Two Procurement Technology Advances that Could Make a Big Difference to Suppliers and Buyers

As we said in our introduction, it’s Procurement Technology month at Spend Matters UK. We mentioned that, in our opinion, the public sector may be falling further behind private sector best practice in terms of technology uptake and in terms of what technology can do to make us serious procurement leaders. There are exceptions of course, like the NHS with some significant initiatives under way and exciting new solutions now actually being used. But, as we said, “our perception is that central and local government in the UK and probably most other countries are not really keeping up with the […]

Improving Procurement Through Technology


As part of our April Hot Topic, Roger Phare, UK Operating Officer, TechnologyOne, asks whether procurement technology is living up to its promise. The application of technology in any guise, whether it’s 3D printing or procurement technology, must improve business processes and increase efficiency to be seen as successful. For procurement technology in particular, success is defined by the capability to capture all procurement activity as and when it happens, so that the business operates at optimal efficiency. The technology must also support and facilitate the actual process of procurement, from authorisations and compliance through to quality and performance. For […]

Sir Bernard Gray Rises From the MOD Grave – ex Procurement Head to Review His Own Changes


Connoisseurs of strange civil service decisions will be fascinated by this one. The Defense News website reports that Sir Bernard Gray,  who until recently ran the UK's Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organisation within the Ministry of Defence (MOD), has been asked to carry out a study to look at how the implementation of changes in defence procurement have gone since 2010. "Sir Bernard Gray has been asked to undertake a technical review into the state of the procurement landscape. The review will look at the recommendations made in Sir Bernard’s 2009 Review of Defence Acquisition and Lord Levene’s 2011 […]

LLP Conference – Some Positive Signs for NHS Procurement

Last Friday there was a real buzz around the NHS London Procurement Partnership conference which went by the snappy title "Savings and improvement for the NHS by the NHS through collaboration to deliver better patient case". Held at the Barbican, it was standing room only as around 100 procurement folk crammed into a strange shaped room to hear about the Carter Report implementation, agency staff issues, collaborative procurement (and a bit from me too). There was some fascinating discussion about the agency cap (for temporary medical staff) although it felt like a somewhat complacent view from NHS Improvement - "it's […]

Procurement, Consulting and Spend Management Market Update Q1 2016

Edbury Daley report

This first quarter 2016 Edbury Daley (global procurement recruitment specialists) report on what’s happening in the employment market for procurement and associated professions is now finalised and available to download for free on the Edbury Daley website. As we have said before when featuring this quarterly update, we like this report because it comments on the broader issues that impact the procurement and procurement solutions market -- not just number of jobs and trends in types of job in the market. The Chinese economy, US presidential elections, Brexit, the FTSE, US trade figures, and more, are all brought to bear on how the big picture affected […]

BravoSolution Real World Procurement Webinar – Driving Value from your Sourcing Process


This Wednesday April 27th, Guy Allen, ex CPO and Managing Director of Real World Procurement, will be leading two webinars on the end-to-end sourcing process and how to drive value from it. If you missed the live performance last week, then this is an opportunity to hear the key details again. This is a live webinar so there will be ample chance to ask some direct questions of Guy. The webinar will give a "refresher" of the key elements and issues linked to the sourcing process. That will include the use of specialised sourcing techniques, such as eAuctions and market-informed sourcing or optimisation, […]

Dispatch: WIP of the Week [PRO]


This week we present Dispatch as the WIP of the Week. The company is one of a number of specialized technology solution providers that enables other businesses to provide "on-demand services" to their customers. In this context, an on-demand service is one that allows a customer to place an order for a service (get a ride, some food, a package, etc.) with a smartphone app and have the service fulfilled by a gig worker, within a short period of time, at that customer’s location. A specifically designed and engineered technology platform is required to enable such processes, and that is exactly what Dispatch does for its business customers. In a very real sense, Dispatch is a specialized PaaS that can enable a business’ implementation of its own on-demand services.

