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6 Ways to Leverage AI in Procurement Today

cognitive computing

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most hyped-up topics in business right now. Gartner has included a number of AI applications in their 2018 Hype Cycle for most important emerging technologies. To take matters further, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai recently said he expects AI to become more important for humanity than even fire or electricity.

Almost every week we hear of new ways AI revolutionizing business practices, but where does this leave procurement? The good news is, if your procurement organization is ready for digital, it’s ready for AI. Here are six concrete ways you can get started.

‘I Think Demand Management Is the Bigger Play,’ Roy Anderson Touts Visibility into Spend, Risks of Not Buying In (Part 2)

“I saved you all $5 million,” procurement veteran Roy Anderson tried to tell one CFO he worked for. “To this day, he’s never totally believed that.”

In Part 2 of Anderson’s conversation about his career and digital changes in the industry, he talks about change management, demand management and how he did convince another CFO that Anderson’s team had saved him $150 million.

Anderson, now at Tradeshift, sat down with another procurement veteran, Pierre Mitchell of Spend Matters, to share some laughs and lessons about how the industry has adapted to technology over the last 40 years.

The following is the second of three-part series of their conversation, which has been edited for clarity. Part 1 ran Monday, and Part 3 will run Friday.

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Spend Analysis Requires Human Expertise for Data Optimization, Data Visualization

From recent conversations during this fall conference season, it’s clear many procurement teams are still struggling with poor-quality spend data. Combined with the challenges of data lakes, corporate changes from mergers and acquisitions, and an overall pressure to get more savings year over year, procurement leaders are finding it difficult to align their talent and technology strategies for their digital transformation efforts.

Whether it be companies in the market for spend visibility for the first time or those looking to focus on spend analysis and visibility to engage digital transformational efforts, organizations will, for now, still need to get the basics of spend analysis right with human interaction and expertise combined with innovative technologies that will evolve and improve over time.

Disrupting the Source-to-Contract Cycle: Putting Contract Management at the Start of Sourcing

contract

The sequential source-to-contract cycle is an accurate representation of how most procurement organizations identify and select suppliers. But it’s not necessarily the best way to approach this process. The typical sourcing cycle begins by searching for and evaluating suppliers on two key criteria: capability and price. Yet evaluating suppliers on these criteria alone does not provide a complete picture of whether that company can and should win the business. For many reasons, contract management should not be considered a final step in the sourcing process. Instead, procurement should include contract compliance at the beginning of the cycle, defining it as an essential reason alongside capability and price.

Enabling Agile Supply Chain Management to Combat Natural Disasters: A Case Study of Biogen and Resilinc

As procurement professionals know, natural disasters are a question of not “if” but “when.” Hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires or severe weather can quickly hobble even the best-laid supply chain plans, our sister site MetalMiner reports. Just look at the research. According to Resilinc’s Supply Chain Disruption Annual Report, disruptions roughly doubled in 2017, potentially impacting 32% of S&P 500 companies’ supply chains. The supply chain risk monitoring firm’s CEO Bindiya Vakil pointed at that data as an indication that procurement leaders can no longer stay complacent about planning for events like natural disasters.  “This should be a wake-up call for business leaders around the globe,” Vakil said in the report.

Determine: What Makes It Great (Procure-to-Pay SolutionMap Analysis)

Determine offers a modular, adaptable procure-to-pay solution built on top of a powerful business rules engine and master data management platform.

Ideal for industries with unique processes and dynamic compliance requirements (e.g., healthcare, financial services), global firms with cross-border systems, and any organization that emphasizes total cost of ownership for software (inclusive for configuration, integration and deployment), Determine is a recommended fit for all five of Spend Matters’ Procure-to-Pay SolutionMap buying personas.

Determine has a substantial P2P user base in France and is adding customers in North America. Offering comparatively attractive pricing to both middle-market and Global 2000 organizations, Determine has capabilities that can also make it suitable for larger organizations with specialized procure-to-pay requirements.

As of September 2018, the Spend Matters SolutionMap contains functional and customer satisfaction benchmarks on more than 50 vendors within the procurement software market. But where does Determine stand out most in the competitive P2P sector, and why should this matter for procurement and finance organizations? Let’s dive into the P2P SolutionMap benchmark to find out where Determine is great.

“What Makes It Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider subscribers. Based on both our rigorous evaluation process and customer reference reviews, each brief offers quick facts on the provider, describes where it excels, provides hard data on where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark and concludes with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider it.

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Driving Adoption Through More Effective E-Procurement Change Management

Accenture

Change management, as a business discipline, dates back to the 1960s. Despite steady growth, dozens of “breakthrough” discoveries and countless books on the topic, the practice of change management hasn’t been very successful. According to McKinsey & Company, only about 30% of change management initiatives are successful in achieving their intended business outcomes. How should finance and procurement leaders who seek to drive adoption for e-procurement platforms regard change management? As John Hu, Shelby’s vice president of client services, is fond of saying, “change management isn't a project workstream, it’s the entire project.” There are numerous theoretical frameworks for enterprise change management. These can be helpful references for understanding the challenges and principles for managing change in today’s business environment. However, trying to apply any of these models to the practice of rolling out your procurement transformation initiative won’t get you very far. The need for a purpose-built approach: Conventional enterprise change management approaches are too generalized to address e-procurement adoption challenges. Our latest e-book, E-Procurement Change Management Strategy, offers a six-step, purpose-built framework for e-procurement change management that can be adapted to fit the needs of organizations with different requirements, cultures and business objectives.

