The Procurement Strategy & Planning Category

3 Critical Choices for Making a Best-of-Breed Decision with CLM Solutions

Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) may seem like an application area that should be hardwired to an ERP system. Contracts are the ultimate commercial system of record, so they should be housed in an enterprise-wide software suite, available to everyone, right?

Not necessarily. Far from the elegant, centralized solution advertised, ERP suites have often fallen short. Their generic capabilities are often housed in functionally stovepiped modules that fail to meet the unique needs of various stakeholders. They can describe contract documents and have contract attachments, but they don’t understand the data and meaning of the contract clauses and language itself. This shortfall can lead to workarounds, customizations and frustration all around.

WNS Acquires Denali: Acquisition Summary and Market Analysis [PRO]

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Earlier today, WNS announced it had acquired Denali Sourcing Services, a procurement solutions provider. Denali was one of the pioneers in procurement managed services. But more recently, the firm has expanded its broader practice in such areas as spend analytics, market intelligence and training. Not all of these capabilities will transition over to WNS — some will remain with the original Denali group, which will be rebranded in the coming months.

Denali brings a number of capabilities to WNS, including a center of excellence (COE)-driven managed services capability for spend analytics, strategic sourcing, category management and supplier management. In short: It adds many “baited hooks” to chum the waters for the broader business process outsourcing (BPO) and outsourcing nets WNS is casting in the market.

But perhaps most important from a market perspective, the transaction will put pressure on other offshore BPO firms, including Genpact, Infosys, HCL and Tech Mahindra, looking to accelerate penetration in North America and Europe through the addition of onshore expertise and capability. For this reason — among others — Spend Matters believes this deal is likely a harbinger of more acquisition activity to come in 2017. In the near term, however, Spend Matters believes the acquisition will do little to blunt the leadership positions of Accenture and GEP for procurement BPO and managed services.

This Spend Matters PRO First Take Analysis provides an overview of the capabilities Denali brings to WNS, key takeaways, an overview of procurement managed services and insight into select additional acquisition candidates that could contribute to further consolidation in this market.

Artificial Intelligence in Contract Management (Part 4: Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning)


In this final installment of our series on artificial intelligence in contract management, we turn our attention to natural language processing (NLP). In earlier posts in this series, I mentioned chatbots and the Turing test, both of which require NLP. I also mentioned machine learning and the process of classifying text to the domain-specific ontologies that model commercial knowledge. At this point, you may have wondered, “Yeah, but how the heck do I actually model and extract all of this knowledge out of our existing contract documents in the first place?”

Artificial Intelligence in Contract Management (Part 3: Knowledge Reasoning)

In the last two installments of this AI in CLM — Artificial Intelligence in Contract Lifecycle Management — series of considerations for procurement practitioners, I introduced the topic and then dove into the concept of knowledge representation which discussed the importance of building a contract domain knowledge model in the form of a rich repository of contract clauses and related data (e.g., risks) and metadata – not just contract document artifacts. In fact, more broadly, you can think of concepts such as contracts, clauses, obligations, risks, remedies, milestones, suppliers, etc. as classes of “objects” that represent the knowledge of those physical/logical entities. These objects are increasingly richly classified, attributed, and interconnected (beyond traditional relational database models used in ERP-type systems), but making sense of them is where reasoning comes in.

Artificial Intelligence in Contract Management (Part 2: Knowledge Representation)

In the first part of this series, I introduced the topic of artificial intelligence (AI) in contract management. Today, I’ll touch on AI itself and the first of its areas that will be highlighted in this series: knowledge representation. AI systems are computer systems that emulate (and even surpass) human intelligence needed to perform valued tasks. The Turing test for an AI expert system is whether it is indistinguishable from a human expert that is communicating via, say, a “chatbot” interface. An AI-based CLM system would therefore be able to embody the collective intelligence of contracting professionals (internal and/or outsourced) into computer systems used during ongoing contracting strategy, negotiations and monitoring.

It’s 2017 — Here Are 5 Key Areas Procurement Needs to Pay Attention To

Happy New Year, Spend Matters readers!

No crystal ball could have prepared us for the smorgasbord of change that this past year presented.

So, how should those of us in the supply chain and procurement sphere be preparing for the next 365 days? What should be top of mind? Read on to find out.

From Heavy Hitters to Blockchain: The Best of P2P in 2016

When discussing procurement processes and strategy, it’s hard not to mention procure-to-pay (P2P) or the enabling technologies that go along with it. E-procurement, one of the original technology segments to center on automating and improving procurement, has led to numerous internal improvements for procurement groups; e-invoicing automation has led to substantial cost and efficiency gains for both companies and public sector organizations.

And while both these technologies that form the core of P2P have been around for a while, they’re both far from done innovating. To see why, check out our top five posts on P2P from 2016.

A New Year for Contingent Workforce Procurement Practitioners and Platform-Intermediated Work

Will 2017 be the year when digital-platform-intermediated work is ushered into the enterprise by procurement? That is the question.

It has been nearly five years since I began my labor of love, i.e., research and analysis of technology-based platforms that intermediate work. These digital platforms allow business users to work with specific employees or purchase and consume services of a platform-based or more traditional service provider.

Up to this time, these platforms (of which there are now hundreds worldwide) have been off the radar of procurement practitioners, considered novelties or, at the most, piloted. In the meantime, increasing numbers of internal business users have been accessing these platforms without procurement visibility and control.

SAP Ariba’s Atzberger on China’s Economic Ascent and Opportunities for Innovation

In the first part of this Spend Matters Conversation, Founder and Head of Strategy Jason Busch talked with SAP Ariba President Alex Atzberger about how Chinese trade policy has evolved in recent years and where it may be going. This second installment explores opportunities in light of China’s evolving economy, as well as potential for innovation. Those interested in the topic of China's ascent in the world economy, trade policies and market economy status (MES) should also look at our dedicated multimedia site on the topic.

Reeling in IT Programming and Development Costs

IT requirements, more than any other category, are dynamic and fast-moving. Even veteran IT project managers struggle to define exact milestones, work plans and deliverables when new ground is constantly being broken on untested IT requirements in their firms. As we are quickly approaching the end of the year and are inevitably inundated with requests for open-ended IT consulting, programming or support engagements, let us have a look at some levers we can apply to try to control costs and arrive at last-minute savings.

SAP Ariba’s Atzberger on the Future of China’s Economy and Trade Policy

In the past few decades, China’s economy has evolved by leaps and bounds. What used to be a country for low-cost sourcing has become an important global trade partner that should not be discounted. In this Spend Matters Conversation, Founder and Head of Strategy Jason Busch talks with SAP Ariba President Alex Atzberger about how trade between China and other nations has changed in the past 15 years, the future of Chinese trade policy and what this means for procurement and supply chain professionals.

The Morning After: First Cubs, Then Trump, Now…China Market Economy Status?


Yesterday was the day China claims it should have beeen automatically granted market economy status (MES), according to a line item in the country's WTO Accession Protocol made official exactly 15 years ago. (Our sister site MetalMiner explains everything you need to know about that here.) So what has happened? Do we all of a sudden live in a world where China is given free reign in trade, on equal footing with the U.S. and E.U. when it comes to treatment under the WTO? Not so fast.