The Technology Category

How Procurement Tech Adoption is Changing the Early Payment Game for the Better

The imperative to improve working capital is nothing new. As long as businesses have existed, buying organizations have wanted to hold onto their cash as long as possible, while suppliers have wanted to be paid promptly for goods and services provided. No wonder, then, that one of the oldest mechanisms to alleviate this discrepancy, invoice finance, dates back almost 5,000 years. But even over such a long history, invoice finance changed little. That's why the technological forces that are shaping this space stand to change so much about how it works.

Examining SMB Procurement Tech Needs: Do E-Procurement and SAP Ariba Snap Hit the Mark? [PRO]

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SAP Ariba is making a bet on the small and medium-sized business (SMB) market with its new Snap offering. But to fully understand this bet, some context is in order.

Smaller middle-market companies are generally late to the procurement technology game, especially compared with Global 2000 and Fortune 500 organizations. The most fully adopted procurement technology component within the SMB market, accounts payable automation (inclusive of basic invoice-to-pay capability), is more likely owned by the finance function than by procurement. And while travel and expense software is also valued by smaller organizations, its impact on procurement goals and metrics is generally limited relative to other initiatives organizations can pursue.

So where does e-procurement fit into the SMB equation, and if SAP Ariba Snap does hit the mark, where might that middle-market sweet spot be? This Spend Matters PRO brief explores how e-procurement solutions, including SAP Ariba Snap, fit into the SMB procurement agenda. It also provides a checklist for middle-market firms to think through when it might make sense to prioritize procure-to-pay (e-procurement and invoice-to-pay) investments relative to other areas such as strategic sourcing, analytics and supplier management. (For a full introduction to SAP Ariba Snap, read our Spend Matters PRO brief on the solution.)

How Procurement Organizations Can Mitigate Risk, Manage Costs Amidst a Trade War

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It is still unclear whether the escalating rhetoric between the U.S. and China will become reality. Yet it is crystal clear that organizations face ever greater supply risk with each passing year and, as a result, potentially higher costs without having access to the right tools in place. How to assess those risks and costs?

How to Fix the Services Procurement Machine: A New Operating Model for Procurement and its Stakeholders

Spend Matters welcomes this contributed content from Stefan Zorn, vice president of customer success at Globality

The services procurement machine is broken, that much is certain. In the sourcing of high-value, complex services, cost consciousness has dominated where quality should have lead. Compulsive risk avoidance has allowed larger suppliers to capture the services market, excluding expert small and mid-sized providers from the selection process. But these misplaced priorities are far from the only reason for malfunction. The machine also broke because it hasn’t kept up with the rapidly changing, real-time global economy.

What You Don’t Know Can’t Help You: Why Crowdsourcing Is Alive and Growing

Crowdsourcing is obscure concept for many, but one that is also widely in use. Large organizations ranging from Coca-Cola and Starbucks to AstraZeneca and NASA are increasingly experimenting with the approach, finding solutions for everything from sweetener development to answers to citizen science projects. And they’re not the only ones. In fact, there is considerable evidence that even midsize organizations are using and benefiting from crowdsourcing, too. To bring contingent workforce and services category managers and sourcing practitioners up to speed on these developments, we recently published “Crowdsourcing: New Trends and Developments” (Part 1 and Part 2).

SAP Ariba Snap: Bucking Convention with a Real Middle-Market E-Procurement Package [PRO]

SAP Ariba is serious about the small and medium-sized business (SMB) market for e-procurement and integrated procure-to-pay (P2P). With its new Snap offering, which takes a packaged approach to out-of-the-box capability and deployment, SAP Ariba is bucking convention. It’s doing so in two ways: first, by bringing to market a solution for which market demand is not yet established like it is in the Global 2000 and the upper mid-market; and second, by scripting, bounding and containing all aspects of deployment and configuration in a 12-week rapid implementation model (which many who know SAP Ariba might find hard to believe). 

The lower end of the middle market, a prime target for Snap, is unproven ground for e-procurement. While Coupa’s original business plan, Spend Matters believes, targeted largely SMB customers, a key pivot for the provider, in our opinion, was its realization that larger middle-market and Global 2000 companies generally represented a better fit for integrated procure-to-pay (although Coupa does still actively target and serve smaller customers, as well). In contrast, dozens of providers have successfully driven AP automation into the SMB market, with rumored IPO candidate AvidXchange arguably the most successful in North America from a growth and customer traction perspective, especially at the smaller end of the market.

