The Sourcing Category

Ask Spend Matters: Is a Group Purchasing Organization (GPO) Right for Me?

A reader recently wrote in with a question about how to find group purchasing organizations (GPOs) or purchasing consortia. This individual is a U.S.-based sourcing manager at Heidelberg, a multinational company that provides equipment and services for the print media industry. The reader told us that his company is thinking about bidding out for copiers next year, and he became interested in looking into GPOs after hearing about them at a local ISM meeting. However, a casual internet search for GPOs yielded no shortage of results.

Secrets to Better Technology RFPs: Avoiding Hijackings, Dying References and Key Takeaways [Plus+]

Quick: Who do you think has the upper hand in procurement/vendor negotiations when it comes to buying technology? If you guessed the provider, you would be right, in all too many cases. But it doesn’t have to be this way. And in fact, the best processes are anything but zero sum games. As a first step to maximizing procurement value and aligning outcomes with the business (and your vendor), getting the RFI/RFP process right is a critical step. In this Spend Matters Plus series, we shed light on a number of secrets of the trade and how to buy procurement technology — and indeed all technology — that much better. In this last installment of the series, we explore how to avoid IT and legal hijacking of the process as well as key takeaways and recommendations for procurement organizations.

Beeline: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses [PRO]

This Vendor Snapshot focuses on Beeline, a contingent workforce and services sourcing and management technology solution provider. For years one of the top global players in the traditional VMS software category, the company has begun to expand its solution in a number of different directions to address the changing needs of enterprise clients at a time when external workforce utilization is increasing and new technology solutions for sourcing and managing contingent workforce and services (CW/S) are required. Although Beeline, as a company now merged with IQNavigator (IQN), currently serves clients with two VMS solutions, in this series we focus on the Beeline platform; we plan to address the IQN solution in the future.

Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and solution overview, including basic fit criteria for firms considering Beeline. Part 2 explores Beeline’s product strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide if they should shortlist the vendor to enable their services procurement technology requirements. It also offers a high-level evaluation of the user interface. Part 3 of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Is Strategic Sourcing the Best Route to Smarter Bunker Procurement?

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Gaurav Singh, consultant at GEP.

Since the internet became commercially popular in the early 2000s, companies have made attempts to change the way the market trades bunkers. We’ve come a long way since 2000. Now we’re used to conducting transactions online in our everyday lives and have seen the rise of the “digital ship.” But although shipping was expected to be among the first industries to embrace technology, it has ended up as the last one to adopt new ways of doing business.

Are You Wasting Time and Money on Technology RFPs? [Plus+]

Technology selections are a serious but often overlooked topic, especially given not just the time and effort involved — but also how long you'll live with the results of your decision. This article describes many cost/benefit aspects of the RFP process when it comes to technology solutions and shares some insider "secret" provider insights. We will also share how to avoid allocating inordinate amounts of time and resources in return for a suboptimal outcome. More importantly — and this might sound like a bold statement — sometimes (maybe even most of the time) it just doesn't make sense to do an RFP! Sourcing practitioners might scoff at this, but read on as we challenge the notion that an RFP is the best path to a successful solution provider selection outcome. 

Improving RFP-Driven Technology Sourcing Outcomes: Strategies and Tactics [Plus+]

e-procurement

How can you be a better prospective customer of choice and improve your odds of success? You can start by following our mini “buyer boot camp” to lower total costs, improve your selection success and even start to smell like roses to solution providers (and become a customer of choice) by sticking to a handful of key strategies. Some of these are likely to be highly intuitive, others less so. But following as many of these steps as possible is key.

Cobalt and the Sustainability of Electric Vehicles

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Nick Peksa, opportunities director at Mintec.

Recently I have been reading a number of case studies based on some of the world’s leading sustainable and socially responsible firms, ranging from Unilever’s work in Brazil and Danone’s work in India to Vodafone and their mobile payment systems in Kenya. One of the other favorite firms for academic research is Tesla, with its “greener than thou” philosophy. Delving a little deeper into the mechanics of batteries, however, the word “cobalt” rang a number of alarm bells.

Leveling Up to E-Sourcing Mastery: A Collaborative Approach

With many procurement organizations using their solutions on only a quarter of applicable events, it’s clear that e-sourcing solutions have a ways to go to reach full adoption. From overwhelming practitioners with functionality to overemphasizing the prescriptions of industry analysts and consultants, e-sourcing providers have failed to help procurement realize the full benefits their solutions can offer. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Supplier Rationalization — Revisited

category management

Rationalizing a supply base is typically defined as picking the right suppliers and the right number of them, but in common practice, it has too often come to mean shrinking or consolidating a supply base in the name of securing more strategic relationships. We tend to forget that supplier rationalization can also mean increasing the number of suppliers used, routinely changing your mix of suppliers or expanding and then reducing the number and types of suppliers you select in support of changing organizational objectives, tests, hunches and the desire to accelerate the transfer of innovation.

Vendor Summary Report: Strategic Procurement Technology Suites SolutionMap℠ Q4 2017 [PRO]

category management

This SolutionMapSM analyzes a select group of strategic procurement technology suite providers (inclusive of spend analytics, sourcing, supplier management and contract lifecycle management). It is part of our Q4 2017 SolutionMap report series, individually featuring spend analytics, sourcing, contract management, supplier relationship management and risk (SRM), e-procurement and invoice-to-pay providers. SolutionMap also features procure-to-pay technology suites. Spend Matters tracks more than 100 individual strategic procurement technology providers today. This analysis features many of the largest suite providers, including BravoSolution, Determine, GEP, Ivalua, Jaggaer, SAP Ariba and Zycus. Among these providers, the Strategic Procurement Technology 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.

Behind the Scenes: Interpreting Q4 2017 SolutionMap Results With Jason Busch — BravoSolution and Zycus [PRO]

Today I continue to offer my observations on technology providers that participated in the Q4 2017 SolutionMaps by turning to two suite providers: BravoSolution and Zycus. During the course of our analysis, I was struck by how different both providers are overall in what they actually serve up to customers and how they fit into the market, despite having similar product footprints. Comparing the two is like comparing apples to oranges, which actually sums up quite well the odd, diverse and certainly complex category we today call procurement solutions. So sit back, relax and enjoy. And do drop me a line or post a comment if you want to add anything else to the discussion.

What is Your Strategic Procurement Technology (Suite) Persona? Understand Your Requirements to Find the Best Technology Provider [PRO]

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No two procurement or supply chain organizations are alike. Each has its own persona that reflects not only its own unique requirements but also the stakeholders it serves when providing timely and accurate spend, procurement, supply and broader analytics.

The same principle holds true when analyzing strategic procurement technology suites. Each provider 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 essential, because supplier management applications are critical for not only identifying savings opportunities but also the effective management of the procurement function.  

SolutionMap 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 Spend Matters SolutionMap vendor comparison ranking for strategic procurement technology suites, 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 procurement organizations.

We have used these personas to weight the requirements used in solution scoring, which includes customer satisfaction scoring by solution customers. Having collected feedback from hundreds of procurement organizations 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 five of the most common customer personas for strategic procurement technology suites 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 five personas for strategic procurement technology suites. For each, we include full definitions, typical organizational priorities (based on each persona), modular component weightings (and links to other PRO reports for detailed Solution and Customer value weightings) and recommended selection processes.