We hear the terms total talent management (TTM), holistic talent management and blended workforce bandied about with great frequency by analysts and writers these days. But when and how it will be achieved remain unclear. While some declare the time is right for such an approach and hazard conceptual roadmaps, others have wondered whether the idea is really feasible. This concept of a unified way of sourcing and engaging both permanent and contingent labor/talent is appealing and probably inevitable, but its realization is – even according to its promoters – admittedly still some ways off. Spend Matters believes there could be another, more near-term development, closer to home in the areas of contingent workforce and services that has already started to occur and is of more practical relevance to procurement. This is a trend toward a comprehensive independent workforce ecosystem and eventually workforce as a service, which will mean correlating capabilities and outcomes under an expanded services taxonomy. But what exactly is this other development? Read on...
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Many service procurement and contingent workforce managers in mid-to-large enterprises are already at various stages of implementing supplier and spend management programs to control and enable their businesses’ consumption of a contingent workforce. These programs typically allow business users to submit a request specifying the characteristics of the kind of worker(s) or business outcome(s) they desire. It is the program, not the business user, that sources the worker(s) or project(s) for the business user. And the business user directly engages with the worker(s) or project resources at the end of the sourcing process. By contrast, self-sourcing, which will be discussed in this Spend Matters PRO insight brief, allows the business users to identify, engage, select and procure labor resources (today, typically independent workers) on their own, directly. Self-sourcing will increasingly become a contingent workforce buying channel, driven by user demand and enabling technology, and procurement and contingent workforce managers must now begin to understand it and prepare to management it.
We recently received a note from a reader with questions regarding the latest China currency devaluation and how sourcing professionals ought to engage with their Chinese suppliers. The questions included: 1) Should I be approaching all of my Chinese suppliers for a 3.5% price reduction? 2) Should I expect to get it? There are several ways to answer that question. This Spend Matters Plus article begins with the narrow answer and then expands into other aspects of China’s currency announcements.
For years, Coupa has explored the concepts of incorporating leveraged contracts into its arsenal (leveraged contracts provide pre-negotiated pricing and specified terms with select suppliers). Coupa’s own GPO program, positioned under the Coupa Advantage label, is finally real and has a number of active users and members. Earlier this week, Coupa’s GM Ashish Deshpande, who has spearheaded the effort from day 1, led a discussion with a number of Coupa customers who are already using leveraged contracts. This Spend Matters PRO analysis explores Coupa’s new leveraged contract program (including available contracts, suppliers, typical savings, business model and related topics) and strategy and explores what types of organizations should think about signing up for Coupa Advantage.
In our previous Spend Matters main site coverage of Amazon Business and Part 1 of our Spend Matters PRO analysis, we dove into some of the details of Amazon’s re-vamped foray into B2B e-commerce, particularly regarding the user experience and Amazon’s selection and pricing features. In this next edition, we’ll dive into some of the marketplace solution functionality and some opportunities to close the key gaps. In the next installment, we’ll also analyze some of key opportunities we see for Amazon to improve its B2B solution for larger firms – and even form smaller ones, too! Many associate the term “solution” only with software applications, and while Amazon Business is initially basically a re-skinned version of Amazon.com, we expect to see more e-procurement-like functionality embedded in it to serve the needs of smaller firms where a large percentage of their spending could come from a provider like Amazon. For larger firms, the story is, of course, different as we’ll explain...
In our previous post on Amazon Business (an expansion of Amazon Supply), we discussed the basics of the new release and model in its current form. But, there’s much more to this story for procurement professionals – good and bad. After spending time with members of the Amazon team, and “reading through the tea leaves” from both these conversations and other sources, there are some critical factors to consider for buyers, sellers and technology partners when they “dance with the [Seattle] bear.” Some of these are specifically commercial, and others are more strategic (IP protection, for instance). We’ll also highlight some no-brainer short-term opportunities and some more strategic opportunities and issues. For example, Amazon Business is currently an e-marketplace and not an e-commerce platform that facilitates non-intermediated commerce. Yet that doesn’t mean Amazon couldn’t become a true “platform” intermediary leveraging the technical components of the IaaS and PaaS side of the company house. Such a scenario could be closer than many might think (e.g., consider Mechanical Turk in relation to emerging contingent work platforms or think about Amazon Home Services/TaskRabbit applied to fixed-fee B2B services). Anyway, I’m foreshadowing too much. Let’s get started and dive in. In the first part of this PRO research series, we’ll focus on selection, pricing and user experience as well as highlight 10 shortfalls (or “opportunities,” if you will) in the solution stack that warrant serious consideration.