This Spend Matters PRO brief provides an introduction to SAP Ariba Snap: what it is, what it consists of, its design and implementation philosophy, pricing, key takeaways, and our recommendations for customers and prospects. A follow-up Spend Matters PRO brief will focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the approach SAP Ariba is taking with Snap in targeting a market segment for e-procurement and procure-to-pay in which greater value within procurement typically comes from prioritizing different business process areas and supporting technologies.

3 Big Changes Driving Procurement Hiring Trends in 2018

Spend Matters welcomes this guest column from Naseem Malik and Nick Lazzara of MRA Global Sourcing.

There’s never a dearth of excitement in the world of procurement, and 2018 has been no exception. The business effects of several new Trump administration policies are coming fast and furious. Fluctuating economic and political conditions are presenting a host of new challenges and opportunities for businesses. Because of these factors, procurement professionals now more than ever need to stay abreast of the latest developments and master in-demand skills. To help, here are the three key areas we’ve seen driving procurement hiring in 2018, as well as our recommendations for where professionals should focus in the coming months.

Insight Sourcing Group (ISG): Provider Introduction, Summary and SWOT [PRO]

consultant

Insight Sourcing Group (ISG) is likely the largest North American boutique management consulting firm providing strategic and operational solutions for procurement. But unlike similar firms, ISG offers more than just consulting services. Beyond its core business, ISG has three additional business units that form the nucleus of its offering: SpendHQ, a spend analytics platform; InsightGPO, a group purchasing organization (GPO); and ISG Energy, an energy supply and demand cost optimization practice.

This Spend Matters PRO Provider Introduction offers an overview of ISG, including quick facts on the provider. The brief includes an introduction to each of ISG’s four business lines, an overall SWOT analysis comparing it to other procurement consultancies and a selection checklist for companies that may consider the provider.

The Age of Analytics: Mainstream Adoption by Procurement Expected to Triple by 2021

Procurement has likely entered the beginning of a massive swell in the adoption of advanced analytics tools. Researchers from The Hackett Group have found that mainstream adoption of advanced analytics in procurement functions is expected to more than triple in the next two to three years, increasing from the current 20% to 63%. Given the benefits associated with the effective use of analytics, the increased adoption makes sense. Earlier research has found that analytics-driven organizations are twice as likely to be top financial performers and five times as likely to make faster and better decisions.

Crowdsourcing: New Trends and Developments (Part 2) [Plus+]

crowdsourcing

In Part 1 of this two-part series, we provided an overview of crowdsourcing, defining what it is and how it is different from online freelancer marketplaces. We not only provided examples of different crowdsourcing platform providers (of which there are many) but also provided illustrations of real crowdsourcing in action.

Today in Part 2 of this series, we cover the emergence of practices and functions to effectively manage crowdsourcing across organizations and some of the segments where crowdsourcing has grown both on the demand (buyer organizations) and supply (platform providers) side. We also look at how the space is evolving and provide some highlights and suggestions for practitioners.

I’m Afraid I Can’t Source That, Dave: Artificial Intelligence in Strategic Sourcing

Last week marked the 50th anniversary of Stanley Kubrik’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.” One of the great scenes in this landmark movie is when astronauts Dave Bowman and Frank Poole chat “in private” about shutting down HAL 9000, the omnipresent, artificial intelligence-based control system. Unfortunately, HAL’s vision system is able to read Dave’s lips through a small window and learns the crew’s intentions. To protect itself and thereby its mission directive, HAL sets out to kill the astronauts. Although the complex automated reasoning that HAL uses in its attempt to snuff out Bowman and Poole is a bit beyond current AI implementations, the procurement process-specific applications of machine learning are becoming quite real.

Robotic Process Automation Adoption: Early Challenges and Lessons Learned

Despite early successes, mainstream organizations are not yet making use of robotic process automation (RPA) technology. This may soon change, according to Hackett Group analysts, who predict that RPA adoption rates will rise in the next two or three years. According to the Hackett Group research, executives across departments are interested in increasing RPA adoption, with finance and global business services (GBS) executives particularly enthusiastic. GBS executives believe that mainstream adoption of RPA will increase five-fold to more than 52% within two or three years, and finance executives predict that adoption rates will increase to 38%.