ProcureCon Indirect – a Review from our Special Correspondent


As we explained at the time, the Spend Matters team could not make it to ProcureCon Indirect in Amsterdam earlier this month, but we managed to get this review from our anonymous attendee – someone who was there as a sponsor, but has a background as a procurement practitioner as well.  Many thanks to our “Special Agent X”! ProcureCon Indirect was small enough (around 160 attendees, I reckon) to have good conversations with people, but big enough to attract some very good attendees.  Many were heads of procurement, or indirect heads of procurement, which meant the conversations one had as […]

The Future of Procurement – According to Dr Lamoureux


Michael Lamoureux, aka the doctor, as he is known to his friends, is a brilliant guy who works with and writes for our Spend Matters US websites. He also has his own Sourcing Innovation website, which contains pictures of cute cats alongside incisive and often thought-provoking articles about procurement technology and other related issues. He has written a series of posts recently which refer to our work (speeches, blogs, papers and videos) around "the Future of Procurement" but expand on some of the arguments about that issue - including whether the profession has a future at all. Michael takes the […]

NAO Verdict on UK Government’s Shared Service Centres – A Fiasco


We will come back to the NAO report on Government’s commercial performance later this week, but another NAO report issued on Friday deserved an immediate airing, we felt! The NAO report on the UK government’s two central shared services centres is one of the most damming and critical we’ve seen in a long time. “The Cabinet Office’s failure to manage the risks around the move to two independent shared service centres from the outset means that the programme has not achieved the significant anticipated savings and benefits to date”. That is the beginning of the summary from NAO – but […]

Down the Procurement Pub with the NAO, the MCA, ProZorro and Sam Lee

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I did have one very entertaining evening this week, but I cannot compromise my friends by exposing their identities. Indeed, I still have not heard the full story about what happened after I got the train home … Anyway, the evening started in the Nell Gwynne public house, off the Strand, with a very enjoyable pint of Rhino, a “Quad Hopped amber ale – brewed with Challenger, Brambling Cross, Summit and Chinook hops. Balanced with a specialty German aromatic malt”, brewed by the Animal Brewing Co  …. _____________________ We thought we might get round to it this week but failed; […]

Skills Every Procurement Specialist Should Have


We welcome this post from Adam Maidment, Content Writer for Portfolio Procurement, providers of compensation, benefits and rewards jobs throughout the UK. Adam offers some sound advice to those thinking about, or having just joined, the procurement profession. Ask anyone in procurement and they’ll tell you it’s a tough but incredibly rewarding industry to work in. Obviously, procurement professionals work with suppliers and distributors on a daily basis and therefore need to be able to possess confidence and an awareness of how the industry operates. But alongside this, what else do procurement professionals need to know? The Deloitte Global CPO Survey 2016 revealed […]

Public Spend Matters Europe – Public Procurement Highlights from This Week

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Public Spend Matters Europe is dedicated to the exciting and fascinating matters connected with European public sector procurement. As usual, before you think about switching off, it's worth remembering that 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. So here is a roundup of what we've been discussing this week. If you find anything interesting please do click through to the full article: What Does the Eurovision Song Contest Tell Us About Europe Today? This post […]

Idealized Design: Design-Centered Procurement (Part 4) [Plus +]


In our last installment of this series, we spelled out in great detail some the fundamental software “architectural” (aka design) changes that are happening with modern cloud-based software that is absorbing the emerging practices in B2C-focused software and services. But we didn’t spell out the benefits of such a componentized, platform-based architecture that uses true user-centered design principles that is also tailored to meeting the broader design requirements of the department, business unit, supply chain and enterprise. The problem is that as you broaden the scope, the more design conflicts arise, as design goals from different user groups conflict. But if you do it right, you’ll be able to reduce trade-offs and be able to more easily “mix and match” lower-level solution components and provision more flexible solutions

Transcepta: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background, Solution and Strengths [PRO]


Transcepta, a closely held business, was founded over a decade ago. Throughout this time, the provider has focused on building and expanding its global supplier network capabilities to support vendor onboarding and e-invoicing efforts, including most recently in the invoice discounting and trade financing areas. Transcepta compares favorably on a functional basis with other e-invoicing providers, including and supplier network providers such as Ariba/SAP, Basware, Coupa, Taulia, Tungsten and Tradeshift. It also serves as an e-invoicing partner to Oracle and SciQuest. This Spend Matters PRO research brief provides an introduction to supplier network enablement and e-invoicing approaches, Trancepta’s capabilities in these areas and the provider’s overall strengths, including a new PO/document matching approach that leverages technology often used in the spend analysis world to achieve significantly higher matching rates than what we typically observe. The second installment of this research brief covers Transcepta’s weaknesses, competition and our recommendations for customer fit.

