Forrester VMS review highlights – Emptoris, IQNavigator, Fieldglass and Beeline shine

You know what confuses me?  Why the supply-chain software industry calls a particular category of software products "VMS" (vendor management systems), which makes them sound like they cover all vendors, when in fact they are pretty specific solutions aimed particularly at the contingent (interim / temporary) labour market, and perhaps a few similar spend categories.  Now I'm not saying this spend area isn't important, and it has been traditionally poorly served by 'traditional' ERP type software.  It's also an area that in many organisations still offers plenty of opportunity for procurement to make a real difference.   But couldn't we come up with a more accurate and descriptive acronym guys?

Anyway, that's enough of my confusion.  The main point here is that Forrester have published a useful report on 11 major providers in this space. Firms who "lead the pack in current functionality" and come out of it particularly well are Emptoris, Fieldglass, IQNavigator and Beeline.   The report is less positive abotu the major ERP players, saying that " EBS (Oracle), SAP, and Ariba lack contingent-specific services procurement functionality".

You can get the report free via the Emptoris site (registration required).

If you're interested in this area, Jason at Spend Matters has carried out considerable research, again available without charge via registration, and his material (e.g. here) goes into somewhat greater depth than the Forrester report.  Pretty much all his Compass Research Series One covers this and related topics.

And there is no doubt that this is an area where process control and management information is key.  It is one of the toughest areas I've ever addressed in terms of getting compliance and buy-in from the stakeholder and budget holder community, and MI is critical in terms of applying control to the internal situation; or being able to engage the market successfully.

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