Emptoris’ direction: vendor data, procurement collaboration, deep sourcing expertise

At the Emptoris Empower event last week we heard about their future product development strategy. It appeared very logical and there was a clear sense of strategic direction aimed very clearly at helping the practitioner perform ‘sourcing’ tasks in their widest sense.  Without getting too much into technological detail, or specific time-plans, here are the key themes that emerged from those presentations.

  • Emptoris want to put Vendor Master Data at the core of the platform. A single set of information about each supplier should be accessible for all users, at any time, and from anywhere within the platform. This may seem obvious; but if you think about it, most organisations are nowhere near this situation currently.
  • That leads nicely into Supplier Information Management (SIM).  Jason at Spend Matters US has been forecasting for some time that SIM will come together with sourcing in a manner that will see supplier information seamlessly integrated into the sourcing platform (through dashboards, real-time alerts etc.) to inform and assist category managers. While at the moment Emptoris are presenting this as SIM content coming into their platform from a range of third party providers, their emphasis on this area was very strong, which might lead to us to wonder about future acquisition strategy....?
  • Collaboration – between individuals within the organisation and possibly outside. The aim appears to be to capture leading thinking around networking and collaboration (including from social media) in order to improve knowledge management and transfer within organisations – to help ensure you don’t get the situation where a category manager leaves and nobody knows what she was doing or where the fruits of six months’ market research have gone!
  • There will be an ever-increasing focus on user interface and general usability, in order to make adoption quicker and easier for implementing organisations. And given the discussions at Empower around the challenges of adoption, even amongst the professional procurement community, this is obviously an appropriate area of focus.
  • (Notre that this point is very much my personal reading of things). At the moment, the Rivermine acquisition looks good for both parties; the Rivermine execs at Empower were impressive and seemed pleased to be on board. So that may give Emptoris the confidence to look at other acquisitions or indeed organic development to develop deep, category specific capability in other complex service categories (IT? Travel? Contingent labour? Professional Services?) I’m less clear how this capability gets embedded in the core product set – if indeed it does, or whether these category based products and services sit outside but perhaps linked at suitable touch-points.

We’ll be featuring a couple of client case-studies from Empower over the next few days, but I’m afraid I don’t have any photos of the Spanish dancers who entertained us after dinner - including the chap in the very tight white trousers.  One Emptoris female exec was seen to leave her seat near the back of the room to take up a front-row position within seconds of his appearance... However, I will not disclose her identity (cheques payable to Spend Matters please...)!

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