Process & Best Practice Content

Professional Development in Procurement: Rationale and Strategies

One reader who wrote in to Ask Spend Matters last year posed an interesting question that fell outside of our editorial team’s wheelhouse: “What are the most pressing professional development needs for sourcing and procurement professionals today and for the next five years?” While we’ve fielded many of the procurement strategy and technology-focused questions we received, we thought our friends at MRA Global Sourcing would be perfectly suited to provide a compelling answer to the above. Read their response below!

With shifting market conditions, technological advancement and other factors, the procurement function is changing rapidly. If supply management professionals and their companies don’t keep pace, they’ll be at a serious disadvantage. As procurement evolves, so do attitudes toward professional development, and the way workers build their knowledge base. Let’s examine the state of professional development, and what’s on the horizon.

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Italy and the Real-Time VAT Control Big Bang

Electronic invoicing is on the decline — and rapidly so. No, I don’t mean companies have started exchanging fewer invoices in electronic format. I mean that the domain that we have in the past 15 years called “e-invoicing” is converging with the broader VAT compliance domain. Together, the two are morphing into what might be called “VAT compliance v2.0.”

Direct Sourcing of Independent Professionals: What Enterprises Need to Know in 2018 (Part 4)

The main purpose of this four-part series has been to provide corporate and functional decision-makers with guidance for identifying a technology-enabled direct sourcing solution that will be fit for the purpose of engaging skilled independent professional talent and will, at the same time, satisfy non-negotiable enterprise requirements.

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, we traced the development of the enterprise-oriented technology-enabled direct sourcing solution, from talent marketplace platforms (such as online freelancer marketplaces) through freelancer management systems (FMS) to the current state of development in 2018. In Part 3, we highlighted the crucial relationship between technology-enabled direct sourcing and the increasingly important independent professional workforce.

In the fourth and final part of this series, we provide executive decision-makers with criteria to identify a technology-based direct sourcing solution that is fit for purpose and that meets the high bar of enterprise requirements.

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Infographic: How to Lead Your Procurement Organization to Analytics Mastery

spend analytics

The expert use of enterprise analytics is a key component of any modern business strategy. But while leading companies have adopted analytics systems across functions — from operations to sales and HR — many procurement organizations have had to wait their turn to start their own analytics journeys. As procurement climbs the ranks of strategic importance to the business, practitioners will need to begin to quickly find the data, insights and strategies that will take them from backroom processing to strategic advisor in the boardroom — and there’s no better place to start that journey than by getting a handle on your contracts. Check out the infographic within to learn how to start your journey!

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Private Equity Procurement Optimization: Spend Visibility is Foundational for Accelerated EBITDA Improvement

Procurement optimization has become one of the most important EBITDA improvement levers for private equity firms and their operating partners. With investment valuations on the rise, private equity firms are increasingly relying on implementing operational efficiencies to quickly accelerate savings and maximize profits — and focusing in on procurement is becoming the “go-to” strategy. In addition, extended hold times of portfolio companies and lower management fees due to less capital being deployed on a regular basis has led to PE firms to ask their operating partners to do more with less.

Direct Sourcing of Independent Professionals: What Enterprises Need to Know in 2018 (Part 3)


In Part 2 of this four-part series, we examined the emergence of purportedly enterprise-grade, fit-for-purpose, technology-enabled direct sourcing solutions over the past few years, beginning from the “first stab” of freelancer management systems (FMS) to today’s solutions, which are being developed and brought to market a range of different third parties: VMS providers, new software/technology providers, contingent workforce service providers and even some of the talent marketplace platforms.

But the emergence of a range of different solutions in this complex, evolving supply-side environment presents enterprise corporate and functional executives with the challenge of sorting through and identifying a direct sourcing solution that is fit for purpose and will satisfy enterprise requirements. However, fit for purpose may mean different things depending upon what type of independent workers are being sourced and engaged to perform specific kinds of work (e.g., low-skill gig workers compared with specialized, skilled independent professionals).

In this third part of our series, we focus on the crucial relationship between technology-enabled direct sourcing and engaging specialized, skilled independent professionals.

Procurement’s Innovation Deficit: The Wisdom of ‘Why Not?’