SAP Ariba: What Makes It Great (E-Procurement SolutionMap Analysis)

It will likely come as no surprise that SAP Ariba is a top-ranked functional provider within the E-Procurement SolutionMap for Q3 2018. But among the 22 providers ranked in the latest e-procurement release, SAP Ariba stands apart from the pack in a number of key areas, showing demonstrated innovation in various e-procurement components and disruptive technologies that many other providers are placing less emphasis on, yet could be crucial in selection decisions.

As of September 2018, the Spend Matters SolutionMap contains functional and customer satisfaction benchmarks on over 50 providers within the procurement technology landscape. But where does SAP Ariba stand out most and help “set the bar” in e-procurement? And why should this matter for procurement and finance organizations? Let’s delve into the SolutionMap benchmark to find out where SAP Ariba is great.

“What Makes It Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider subscribers. Based on both our rigorous evaluation process and customer reference reviews, each brief offers quick facts on the provider, describes where it excels, provides hard data on where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark and concludes with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider it.

How to Hack Your ERP and Create Competition for P2P Suite Providers

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

P2P software is painful to buy and painful to implement. In order to get the biggest benefit, you need to rip the purchasing spinal cord out of your company and replace it with an end-to-end P2P system. This is a big project, requires a big budget and, if you are going to deliver on the promised benefits, you must have an unwavering commitment to change. Sales cycles are long but, fortunately for P2P vendors, the margins on the deals that do get across the line can be pretty good. But the competitive landscape is about to shift.

Field Nation: What Makes It Great (Independent Contract Workers Analysis)

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Editor’s note: This “What Makes It Great” column is normally reserved for SolutionMap Insider Subscribers, but Field Nation has generously agreed to support access for readers who are not yet members.

Field Nation offers a specialized enterprise technology solution and online marketplace that enables the sourcing, dispatching management and payment of independent field tech contractors. The provider competes in the enterprise solution category that Spend Matters’ SolutionMap calls Independent Contract Workers (ICW), the most dynamic segment of the contingent and workforce and services (CW/S) procurement software market, which also includes the Temp Staffing (Vendor Management Systems/VMS) and Contract Services/Statement of Work solution segments.

Today’s ICW solutions have their roots in the so-called gig, freelance and peer-to-peer economies — the new world of platforms, like Uber and Airbnb, versus the established world of enterprise software applications inhabited for decades by the likes of SAP and Oracle. Field Nation is a specialized solution that supports organizations (mostly service management companies, in addition to value-added resellers and sometimes OEMs) that are responsible for installing and maintaining technology/equipment across geographically dispersed business locations of technology/equipment owners/lessees.

Field Nation’s clients typically maintain a W2-employee field installation and maintenance workforce, but — to an extent — supplement it by sourcing and engaging independent field tech contractors in different locations through Field Nation’s online marketplace platform. Field Nation has recently augmented its enterprise functionality and services, branded Field Nation ONE, which is also its blended workforce management software. And it has plans to expand its work/expertise categories beyond technology/equipment.

Where does that offering fit into the burgeoning ICW market? As of September 2018, Spend Matters’ SolutionMap contains functional and customer satisfaction benchmarks on more than 50 vendors within the procurement software market, including six providers in the ICW segment. To understand where Field Nation stands out most and helps set the bar for the ICW segment — and why should this matter for procurement and HR organizations — let’s delve into the SolutionMap benchmark and explore what makes Field Nation great.

“What Makes It Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider subscribers. Based on both our rigorous evaluation process and customer reference reviews, each brief offers quick facts on the provider, describes where it excels, provides hard data on where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark and concludes with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider it.

Concord Raises $25 Million for its CLM Platform

The contract lifecycle management vendor Concord announced Tuesday morning that it has raised $25 million in a second round of funding that will be used to further develop its CLM platform, hire more workers across several departments and grow internationally, the San Francisco-based company said in a press release. Tenaya Capital led this round of investment, and one of its partners, Paul Drews, will join the Concord board, the statement said.

SirionLabs: What Makes It Great (Contract Lifecycle Management SolutionMap Analysis)

Just when you thought the contract lifecycle management (CLM) software market fit within a neatly defined 2x2 graph, along comes a vendor that breaks the mold, offering top functional capabilities while also redefining exactly what a CLM provider is capable of.

Who is this vendor, you ask?

SirionLabs.

Although it is fully capable of competing in the “traditional” CLM sector, SirionLabs is a powerful, specialized CLM solution that organizations have used primarily to manage and optimize the performance of large, complex, often multi-year services contracts. The solution combines core CLM components with added supplier management capabilities, like  performance management, relationship management and risk management. And it works for contracts of all shapes and sizes, delivering Value Leader (upper right quadrant) performances across every CLM SolutionMap buying persona.

As of Q3 2018, Spend Matters SolutionMap consists of functional and customer satisfaction benchmarks on more than 50 vendors within the procurement, finance and legal software markets. To date, Spend Matters’ analysts have evaluated 13 providers in the contract lifecycle management software segment, including SirionLabs. But where does SirionLabs stand out most, and why should this matter to procurement and legal organizations? Let’s dive into the CLM SolutionMap benchmark to find out.

“What Makes It Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider subscribers. Based on both our rigorous evaluation process and customer reference reviews, each brief offers quick facts on the provider, describes where it excels, provides hard data on where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark and concludes with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider it.