different procurement technologies enable the various roles that shared services organizations and CoEs assume — and the opportunity for an operational overlay on top of underlying procurement technology modules. As part of this analysis, we also consider how Procurement Desk may help meet the broader needs of shared services and CoEs, as well as opportunities for SAP Ariba and others to close the gaps that remain in developing purpose-built operational management solutions for these organizations.

SAP Ariba Procurement Desk: Shared Services and Center of Excellence (CoE) Enablement [PRO]

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Procurement shared services groups can take different shapes and can add different sources of value. Shared services tend to focus on procure-to-pay (P2P) and accounts payable support, including supplier enablement, supplier master data maintenance, transactional purchasing, transaction processing, invoice automation and exception management. CoEs focus on both a classic shared services model (i.e., supporting processes on behalf of the business units) or a more transformational CoE model (i.e., giving business units tools, training and focused resources like third-party services). 

The former tends to focus on tactical buying like spot buying and tail spend management, and the latter tends to focus on strategic procurement areas such as analytics, sourcing, category and supply market intelligence, and contract management support. Increasingly, a number of CoEs are focused on both areas, whether run and administered internally or in an outsourced manner — sometimes only in part — by a business process outsourcing (BPO) partner such as Accenture or GEP.

Yet even with the help of these outsourced partners, procurement shared services teams and CoEs have not had up to this point a purpose-built technology solution to manage their own operations. SAP Ariba is hoping to change this with its new Procurement Desk product. Available in March to limited release customers and in the summer months to all SAP Ariba customers, Procurement Desk has big plans to improve the capability of shared services teams and CoEs to deliver value and drive continuous improvement.

Based on demonstration sessions, presentations and analyst discussions at SAP Ariba Live in March 2018, this Spend Matters PRO research brief introduces the initial release of Procurement Desk, explores some of SAP Ariba’s ambitions for future releases based on the product roadmap and offers our initial analysis of the new offering, along with recommendations for SAP Ariba customers. A subsequent PRO research brief will provide a generalized CoE operating framework spanning all areas that procurement shared services groups can address with SAP Ariba’s current and planned capabilities for targeting this market.

Ask Spend Matters: Should You be Asking for Prices in the Supplier Prequalification Process?

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A North America-based reader from a professional services company recently wrote in with a question about asking for prices in the supplier prequalification process. She noted that procurement organizations in the public sector tend to ask for prices in the RFI process and then again in the formal RFQ process, whereas in the private sector they typically ask for prices in the RFI process only when they need to explore the market, saving price requests for the RFQ. Why does the public sector need an RFI with prices and then an RFQ, likely with the same prices? It seems inefficient to this reader, who wonders if there are some advantages to this approach that she is missing

The 6 Different Approaches to Buying and the Implications Each Holds

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Jonathan O'Brien, CEO of Positive Purchasing. 

Everyone has a choice about how they buy. Within companies, this could be determined by marketplace understanding, suppliers, future needs or how important a supplier is now and in the future. However, to understand what level of “buying power” you may have, it’s important to understand what type of buyer you are.

Group Purchasing Organizations: Supplier Perspectives and the Evolving GPO Landscape [PRO]

Joining a GPO is like getting a Costco membership. You know you’re not going to get ripped off, so you probably won’t put much thought into joining. But therein lies the rub for GPO members. Like Costco, a GPO is a one-size-fits-all marketplace where you may overbuy when you get there or underbuy by not getting there at all.

In an increasingly Amazon-dominated world, however, this model is not the only available option.Today, the assortment and pricing of items available to consumers are tuned to the user and monetized most efficiently by intermediaries that can source better and optimize for lowest total landed costs better than individual buyers. Procurement organizations are now looking to bring this experience to the complex world of B2B purchasing. And where GPOs fit into this more sophisticated equation is not a simple answer (many are still trying to figure it out themselves). 

But that doesn’t mean GPOs will go the way of the 1980s big box retailer. Instead, GPOs will have to take on a role beyond the race to the lowest price. This multipart Spend Matters PRO series explains what motivates GPOs and helps procurement organizations best decide when and how to engage them. In this second installment (see our initial GPO introduction), we explore GPOs from a supplier perspective and offer recommendations for vendors working through GPOs to make these relationships more successful. We also explore how GPO options and capabilities are evolving and segment the GPO market by model and type and provide case example looks at different GPO business models. These include vertical/industry independent, member-owned, horizontal, affinity, category-specific and procurement technology led GPO models. 

An Introduction to Group Purchasing Organizations (GPOs) [PRO]

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Group purchasing organizations (GPOs) are not a new idea. Agricultural cooperatives aggregated the buying power of farmers hundreds of years ago. That said, GPOs have evolved quite a bit, and the infusion of new digital capabilities is taking that evolution to an even higher level. This evolution also means that procurement organizations must go in “eyes wide open” to best utilize this important tool in the procurement tool belt.

Not all GPOs (or GPO models) are the same. Understanding the differences will make you a more educated, and thus likely more successful, buyer. Therefore, we’ve decided to delve a little deeper into this obscure sector of the procurement provider market and shed some light on how to best extract value from it.

This multipart Spend Matters PRO brief is designed to demystify GPOs and put procurement organizations on the same information playing field as the GPOs attempting to sign them up, expand their utilization of contracts and sell additional services. Within this series, we will explore GPOs by type, as there are several business models in play, and by industry segment, as GPOs are heavily embedded in certain markets and are little more than a supply option in others.

This first installment in our GPO coverage:

  • Defines what GPOs are (and are not)
  • Explains how GPOs operate
  • Explores GPO “spend coverage and fit”
  • Analyze the GPO market segments and how to engage them
  • Offers tips and tricks for engaging GPOs based on their own constraints/models
  • Provides both basic and advanced takeaways for procurement organizations that are thinking through GPOs as an alternative supply option
  • Offers a checklist of activities to consider when sourcing GPOs

Deloitte’s 2018 Global CPO Survey Reveals Doubts About Digital Tech and Easing Talent Worries

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The latest picture of the state of procurement looks to be a cautiously rosy one. While most procurement leaders feel supported by their executives, they are unsure whether they are contributing significant strategic value. Compared with last year, more procurement leaders believe that their teams have sufficient capabilities to deliver on their procurement strategy, but they are still not the majority. And while they have high hopes for the potential of analytics to transform their profession, only a third of them are taking advantage of such technologies. These insights come from Deloitte’s 2018 Global Chief Procurement Officer Survey, now in its eighth year.

By Prioritizing Contract Management, Procurement Can Drive True Digital Transformation

When it comes to long-term business planning, no one wants to be the next Kodak. That’s why companies large and small have embraced digital transformation as the path forward, hoping to accelerate growth, tap new markets and defend against competitive disruption. To drive digital transformation throughout the enterprise, companies will need to change the foundation on which their business process are built. And there is nothing more foundational or business critical to a firm than the contract. Prioritizing a strategic, digital-first approach to contract management, then, is a perfect way to begin a digital transformation.