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How Coupa, SAP Ariba and Basware Really Did in Our Q4 SolutionMap

In a paean to the recent Q4 SolutionMap release and subsequent personal analytical take on the three solution providers in this headline, Spend Matters Founder Jason Busch let everyone in on a not-so-secret secret. “Despite our marketing claims of having invested ‘hundreds of hours’ of analyst time in the process, the actual number felt like more in the thousands, by my own accounting,” Busch wrote. “I told one of my colleagues I felt like I was ‘in the Matrix’ at one point when looking at technology provider demonstrations.” While we’ve created a PO for an exact replica of the spectacles worn by Laurence Fishburne’s Morpheus in “The ‘Matrix” films to give Jason as a surprise (oops!) gift, we wanted to make sure to do justice to those many hours of collective team effort — by filling users in a bit more about what they can get out of SolutionMap.

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DHL Resilience360: A High-End Supply Risk Solution Hiding in a Logistics Services Provider (Part 2: Determining the Fit) [PRO]

The market for supply chain risk management solutions continues to grow. SAP Ariba is back in the game, after a market hiatus from SAP Supplier InfoNet, with a new solution. Incumbents such as riskmethods and Resilinc continue to build out their offerings, and eager adoption from a growing customer base in manufacturing and other sectors is driving one of the healthiest revenue CAGRs in the procurement sector, according to Spend Matters research.

Within this sector, DHL Resilience360 offers a compelling set of capabilities that span risk assessment, supply chain network visualization, incident monitoring and risk response. (See Part 1 of this analysis for a full overview.) The solution stands out for how it incorporate logistics components into broader aspects of supply chain risk management.

This second installment of our analysis introducing DHL Resilience360 explores what types of customers are the best fit for the solution. It also offers a checklist to help organizations assess the relevance of Resilience360 for their risk management initiatives. But first, this analysis begins by asking key questions in the context of organizational supply chain risk management maturity, readiness and priorities, including, “Who should use this solution and why?”

Chasing After Procurement Excellence: Findings from A.T. Kearney’s Latest Report

Deloitte Global CPO Survey 2016

World-class procurement organizations see a comparatively threefold higher return on their supply management assets, according to A.T. Kearney’s 2017 Assessment of Excellence in Procurement. The firm has been conducting these assessments every three years or so since 1992, and this is its ninth assessment. A.T. Kearney divides companies into four groups based on their ability to manage external spend: Leaders (7%); Aspirants (11%); The Pack (55%); and Strugglers (27%). The “Leaders” are twice as likely to invest in supplier innovation, risk management and digital technologies like blockchain or automation.

Could Rising Rapeseed Oil Prices Impact the US’s New Love for the Oil?

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Jonathan Stokes, market analyst at Mintec.

Global rapeseed oil prices have risen steeply since the middle of June, as adverse weather conditions in a number of major rapeseed producing countries have resulted in declining crop prospects worldwide. In the U.S., usage of rapeseed oil is predicted to increase 0.3 million tonnes, to a record 2.63 million tonnes in 2016/2017, due to a sharp decline in domestic soybean oil usage in the food sector.

Afternoon Coffee: Hurricane Harvey Sends Gasoline Prices Soaring, Amazon to Lower Prices at Whole Foods

Energy companies are about to feel the pain of Texas’ worst storm in decades. Amazon takes control over Whole Foods Monday, and the new owner’s first move will be to slash prices the same day. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest in procurement and supply chain news.

Driving Compliance in Healthcare: Where Good Pitching Still Seems to Beat Great Hitting

Since the beginning of time (it seems), industry-focused supply chain management application vendors have rushed to fill ERP solution gaps. The market’s early-to-mid-stage technology adopters have invested in these “best in breed” solutions and realized the value, accepting certain workarounds, often related to data integration. Despite the staggeringly complex and ongoing problems of core hospital enterprise management, the ERP vendors are already moving into additional application spaces, as their healthcare customers, based on their efforts, are finally getting connected.

Oracle Procurement Cloud: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses [PRO]

Oracle Procurement Cloud is a procurement technology suite that is targeted primarily at three key market segments. First, net new Oracle ERP Cloud customers who are looking to add procurement suite functionality. Second are those organizations that are current Oracle eBusiness Suite, PeopleSoft or JD Edwards ERP customers that may migrate to the cloud for their core financial system. And third are those customers with “installed” Oracle solutions for procurement (Oracle eBusiness Suite Procurement, PeopleSoft SRM, etc.), although these organizations may or may not (yet) be a fit for Oracle Procurement Cloud based on organizational requirements, including the degree of customization done to previous solutions.

Regardless, in many cases, Oracle customers considering Procurement Could will not have purchased a full source-to-pay (S2P) or procure-to-pay (P2P) suite from third-party vendors in the past, although they may have had experience with individual modules and solutions from Oracle procurement competitors. But in certain cases, Oracle customers have replaced suite capability from providers such as SAP Ariba and Coupa.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Oracle Procurement Cloud’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the solution. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering Oracle. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

What You Should Expect from Best-in-Class E-Sourcing User Experience and Functionality [PRO]

E-sourcing technologies have been around for two decades now. The authors have played various roles over the years in helping architect them, design them, configure them, select them and use them. Yet while today e-sourcing should be a mature and functionally rich technology out of the box, the reality is that there are still a number of offerings that don't have some of the most basic features you would have expected some years ago.

