Attempting to Be the Oracle of Oracle Spend Management (Part 6)

From a Spend Management perspective, PeopleSoft Enterprise SRM 9.0 represents a significant step forward for Oracle relative to some of the earlier offerings under the PeopleSoft label. With 9.0, PeopleSoft focused on a number of key elements that read like their straight out of the playbook of just about any ERP vendor. To wit, these include improving usability, driving business process flexibility, simplifying transaction processing, providing new levels of visibility to gain insight (vs. just information), meeting compliance requirements and lowering the overall cost of ownership.

Incidentally, on that last point, my colleague and friend Brian Sommer always taught me that whenever an ERP vendor starts talking about total cost of ownership (TCO) when it comes to the P2P area, to duck and run for the hills because it's clear they don't understand the basis of what they're selling (which should be ROI-driven above all else). Still, the "cost of ownership" piece appears throughout the PeopleSoft product literature. Oh well. Even if they don't understand how to market to procurement, at least the product is better than it used to be.

But I digress, in 9.0, PeopleSoft provides such new capabilities as an SRM dashboard that features expanded KPI metrics for buyers and managers to use. It also lets users analyze summary metrics at the business level while also looking at a limited set of supplier performance analytics. Additional features include new amount-only requisitioning and off-catalog request capabilities. From a services procurement perspective, 9.0 adds new time reporting capabilities along with expanded service coordinator features. 9.0 contract management features new capabilities including contract and clause uploading and importing into a central repository, the ability to send requests to suppliers for contract creation, SLA compliance tracking and non-compliance alerting.

Sourcing enhancements to 9.0 include amount-only requests when a non-price or quantity is known. 9.0 also enables users to create sourcing events based on the specific demand inventory that a user captures in an amount only requisition. Perhaps more important in everyday use is the ability to collect information via Excel from users and import the details on the line-item level into 9.0.

The core requisitioning capability of 9.0 helps it nearly catch up to Oracle R12 in many areas. This includes enhanced workflow, approval and requisition management (e.g., enhanced requisition templates, reminder notification and enhanced routing). 9.0 also provides an enhanced search capability and better reconciliation support and the ability to reopen POs and requisitions from any closed process (e.g., in the case of delayed or late payments, late invoices, incorrectly entered or closed POs, etc.). From a services procurement vantage point, recent enhancements include new rules-based workflow capabilities and time-based reporting that enables users to manage resource-based labor around shifts, assignments or both. 9.0 also features as an improved role-based infrastructure for services procurement that let services providers (e.g., MSPs) operate as services coordinators.

I won't dig into the additional nuances of 9.0, but it suffices to say that PeopleSoft improved their procurement offering across the board. The product addresses many of the embarrassing gaffs (how did they miss that!) in earlier releases. While the product still lags R12 overall, it offers a decent if basic set of capabilities which PeopleSoft customers should at least consider in comparison to Ariba, Ketera, Coupa, BasWare and others from a core P2P perspective.

- Jason Busch

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