Procurement News from the US: Weekly Round-Up

Ariba LIVE was this week and we had a lot to say about their marketing strategy (hope someone won big with their free Caesar’s Palace chips).

Ariba's Strategy and Offerings LIVE (Part 1) -- This week, Ariba is holding their annual US-based edition of LIVE in Las Vegas. We must admit that we got a chuckle over their promotional offer to circumvent certain likely vendor "gift" policies to get folks to the event -- see the tweet below from late March: "Use Promo code TWTRCHP when you register for #AribaLIVE & get $250 #CaesarsPalace chips aribalive.com." The irony, of course, is that P2P done right (with Ariba or any other leading provider) is anything but gambling. But alas, perhaps it's more a reflection of our times that such an offer is more effective than larger discounts to the event or the more common "three for two" or "two for one"-type offers.

They’ve also gone through rebranding like how Kim Kardashian goes through boyfriends.

Ariba Breaks Up With "The Cloud," Romances "Enterprise Networks" -- It seems that for every few "persons of interest" Kim Kardashian is seen with, Ariba comes up with a new corporate umbrella from which to dangle its overall company and product positioning. Fortunately, we all know the results that good P2P provides can long outlast the run of a typical reality TV show -- or the love interests of someone on it. For Ariba, not so long ago it was "Spend Management" (the Nick Lackey and Reggie Bush years for Kim). Then it became the "Commerce Cloud" (moving onto Miles Austin and a short-lived and long-paid jaunt with Kris Humphries). As of yesterday, it's "Enterprise Networks" or "Business Commerce Networks" (Kanye?!).

We take a look at Oxygen Finance through an interview with Mark Hoffman.

B2B is Back: The Marketplace Evolution, Oxygen Finance and an Interview with Mark Hoffman (Part 1) -- A few years ago, I met a big man who, at the time, was running a company in search of a customer: Oxygen Finance. David Brown also had a big idea. Unlike other e-invoicing and supply chain finance solutions available in 2008-2009, David's concept and challenge involved much more than just selling a piece of software -- it required collaboration between finance, AP, accounting and procurement (not to mention external accounting firms and banks, in certain cases). While I won't describe the Oxygen offering in detail now, the context is important because David was eventually able to win that critical first customer, the believer, who bought into the truly new invoicing and payables business process, discounting, revenue recognition and benefits capture program that Oxygen requires and enables. (Part 2 here, Parts 3 and 4 coming next week).

How much should you let your suppliers complain?

1-800-COMPLAIN -- Constructive vs. Petty Criticism: Should You Have a Supplier Kvetch Line? -- In the old days of purchasing, supplier communication was a one-way street. And you-know-what rolled downhill. Now, I don't mean to romanticize the past in any shape or form. The days of Ignacio Lopez at GM are long gone (and thank goodness for it). Moreover, I've sufficiently done my own penance, having been one of the early proponents of reverse auctions -- and now avoid suggesting their use for many (but not all) sourcing use cases. As I often like to write and speak about, supplier communication -- regardless of whether it's through an initial sourcing or ongoing relationship management or development process -- is a two-way street. Yet I question how far some organizations have gone in their goals to present a George Bush-esque (H as in Bush "Senior) kinder, gentler face to suppliers. Just as this failed "senior" in his re-election bid, I think being too much of a softy can fail CPOs in hoping to achieve their ultimate objectives.

A good look at what it takes to move to “the cloud” from Archstone Consulting.

Moving To The Cloud: Key Questions to Ask -- While there are differing views on the definition of cloud computing, the key is that an organization purchases computing services on a consumption basis versus paying for a dedicated resource or asset (software, hardware, storage, infrastructure, etc.). There is often much debate regarding the move to cloud computing, the risks, and what benefits it can provide. It is vital to understand your organization's IT needs and prominent factors in making the proper decision.

Let’s end with this today:

When rock stars get old. I want to attack Robert Smith with a giant bottle of eye makeup remover. And look how lovely Ozzy's hair used to be!

- Sheena Moore

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