State of Flux – supplier relationship management software (part 2)

In part one of this short series we looked at the State of Flux Supplier Relationship Management System - a software product the firm has developed to help organisations implement and manage their Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) programmes.

We featured some of the specific capability areas of the product in part one – they are extensive and cover pretty much anything you can think of that you would want to do as part of an SRM programme.  You can see that this tool has been designed by real experts in the field, and is both user-friendly but feature-rich. The product is cloud based, and sold on an annual subscription basis, based broadly on the number of users/ size of organisation.  Clients can choose from three modules – SRM, Performance Management, and Contract Management – or obviously can take all three.  Pricing is obviously dependent on a range of factors but is likely to be five rather than six figures for the annual subscription.

In terms of its general applicability, the solution could therefore certainly act as a catalyst for developing SRM, and as a discipline for organisations already underway with those activities. I guess the major “negative” is the flip side of the positive. It’s probably not an appropriate  tool if you just want to play around with SRM, or try it out in a minor way – it does require a serious approach and a fair amount of time to be invested if you’re going to get the most out of it.

But that’s true of all of SRM programmes, with or without software tools. I can’t think of many (any) who have succeeded in SRM without taking it seriously and investing. Too often, a programme is started with enthusiasm, then quickly deteriorates into an occasional lunch between senior managers, without a clear agenda, goals, or success measures.

SRM programmes need real structure, governance, proper programme management, clear objectives and goals and resource committed to make things happen. This tool would certainly act as an enabler to support organisations who really want to put that in place. It does also need the user work in a certain way – the design is based in a sense around the State of Flux SRM worldview.  That’s not a bad thing,  but make sure you’re comfortable with that before you go too far.

With those caveats, particularly around the need to take SRM seriously, it strikes us as a very interesting product, and one that could help a lot of organisations move their SRM efforts forward. Although I’m always willing to be corrected, I also don’t know of much else quite like it on the market either with quite so much deep SRM content embedded in the solution.

 

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