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Procurement Digitalization Has 2 approaches: All or Some

In an increasingly digital world where manual processes are transformed into bits and bytes, the challenge for Procurement Organizations is to stay relevant. Many companies struggle to decide whether a dedicated Procurement function is “good to have” or a “must have,” according to Rahul Devarakonda, Beroe Inc.’s head of product.

Procurement Digitalization” promises to offer an abundance of solutions to multiple problems. But the pressing question is: Can Procurement teams achieve the much-needed centrality if they jump onto the Digitalization bandwagon?

While expectations are high, so are the complexities in implementing digitalization in one’s organization. For example, questions could range from as simple as “where to start” to as complex as “what mix of solutions can bring in more value to operations.” There are solutions in the market that envisage complete overhaul of processes and systems, but Procurement Organizations also can take an alternate approach, which uses a plug-and-play model to digitize certain processes that otherwise consume too much time and effort.

Industry experts weigh in with their assessments for when to do a vast Digitalization switch and when it makes sense to digitalize parts of a company's operations.

Digital Transformation Drives Top Procurement Operations, And Can Help Late Adopters, Report Finds

World-class procurement organizations have achieved enormous advantages through automation and the adoption of technology solutions, according to a new report on digital transformation from the Hackett Group.

The 2018 benchmarking report found that top performers, thanks to their digital transformations, have 21% lower labor costs and 29% fewer full-time equivalent staff than more typical organizations. For this reason, the authors of the report proclaim that procurement is now at an inflection point: While technology has always been effective at helping procurement increase efficiency, “world-class organizations can continue to reduce costs by embracing digital technology, while the peer group can leverage the same technology to catch up faster at less cost.”

Find out how the top performers do it and how late adopters can catch up.

Manufacturing Skills Shortage Creates Challenges, Opportunities for Digital Transformation

Toyota supply chain

Manufacturing has a shortage of skilled workers, and year by year it is expected to grow to about 2.2 million unfilled jobs over the next decade, according to a study that has been tracking the gap for almost two decades. The shortfall in workers who can handle the technical nature of manufacturing and its digital transformation could cost the U.S. economy $2.5 trillion over the next 10 years, says the 2018 study by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute. As one manufacturing executive said in the study, “With the positive turn in the economy, we don’t have enough job candidates with the right skills and work ethic to fill our openings, and this is making it difficult for us to accept the orders our vendors are asking us to complete.” Find out how companies are trying to bridge the gap.

Year-end ‘Dash for Cash’ — 7 Steps to Free Up Funds Without Resorting to Tricks

It’s the end of the year, time for New Year’s Resolutions, a little vacation time and Christmas Party hijinks. But the Hackett Group, a business consultant and digital transformation specialist, is cautioning against year-end fiscal shenanigans, where money is shuffled around to make it appear that the company has hit the finish line in full stride. A new paper from the group lamenting the yearly “dash for cash” argues that you can look for sustainable, healthy ways of freeing up cash at the end of the year without pulling any three-card-monty tricks. According to the paper on working capital, many companies think it’s too late at the end of a quarter or year to free up significant cash. But it suggests 7 steps you can still use.

How to Limit Nature’s Impact on the Supply Chain

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Graham Parker, CEO of Gravity Supply Chain Solutions.

Real-time data will provide visibility and inform decision-making that safeguards the supply chain from the unexpected.

Wildfires, tsunamis, earthquakes and hurricanes.

These are just a few examples of the types of natural disasters the world has experienced in the last 12 months. With California still reeling from the catastrophic impact of the recent wildfires, it is increasingly evident that natural disasters are becoming a regular occurrence.

Sourcing and Engaging the Independent/Freelance Workforce — An Emerging Ecosystem? (Part 1) [PRO]

Coworks

It’s time for a Spend Matters PRO series to catch up on what happened to the gap that we identified several years ago between enterprise managers and independent/freelance workers.

In November 2015, we pointed out a barely noticed “white space” between the enterprise demand for independent/freelance workforce* and the supply of those workers. By that we meant that while enterprises, with the support of VMS technology and often MSPs, were able to source and manage contingent workforce from staffing suppliers and contracted services providers, they generally lacked the capabilities to systematically source and manage independent/freelance workers.

We also observed the emergence of FMS, the freelancer management system, at that time, but we were clear that it was just “a part of a much larger set of developments, encompassing a range of new —  and incumbent — solution and service providers that increasingly leverage advanced technology, digitized information and innovative approaches to sourcing and managing independent/freelance workers.” We further asserted that the independent/freelancer workforce white space would start filling with various providers of solutions and service providers.

We also speculated that — due to state-of-the-art cloud stack, APIs, services architecture and other technology that would be underlying their solutions — these providers would start to become components of a comprehensive digitally enabled and digitally connected ecosystem. By that we meant an ecosystem (and nested ecosystems) that could evolve and be reconfigured more rapidly to serve the unique needs and preferences of different enterprises and, just as importantly, the unmet preferences and needs of the independent/freelance workers whom enterprises would engage in many new ways (some previously not possible).

Now, three years later, we can ask what has actually happened and to what extent the white space between enterprise managers and independent/freelance workers has been filled to:

— Provide enterprises with the required capabilities to source, manage and maximize the value of this independent/freelance population.
— Provide independent/freelance workers with the access to the opportunity pathways and the support/services they require to function as viable “operators.”

In Part 1 of this PRO series, we assess the current state of the independent/freelancer workforce and whether it is overhyped. In Parts 2 and 3, we will focus on the extent to which digitally enabled sourcing channels and work intermediation platforms have effectively bridged the gaps. In other words, to what extent has the white space been filled? And what is the current state of the digitally enabled ecosystem?

