The Procurement Systems & Architecture Category

Spend Management for Real World Complexities: Internal and External Perspectives

Spend management that delivers consistent, provable bottom-line value requires solutions that go beyond a one-size-fits-all approach. As we explored in Part 1 of this series, few solutions providers can offer the breadth, depth, flexibility, domain experience and track record of success to fully address the complex finance and procurement challenges facing organizations living in change. To help confront these challenges, the right solution must be largely self-managing and intelligent, as well as easy to use, customize and scale.

What does this look like in practice? Below we outline what organizations should explore and review when evaluating vendors, both from an internal stakeholder and external supplier engagement perspective.

Program Management: The Missing Link in Procurement Technology Modules and Suites (Part 4 — Sourcing Components) [PRO]

If there is a glue that binds together different areas of procurement workflow, it is the overall program management of both individual tasks and collective activities across the source-to-pay continuum. This Spend Matters PRO series is designed to provide insight into what effective program management technology capabilities encapsulate from a design, platform and functional perspective.

In the last part of the series, we focused on sourcing and the types of sourcing programs that must be enabled by a modern sourcing or source-to-pay platform a modern user experience. In this fourth installment, we explore specific program management solution components that are required to enable the sourcing programs discussed in Part 3. In particular, we describe the specific overlay capabilities on top of sourcing technology to enable category strategy and realignment, re-sourcing, tail spend management, supply base rationalization and supply base expansion.

Program Management: The Missing Link in Procurement Technology Modules and Suites (Part 3 — Sourcing Programs) [PRO]

If there is a glue that binds together different areas of procurement workflow it is the overall program management of both individual tasks and collective activities across the source-to-pay (S2P) continuum. And nowhere in S2P is this more pronounced than in strategic sourcing.

This Spend Matters PRO series provides insight into what effective program management technology capabilities encapsulate from a design, platform and functional perspective. We explore both what represents best-in-class program management components today and what users might expect tomorrow.

Part 1 of the series explored effective program management overall from a strategy and process standpoint — and then from a technology standpoint. Part 2 provided a framework and insights into some of the functional (technology product) building blocks of effective program management, with a focus on project and portfolio management.

Today in Part 3 of this series, we examine sourcing and the types of sourcing programs that must be enabled by a modern sourcing or source to pay platform, with a focus on how they fit into broader program management.

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Configuring Your E-Procurement Platform to Achieve Early Wins and Improve Your Internal Brand

Cloud-based procurement platforms offer powerful and flexible solutions for reducing the cost and complexity of integrating best practices into daily operations. Unfortunately, many organizations spend too little time thinking about the needs of internal business stakeholders when configuring their platforms for rollout or expansion. As a result, platform adoption rates fall short of expectations.

Outdated Procurement Software a Top Threat to Talent Retention, Study Finds

computer

Workers at “technology laggard” businesses are much more likely to be frustrated or quit, putting procurement organizations’ talent management strategies at risk, according to a report by Unisys Corporation. Titled “The New Digital Workplace Divide,” the research illustrates how a company’s technology maturity plays a significant role in employee satisfaction  — perhaps the key role. Workers at organizations whose tech lags behind the industry standard report frustration at a rate of 51%, compared with only 6% for those who work for tech leaders. Productivity is thus stifled when workers are frustrated by their laggard IT systems, procurement software included.

Tackling the Real World Complexities of Spend Management for Organizations Living in Change

No two organizations procure and pay for the goods and services they need in exactly the same way. Yet few solution providers today offer the functional depth, flexible implementation support and domain expertise needed to address the complex spend management requirements of organizations living in change. Some solutions address broad, generic challenges with a pretty screen, but with little sophistication, depth or configurability. Others provide the bare-bones experience, meeting the minimum of functionality requirements albeit for a low cost, but with little evidence of proven results. It is clear that there is no one-size-fits-all spend management strategy, and for organizations facing real world spend management complexities, these generic offerings fall short.

SAP Ariba Launches A New Sourcing Front — Decision Optimization (Part 1: Solution Components) [PRO]

SAP Ariba has opened a new front on the strategic sourcing optimization software battlefield. We recently received a detailed product demonstration of the next evolution of SAP Ariba’s decision optimization capability, as well as a glimpse of what’s on the roadmap. Our take is positive. SAP Ariba’s foundation and future plans represent a solid start in this area. And while other established providers of sourcing optimization tools have a decade-long head start, we expect SAP Ariba to progress faster in its optimization journey than many of its peers.