In contrast, other offerings continue to push the envelope in various areas of what the product can offer. In this two-part Spend Matters PRO brief, we outline what specific elements you should expect from best-in-class e-sourcing user experience and functional components. In the first installment, we cover how best-in-class solution designs feature guided event creation, clutter-free views and simplified template creation and management. As will soon become clear, it is impossible to separate a best-in-class user experience from underlying functional capability in many areas of strategic sourcing technology — the two are becoming increasingly yoked. Form following function. Or function following form. You decide!

Procurement’s Role in the Enterprise Working Capital Mandate

With a heightened awareness over how a supplier ecosystem affects a company’s balance sheet, implementing working capital programs is increasingly part of the procurement and supply chain organizations' responsibilities, in addition to the traditional worlds of treasury and finance. The ever constant pressure to find “cash” in an organization is now commonplace as the days of cash-rich businesses having excess cash or access to cheap bank sources of funding are all but over. Combine that with technology and macroeconomic trends that have affected many business processes, including supply chain flows, and more so than ever, companies must find ways to work out supply chain finance programs between departments and outside the organization.

Measuring the Procurement Technology User Experience: More Than Just a Pretty Screen (Part 1) [PRO]

UXI

A good technology user experience is not like pornography: One can actually define it without seeing it, or at least attempt to do so.

As you may have noticed, the “Vendor Snapshot” deep dive reports that Spend Matters has been doing for the past year on technology providers have included a section on user experience (UI). In this section, we have rated UI on a number of factors. While it may seem that the first five ratings are subjective, they were all based on a comparison of the platform to other platforms, with a generalized baseline against a set of criteria for “good” user experience that the Spend Matters Analyst team has been developing for over a year.

But now that Spend Matters has released its first SolutionMap℠ — with many more to come — we decided it was time to put down a standard set of more specific definitions, across specific procurement technology modules, about what makes for a good user experience based on the criteria we ourselves use to evaluate UIs across the source-to-pay workflow.

Today, we’ll start our discussion by defining what general characteristics make for a good UI, and an effective user experience (UIX), primarily by sharing examples (without naming vendor names) and different use case scenarios that separate out a base-level UX from an advanced one.

Procurement as a Service (PRaaS) — Part 3: Unpacking the Services Stack

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In Part 1 of the series, we delved into why procurement should run itself as a services business, and in Part 2, we shared how procurement can learn from other types of professional services businesses to bring more rigor and value to its internal customers and even external customers. On this last point, organizations such as GE, IBM and others have been masterful at industrializing various services internally, and then using themselves as success stories to externalize those services to new customers. In doing this, they are trying to establish themselves as digital platforms that will be the underlying architecture of emerging digital value chains.

So, what does this have to do with procurement? Many things:

  • As we discussed in Part 2, procurement and other stakeholders must understand how supply markets are fundamentally shifting as this digital transformation occurs. Such disruption is not just the “Amazoning” or “Ubering” of the supply chain, but services, too. For example, consider the mind-blowing transformation that Infosys is embarking on with its Mana platform and its Zero Distance approach to innovating service delivery.
  • Procurement can use this trend to its advantage to bring some leverage to relationships with large incumbent providers that may be threatened. This is also a great time to be a “customer of choice” and use strategic supplier management to capture innovation from your incumbent suppliers while also testing out emerging digital services providers.
  • It’s also critical to understand the implications of signing up on someone else's platform and what that means to switching costs down the road, as well as to what extend today’s suppliers don’t become tomorrow’s competitors.
  • Finally, if your company is going through a digital transformation to execute a new digital business strategy where your firm may also be positioning as a “platform,” then it’s important to understand platform-based business models and also cloud-based architectures (i.e., an XaaS model that lets you deliver these services scalably over the web) to more easily plug and play supplier XaaS services (see IBM cloud reference architecture as an example) into your procurement services.

The IBM architecture diagram can be a little overwhelming, so, let me show you a slightly simpler procurement version of this “aaS” architecture and give some examples of some innovative services. Actually, it’s not simple either, but it’s as simple as it can be while explaining the fundamental design of the PRaaS model in one diagram.

2017: The Year of Digital Procurement? NEW Webinar Announcement

digital business transformation

Be sure to reserve your spot for this one, because attendance will fill up fast. Digital Procurement in 2017: Jason Busch and Pierre Mitchell's Predictions will feature Spend Matters' top analysts, as well as D'jay Nagalkar, vice president at GEP, on Friday, Dec. 9, at 12 p.m. CST, as they discuss everything digital procurement for the year ahead. What does a CEO want? How will procurement departments be measured? (And how do you stack up?)