‘New Year’s’ resolutions No.3: Getting the most out of technology

While we're still in the enthusiastic, weather still good (well...), back to school mood, our next 'New Year's Resolution' is to stand back and take a hard look at your current and future strategy around procurement-related technology.

Since I got into this blogging thing, and made a conscious effort to get more up to date with this whole area, I've bean amazed by how much things have progressed in the few years since I had a more direct interest in running procurement functions (as a full time then interim CPO).  It really is worth making sure you're up to date.

So for some organisations, reviewing your current opportunities may mean looking to take first steps into real 'eSourcing' or P2P automation.  For others who are already well advanced on the journey, it means reviewing recent market developments to ensure you're remaining at the leading edge.

Spend Matters published this a few weeks back, which I thought proposed a very good way of classifying procurement and supply chain technology into three high-level sectors or "uber-segments" as Jason called them:

  1. Supplier information management - incorporating supplier enablement, performance management,  risk, and spend analysis (which could arguably be seen as a separate 'uber-segment I guess).
  2. Next generation sourcing / collaborative sourcing - which includes the well-known strategic sourcing toolsets from vendors including Ariba, Intenda, Emptoris, BravoSolution, Iasta etc; sourcing decision support (e.g. optimisation), marketplace offerings, and also commodity strategy / trading type technology in more specialist categories.
  3. Finance-driven purchasing; including ERP systems, but also technology supporting working capital and treasury objectives.  Jason points out that this sector is very  dynamic, and that the dominance of traditional ERP providers is perhaps not as embedded as you might think.

So, we can't generalise about what the right strategy is for any particular organisation, but why not take the opportunity this Autumn to review where you are, where you want to be, and how technology across these three sectors can help you get there.  And Spend Matters and Procurement Excellence will do what we can to help - without pretending we have all the answers!

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