For those of you who missed it, last week Spend Matters Founder Jason Busch presented a webinar live from the U.K., with Spend Matter UK/Europe Managing Director Peter Smith some 50 feet away, doing another webinar live. “It’s the first time we’ve had two analysts in the same building doing a webinar at the same time,” Busch said. Busch’s webinar, Sourcing, Contract and Supplier Management: Predictions and 2017 Tech Trends, looked at four areas within the strategic procurement technologies landscape — spend/supply analytics, strategic sourcing (e-sourcing), supplier management and contract management.
The Sourcing Category
Join Spend Matters, MetalMiner, Ivalua and the University of Chicago Medicine for our upcoming webinar that will outline the results of a case study on UChicagoMed's successful deployment of a cloud-contract management technology platform. Spoiler alert: It yielded major savings. Xavier Olivera of Spend Matters Mexico-Latin America will frame the discussion with the evolution of procurement software in the S2P software landscape, spend management trends in healthcare and more.
It’s no secret that the Spend Matters team has been geekily excited about the procurement implications of blockchain for years — seemingly right on the heels of the Dark Web, TOR and Silk Road becoming a thing. What is far more important to the world of procurement — and for that matter, the world of broader supply chains and global trade — is that blockchain brings the potential to become as important to our technology lives as the spreadsheet, ERP/MRP systems and source-to-pay technology suites that we use everyday, as Spend Matters Founder Jason Busch puts it.
There are several customer and technology trends to look at for strategic sourcing, not to mention spend/supply analytics, supplier management and contract management. These and other topics are just samples of what Spend Matters Founder Jason Busch will be discussing on today’s webinar, Sourcing, Contract and Supplier Management: Predictions and 2017 Tech Trends, at 1 p.m. CST. If you want to stay on top of all the latest technological advancements and make the smartest investments for procurement analytics, sourcing, contracting or supplier management efficiencies, this is a webinar not to miss.
Spend Matters has often noted that the market for strategic sourcing solutions is highly fragmented, with no clear leader or collection of leaders. This stands in contrast to the e-procurement and invoice-to-pay markets, where best-of-breed vendors are still thriving but consolidation among larger providers is influencing industry dynamics and many selection processes. Yet within the strategic sourcing market, it is difficult to point to any single vendor or set of vendors, look at any metric and say anything but vendor fragmentation is the rule.
This is both a positive and negative for providers like eBid Systems, given the challenge of competing against so many providers rather than aiming at a single target. Within this competitive environment, this final installment of our Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering eBid Systems offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other strategic sourcing providers for shortlist consideration. It also includes a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provided a company and deep dive solution overview, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider eBid Systems.
Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Brian Miller, vice president of services at Proactis.
“Dark” procurement, a new label for a well-known challenge in the discipline, is elevating concerns over purchasing waste and threatening efficient, optimized procurement. This is especially apparent in complex spend categories, particularly business services. Characterized by a lack of procurement awareness and process transparency in these categories, “dark” purchases leave organizations exposed to inefficiencies, greater costs and more risks.
eBid Systems is one of more than 30 technology providers that Spend Matters tracks that provide strategic sourcing solutions to private firms and public sector organizations around the globe. eBid Systems recently re-platformed its solution, an effort which included enhancing a range of modular and functional areas — as well as the user interface — making it more competitive with other solutions in the global market. Over 50% of eBid System’s 300-plus customers are public sector organizations, almost entirely at the smaller state and municipal level, but private sector companies may also value the combination of low-cost licensing, core e-sourcing, full audit trails, rules-driven compliance, vendor management and associated capabilities provider offers.
This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores eBid System’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider it for their needs. The first installment of our analysis provided a company and solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering eBid Systems. Part 3 will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives and additional evaluation and selection considerations.
There is no shortage of strategic sourcing technology vendors in the market today. Customers have choices ranging from per-event pricing with smaller providers to integrated solutions that combine rich supplier management, contract management and transactional procurement capability — not to mention specialty solutions that bring generalized technology differentiation, category-specific or other unique capabilities.
Within this smorgasbord of choice — and yes, there are even vendors that started in the Scandinavian market to chose from globally now — one provider from the Pacific Northwest, eBid Systems, has carved out a distinct customer niche in state/local publication sector and higher education sourcing. Nearly 20 years since its founding, it counts 200 public sector customers and 100 private sector organizations using its technology.
This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about eBid Systems strategic sourcing technology capabilities. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider eBid Systems in the procurement technology area. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.
A report by Trade Extensions titled “Consumers’ Attitudes Toward Manufacturers, Retailers and Suppliers” has implications for many facets of the CSR trend — from brand reputation, to ethical sourcing, to the classic “what does it mean for the bottom line?” One finding from the report indicates that the retailer is the most important entity (above manufacturers and suppliers) that U.S. and U.K. consumers think about when buying something — which is perhaps related to why the recent Nordstrom firestorm was more about Nordstrom, not who makes Ivanka Trump's clothing line or how it sells. But the survey’s more interesting findings touch on fair treatment of suppliers.
In the never-ending quest to deliver more value, procurement organizations are trying to squeeze more savings and innovation out of spend categories. But, eventually the well starts to run dry, and when that happens, you need to either get more out of that well (fracking for spend savings, perhaps?), dig a deeper well, find another place to dig, or find another way to get the water.
My point? To improve category management, which we sometimes affectionately refer to as CatMan, you sometimes have to expand it or blow it up completely. Here are some ideas that I’ve seen work elsewhere that can hopefully give you some inspiration and raise your category management game.
In our opening salvo on the latest and greatest edition of the “ERP vs. Best-of-Breed?” issue, I mentioned that baseline definitions are critical to understanding the deeper problems inherent in the debate. Defining “best-of-breed” (What does best mean? What breed are we talking about? Must the breed be apps-only?) and “app suites” (Single app? Or a ‘sweet suite’?) is the first step of the process. That’s because there are multiple options between these two ends of the spectrum. And, it’s really important to understand that a single ERP provider (or even BoB suite provider) doesn’t equate to an integrated solution set, a single architecture or a common support model, among other things. So let’s start with how to optimally source this technology (and/or broader XaaS services) — by looking to strategic sourcing.
This may seem like a ridiculously simple question whose answer comes embedded in the term itself (“Managing suppliers!”), but it can be tricky. Supplier management is a broad term, and it has become ever broader in its evolution from a post-contract area to include also strategy and planning and other pre-contract activities. In other words, supplier management has become supplier lifecycle management. But to nail down a pithy definition for supplier management, it is “simply the management of supplier-facing business processes throughout the lifecycle of a supplier,” as Spend Matters analysts Michael Lamoureux and Pierre Mitchell put it in their Supplier Management 101 series.