Emptoris' New CEO Patrick Quirk — In His Own Words (Part 2)

In Part 1 of my interview with Emptoris' new CEO, Patrick Quirk, I asked a number of questions about Pat's view of customer challenges / opportunities and what Emptoris can do better to address user needs. In the second part of this interview installment, today, Patrick shares additional thoughts on the market and the opportunity for Emptoris in the context of evolving trends and overall conditions.

Jason -- Why is the market for sourcing/spend/supply management so tilted towards process and operations consulting (dollar wise) relative to technology and implementation consulting? Do you see this changing as companies become more savvy and learn from consulting providers?

Patrick -- This question gets back to political and global issues in rolling out applications. Add up all the dollars spent on ERP deployments and you'll see the majority is for services. But in our case, for non-implementation dollars, strategic services providers more often tend to be helping companies provide an organizational vision. The role of the CPO is rising in authority in certain cases, but when it's not at the level it should be, we see CFOs and CEOs calling in the third parties to fill the void.

If you have a strong CPO with a strong team not constrained by budget, you don't need as much outside consulting help. It's really about up-skilling the organization. If you're not there organizationally, you need to bring in a third party to do it. In addition, one way to help drive a major initiative is to have a third-party play a part beyond just arms and legs. They can serve as a referee while also bringing objectivity, as well as benchmarks and related metrics, to help the organization get the job done more effectively, even when they have the underlying leadership talent and team in place already.

Jason -- How does the procurement outsourcing market play into your view of the market opportunity overall?

Patrick -- I think the market is ripe for outsourcing to take hold. We've been through the worst recession since the 1930s. I had to call my grandmother and ask her what the great depression was like. Even as the growth curve and the economy comes back online, companies will continue to focus on cost given the significant drop off that started in 2008. Organizations will still have two very difficult years in their recent memory. They'll want to grow COGS in a very conservative way. They'll focus on cost containment and on IT spending for efficiency. These are great indicators for a very positive year for procurement outsourcing, including both process and IT areas.

Jason -- Can we expect significant acquisition and corporate development activities or do you see Emptoris focusing on organic growth in the next 12 months?

Patrick -- In terms of growth, based on what I've been tasked to do, we can do everything organically. This is the most comforting thing. The team has seniority, drive and vision to pull it off. Our main goal is to focus on the customer and the business. Because of this, we want to make sure any strategic investments we might pursue deliver significant value for our customers. Everything must be well thought out, but also well executed. Having led the integration effort at PeopleSoft and JD Edwards, I appreciate all that needs to go into acquisitions for customers to come out on top. It's not easy.

Jason -- In talking to Emptoris customers, what's surprised you most so far?

Patrick -- Actually, two things surprised me. First, I had no idea of the depth of value that our customers had gotten out of the product (i.e., loyalty to the company). A lot of people thanked me for the work the company had done for them. This was really amazing. I did not know that there were that many business cases out there. The second thing is how many of them really appreciated us reaching out to embrace them with our new True Potential Program, our new adoption-driven program, as well as our product roadmap plan. They clearly want our help, starting with helping to build business cases for what they've already done. They want to arm executives with information and they see that we can help.

Spend Matters would like to thank Patrick Quirk for taking the time to answer some of our questions as he takes over the helm at Emptoris.

Jason Busch

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