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Procurement Technology

A Tradeshift Outlook: Go Big or Go Home [PRO]


Three years ago, Jason Busch and I attended Tradeshift’s analyst day and we were intrigued by the potential of this platform-based e-invoicing application and network provider, which our colleague Peter Smith first analyzed back in early 2011 in his piece “Tradeshift — a Game-Changer in E-Invoicing (and Beyond) or a Danish Flash in the Pan?” To follow up on our intrigue and answer Peter’s initial question, my fearless colleague and P2P global analyst leader from Mexico City, Xavier Olivera, attended a session to assess how far the firm has come since then.

This Spend Matters PRO research note provides our perspective on where Tradeshift stands today from overall business, strategy, architecture and modular perspectives, including an analysis of its current functional capabilities, strengths and gaps. There’s an awful lot to be excited about — and, of course, some elements we are cautious on, as well.

E-Catalogs: The ‘Fifth Element’ of Procurement [PRO]


E-catalogs are still a key part of any e-procurement solution and e-marketplace. However, they are no longer simply a tool to load the prices and features of products and services for approval and then integrate into an e-marketplace to purchase against it. Today, e-catalogs are becoming an intelligent and integrated source of information that enable nearly all purchasing scenarios, with the support of a robust e-marketplace where requesters can search between e-catalogs (including punchouts or any other e-commerce site) — all while in compliance with the organization's business rules and standards.

Value as a Service: Buzzword or Game Changer? [PRO]


During the last few years, procurement technology provider Coupa has used the slogan “Savings as a Service,” a catchy phrase for a company serving procurement organizations. It has also been a smart slogan because it aligns to procurement’s primary mission — delivering savings. Delivering savings is also front-of-mind for mid-size companies as well as large ones. However, organizations that have identified procurement’s potential to adopt a more strategic role for the business beyond delivering savings are looking for a different type of conversation with their service providers (including SaaS providers like procurement technology providers), and how they can help support a broader missions of value beyond cost savings. So, Coupa has pivoted to the motto “Value as a Service.” But what does this mean and how can practitioners and providers learn from this? We previously wrote an article that touched upon Value as a Service, but this Spend Matters PRO brief explores how is Coupa is trying to deliver Value as a Service (including with its latest product release). And as (or more) important, we explore how others can learn from these efforts, including providers and practitioners alike.

10 Supply Chain Areas Needing Gene Therapy: Supply Network Information Models — The Missing DNA in the Digital Supply Chain (Part 4) [PRO]


In the previous post in this series, I began outlining 10 supply chain provider areas that could benefit from the infusion of a robust supply network information model. In this final installment in the series, I highlight the remaining provider areas, the convergence in supply chain intelligence and analytics and look at x potential providers that span multiple adjacent services and solutions sectors in business process outsourcing (BPO), management consulting, supply market intelligence, business intelligence, content management and others.

Lessons From KPMG Clients: When Procurement Strategy, Transformation, and Technology Intersect [PRO]


Over the past few months, the Spend Matters team has had the chance to speak to a number of KPMG clients who used the consultancy in various capacities in and around procurement strategy, transformation and technology. The lessons learned point to the importance of not only selecting the right consulting partner for multiple initiatives but also, from a solution lens, understanding the levers a firm can pull to get the most from technology vendors during the technology deployment phase of a consulting relationship. This Spend Matters PRO brief offers a case analysis view of KPMG from the client perspective, including what it was like to engage the firm and key lessons learned from having KPMG implement and manage cloud-based procure-to-pay (P2P) deployments. These discussions continue to support our thesis that procurement organizations should never manage their own e-procurement deployments or let their selected technology vendor handle such efforts on their behalf — even if a technology vendor is more than capable of managing a deployment on paper.

10 Supply Chain Areas Needing Gene Therapy: Supply Network Information Models — The Missing DNA in the Digital Supply Chain (Part 3) [PRO]


In these final two installments of this series on supply network information models, I will outline the gaps in 10 different supply-side process areas and technology solution types that would greatly benefit from supporting the key attributes of these models. More importantly, by tying each of these areas to a common robust information model, they’ll be able to integrate with each other more easily and support the needed process integrations. I’ll also discuss the extent that supply chain information networks like E2open, GT Nexus (Infor), GHX, Elemica, Elementum and others can play a key role in building the digital DNA needed to support modern supply networks.

