The Sourcing Category

What is Your Sourcing Persona? Understand Your Requirements to Find the Best Technology Provider [PRO]

No two procurement or supply chain organizations are alike. Each has its own persona that reflects not only its own value proposition and engagement approach but also the stakeholders it serves — and its supply base.

The same principle holds true of sourcing application providers. Each has a persona — or set of personas — that reflects its value proposition, solution strategy and targeted customer segments. Therefore, procurement organizations should seek providers whose personas best align to theirs. In other words, there is no “magic” solution provider, and finding the right fit is critical, because sourcing applications are critical to create value through savings, cost avoidance, risk management and value contribution to the business.

To that end, we are excited to preview our approach to Spend Matters SolutionMapSM, a comparative analytical framework for practitioners to evaluate relevant solutions to meet their procurement needs.

Our SolutionMap initiative depicts vendor rankings based on specific buyer personas to reflect the unique value proposition, solution strategy and customer segments served by a vendor. Participating vendors are scored both on their Solution capability as well as on Customer Value, based on in-depth tech reviews (including live demos) by the Spend Matters analyst team and aggregated direct customer input from surveys. Each SolutionMap is updated quarterly rather than in 12-month (or longer) cycles, to accurately reflect the pace of market developments.

As part of our second Spend Matters SolutionMap vendor comparison ranking for sourcing and other strategic procurement technologies, the Spend Matters analyst team has dedicated considerable time to developing the unique organizational “personas” that we’ve most often seen in our decades of experience working with practitioner organizations. We have used these personas to weight the requirements that we used in solution scoring, which includes customer satisfaction scoring by solution customers.

Having collected feedback from hundreds of sourcing users in recent months as part of our SolutionMap research, we see these personas as useful starting points for procurement organizations to classify themselves before looking at solution rankings of providers in the market. This Spend Matters PRO analysis shares six of the most common customer personas for sourcing buying requirements. Aimed at practitioners as well as vendors and the consultants advising them, this research brief will be helpful to drive the type of “mass customization” of strategic procurement technology solutions needed to meet specific organizational needs.

Below, we present our six personas for sourcing. For each, we include full definitions, typical organizational priorities (based on each persona), functional/solution and customer value emphasis and recommended selection processes. Comparative vendor rankings are published for each persona separately on Spend Matters (and updated quarterly).

Q4 SolutionMap℠: 32 Procurement Technology Solution Providers, Ranked

With Major League Baseball playoffs in full swing, we're reminded of the fitted ballcaps some of us used to wear when we were kids, just like the pros wore. Then at one point, companies introduced some fitted caps that were incongruously labeled “One Size Fits All.” That promise didn’t hold up. One size never really fits all (some of us have bigger noggins than others, for example), so ballcaps promoting themselves as such miss the mark. The same can be said for traditional analyst rankings of procurement technology solutions. Behold, Spend Matters Q4 SolutionMap℠ — where we leave the “one fits all” approach behind.

Vendor Summary Report: Sourcing SolutionMap℠ Q4 2017 [PRO]

This SolutionMapSM analyzes a select group of sourcing providers. It is part of our Q4 2017 SolutionMap report series, also featuring spend analytics, contract management, supplier relationship management and risk (SRM), e-procurement and invoice-to-pay providers. SolutionMap also features procure-to-pay and strategic procurement technology suites.

Spend Matters tracks more than 40 sourcing solution providers today. This analysis features many of the largest sourcing providers, including BravoSolution, Coupa, Determine, EC Sourcing, GEP, Ivalua, Jaggaer, Jaggaer Direct (formerly Pool4Tool), Keelvar, SAP Ariba, Scout RFP and Zycus. Among these providers, the Sourcing SolutionMap features select industry/specialty capability of providers, although it does not highlight them in a specific persona, a change from our last SolutionMap release.

SolutionMap ratings provide comparative rankings and insight into how each provider scored from a Solution perspective and Customer Value perspective.

Dive deeper with our full analysis.

Zycus Horizon 2017 Dispatch: Exploring Zycus’ Products and Modules Across Source-to-Pay

Earlier in the week on the mainstage at Zycus Horizon, Aatish Dedhia, Zycus’ founder and CEO, provided an overview of his firm’s current and emerging product footprint. The suite is “comprehensive,” to use a word Dedhia favors in describing it. To his credit, Zycus arguably offers one of the broadest suites available today, albeit with varying degrees of depth and comparative functionality. While our definition of what falls into a particular module or another may differ from how various providers define it, here’s how Zycus explains its footprint today.

