The Procurement Systems & Architecture Category

Artificial Intelligence in Sourcing Today (The Situation Now) [PRO]

Not that long ago we ran a six-part series on AI in Procurement (Today Part I and Part II; Tomorrow Part I, Part II, Part III; and The Day After Tomorrow). By the time we defined the levels of AI today, what will be possible in the future and just how far AI in procurement will take you, you probably thought that was all there was too it and were impatiently awaiting the day when your "best of breed" applications would catch up.

The reality is that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

When your platform provider (or, if necessary, your future platform provider) catches up and starts offering you modern capabilities, those capabilities should extend well beyond procurement and spill over into multiple areas of S2P, including sourcing.

So to whet your appetite about what should be coming next, and to make sure your provider knows that you know what should be coming next (and will be holding them accountable), in this series we're going to dive into the applications of AI in sourcing and discuss what is available today, what is coming tomorrow — and what is in your strategic buying future.

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.

How to Succeed with Systems Integrators and Procurement Technology Implementation: Lessons From Spend Matters UK/Europe and Determine [PRO]

e-procurement

In too many cases, system integration (SI) and consultancy partnering decisions take a back seat to technology selection and related business process considerations when in fact all three areas are important to consider in equal measures as parts of source-to-pay and procure-to-pay deployments. This misstep is often one of the root causes of procurement organization dissatisfaction with technology decisions and adoption.

In this PRO brief, Jenny Draper, Spend Matters’ managing director for UK/Europe, shares her experience and best practices on the topic from serving as a procurement consultant over two decades before recently joining Spend Matters.

This best practice essay includes Jenny’s lessons learned on the importance of systems integration partners and how to set them up for success (and get the most out of a relationship). It covers such topics as when (and why) superior technologies fail, change management missteps, the role of the modern SI and finding the right fit partner. She then explores specific lessons learned from Determine’s boutique partner ecosystem in Europe.

Throughout, the brief also includes key takeaways and summary recommendations for procurement organizations going through procurement technology selections and deployments.

ERP vs. Best-in-Class Spend Management Solutions: Making the Tough Choice

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from RiseNow Managing Partner Matt Stewart.

With an endless list of options in the procurement software space, how is it possible to choose between spend management solutions like Ariba, Basware, Coupa and Jaggaer? Should you even consider such options when your existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is capable of handling basic spend management needs?

If you’re reading this, you’ve likely considered or are considering whether best-in-class source-to-pay (S2P)/procure-to-pay (P2P) solutions are worth your time, money and effort. You’ve probably wondered how the benefits compare between the solutions, whether one far exceeds another in ROI, what is best for your end users and suppliers, and if the rate of adoption is greater with one solution over another.

This story offers a few good places to start when determining whether your ERP provider or a best-in-class spend management solution is best for your organization.

BirchStreet Systems: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary and Competitive Analysis [PRO]

The hotel, hospitality, restaurant, casino and food manufacturing industries have a range of specialized procurement technology requirements, especially in the procure-to-pay area. But what are these, and more important, how does the market leader in the sector, BirchStreet Systems, stack up to alternatives in the market?

Part 1 of Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provided a company and detailed solution overview, as well as a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering BirchStreet. Part 2 focused on its strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the vendor.

In our third and final installment, we provide a SWOT overview of BirchStreet as a whole, a comparative and competitive market overview, and provide some final summary analysis and recommendations for organizations that might consider BirchStreet as a potential solution partner.

SolutionMap in 2019: Where We’ve Been and the Year Ahead

Ah, the memories. When it comes to preparing for The Year in Comparative Rankings of Procurement Software Companies, it’s hard not to gravitate immediately to Spend Matters SolutionMap. For one thing, SolutionMap provides quarterly updates, keeping in real-time lockstep with advancements and innovations in the procurement software and technology market. For that reason, we saw some cool things happen over the past 12 months — and have some exciting updates to share for 2019.

Strategic Sourcing’s Evolution: A Roadmap For Improvement (Part 2) [Plus+]

SciQuest

Editor's note: This is a refresh of our 2012 series on strategic sourcing's evolution over the last and next decade, which originally ran on Spend Matters PRO. Click here for Part 1 in this analysis.

In providing a more complete picture and set of working hypotheses in terms of where strategic sourcing is headed in the coming decade, we should first look at the practitioner view of where adoption and usage is headed. We’ve tracked well over 100 companies that are using advanced scenario building and/or optimization features today, for example in their strategic sourcing tool arsenal (monthly or more frequently) outside of just the transportation area for identifying optimal lane award scenarios.

Top P2P Articles of 2018: Technological Leapfrogs, Market Forecasts and New Frontiers

The procure-to-pay area may seem straightforward. Procurement primers on the subject often segment the P2P process into seven or nine steps, making its components easy to grasp even for the uninitiated. Yet go one layer deeper and numerous complexities emerge — to be followed by still more as one peels the process architecture and technology onion. (Consider, for example, our multiple stories on the intricacies of catalog management.)

This cascading complexity is one reason that P2P-related topics — like e-procurement, invoicing and payments — are consistently some of the most-read articles on Spend Matters. To see why, here are the top five posts that readers sliced, diced and consumed.

2018’s Top Stories in Disruptive Tech Have Us Looking Far Back — and Forward

disruption

In 2018, Spend Matters covered a range of technologies that are considered to be disruptive to how procurement and supply chain solutions get deployed. This list reflects those topics, like artificial intelligence, robotic process automation and blockchain. But it also reflects our readers’ interest in these subjects. So here’s a list of the top 10 disruptive tech stories (with excerpts of our analysts’ and reporters’ work), ranked by popularity, starting with the year’s No. 2 most popular story on any topic with our readers.

Strategic Sourcing’s Evolution: A Roadmap For Improvement (Part 1) [Plus+]

As a level set on strategic sourcing enablement, tools-wise, most solutions approach the sourcing challenge the same way today as the best solutions did 10 years ago. On the one hand, the level of maturity is good (few, if any, truly bad solutions have survived in the marketplace – thankfully). But on the other hand, we can look at this and make the observation that the technology market for strategic sourcing has stagnated. There is hope, and we believe that change is starting to happen. In certain circles, it’s actually changing how companies think about the sourcing process overall. In other words, technology is serving as a foundation for new thinking and processes rather than purely as an enablement, data gathering or process automation tool.

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.

Tradeshift Buys Babelway: A ‘First Take’ Analysis [PRO]

Earlier today, Tradeshift announced it had acquired Babelway — a technology provider that straddles the line between a cloud integration broker/hub and electronic data interchange (EDI) enablement. It will provide integration services to Tradeshift customers.

This Spend Matters PRO “First Take” analysis offers additional insight on what we know about Babelway and what it does (in plain English), insight into the acquisition/rationale, and a cursory analysis of what it means to Tradeshift customers, partners and competitors.