In this two-part Spend Matters PRO analysis, we begin with an introduction to the required solution components of sourcing decision optimization and an explanation of the benefits they can bring to procurement organizations. In Part 2, we offer an overview of SAP Ariba’s new decision optimization capability, exploring its strengths and weaknesses. 

What Makes Them Great: A Collection of Spend Matters SolutionMap Analyses

No procurement software vendor is perfect for every business scenario. Even if a technology provider has outstanding capabilities in some areas, companies that can consistently perform above multiple functional or customer benchmarks are rare. This is why specialist solutions continue to successfully challenge big name providers, winning customer showdowns through unique approaches to meeting organizational needs. To help our readers understand what sets these unique vendors apart from the rest, we launched in June a new SolutionMap column, "What Makes It Great."

Catalog Management: Technical and Functional Component Requirements (Part 5) — Catalog Contracts and Marketplace/Internet Search [PRO]

Today we conclude our multi-part research brief exploring catalog management functional and technical requirements with an emphasis on the last two requirements we consider in our SolutionMap functional requirements for e-procurement.

The first requirement that we analyze is what we term “catalog contracts,” capability which focuses on pre-negotiated pricing through group purchasing organization (GPO) arrangements, leveraged buying or otherwise third-party negotiated typically contracts outside of what a procurement organization would negotiate itself. The second area, marketplace / internet search and catalog visibility, extends the scope of catalog management capability to integration with online marketplaces (e.g., Amazon Business) and electronic commerce storefronts on the Internet, a requirement which is increasingly becoming more important in the evaluation of e-procurement solutions overall.

If you’re new to the series, check out Part 1 (overall definition/background and supplier network intersections), Part 2 (catalog creation, supplier onboarding and data quality control) and Part 3 (maintenance, workflow and analytics) and Part 4 (catalog objects/methods and catalog mobility capabilities, expectations and requirements).

Whether you’re a procurement organization, supplier, software provider or consultancy, our goal with this series is to provide the bill of materials to allow the assembly of the best possible catalog management solution, either on a unified basis with the same e-procurement platform or integrated with a broader solution.

Catalog Management: Technical and Functional Component Requirements (Part 4) — Catalog Objects and Mobility [PRO]

on-demand workforce

It’s possible to build or use a “good” e-procurement solution that has rudimentary catalog management. But it’s impossible to deliver or leverage a great one, unless its catalog management capabilities are best in class compared with the rest of the e-procurement and procure-to-pay (P2P) pack.

Based on our SolutionMap functional requirements for e-procurement, this multipart Spend Matters PRO research brief defines all of the elements of catalog management. It also provides a feature checklist of the elements that comprise each component, defining what constitutes best in class performance in each case. Today, in Part 4, we flesh out catalog objects and mobility capabilities, expectations and requirements.

Those new to this series can catch up with Part 1 (background and supplier network intersections), Part 2 (catalog creation, supplier onboarding and data quality control) and Part 3 (maintenance, workflow and analytics). Whether you’re a procurement organization, supplier, software provider or consultancy, this series provides the bill of materials to inform the assembly of the best possible catalog management solution, either on a unified basis with the same e-procurement platform or integrated with a broader solution.

So You Want to Buy Spend Analytics — Beyond Spend Cubes (Part 2) [PRO]

Analytics

In the first installment of this series, we outlined a handful of the key product differentiators that winnow the provider playing field down to those that can meet your needs. Today in the second part of this series, we’ll finish the discussion by moving into some extended spend analytics (i.e., beyond forensic spend history reporting) and broader supply analytics that are worthwhile to consider.

Why focus beyond basic spend analytics? The answer is simple: to find more value opportunities. And you don’t want to run out of runway with your current provider if you want to evolve your analytics journey beyond analyzing the “exhaust” of your value chain (i.e., spend).

But if you want to extract more value from your spend, you have to extract more insights around demand and from “supply” (i.e., categories, suppliers, costs and multitier value chains). With that, let’s dive into these areas.

Achieving a Successful Robotic Process Automation Implementation: A Case Study of Vodafone and Celonis

Procurement organizations are beginning to catch on to robotic process automation (RPA) and the potential benefits that the technology can bring, which include cost reduction and more time for strategic, value-add activities. In fact, more than a third of procurement organizations are already piloting the technology, according to research from The Hackett Group. This was certainly the case for British multinational telecom corporation Vodafone, for which adoption of RPA quickly yielded results.