ESM Solutions Explores the Future, Considers Entering New Markets [PRO]

open road

ESM Solutions may have already made a name for itself in the higher education industry, but the spend management and e-procurement provider is also exploring additional markets as it considers future expansion. In order to do so, ESM needs to invest heavily in marketing and sales efforts and focus on research and development to incorporate new functionalities into its integrated solution suite. In this Spend Matters PRO research brief, I will dive into ESM tools including its invoicing capabilities, share insight from ESM customer interviews and how the provider is expanding its reach with new partnerships.

The Curate’s Egg: We Need Courage To Deliver Best Public Procurement Outcomes

We're pleased to feature this guest article from  Steve Burton, health & social care category manager at public sector collaborative buying organisation, ESPO. After years, even decades, involved with a professional buying organisation (PBO), I can’t help thinking that public procurement remains the proverbial curate’s egg. Like the curate’s egg, this is both a good thing and a bad. It’s good because people spending public money must, absolutely, be accountable for it, and suppliers must absolutely have a right to know precisely what they need to do to be successful. But it’s a bad thing if the rules and the […]

UK Government Uses Public Procurement to Encourage Apprenticeships


A couple of weeks ago, the UK government announced that firms’ willingness to provide apprenticeships -vocational training for (usually) young staff – would be taken into account during the public sector procurement process. Our immediate reaction was one of mixed emotions. On the positive side, of course organisations should invest in training, and UK business has not historically been good at doing so. There is also nothing more frustrating than losing staff to a rival who don’t invest in people in the way your firm does, but just steal your star people when they need them by offering a few […]

Spend Matters 50/50: The Hackett Group – A Provider to Know in 2015

We announced here and here our two (not ranked) lists: Spend Matters 50 To Know and 50 To Watch firms for 2015/2016. In the first case, this is our view of the 50 solution provider type organisations in the procurement industry that every senior procurement leader should be aware of and understand. The 50 To Watch are the up-and-coming firms  - those with interesting and relatively new solutions for our market. The 50 To Know are the key organisations in our industry that procurement executives need to have on their radar. Having announced the lists, our US colleagues are now featuring each of the […]

Foundational Procurement KPIs Every CPO, Supply Manager and Buyer Needs To Know [PRO]

Analyzing data

This research brief is intended as an aspirational piece for more transactional-focused procurement team members who are aiming to add value to procurement and the business beyond mere efficiency improvements and price reduction efforts. It is our hope that this series will leave you with a laundry list of prioritized ideas and open your mind to the qualitative side of the business – and the ways in which you can begin to measure procurement contribution and key performance indicators (KPIs) to quantify the return of the various activities you’re up to. n the first installment of our introduction to KPIs and related considerations, we will examine why KPIs matter and how to use them and discuss basic procurement metrics, the role of innovation in setting measurement variables and how certain KPI approaches can mislead.

September Hot Topic – eInvoicing and Supply Chain Finance

Cash small

Hard to believe but it is September today. So now the summer holidays are officially over, we ‘re back to our monthly Hot Topic feature. And for this month, we have chosen eInvoicing and Supply Chain Finance. They are both pretty big topics, and we might have decided to keep them separate. But in our view there is a lot of merit in looking at both together – loosely together, not inextricably tied, but there is no doubt about their linkage. Supply Chain Finance is much more difficult, bordering on the impractical even, if you don’t have eInvoicing in place. […]

Reading Festival Review – Sunday with the Maccabees, Hippo Campus, Years & Years and Frank Turner (of course)!

Readin fR tent

Commiserations to all the young folk packing up their tents in the rain this morning at Reading Festival, and the parents heading off through the traffic to pick up soaked, shivering and “fragrant” offspring. A valet will be needed for the vehicle later... The rain held off for most of the day yesterday, but let’s start with an apology; the Libertines and Kendrick Lamar are not favourites of ours, so no comments on either of those headliners. Our personal headliner was Frank Turner, who did a solo acoustic set that drew a huge crowd for a late evening sing-a-long. This […]

Freelancer Limited – Anatomy of a Large Global Work Intermediation Platform [PRO]


Continuing our coverage of work intermediation platforms (WIPs), a focus on Freelancer Limited should help practitioners begin to appreciate the unique nature of these platform intermediaries. Freelancer Limited is a special case, as it is the only WIP that is publicly traded on the stock exchange (in Australia), and it therefore publishes its financials every half year. There are also a number of other features that make Freelancer unique, including its history of acquisitions and integrations, its emphasis on small businesses and labor in developing economies, its 3 different lines of business and its rather complex pricing structure. The dissection of this WIP is important for procurement practitioners to gain a clearer idea of the new kinds of animals they will be dealing with in the expanding and evolving contingent workforce space.

Happy August Bank Holiday!

It is a Public Holiday in the UK today celebrating the end of the summer season (and the rain is absolutely pouring down from leaden skies). This heralds the "back to school" moment - what still feels to me more like the true start of the year than January 1st. So we've been storing up some interesting guest articles, features and ideas for when everyone is back to work, and you'll start seeing those coming through soon on the site. Given the holiday though, we won't be publishing anything on a procurement note today unless something remarkable happens in the […]

Procurement Provider Patents and the Potential Risk to Practitioners [Plus +]

laptop & glasses

On this Flashback Friday we look back to another one of our most popular Ask the Expert webinars, this one originally held in July 2014. Thomas Kase, vice president of research at Spend Matters, led this webinar Ask the Expert: Intellectual Property, Patents & Proprietary Procurement Solutions, which focused specifically on procurement provider software patents and what practitioners using these solutions need to know about said patents. Why is such information important for practitioners? Read on and check out the full recording of this popular webinar!

Is Total Talent Management Really the Next Big Thing? Or is There Something Else? [PRO]


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...

Forget Category Management, Start with Customer Management and Context Management: Part 2 – The Solution [Plus +]

starting line

In Part 1 of this 2-part series (published over on our Chief Procurement Officer website), we talked about the importance of not just having strong category management capabilities but also customer management and context management. In this second part of the series, we’ll discuss how to implement it in terms of organizational structure, roles and technology implications. Demand management is a combination of what customers want to consume and why they want to consume it (i.e., what are their goals and objectives). This Spend Matters Plus article offers advice for procurement practitioners on how to organize a customer management initiative and how to engage with your customers.