Lystable: WIP of the Week [PRO]


This week we present Lystable as the WIP of the Week. The company offers a platform that businesses can use to manage their own freelancer talent pools. In our Spend Matters WIP typology, the Lystable platform would fit cleanly in the category of Private Pools/Networks, a super-set that includes what many refer to as freelancer management systems (FMS). In any case, Lystable is one of the platform businesses that plays in the increasingly contended space between enterprises and independent workers. Contenders include self-proclaimed FMS platforms and major VMS players. To date, none of these contenders has succeeded in achieving traction in and acceptance by large enterprise contingent workforce management programs. Why this is the case is probably due to a number of different factors. However, there seem to be continuing, well-funded attempts to find the formula for solving what is certainly a “wicked problem.” In this brief, we provide an overview of Lystable and its platform model, and, as usual, offer our Spend Matters commentary.

Stock Prices in the Procurement World Were Steady in April — With 3 Exceptions [Plus +]

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It's time for news about our portfolio of stocks from companies who are all or partly focused on procurement. We have 20 firms represented in our portfolio, and while this year we have abandoned our personal stock-picking competition after last year’s disaster (when we all lost significant amounts of money), we will still be reporting on overall portfolio performance every month and picking out a few firms to focus on more closely. The most apposite word to describe April, at macro level anyway, would be “quiet.” After a turbulent start to 2016, markets generally last month were fairly flat, and on the major exchanges, overall levels are within a percentage point or two of where they started the year. Our portfolio overall was pretty much unchanged month on month, dropping just a fraction to end April some 2% above the start of the year, a small outperformance against the U.S. and U.K. markets. As always though, that concealed some larger rises and falls at individual stock level, so we will take a look at some of those significant movers.

Software at the Core of Digital Design: Design-Centered Procurement (Part 3) [Plus +]

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In our last installment of this series on design-centered procurement, we discussed the importance of good design in products, the design of the supporting supply chain and the design of the supply management function. We used the example of a car design and contrasted the good design of a Tesla compared with the design of the ill-fated Pontiac Aztek. But consider replacing the word “car” with “procurement system.” Traditional software development for procurement applications (or any packaged applications software, for that matter) looks uncannily like that of the Pontiac Aztek. “Feature 500” lists are developed that not only address incremental customer functionality requirements but also throw in new “bells and whistles” designed to keep up with the competitors’ software features, and the preferences of IT industry analysts who put providers on simplistic 2x2 quadrants. Yet the software itself doesn't necessarily align to the procurement outcome of driving business value from better supply management (and demand management as part of this). Why? Here are the biggest issues that we see and how to address them.

Capgemini IBX Business Network: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Strengths, Weaknesses and Summary Recommendations [PRO]

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Capgemini IBX Business Network is a provider that continues to quietly build momentum with a broad set of procurement capabilities, many of which are not only deeper than its competitors but also offer a nuanced approach to complementing and enabling existing ERP procurement environments in a manner that can bring procurement and IT organizations together. The IBX platform has undergone constant development and improvement with significant enhancements made to the network, mobile support, invoice automation and spot-buy capabilities (with a new version being released in the coming months). In the P2P and network area, IBX has rolled out a new integration workbench for simplified integration to existing ERP, MRP and catalog management/warehouse solutions, as well as deep support for SAP SRM 7 and SAP MM. This two-part Spend Matters PRO brief provides a comprehensive introduction and review of the IBX solution. In the first installment, we provided an introduction to the provider and its modules and capabilities. In Part 2, we conclude with an analysis of the provider’s comparative strengths and weaknesses and offer perspective on “best fit” customers.