Procurement doesn’t have customers, it has prisoners. Although the statement is paraphrased (borrowed from sentiment long associated with enterprise software companies), does our profession deserve such criticism. Is it fair? Let’s face it, when it comes to driving innovation, procurement’s less than stellar reputation is well earned. Its inability to act as an intelligent and informed customer of the would-be innovator is generally so bad that companies have established separate offices dedicated to the practice. And here’s the rub. What do these innovation offices typically cite as their single biggest obstacle to success? You guessed it: internal procurement. We’ve got to fix this.

Direct Sourcing of Independent Professionals: What Enterprises Need to Know in 2018 (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this four-part series, we traced the development of the current generation of technology-enabled direct sourcing solutions from the first online freelancer marketplaces through the rise of the on-demand gig economy and the rapid proliferation of business-oriented talent marketplace platform to the more recent emergence of technology-enabled direct sourcing solutions for enterprises. In 2018, this new technology-enabled direct sourcing space can be viewed in terms of two high-level (now sometimes overlapping) groupings of solution providers: online marketplace platforms on the supply side and direct sourcing solutions on the demand side. In this second part of our series, we focus on the emergence of these enterprise-grade, fit-for-purpose technology-enabled direct sourcing solutions over the past few years.

Direct Sourcing of Independent Professionals: What Enterprises Need to Know in 2018 (Part 1)

services procurement

In this four-part series, we focus on what enterprises need to know about the direct sourcing of specialized, skilled independent professionals going forward into 2018. Direct sourcing — engaging contingent workers without the use of a traditional staffing agency or consulting firm — is not a new phenomenon. Based on a several emerging factors, however, the idea and the practice have taken on an increased importance over the past several years.

Because enterprises will be increasingly engaging independent professionals as a source of critical skills and expertise, it is crucial for services procurement, HR and executive management to (1) understand the importance of a direct sourcing solution in this context and (2) be in a position to identify a fit-for-purpose solution that is fully suited for enterprise use.

In Part 1 of this series, we provide background on direct sourcing and the emergence of technology-enabled direct sourcing solutions and online marketplace platforms for work and services. In Part 2, we will focus on the rise of enterprise-oriented, technology-enabled direct sourcing solutions, which began with the appearance of freelancer management systems (FMS). In Part 3, we will explain why the right (fit-for-purpose) technology-enabled direct sourcing solution is indispensable for enterprises to successfully source and engage independent professionals. And in Part 4, we provide executive decision-makers with criteria to identify a technology-based direct sourcing solution that is fit-for-purpose and that meets the high bar of enterprise requirements.

Success with Value-Based Design: Identifying Critical Factors of a Key Value Indicator (KVI)

AnyData Solutions

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Paul Staelin, senior vice president of go-to-market for business intelligence and analytics at Birst, an Infor company.

Value-based design (VBD) — a methodology that uses analytics to drive meaningful results — has proven to have a great impact on a company’s bottom line. When it comes to VBD, the most important metric for any group of people within a company is the key value indicator (KVI). This metric is often used to evaluate the group manager’s performance, resulting in great reward or potential termination. Once KVIs are identified, they are then arranged into a value plan, which is later addressed and tracked via an analytics solution.

Talent-to-Value (T2V): What Enterprises Need in Today’s Dynamic, Digital, Knowledge-Based Economy (Part 1)

In this three-part series, we look at a new human capital model that businesses are adopting to derive value from specialized, expert talent in today’s knowledge-based economy. We refer to this model as talent-to-value (T2V). In Part 1 of this series, we explain T2V in the context of the current knowledge-based economy, and we highlight the various ways that enterprises can realize value by adopting the T2V model. In Part 2 of this series, we will unpack and discuss some of the key ingredients of the T2V model, and in Part 3, we will examine some concrete examples of the T2V model in action.

A Guide to Supply Risk Management and Compliance (Including Cyber Risks) in 2018

cyber attack

The World Economic Forum recently released its 13th annual global risks report, predicting the biggest risks that global businesses are likely to face in 2018. Extreme weather events rank top both in terms of potential impact and likelihood. Other top risks included cyberattacks, data fraud and economic bubbles. Meanwhile, Spend Matters has been working on updating our Supply Risk Management and Compliance Landscape Definition and Overview for 2018, highlighting the increasing need for investment in supply risk in the cyber and information security (INFOSEC) area.