Procurement News from the US – Weekly Round-up

This has been an extremely popular series.

Exploring Big Data and Procurement Leveraging McKinsey’s Foundational Analysis (Part 5) -- In McKinsey's exploration of the Big Data on the future of commerce (private and public sector together), the authors of the foundational study offer a number of higher-level observations exploring how Big Data will impact business and government. One of their specific observations is that Big Data will play a key role in "replacing/supporting human decision making with automated algorithms." This is something we've observed and explored significantly on Spend Matters, including previously in this series, in the area of sourcing optimization. But the concept of having algorithms replace human decision-making goes far beyond sourcing. In fact this is precisely the vision that Opera Solutions, and to a lesser degree IBM, are hoping to bring to procurement in the coming year. (Also see: Part 1Part 2Part 3, and Part 4)

“There is rarely a truly "vanilla" cloud integration scenario with a company's core financial system.”

eProcurement and P2P Systems Integration: SAP and Financials Integration (Part 1) -- Just about every implementation is customized to some degree. This is true even in the case of standard ERP/MRP integration, which often forms the connectivity between frontline buying and procurement activity and IT/finance systems. In this area, typical fields that organizations map for integrations are often highly dependent on the specific ERP and business application packages they are integrating with. In an SAP environment, for example, journal entries linked to cloud-based eProcurement transactions or a frontline buying environment that sits on top of a direct ERP procurement system must often tie to specific objects mapped in the SAP environment, including projects, orders and cost centers (GL codes are just the ante). Specific requirements may differ based on the degree of the SAP environment's customization for financial accounting, corporate governance, managerial accounting and related areas.

Our follow-up on Rearden’s Deem at Work platform.

Rearden Launches Deem at Work Platform and Suite For SMB Spend Control and Savings (Part 2) -- When users log-in to the Deem at Work platform, regardless of whether it is branded as Deem or a partner site, they are greeted with a simple search interface with the ability to query a range of categories including office suppliers, IT hardware, building/construction, safety equipment, janitorial supplies, office furniture, office products, and specialty supplies (e.g., restaurant supplies). The Rearden team vets all of the suppliers in the system to make sure they can "deliver on the fulfillment side" in a high-volume environment. To date, Deem is not allowing partners to differentiate through value-added services (e.g., allowing industrial distributors to deliver vendor managed inventory (VMI) programs alongside the deem platform). But they do allow providers to showcase significant attribute and SKU level information about their products. (Click here for the first post in this series.)

Integrating Rollstream into GXS.

RollStream and GXS -- The Start of a Combined Supplier Management and Trading Network (Part 1) -- Earlier this year, Spend Matters sat down with the GXS team to learn more about the integration and plans for the RollStream supplier information management asset, which it acquired last year. We've had the chance to look at RollStream from a distance over the years, going through occasional demonstrations and walkthroughs and speaking to the occasional customer or two. For those who have not seen the RollStream product, it was the first in the supplier management sector -- one could argue the broader procurement tools sector -- to adopt a user interface and navigation experience that leveraged key elements of social networking connectivity and paradigms. The interface is still among the best we've seen, but more important, it's what users are doing with RollStream, and the specific types of supplier onboarding, compliance and lifecycle management programs they're making happen and managing.

MFG.com lands a massive Department of Defense contract.

MFG.com Lands Huge Department of Defense Engagement: in the Cloud! -- Headquartered in Atlanta, MFG.com has been active since 2000, building an online marketplace for the sourcing of components ranging from custom to standard parts, assemblies and textiles. In the process, they've built a global supplier network upward of 150,000 suppliers worldwide. The company has broadened its initial scope and now offers LiveSource, a sourcing suite, along with professional services. Clients range from large firms like Kimberly Clark (and after today's press release, the DoD) to mid-market organizations. Technically speaking, the entity inking the deal on the gov't side is the U.S. Department of Defense Manufacturing Technology Program and the Office of the Secretary of Defense - but let's use the "DoD" moniker, it's so much shorter.

Danger in “the cloud”?

What We Can Learn from Wozniak’s Cloud Warnings -- Wozniak's concerns about cloud computing are certainly not new. It wasn't that long ago that many CIOs doubted the viability of cloud computing success for the very same reasons. But, as more and more enterprises have moved critical infrastructure and data to the cloud, the trend's momentum and benefits now outweigh these concerns. Who isn't in the cloud these days?

Today’s music is the Alabama Shakes...a bit of “Dad Rock” with some indie flair!

- Sheena Moore

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