The Procurement Category

The Future of the Procurement Technology User Experience: Smart Systems and Messaging, Chat and Collaboration (MCC) [PRO]

software

It was not so long ago that nearly all vendors with strong user interfaces, at least for e-procurement, described the experience of those using their applications as “Amazon-like.” But in a matter of quarters, the bar for a best-in-class user experience has evolved materially. And the pace of acceleration will only continue.

Even today, “ease-of-use” is the ante — a strong user experience delivers much more. In the first installment in this series, we noted that for procurement technologies, the user experience “is extremely important these days. For better or worse, it is becoming the basis for many technology selections, as organizations are quickly realizing that user experience is the key to adoption.”

Further, “procurement teams are now becoming aware that the high-priced technology they acquire will only deliver an ROI if it gets used. And having acquired too much shelfware over time, many have decided that it's better to settle for fewer features if the software is actually adopted.”

But what is a best-in-class user experience in 2017? And what will it be in 2020? In this two-part Spend Matters PRO brief, we delve into the evolution of the procurement technology UI, describing what users and technology buyers should now expect today and tomorrow from artificial intelligence (AI) smart systems, real-time messaging, chat and collaboration (MCC) frameworks, integrated dashboards and the latest in advanced mobile capability.

Don’t get left behind. And don’t let a technology provider fool you into thinking they necessarily are providing the latest and greatest capability today — or are taking full advantage of disruptive technologies as they plan their roadmaps for tomorrow.

Tell the CEO: Strategic Sourcing and Procurement’s Role in Business Success

According to a new report from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, the role procurement and sourcing play in defending organizational cybersecurity is but one sign that the function has ceased to be simply a back-office operation. And yet, a previous HBR Analytic Services survey of 376 senior executives found that companies are not much inclined to devote advanced technological resources to non-customer-facing functions, including procurement and sourcing.

Must-Watch Films and TV: Recommendations From and For Procurement Professionals

A few months ago, we published a post on book recommendations for procurement and supply chain practitioners. Textbooks they were not: I solicited recommendations both inside and outside Spend Matters for books that have relevant takeaways for procurement, even if they are about, say, tulips (that would be Mike Dash’s “Tulipomania”). Today we’re back with another round of recommendations, this time in the film and TV show category. The gist remains the same: What films and TV shows, while not nominally about procurement or supply chain, nevertheless contain pertinent lessons?

Pierre Mitchell on the Spend Matters 2017 50 to Watch, 50 to Know Lists

Several weeks ago, the Spend Matters Analyst Team released the fourth annual 50 to Watch, 50 to Know lists. Each year, the analysts spend much of Q1 in a spirited back-and-forth debate over which technology solution providers merit a spot on the year's lists. This year was no different.

10 Places to Look for New Procurement Recruits

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Zelim Suleymanov, chief executive of PrECA.

In my previous article, we defined two methods for recruiting procurement professionals. But now that you know your method, where do you look? Here a few tips on where and how to perform the search.

How to Become an Employer of Choice for Procurement Superstars

We’ve all heard how difficult it is for companies to attract and retain top procurement talent, and there’s no dearth of strategies on how best to deal with that. What isn’t discussed nearly as much is the other side of the equation: how to ensure you become an employer of choice.

When it comes to the “A players,” there is a criterion they follow that we like to call the CLAMPS discussion. This acronym stands for challenge, location, advancement, people, money and security. Each category represents a motivator professionals use to evaluate a position and company.

Inside the Executive Suite with Jose Varela, CPO of 3M: Cognitive Computing Pointing the Way Forward

Jose Varela, vice president of global sourcing for 3M, took the time to chat with Spend Matters about how one of the global industrial leaders in innovation sees the challenging sourcing and risk landscape both today and into the future. (ICYMI, here’s Part 1.)

What’s clear is how the maturity of the overall organization and the forward-thinking nature in 3M’s DNA result in streamlined collaboration, both internally and with the company’s myriad suppliers — more than 100,000 around the world.

But how is Varela’s organization using technology — procurement tech and otherwise — to compete with the big boys in 2017 and beyond? And how hard does he have to work to prove the value his procurement organization provides to his boss?

Inside the Executive Suite with Jose Varela, CPO of 3M: More Sunny Days in St. Paul Ahead?

As he looked out his window at the sunny spring day in the suburbs of St. Paul, Minnesota, Jose Varela seemed upbeat and rather excited about where sourcing operations are headed for what was once known as the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company — better known today as 3M. Perhaps that’s because he’s somewhat of a newbie. “I’m new to sourcing,” Varela said. “I’ve been in this position less than a year.” He’d previously been a managing director with 3M Brazil, where there were undoubtedly many more sunny days outside his window than he encounters in the Great White North.

The Rise of AI in Procurement: Separating Hype from Reality

cognitive computing

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Dr. Alan Holland, founder and CEO of Keelvar.

A first-mover advantage ensues for firms that reach the tipping point of attaining superior performance with AI over humans. But there is also a pre-emptive rush to be ahead of the curve. Businesses are trying to understand before their competitors which AI-backed solutions will offer most value. It’s important to separate the hype from reality.

All Smoke, No Fire: A Procurement Practitioner’s Thoughts on Digital Procurement (Part 1)

Editor’s note: This is the first in a three-part series on digital disruption from a procurement professional’s perspective.

“Digital” is smoking hot for CPOs right now. “Disrupt” is the newest square on Corporate Buzzword Bingo. Really? As someone with a front-row seat to the inner workings of procurement teams, I don’t see it. I was dismayed at the lack of content on this topic on the agenda of the most recent ISM conference in Orlando. All is way too quiet on the digital front in procurement. In the business environment today, the “why” of this inertia doesn’t matter. The need to do something, on the other hand, does.

ISM 2017: Talent, Procurement Zen and a CPO’s Warning About Technology

I attended a Q&A session with a handful of the “30 under 30” winners in supply management at ISM 2017, and all I can say is that these young professionals from firms like GE, Johnson & Johnson and Coach are indeed impressive (see some of our interviews in the links below). The competition for the designation is increasing, and the winners are increasingly interested in supply management from the get-go. In the first year of the program, only 17% of the winners came into the industry proactively with a supply (chain) management degree, but 40% of winners this year (the third year) were supply management graduates and practitioners.

ISM 2017: The Spend Slayer

At a big procurement conference, how do you get a procurement manager into your booth? The answer is simple (and somewhat sexist, I might add). Find an attractive female — maybe we’ll see a guy one of these years — and a gimmick. In the past, AECSoft, a former vendor in the space, was one that was successful in driving traffic by bringing a model — I think she was Miss Lebanon — to the conference and having her circulate around the floor and hang out at the booth. This year, Jaggaer continued this tradition with the “Spend Slayer,” an archer — or ”archerette,” if you will — who circulated around the exhibit hall with a bow.