Analyzing 2017 E-Sourcing Savings and Trends with Scanmarket

Last week I touched down in London to attend and speak at Scanmarket’s eSourcing Exclusive Summit. Scanmarket is a provider of strategic sourcing software and over the years has developed a particular expertise and customer following based on its reverse auction capability and formats. During the event, Henrik Balslev, senior vice president of operations for Scanmarket, gave a presentation on e-sourcing and reverse auction trends. I thought it would be valuable for Spend Matters readers to hear some of the data Balslev shared.

Nothing New Under the Sun: Taking an Advanced Approach to Supplier Diversity

supplier diversity

Growing up I remember hearing two phrases constantly: “There is nothing new under the sun” and “Numbers never lie.” Both statements I have found to be half-truths. Try telling dinosaurs, phone booths or the former milkman that nothing ever changes. People, things, ideas — all evolve. The time has come for supplier diversity to evolve, as well.

Terrorist Attacks Pose Growing Problem for Supply Chains Worldwide

Terrorist attacks on supply chains are on the upswing, according to a recent report from BSI, a provider of supply chain intelligence. The number of such attacks have increased 8.5% from last year, and the year-over-year increase in the proportion of terrorist attacks on supply chains versus all attacks has also risen, by 19%.

What Dodd-Frank Repeal? Companies Continue to File Conflict Minerals Disclosures

conflict minerals

The fate of the Dodd-Frank Act — including whether U.S. companies will still be required to trace their conflict minerals — may be up in the air, but many of them are nevertheless conducting audits and filing conflict minerals reports as before. In April, the acting chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) came out against enforcing Dodd-Frank Section 1502, which required companies to trace the origins of any tin, tungsten, tantalum or gold (3TG) used in their products and disclose whether these conflict minerals have been sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Geopolitical Supply Chain Risk is Knocking on Your Door — Here’s What You Do

Pop quiz, hotshot. There's a bomb on a bus. Once the bus goes 50 miles an hour, the bomb is armed. If it drops below 50, it blows up. What do you do? What do you do? For those of you too young to remember or too old to care, this quote from “Speed,” the summer blockbuster of 1994, delivered by Dennis Hopper’s character, pretty much sums it all up. (I admit, for this 11-year-old at the time, the adrenaline rush was palpable, and with no big Marvel-style special effects!) In a different summer rife with risk — the one we’re in — the quote rings especially true.

Oracle Procurement Cloud: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview [PRO]

You can almost set your watch on it. When ERP vendors decide to enter a particular solution market, impassioned arguments debating the tradeoffs of their approach versus the perceived benefits of those taken by specialized application vendors turn up the volume on a regular basis. “To ERP or not ERP,” that is the question. And while Oracle’s Procurement Cloud has not yet settled this debate, the offering will continue to draw the attention of many companies as well as Oracle’s installed base during their respective source-to-pay (S2P) technology evaluation processes, especially as Oracle’s solutions continue to improve and mature in the area and take their place as cloud-native solutions, turning entirely away from the ERP installed software legacy.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Oracle Procurement Cloud and whether its capabilities are a fit for their needs. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and a detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Oracle Procurement Cloud. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Latest Modern Slavery Index Released: Turkey and EU See Increased Risk

No company wants its global supply chains to have any exposure to slavery. Yet new research shows that the risk is on the uptick worldwide, including in 20 European Union countries. Global risk research firm Verisk Maplecroft released its Modern Slavery Index 2017 on Thursday. The index assessed 198 countries for risk of modern slavery, which the researchers define as including slavery, human trafficking and forced labor. The percentage of countries at “high” or “extreme” risk for modern slavery has grown to 60%, a 2% increase since last year.

Can Procurement Save the Least Diverse Profession in the United States?

forced labor

The biggest change agent for the legal profession could be the as yet unspoken (rather than contractual) pressure from legal firms’ corporate clients, who are pushing their legal partners to go further into supplier diversity efforts. These corporations (e.g., HP, Facebook and Oracle), many of which have instituted their own supplier diversity programs, increasingly want their suppliers and partners to do the same, according to Lee Garbowitz, managing director of Procurement Managed Solutions for HBR Consulting. This helps the partners align strategically, with the ultimate goal of improving brand image and reputation on both sides.