IT Supply Chain Developments and Their Impact on Buying Decisions

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Al Nagar, Head of Benchmarking, KnowledgeBus, Mercato Solutions, continues his series of advisory pieces sharing recent movements and impactors within key IT product categories, to keep you abreast of the latest developments and help support purchasing decisions. The first six months of 2015 have proved a bumpy ride for the channel, with currency depreciation a significant factor. Throughout June, concerns over a possible Greek exit saw peaks and troughs for the euro as it continued to perform badly against other currencies. Vendors and suppliers have been trying to thin out inventory in these channels, but escalating prices on equipment to offset currency fluctuations […]

Exclusive! Bill Crothers, UK Government’s Chief Commercial Officer to Stand Down

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12 noon update - Cabinet Office statement now out: "Bill Crothers has decided that it is the right time to move to the next stage of his career, and for someone new to take commercial reform in government forward. Bill led the work on commercial reform across government and set an ambitious strategy for the future. Bill’s expertise will not be lost altogether; he will continue as a commercial advisor to help us improve our commercial capability and advise on our most complex deals. Over time, Bill will also take on some similar advisory roles in the private sector... Bill […]

Contract Lifecycle Management 101: Part 6 – The Standard Contract Management Platform [Plus +]

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Today we continue our Plus series on contract lifecycle management, an uninspired acronym that sometimes encapsulates, sometimes complements, the source-to-settle or source-to-pay process, which when properly implemented can generate quite attractive results. Today, we discuss the “should-have” features of a contract management platform. While not absolutely required, usability and performance will be significantly affected by the absence of any of these features, and most industry leading contract management solutions will support the majority of these capabilities to some extent. Of course, practitioner priorities will always determine “must-have” versus “should-have” weightings, but we simply break it out for convenience based on how we see organizations prioritize and sequence solution functionality selection and implementation. For most organizations, it’s okay if a few features here are missing, but if too many of these features are missing, then the organization should consider very carefully whether such a contract management solution is right for it, unless the capability is present in another platform currently in use by supply management or the solution is essentially free. In this post, we highlight our list of should-have capabilities.

Ten Commandments of Procurement – the Ashcroft Decalogue


Our summer topic on the Ten Commandments of Procurement, that is, statements of a procurement and supply chain nature that are absolutely, unarguably true, under all circumstances and conditions, has made a few people think hard about the principles of procurement by which we all must obide. We have had a few contributions: from our own Peter Smith, Dr Michael Lamoureux , the Doctor of Sourcing Innovation, Steve Demel CPPO, and today from Stephen Ashcroft, Associate Director, Lead for Procurement and Commercial Advisory, Consulting, AECOM. Here is Steve's decalogue -- what do you think? Are they all universally true?   Though shall meet the financial plan Though shall recruit, […]

Spend Matters 50/50: Work Market – A Provider to Watch 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 […]

Crown Commercial Service Annual Report – What About Delivery?

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We wrote yesterday about the salary and staffing issues following the publication of the Annual Report from the UK central government's collaborative procurement organisation, Crown Commercial Service. We highlighted the astonishing leap in the number of senior staff over the last couple of years. But what has been delivered with all these additional high-flying procurement professionals? “CCS has helped departments and the wider public sector to secure £5.9bn of savings against a 2009/10 baseline through implementing better commercial practices.” Huge savings, is the basic answer, but unfortunately savings that are almost totally non-verifiable. Whilst CCS started out with good intentions […]

Procurement Activities for the Long Hot Summer – Thinking about People


We said last week that we would take a look at some of the activities to keep procurement practitioners busy if you’re stuck in the office through the long, hot (?) summer. As there are fewer meetings, conferences or other external events to occupy your time in August, it is a good period to catch up on things that sometimes get squeezed down the priority list at other times of the year. Use the opportunity wisely, and get on the front foot ready for the autumn. So today, let’s think about people-related activities, ideas and projects that you might catch […]

Does ‘Open Book’ Help or Hurt the Public Procurement Contract Process? [Plus +]