Becoming a Smarter Services Customer – The Evolution of the Operations, Procurement and Sourcing Consulting Market (Part 3) [PRO]
In Part 3 of our series examining the evolution of operations, procurement and sourcing consulting, we turn our attention to maximizing value and becoming a smarter services customer. This topic is especially critical when practice utilization (percentage of hours billed as a percent of total available hours of employee bench capacity) is near all-time highs given the current market conditions where purse strings have been slightly loosened to execute the backlog of post-recession activities (e.g., ERP upgrade projects, procurement training, "souring wave n+1" activity, etc.). Previously in this series, Chief Research Officer Pierre Mitchell and Founder and Managing Director Jason Busch explored growth rates within firms, the battle for consulting talent, the rise of new practice areas as well as threats and opportunities for the sector.
The Evolution of the Operations, Procurement and Sourcing Consulting Market (Part 2 – Threats and Opportunities) [PRO]
The management consulting market for procurement, sourcing and related services has grown dramatically in the past 5 years (in the first installment in this series, we share our market growth analysis, along with key trends in 2014). But unlike the numbers, the news (beneath the surface) is not entirely positive. Granted, while from a practice revenue and growth perspective, it is difficult to argue with anything but the notion that we are living in the “best of times,” if you're an insider in the operations, procurement and sourcing consulting market, the actual 2015 reality brings with a number of threats as well. In this multi-part Spend Matters PRO series, Jason Busch and Pierre Mitchell consider the evolution of the operations and procurement consulting market and how clients can focus on getting the maximum value from their services partners. Today, they focus on threats and opportunities in the procurement consulting market for 2015 and beyond.
The Evolution of the Operations, Procurement and Sourcing Consulting Market (Part 1 – A High CAGR Is Potentially Misleading) [PRO]
If looked at from a superficial perspective, the procurement and sourcing consulting landscape looks similar to how it did 5 years ago. The firms that dominate the sector are largely the same. Boutiques also remain in the mix, but beneath the surface, there are highly significant changes that have been causing a material shift in the market. Large incumbents are acquiring niche provider and are now looking to build a broader spectrum of technology, managed services, integrated market intelligence, advanced analytics and defensible vertical capabilities to go on the offense. In this multi-part Spend Matters PRO series, Jason Busch and Pierre Mitchell consider the evolution of the operations and procurement consulting market and how clients can focus on gaining the maximum value from their services partners.
Part 1 of this analysis looked at the business need for the market-informed sourcing (MIS) approach and how it can take us past where regular sourcing suites break down. Part 2 of this PRO research brief by Vice President of Research Thomas Kase focuses on Trade Extensions and its offering in greater detail.
There’s a new strategic sourcing philosophy and capability on the market: market-informed sourcing. In this 2-part Spend Matters PRO research brief, Thomas Kase, vice president of research, explores the concept of market-informed sourcing and where it can take us – past where regular sourcing suites break down (even some of those with sourcing optimization). He also provides an in-depth look at one of the providers making market-informed sourcing a reality: Trade Extensions.
Earlier this month, Spend Matters published a story highlighting Auto News’ coverage of supply chain and procurement localization at Magna International. On the surface, supply chain localization seems simple – work with local suppliers in the areas where you do business globally. Supply chain localization is far from easy – in fact, its requirements and practices are often incongruous with some procurement and supply chain trends leading to greater centralization of efforts and management.
Moreover, without the right structure and design – not to mention technology – the supplier localization efforts can overwhelm individuals (e.g., category managers) tasked with global oversight of specific sourcing and related supplier management efforts.
So what enablers can procurement and supply chain organizations turn to as they move toward localization given this context? There's a bunch. Read the full post to find out what they are.