Procurement Outsourcing; news, research paper published, & 2011 looms

There has been a small 'flurry' (let's call it) of stories about procurement outsourcing recently, with Elizabeth Arden linking up with ICG Commerce and Toshiba handing procurement - along with a range of other operational activities - to the Shaw Group for their nuclear power plants.

Pure-play outsourcers such as ICG, BuyingTeam and Xchanging are generally doing well in the procurement space, and firms whose offerings arguably span the software / outsourcing space (like Hubwoo) appear to be growing strongly.  And yet, every analyst or industry expert I've spoken to still feels that the potential for procurement outsourcing is huge and the market has grown more slowly than anticipated.

So will 2011 be the year it finally takes off?  Or will many CPOs continue to be cautious?  How will a tougher environment (raw material shortages, inflation, supply chain risk) for procurement change change behaviour?  We'll be looking at the key issues in some detail here over then next weeks and months, and analysing where procurement outsourcing might go in 2011 and beyond.

And if you are interested in the subject, do take a look at the new research paper on the topic just launched jointly by Spend Matters US and Horses for Sources (the leading blog / analyst firm in the outsourcing world).  It is the first in their series of papers, "Expecting more from procurement BPO", and this first chapter is titled "Designing an optimal procurement BPO programm: process expertise and realized improvement".  It's free to download here; I've just read it, and it is well worth your time.

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