SOW ‘Strategery’ and Fully Utilizing VMS Capabilities: Webinar June 28

Tradeshift Baiwang

We're living in an SOW age, and as organizations are hurrying to execute their implementation, a strategy has never been more important. Today's VMS solutions have the tools necessary for SOW, so it is time to embrace the technology and leave the spreadsheets in the dust. Join Spend Matters and Beeline for When the SOW Becomes Strategic: Taking Full Advantage of VMS Capabilities on Tuesday, June 28, at 12 p.m. CDT.

Defining Cloud Computing and Its Various Layers: Supply Chains in the Cloud (Part 2) [Plus +]


Why is the cloud important? For procurement applications in the cloud there is an inherent “democracy.” Participants, without regard to role or particular software instance, effectively participate on the same platform. This does not in itself mean that there is a neutralization of benefit for one party or the other, but it does mean that while participating in the exchange of value, there may be a greater opportunity for collaboration or discovery. Moreover, cloud levels the playing field internally (for business users) and externally (for suppliers and trading partners). And it does so without regard for size, IT skills, experience and budget (within reason).

Write Better Procurement Technology RFPs (Part 3): The RFI and RFP [Plus +]

cloud computing

In our first article in this series, we noted how in Spend Matters' last PLUS series on RFPs, we gave you some insights on how to write better RFPs in general, which is great when you are buying products and services, but not always enough when you are buying software solutions – especially for yourself. Specifically, the process of understanding the requirements, selecting the right providers to invite, and creating good specifications is a bit more nuanced than just the form, fit and function requirements of a physical component being purchased in the supply chain. Part 1 of this series focused on what was required to truly understand the requirements and the second focused on what was required to truly select a good provider to invite to the table. This article focuses on the creation of good RFIs and RFPs, as we alluded to in the first two parts of this series, and also in our previous series on how to write a good RFP in general.

HICX: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Company and Solution Overview [PRO]


Companies looking for supplier management solutions have a broad range of choices, ranging from independent solution providers to ERP modules of varying degrees of sophistication and depth. There are numerous challenges that come with identifying the right solutions in the market for an individual procurement organization. These include the fact that consultants and analysts generally have limited experience with the in-the-trenches capabilities of these solutions compared with sourcing and purchase-to-pay suites. Further, the individual capabilities of solutions can vary dramatically, and independent solution providers generally invest far less in sales and marketing in educating the market and building awareness than providers delivering suites or serving other areas of procurement. One provider that warrants consideration in the market is HICX, a London-based firm founded in 2004. It is essentially a supply chain master data management (MDM) solution with a configurable workflow that allows an organization to use it as the supplier (and associated product) MDM system. Even though the company now focuses heavily on supplier information management (SIM), supplier performance management (SPM), supplier risk management (SRM) and supplier compliance management (SCM), it enables end-to-end supplier data management as a result of its strong MDM foundation. It has also recently expanded its capabilities into the contract management area, with a new module that both can complete and complement contract lifecycle management (CLM) solutions. This two-part Spend Matters PRO research brief provides an introduction to HICX, including insight into solution capabilities, product strengths and weaknesses, perspectives on how it stacks up against supplier management competitors and recommendations to potential customers.

Write Better Procurement Technology RFPs (Part 2): Provider Identification [Plus +]


In our first article in this series on procurement technology RFPs, we noted that when trying to specify the requirements for a technology solution, you should emphasize not just what the solution should do but also the processes it should enable and the problems it should solve. You are probably not a technology expert, and trying to be one will only paint you into a corner. In other words, don’t over specify and overly constrain the supply market, but rather, tap its innovation to solve your problem. But creating an RFP that captures the true requirements and educates the potential provider as to what the organization really needs to accomplish to be successful is only the first step to success. The second is inviting the right suppliers to the party. But how do you identify the right suppliers? That is the subject of this article.

Write Better Procurement Technology RFPs (Part 1): The Requirements [Plus +]

procurement technology

In Spend Matters' last PLUS series on RFPs, co-written by the author, we gave you some guidance on how to write better RFPs in general, which is great when you are buying products and services, but not always enough when you are buying technology platforms to power your procurement-enabled enterprise. In this short follow-up series, we are going to give you some in-depth advice on how to write even better RFPs for procurement solutions. Software applications are not like products and services. They don't just power the commerce your business relies on, they power your business. And procurement applications are even more unique. They power the information, commerce and decision flows that your business runs on — and these flows have to be optimized for your business. Thus, it is imperative that you select the right applications, and this will only be the case if, and only if, you have the right RFP — and the right RFP process — that will encourage the right suppliers to respond.