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The 2018 Beeline Conference: What Did We Learn?

Eved

The 2018 Beeline Conference, which officially wrapped up Wednesday, may in retrospect be a milestone event for the company. Not only was the conference well attended, well organized, informative and analyst friendly in terms of access and transparency, it also provided visibility into a company that has weathered a near-perfect storm in 2017 and is now unfurling its sails, looking toward the horizon. Realistically, on the voyage ahead, there will be both smooth sailing and rough seas — and as any seasoned mariner knows, that’s just how it is.

Basware Connect 2018 Dispatch: By the Numbers and New Developments

Global Procurement Tech Summit

Spend Matters is on the ground in Austin, Texas, to cover the Basware Connect 2018 customer conference. The event kicked off Wednesday with an analyst-focused discussion on where the procure-to-pay (P2P) provider grew in 2017 and where it is adding to its value proposition in the coming year.

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3 Reasons Catalogs Can’t Be Trusted to Manage Low-Value Spend

For many procurement organizations, catalogs have become the default way to manage indirect spend. It’s easy to see why. Catalogs offer a simple way to manage recurring, low-value purchases. By grouping previously sourced categories and commonly requested items into a single interface, catalogs promise ease of use, efficiency and, of course, increased savings, especially through the reduction of maverick spend. In practice, however, catalogs often create as many new problems as they solve. To help you understand why, here are three reasons why catalogs can’t be trusted to manage low-value spend — and how you can go about protecting your organization.

Manufacturers Are Moving Toward Digital Supply Networks, Despite Barriers

Manufacturers are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits digital supply networks offer, but implementation of the technology still lags, according to a new study conducted by Deloitte and the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI). In contrast to a traditional supply chain, a digital supply network is a “flexible, interconnected matrix that allows data and information to move non-linearly to maximize efficiency to meet changing consumer and market demands,” the study authors write.

The 2018 Beeline Conference: What Lies Ahead in a Changing World of Work

The 2018 Beeline Conference kicks off Monday in Amelia Island, Florida, the company’s second annual event since its merger with IQNavigator in December 2016. The conference will provide a good opportunity to review Beeline’s technology and product strategies, to be sure, but we at Spend Matters are also interested in the broader picture. In particular, we are eager to gauge Beeline’s progress as it evolves from simply a vendor management system (VMS) to something much bigger. 

How Procurement Tech Adoption is Changing the Early Payment Game for the Better

The imperative to improve working capital is nothing new. As long as businesses have existed, buying organizations have wanted to hold onto their cash as long as possible, while suppliers have wanted to be paid promptly for goods and services provided. No wonder, then, that one of the oldest mechanisms to alleviate this discrepancy, invoice finance, dates back almost 5,000 years. But even over such a long history, invoice finance changed little. That's why the technological forces that are shaping this space stand to change so much about how it works.

What You Don’t Know Can’t Help You: Why Crowdsourcing Is Alive and Growing

Crowdsourcing is obscure concept for many, but one that is also widely in use. Large organizations ranging from Coca-Cola and Starbucks to AstraZeneca and NASA are increasingly experimenting with the approach, finding solutions for everything from sweetener development to answers to citizen science projects. And they’re not the only ones. In fact, there is considerable evidence that even midsize organizations are using and benefiting from crowdsourcing, too. To bring contingent workforce and services category managers and sourcing practitioners up to speed on these developments, we recently published “Crowdsourcing: New Trends and Developments” (Part 1 and Part 2).

The Age of Analytics: Mainstream Adoption by Procurement Expected to Triple by 2021

Procurement has likely entered the beginning of a massive swell in the adoption of advanced analytics tools. Researchers from The Hackett Group have found that mainstream adoption of advanced analytics in procurement functions is expected to more than triple in the next two to three years, increasing from the current 20% to 63%. Given the benefits associated with the effective use of analytics, the increased adoption makes sense. Earlier research has found that analytics-driven organizations are twice as likely to be top financial performers and five times as likely to make faster and better decisions.

I’m Afraid I Can’t Source That, Dave: Artificial Intelligence in Strategic Sourcing

Last week marked the 50th anniversary of Stanley Kubrik’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.” One of the great scenes in this landmark movie is when astronauts Dave Bowman and Frank Poole chat “in private” about shutting down HAL 9000, the omnipresent, artificial intelligence-based control system. Unfortunately, HAL’s vision system is able to read Dave’s lips through a small window and learns the crew’s intentions. To protect itself and thereby its mission directive, HAL sets out to kill the astronauts. Although the complex automated reasoning that HAL uses in its attempt to snuff out Bowman and Poole is a bit beyond current AI implementations, the procurement process-specific applications of machine learning are becoming quite real.

Robotic Process Automation Adoption: Early Challenges and Lessons Learned

Despite early successes, mainstream organizations are not yet making use of robotic process automation (RPA) technology. This may soon change, according to Hackett Group analysts, who predict that RPA adoption rates will rise in the next two or three years. According to the Hackett Group research, executives across departments are interested in increasing RPA adoption, with finance and global business services (GBS) executives particularly enthusiastic. GBS executives believe that mainstream adoption of RPA will increase five-fold to more than 52% within two or three years, and finance executives predict that adoption rates will increase to 38%.

Randstad Sourceright Extends Its Innovation Streak with Talent Velocity: How’s That?

Randstad Sourceright, the global staffing and workforce solution of Randstad Holdings, recently announced its launch of Talent Velocity, an innovative, internal talent acquisition, candidate engagement and client relationship/collaboration platform. Over the next several months, the solution will be completely rolled out worldwide across the Sourceright RPO and later, to a lesser extent, within the MSP. While noteworthy in and of itself, Travel Velocity is only the latest of a number of innovative steps Sourceright has taken in the past few years. Moreover, there is also an important backstory in which Sourceright US seems to have become a key focal point for the execution of a broader Randstad innovation strategy.

Getting Real with Artificial Intelligence in Procurement

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the hottest technology topic right now, and it’s certainly going to be the most disruptive business trend going forward. To be sure, there are other technology topics that are also hot right now. Blockchain, for example, will certainly be disruptive, but no CPOs I know are clamoring for distributed ledgers as a must-have enabler to meet their goals. But as big as AI will eventually be, it’s still overhyped right now, even within “cognitive procurement.”