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Let me start off with a disclaimer: Yes, this article focuses on the public sector in the UK. But, if you are outside the UK and not in the public sector, do not despair! I promise this does have relevance to you and will, hopefully, still be interesting, regardless of whatever branch of procurement you work in. One thing the UK has definitely done right is tried a lot of different procurement ideas and has probably been an early adopter in many areas. That includes bringing private sector expertise into public procurement, collaborative buying initiatives, use of category management processes, outsourcing complex services delivered to the citizen or adoption of some aspects of e-procurement. Currently, one of the hot topics for UK public procurement is whether public sector contracts should habitually make more use of “open book” contractual provisions. We discuss what “open book” means, if it is necessary and the pros and cons of it.

FMS and Beyond – Filling in the ‘White Space’ of Sourcing and Engaging the Independent Workforce (Part 1) [PRO]

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Freelancer management system (FMS) is a vendor-driven term and concept that has achieved buzzword status in staffing and contingent workforce management circles within just a year of its inception. It is a real and important technology solution development, one that has focused attention on an important expanding gap between talent-hungry enterprises and a fast growing, business-critical segment of the modern global workforce. While FMS is one catalyst of this focus and a way of beginning to bridge this gap – a procurement “white space,” if you will – it is also a part of a much larger set of developments, encompassing a range of incumbent and new services and solutions players as well as new technology infrastructures that will unfold and take shape in the coming years. In Part 1 of this Spend Matters PRO series, I will cover how a procurement white space has appeared between enterprises and an important growing labor population: the independent workforce. I will also provide an understanding of what this independent workforce is and why it is important.

Verian Update: Release of Version 15.1, Its Relationship With BravoSolution and What’s Next for the Provider [PRO]

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Verian is one of the leading procure-to-pay (P2P) solution providers in the market, with a full-suite offering that includes purchasing, reporting, invoicing, budgeting and analytics functionality. It has now launched version 15.1, adding innovation to its inventory management and asset management modules – key differentiators that allow customers to manage indirect spend, the total lifecycle of all assets in the P2P workflow and facilities management. Verian was previously offered as an on-premise platform, but the latest release transforms it into a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution, with all the advantages that the cloud brings. It is currently converting its on-premise business customers to SaaS, and this is rolling out at a rapid pace, with 8 conversions in progress to date. Verian’s SaaS business has grown at a rate of 40%. The goal is to migrate all of its existing on-premise customers to SaaS, including those with multi-tenancy capability. All cloud-based multi-tenant customers will receive upgrades seamlessly and simultaneously. This Spend Matters PRO research brief takes a look at what is included in Verian’s version 15.1 release, its relationship with BravoSolution and what’s next for the provider.

Shining the Spotlight on Procurement Risks – Which Solution Providers Can Help? [Plus +]

Risk Maze Shows Dangerous Unstable Or Risky

It’s another Flashback Friday here on Spend Matters. You don’t want to risk missing out on another one of our most popular Ask the Expert webinars of all time: Providers Who Actually Get to the Root of Risk & Compliance. As Thomas Kase, vice president of research, warns in this webinar from our archives, risk is lurking ahead for every procurement organization regarding finances, performance and compliance. You need to manage this risk to avoid the consequences. How do you do this effectively? And, which solution providers offer the best tools to help procurement organizations tackle risk? (Hint: Check out the webinar!)

How to Keep Your P2P Implementation Project From Turning Into a Nightmare (Part 1) [PRO]


A couple of weeks ago, Spend Matters and GEP held a joint webinar, “Nightmare on Procurement Street,” that discussed best practices surrounding a procure-to-pay (P2P) implementation project. Webinar speakers were myself, Spend Matters Chief Research Officer Pierre Mitchell, GEP Worldwide Senior Manager Santosh Reddy and Senior Manager of Technology Product Marketing Paul Blake. This first of a multi-part Spend Matters PRO research brief will examine how to avoid a P2P implementation project from turning into your worst nightmare. While not an all-inclusive implementation guide, the brief points to some important steps that are necessary to conducting a successful P2P implementation.