Happy August Bank Holiday!

It is a Public Holiday in the UK today celebrating the end of the summer season (and the rain is absolutely pouring down from leaden skies). This heralds the "back to school" moment - what still feels to me more like the true start of the year than January 1st. So we've been storing up some interesting guest articles, features and ideas for when everyone is back to work, and you'll start seeing those coming through soon on the site. Given the holiday though, we won't be publishing anything on a procurement note today unless something remarkable happens in the […]

Reading Festival Saturday Review – Metallica, Catfish, and Nothing but Thieves Impress

Catfish - impressive light-show too, not that you can tell from this!

A better day than Friday musically (for us anyway) but not for the weather, with drizzle and some heavier showers. We started with The Mini Band, five kids from Newbury, just down the road, (12-14 years old) whose video of them playing a Metallica song went viral a few years ago. They were invited to meet Metallica at Reading yesterday, then learnt this week that they would be playing as well. So a novelty act, you might think? Not at all – just five talented young musicians. The two guitarists were excellent, and their latest, the self-penned Step Into the […]

Reading Festival Friday Review – How Were the Mumfords?

Reading ea;ry 2015

The first day at Reading Festival (pictured  five minutes after the gates opened in its pristine loveliness) was dry, muddy in the campsites (by the look of it), and a good rather than stunning day for us anyway. Of the bigger bands on the main stage, Bastille got the crowd singing along and looked like they’re only one more decent album away from being headliners themselves – they have some great tunes, and their cover of TLC’s “No Scrubs” was a highlight. But much as I love Alt-J, a large field is not the best environment to listen to their […]

Down the Procurement Pub with IBM, Raj Sharma, Robot Overlords and All We Are

IBM team Aug 2015

I’ve had a busy and quite eventful week considering it is supposed to be deep into the holiday season. It was a real pleasure to meet the CPO of one of the largest and most influential firms in the world (still) – Bob Murphy of IBM. He is the successor to the legendary John Paterson, who retired last year. Now what are the odds of a Scotsman replacing a Scotsman as CPO of a huge global firm? But that’s what has happened here. I reckon it is something to do with the accent and the lasting effect of Sean Connery […]

Austin Allegros and Bad Procurement Software

(In this holiday period, when news is somewhat thinner on the ground, we thought we would take a few articles from the Spend Matters archives – even the Procurement Excellence blog archives – and feature them again here, with a touch of editing / updating where necessary. Only those of course that are relevant – so nothing about the latest procurement of horse-drawn carriages!  And the message below is still very relevant, I think). I learnt to programme on the Cambridge University Maths Department mainframe computer in 1977. It had the distinction of having a totally unique programming language, used […]

Public Spend Matters Europe – Highlights from this Week


So, what have we published for you this week on our site dedicated to exciting and fascinating matters connected with European public sector procurement? And before you even think about switching off... around Europe, we are talking about well over a trillion Euros of money from taxpayers and citizens being spent by government and public sector bodies of some sort. Worth doing well, you might consider. Anyway, here are summaries of our features this week – do click though and read the full articles. Berlin Brandenburg Airport – Lining Up To Be a Fiasco of Historical Proportions The saga of […]

ESM Solutions Responds to Higher Education Customer P2P Needs [PRO]

category management

The IT procurement solutions market is not a one-size-fits-all space. Especially in the higher education industry, competition among procurement solutions providers has become more fierce. For one, you have ESM Solutions – the provider we will be focusing on today in this Spend Matters PRO article. Vendors in the higher education space can offer industry specific services and capabilities and onboard industry suppliers efficiently, giving customers the benefit of rapid savings, faster implementation and a more adequate pricing model. These features give ESM a better shot at winning deals among higher education customers. However, the provider is also aiming to gain a broader reach in the commercial space – efforts I will discuss in this first part of this series on ESM.

Self-Sourcing Contingent Workforce: What it is and Why it Matters Now [PRO]

worker with laptop and notebook

Many service procurement and contingent workforce managers in mid-to-large enterprises are already at various stages of implementing supplier and spend management programs to control and enable their businesses’ consumption of a contingent workforce. These programs typically allow business users to submit a request specifying the characteristics of the kind of worker(s) or business outcome(s) they desire. It is the program, not the business user, that sources the worker(s) or project(s) for the business user. And the business user directly engages with the worker(s) or project resources at the end of the sourcing process. By contrast, self-sourcing, which will be discussed in this Spend Matters PRO insight brief, allows the business users to identify, engage, select and procure labor resources (today, typically independent workers) on their own, directly. Self-sourcing will increasingly become a contingent workforce buying channel, driven by user demand and enabling technology, and procurement and contingent workforce managers must now begin to understand it and prepare to management it.

PRO Unlimited: Leveraging an Integrated Technology and Services Approach to Drive the Future of Contingent Workforce Solutions [PRO]

light bulb

I recently met with PRO Unlimited’s Senior Vice President of Product Development Ted Sergott at the company’s main San Francisco Bay Area office, where I was able to get further acquainted with this unique contingent workforce solutions business and where it is headed. PRO Unlimited is now one of the leading contingent workforce solution providers across several standard industry solution categories. It is also one of the few solution-led providers bucking the trend to separate software from services – and without apologies. This Spend Matters PRO research brief provides an overview of PRO Unlimited and includes a number of defining characteristics of the business and what makes the company different than other providers in the contingent workforce market.

What a Devalued Chinese RMB Means For China Sourcing Strategies [Plus +]

Chinese yuan

We recently received a note from a reader with questions regarding the latest China currency devaluation and how sourcing professionals ought to engage with their Chinese suppliers. The questions included: 1) Should I be approaching all of my Chinese suppliers for a 3.5% price reduction? 2) Should I expect to get it? There are several ways to answer that question. This Spend Matters Plus article begins with the narrow answer and then expands into other aspects of China’s currency announcements.

Our 2015 Procurement Predictions – Did We Get Them Right? [Plus +]

2015 Target

At the very beginning of 2015, the Spend Matters Analyst Team made more than 20 procurement predictions for the year ahead. Now that we are well into the second half of 2015, did any of these predictions come to light in the procurement and supply chain industry? To find out, check out one of our most popular Ask the Expert webinars of all time: Ask the Expert: 2015 Procurement Predictions – Part 1. This webinar launched a series of webinars in which Spend Matters analysts discussed the changes they expected to take shape over the next 12 months. In this first prediction webinar, Jason Bush, founder and managing director, and Pierre Mitchell, chief research officer, joined forces to tackle the first 5 predictions on the long list.

Adopting a Perfect Order Metric: Considerations, Tips and Benefits For Your Procurement Organization [Plus +]

tape measure

Over on our sister site, Chief Procurement Officer, I have been discussing the perfect order measurement and how to adopt the metric for your procurement organization. While the perfect order metric may sound simple, the implementation can be complex. This Spend Matters Plus article will focus on how to address and overcome this complexity, as well as how to implement the perfect order effectively. I also touch on the benefits of perfect order, including how it enables better measurement of supply chain performance. If you want to measure perfect order performance, you have to ask yourself a lot of questions. Here are 5 key questions to ask and adapt to your organization regarding the perfect order metric.