Procurement News from the US: Weekly Round-up

Happy holiday week! I flew home to Seattle last night, and was thrilled with the efficiency and preparation that had taken place at both airports to make the journey a painless one (I’m sure the unseasonably warm temperatures and lack of snow helped as well). Plus, can't say it's not glorious to wake up to this:

Here’s what’s up on Spend Matters:

Looking at BPO technology (this week and next):

We finished up a series on Infosys yesterday. Infosys/Procurement BPO: Services Expansion/Platform Growth as Proxies for Broader Markets (Part 3) -- Nearly all procurement BPOs claim material differentiation through the category expertise they bring to the spend table. Infosys is no exception but they've taken a slightly different route in this regard. We have often seen other procurement BPO providers taking a route of alliances/partnerships to bring category expertise. Infosys has been making investments steadily to build category expertise in-house, which has gained rapid momentum in the eighteen months, and is also evident with their recent acquisition (keep looking for our detailed analysis on this in the next couple weeks). (Part 1 and Part 2)

...and look for more on Capgemini next week too. Capgemini Procurement BPO: Realizing Platform/Category Returns From the IBX Acquisition (Part 1) We've had numerous interactions with the Capgemini procurement BPO team recently, including a number of folks we've known for quite some time, going back to the IBX days (I personally spoke at one of the IBX customer events a few years back at Oxford, which included a center-stage debate with a European procurement/operations management professor if I recall). In these discussions, we've learned quite a bit about what's gone on since the Capgemini acquisition of IBX, which happened nearly two years ago (February 2010). We also investigated Capgemini's latest procurement technology/platform suite and came away with the impression that they are one BPO that is betting heavily on the idea that owning key solution elements matters just as much as partnering. (Part 2)

What, what, WHAT to get the IT department?!? (a guest post from Verian)

Five Gift Ideas for Your IT Department No internal department is harder to buy for than IT. Because of highly technical specifications, countless requirements, and a trove of IT-specific vendors, many organizations essentially get their IT department's wish list, cut it by 10%, and let them buy what they need on their own. We know this is a bad idea, but we also like to keep the guardians of our wired worlds happy. In the end, the not-so-best practice of letting IT "go rogue" when purchasing goods and services causes more pain for everyone -- including IT.

Some good advice from Alvarez & Marsal.

Achieving World-Class Cost Optimization -- In the years since the economic downturn, most companies have pursued quick and easy procurement cost reductions. However, we see many of our clients continue to leave money on the table because transformational change is challenging and imposing. Most organizations know they can reduce costs further, but take shortcuts to implement quick fixes that have little long-term impact. Nevertheless, companies can develop a culture of continuous cost optimization by utilizing a focused organization to plan, execute, and sustain advanced cost-reduction practices.

With that, I’m signing off for the next week for some much-needed time with friends and family in the lovely green Pacific Northwest. I hope everyone has a safe and peaceful holiday, and I’ll catch you on the flipside: onward to 2012!

- Sheena Moore

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