Procurement News from the US – Weekly Round-Up

Here in the states, we’re all spending today eating leftovers, maniacally shopping, or watching football. But look! The US Department of Homeland Security put together a video on turkey risk management!

Technology

Giving Oracle a Procurement Break -- Transparency & Dialogue With No Puppet Strings: A number of my colleagues in the Enterprise Irregulars (some of the best minds in enterprise software who have come together to form an informal and loosely affiliated groups of bloggers, thinkers, enterprise tinkerers, etc.) have given Oracle a hard time (not to mention other enterprise software companies and big services firms like SAP, IBM and Accenture) about their products, pricing and related policies -- not to mention their approaches to customer and commercial engagement. Others have as well, including a Gartner analyst (hat-tip: EIs) who recently (and uncharacteristically, for Gartner) spoke what was on his mind about Oracle and others, at least as reported by one publication. Yet I think when it comes to procurement, we at Spend Matters believe that we all should be optimistic about where Oracle is headed and how they're following a path less traveled.

No Half-Steppin’ Here -- FullStep Tackles Manufacturing-Centric Procurement in Spain/Beyond (Part 1): This past summer, I caught up with two members of the FullStep team during their first visit to our office in Chicago. They had recently relocated here to launch the Spain-based Spend Management provider into the North American market. Since that time, I've had the chance to demo their solutions as well as speak to a customer in their home market. Even though the value FullStep provides is undeniable, I don't think the globalization efforts for the firm will be as easy as it is for some software products that are easy to put into a box (or resell, for that matter). That's because FullStep is undeniably its own unique product and platform beast -- in the best of ways. In a series of posts looking at FullStep, we'll first consider how best to compare and define what they actually do compared to more traditional sourcing, supplier management and related tools. Then we'll dive into their specific functional capabilities.

Take sourcing to a new level.

Advancing Sourcing Technologies: Five Product Reasons to Go Beyond Basic Sourcing/Reverse Auctions: Back in October, I recorded a podcast with Next Level Purchasing's Charles Dominick covering advanced sourcing tools. The interview was loosely based on one of our recent Spend Matters Compass reports: Advanced Sourcing Technologies and Platforms to Broaden a Portfolio. In his post, Charles summarizes the five categories of advanced sourcing tools we are seeing companies deploy with greater frequency. We classify these tools into the following general areas: sourcing optimization, commodity management, savings tracking & forecasting, direct materials supplier collaboration and total cost modeling. In looking at these areas, similarly to e-sourcing previously, many of these separate categories of solutions -- few (if any) vendors that offer strong capability in one of these areas can present a similarly robust solution in the others -- are in the process of replacing Microsoft Excel as a preferred means of analysis, process and collaboration.

World commentary from our lead analyst, Thomas Kase.

China Has Its Rural Areas -- Germany Has Greece To Keep Its Currency Weak: Last week, I asked a northern European friend of mine (he works in the financial field with securities and derivative strategies) what he thinks of the current Euro zone brouhaha. Here's what he came back with: This is a multifaceted problem -- it is easy to understand the German protests (around bailing out the Mediterranean EU members) but they really should be happy to have Greek and Latin currency involvement since this has provided much needed Euro devaluation for many years now. Had the Germans still been on the Deutschmark, their fighting power in export markets would have been considerably worse. In other words, if you decouple the Latin countries from the Euro, the currency would quickly rise in value, and German exports would fall, domestic German unemployment would rise etc.

And for “Black Friday” deal watchers...

Friday Rant: On-line Shopping: Consider the Source and Do Your Homework -- As the holiday season approaches, the advantages of shopping on-line become increasingly attractive. Saving time by avoiding crowds, traffic and having a seemingly endless array of sources at our finger tips makes it possible to find especially appropriate gifts, tailored to our loved ones interests, like never before. So what's the downside -- there's always one or two with matters of bargain hunting and convenience?

- Sheena Moore

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