Efficio Panel Debate: Good Banter, Robot Jokes and 3 Points About the Future of Procurement

Last week in London I participated in one of the livelier and more spirited panel debates on the future of procurement (skills, technology and more) in recent memory. The event, held at Efficio’s offices Thursday to mark the release of its latest report, “Procurement 2025: Is Digital Transformation Driving More Effective Procurement,” included not only a handful of esteemed panelists and facilitators from the procurement/CPO, consulting and academic ranks, but also a robot — which led to many robotic process automation jokes throughout the discourse. If Efficio does something like this again, ask them for an invitation — you won’t be disappointed!

Here are three points that stuck in my mind from the different panel discussions and chats that I had.

How the Contagion Effect Could Blow Up Network Finance

In the real world, you plan for an event and it works out for a while. Then things fall apart. So you react and plan more — hoping to stop the problem from creating a contagion effect.

And here you are, thinking that you built this nice network finance model to finance your suppliers not just on approved invoices, but invoices that have been issued, or even more upstream, purchase orders that have been issued. And things have been working smoothly for a couple of quarters, or maybe for even a year or two.

But then it happens. More things fall apart.

Wax Digital: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary and Competitive Analysis [PRO]

We can count on two hands the number of independent source-to-pay providers left in the global market with sufficient breadth and depth of capabilities to fully earn the moniker of “suite provider.” Wax Digital is one of them. But don’t fret if you’ve not encountered them yet.

In Part One of this Vendor Snapshot, we introduced you to the firm — a source-to-pay provider from the UK that you may not be familiar with, especially since it has not yet participated in SolutionMap (although that changes this quarter). Then in Part Two, we dove in deep and examined, in detail, all of the strengths and weaknesses of this widely deployed source-to-pay platform that is just becoming known in North America.

Wax Digital is a particular provider to note among others, as it one of the few providers that offers a relatively complete, integrated, source-to-pay offering on one code base that is already used globally in over 100 countries. Maybe vendors tout “one platform” when in fact their solutions do not work as seamlessly together as claimed.

Now, today, in our third and final installment in this Vendor Snapshot series, we provide a SWOT overview of Wax Digital as a whole, a comparative and competitive market overview, and provide some final summary analysis and recommendations for organizations that might consider Wax Digital as a potential solution partner.

Extinction event: Amazon Textract has just killed the OCR industry. Who’s next and who’s safe?

disruption

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Doug Hudgeon, a business automation expert.

The annual Amazon AWS Re:Invent conference has just finished. The most interesting announcement in the conference was not one of high-profile changes to their serverless and machine learning platforms. The most interesting announcement was a three-minute video about Textract, a new OCR (optical character recognition) service from Amazon. This service extracts text and tables from documents and is priced at $1.50 per 1,000 pages.

The Textract OCR service is interesting for three reasons, each of which is worthy of an article in itself, but we'll briefly look at all three here and the industries that are affected.

Q4 2018 SolutionMap Source-to-Pay Release Notes

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider release note provides insight into the Q4 2018 SolutionMap release for Source-to-Pay, reviewing the process that we followed for this quarter’s release.

The providers in the Q4 2018 Source-to-Pay SolutionMap include Coupa, Determine, GEP, Ivalua, SAP Ariba, SynerTrade and Zycus. All of these providers were required to participate in SolutionMap for each underlying module, as well. These individual areas include Sourcing, Spend and Procurement Analytics, Supplier Relationship Management & Risk, Contract Lifecycle Management, E-Procurement and Invoice-to-Pay. All of these providers are also included in the individual Strategic Procurement Technologies (SPT) and Procure-to-Pay (P2P) suite views.

This SolutionMap Insider research note provides insight into these and additional considerations in the Q4 2018 SolutionMap release. The Source-to-Pay customer data set is composed of a subset of the 600+ individual organization references included in the overall SolutionMap scoring as of Q4 2018*.

*Customers using more than one module that a vendor provides can opt to fill out a single survey within each individual suite area (e.g., a customer using two modules for P2P and four modules for SPT would need to fill out only two surveys).

Q4 2018 SolutionMap Release Notes: Contingent Workforce & Services (CW/S) Enterprise Technology Solutions — Temp Staffing, Contract Services/Statement of Work (SOW), Independent Contract Workers (ICW)

Q4 2018 marks the second research cycle for Spend Matters’ Contingent Workforce & Services (CW/S) “enterprise technology” SolutionMap, the sourcing and management of three underlying spend categories: Temp Staffing, Contract Services/Statement of Work and Independent Contract Workers (ICW).

The providers in the Q4 2018 CW/S SolutionMap include Beeline, Coupa-DCR Workforce, Field Nation, Shortlist, SirionLabs, TalentNet, Talmix, TalonFMS, Upwork Enterprise, Vndly and WorkMarket (ADP).

Given Spend Matters’ procurement orientation, we evaluate “enterprise technology” vendors within a source-to-pay (S2P) reference model. In other words, we look at vendors in terms of their capabilities that address some or all enterprise requirements that arise within an S2P lifecycle (i.e., from supplier sourcing to worker or supplier payment).

In this second CW/S research cycle, there was again limited participation in the Temp Staffing and Contract Services/SOW SolutionMap categories. However, a good number of key vendors have expressed interest in participating in upcoming cycles.

There continues to be vibrant interest in participation by vendors in the emergent Independent Contract Workers (ICW) SolutionMap category. There are two new participants, Shortlist and Talmix, in Q4, and there are several other vendors interested in participating in upcoming cycles.

We have gathered extensive business profile information, received well over 30 client reference surveys and have assigned scores to specific solution capabilities (RFI line items) ranging from well over 100 to about 300, depending upon how many SolutionMap categories a particular vendor participated in.