Write Better Procurement Technology RFPs (Part 3): The RFI and RFP [Plus +]

cloud computing

In our first article in this series, we noted how in Spend Matters' last PLUS series on RFPs, we gave you some insights on how to write better RFPs in general, which is great when you are buying products and services, but not always enough when you are buying software solutions – especially for yourself. Specifically, the process of understanding the requirements, selecting the right providers to invite, and creating good specifications is a bit more nuanced than just the form, fit and function requirements of a physical component being purchased in the supply chain. Part 1 of this series focused on what was required to truly understand the requirements and the second focused on what was required to truly select a good provider to invite to the table. This article focuses on the creation of good RFIs and RFPs, as we alluded to in the first two parts of this series, and also in our previous series on how to write a good RFP in general.

HICX: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Company and Solution Overview [PRO]


Companies looking for supplier management solutions have a broad range of choices, ranging from independent solution providers to ERP modules of varying degrees of sophistication and depth. There are numerous challenges that come with identifying the right solutions in the market for an individual procurement organization. These include the fact that consultants and analysts generally have limited experience with the in-the-trenches capabilities of these solutions compared with sourcing and purchase-to-pay suites. Further, the individual capabilities of solutions can vary dramatically, and independent solution providers generally invest far less in sales and marketing in educating the market and building awareness than providers delivering suites or serving other areas of procurement. One provider that warrants consideration in the market is HICX, a London-based firm founded in 2004. It is essentially a supply chain master data management (MDM) solution with a configurable workflow that allows an organization to use it as the supplier (and associated product) MDM system. Even though the company now focuses heavily on supplier information management (SIM), supplier performance management (SPM), supplier risk management (SRM) and supplier compliance management (SCM), it enables end-to-end supplier data management as a result of its strong MDM foundation. It has also recently expanded its capabilities into the contract management area, with a new module that both can complete and complement contract lifecycle management (CLM) solutions. This two-part Spend Matters PRO research brief provides an introduction to HICX, including insight into solution capabilities, product strengths and weaknesses, perspectives on how it stacks up against supplier management competitors and recommendations to potential customers.

Write Better Procurement Technology RFPs (Part 2): Provider Identification [Plus +]


In our first article in this series on procurement technology RFPs, we noted that when trying to specify the requirements for a technology solution, you should emphasize not just what the solution should do but also the processes it should enable and the problems it should solve. You are probably not a technology expert, and trying to be one will only paint you into a corner. In other words, don’t over specify and overly constrain the supply market, but rather, tap its innovation to solve your problem. But creating an RFP that captures the true requirements and educates the potential provider as to what the organization really needs to accomplish to be successful is only the first step to success. The second is inviting the right suppliers to the party. But how do you identify the right suppliers? That is the subject of this article.

Procurement in the Middle East: 10 Observations on Regional Practices and Requirements (Part 2) [PRO]

JLV Image Works/Adobe

As our Spend Matters PRO analysis of procurement in the Middle East continues, we turn our attention to five additional areas that warrant understanding, investigation and consideration by any procurement organization (or individual) wanting to prioritize specific efforts and programs, or simply come up to speed quickly on the regional culture of procurement and supply chain including where it has been and where it is going. The prioritization of procurement activities is becoming more important across the Middle East, including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and other countries. And it will become even more important as Iran — not exactly the Middle East by definition, however — is increasingly welcomed back to the international community. Indeed, the move to market economies, even in countries with strong legacies of ruling families and state control, is accelerating with the support of government. This is playing a role in helping organizations build cases for investing in procurement. As one local CPO recently remarked in conversation, in the past, “if you were the first one in the market in a given sector, you did well, as there was no competition.” But this is changing, as “low cost” is now becoming a differentiator for organizations as competition and market economies take shape across the Middle East.

Gigster: WIP of the Week [PRO]


This week we present Gigster as our WIP of the Week. Gigster is a work intermediation platform that allows businesses to a describe a software development project to a sales engineer via instant messaging or a call and in 10 minutes get a guaranteed quote specifying cost and how long the project will take. Gigster manages a global online network of highly vetted software developers (often moonlighting developers of top tech companies or college students in top computer science programs) who are tapped to complete projects. Every project is organized and managed by a project manager. Gigster got started in 2013, funded with a convertible of $1.8 million, and it launched commercially through Y Combinator in mid-2015. By December 2015, it had raised an additional $10.7 million.