New Spend Matters Compass Research: Supplier Management History, Context and What it Can Do for You

From a solution perspective, the area of supplier management has to be one of the most confusing in the procurement and operational technology and process worlds. This is probably the reason we see a lot of activity and window shopping going on in the sector relative to the number of actual software selections, especially in the broader area of supplier information management (or supply base management -- whatever the heck you want to call it). Sure, companies are still buying targeted solutions on a regular basis to address supplier on-boarding, diversity, compliance/CSR, and risk, but few have pulled the trigger on integrated suites to target these areas collectively.

Given the confusion in the market, we've decided to set the record straight on the issue and publish a Spend Matters Compass report that is probably best described as the Cliff Notes on this broad and often confusing topic. Our hope is that the free download Leveraging Supplier Management Platforms for Multiple Goals: Risk Reduction, Supplier Diversity and CSR, becomes required reading for anyone wanting to develop an informed perspective on the subject in as compressed a time frame as possible. If you want more detail regarding specific initiatives -- e.g., supply risk management -- we've published quite a bit in the past and will be publishing a lot more in the future as part of the Compass Series, Next Level Supplier Management: Technology, Practices and Approaches for Cost Reduction, Risk Improvement and Supplier Development, of which this paper is also a part.

In the meantime, if you're debating whether or not to pursue supplier diversity, supply risk, CSR/compliance and supplier on-boarding as individual initiatives or as part of a collective program -- or just want to learn on a high level what features and capabilities are required in each of these areas -- the above-linked paper was written for you.

Our goal in writing it was to cut through the confusion and noise of this nascent and fragmented market, describing, in pragmatic terms, how companies have come to define and consider supplier management solutions both individually and collectively in the areas of risk, diversity and corporate social responsibility (CSR). Spend Matters research suggests that the period between 2008-2010 witnessed a dramatic increase in the number and types of different offerings and capabilities that supplier management vendors could enable, yet the majority of the Global 2000 at this time were not yet ready to tackle supplier management holistically, at least not earlier in the period. Rather, many still opted to pursue largely targeted initiatives. More advanced companies, however, began to experiment with integrating different supplier management capabilities into a single set of capabilities.

If you want to learn more about the evolution of this market and how leading organizations are tackling -- both individually and collectively -- different supplier management challenges, it's critical to understand how this sector has evolved and come together. Our research provides checklists for key enabling supplier management features, capability and solution requirements in the areas of supplier diversity, supply risk and CSR. So if you're curious about the subject, what are you waiting for? Download our most recent Compass Series report, Leveraging Supplier Management Platforms for Multiple Goals: Risk Reduction, Supplier Diversity and CSR, today! And stay tuned for forthcoming titles in the series, which will be publishing in the coming months and quarters:

  • Supply Risk Management -- The Technology and Content Landscape

  • Beyond Basic Scorecarding -- Supplier Development Strategies to Drive Competitive Cost and Risk Advantages

  • Suite vs. Best of Breed Capabilities -- Comparing ERP and Spend

  • Management Platform Providers to Best of Breed Supplier Management Tools

Jason Busch

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