Best of Spend Matters: Friday Rants

A Spend Matters fan favorite (and ours to write), the Friday Rant often spawns a lot of dialogue. Please enjoy the following collection of the most popular posts from this fall.

Friday Rant: Do We Need a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for Supply Chain CSR Practices? -- Enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) has now become one of the drivers in deploying technology platforms to monitor and assure certain practices of supply chain partners in terms of supplier management. The FCPA is a rather elegant piece of policy that essentially prohibits businesses and individuals from engaging in behavior that would not be allowed domestically -- when it comes to bribery and related activities to solicit business involving foreign officials and the companies/entities they represent. Businesses must also keep audit trails of activities that monitor transactions and related interactions (hence the benefits of deploying an automated supplier management platform to manage some compliance aspects of the act).

Friday Rant: Unilever and Beyond -- The Rise of Purpose-Built Procurement Applications (Part 1) -- If we look back the history of spend management tools in the past decade, we've seen a constant march to sameness from providers. Far too many vendors have been racing in a functional parity derby, jockeying their applications horses to a type of sameness designed to be the 80% solution -- inclusive of software and sometimes services -- that organizations must fit their processes around (at least in the case of more sophisticated buying organizations who have a point of view over what an application should do). As an example, in the area of spend visibility, one of the largest providers in the broader sector has designed a data acquisition process for a typical buying organization with specific system request fields. Yet when a more sophisticated company worked with this provider and sent over extensive AP and invoice line-item level details from across their spend categories, the initial situation was...(Part 2)

Friday Rant: Running, Marathons, Sudden Death -- Lessons For Minimizing Risk For the Heart/Racing -- It's been a hot and debate-filled few weeks in the Busch/Reisman household regarding the participation of yours truly in various running races. Before getting into the details -- and some of the lessons of the outcomes, including those we might apply to corporate procurement and supply chain functions -- it's worth sharing some context, overall and then on a more personal level. Chicago's local running scene was turned upside down this past weekend following the death of William Caviness in the Chicago Marathon. Caviness was in exceptional shape, judging from his 10K split of 43:25 (sub seven minute pace) and 1:31 half marathon pace. If I may opine, it's downright scary that someone in such wickedly good conditioning could simply die in a race. But more on this (and perhaps why he died, like others before him) in a minute.

Friday Rant: Celebrity Marriages Don't Last -- ...and we're not talking Kim Kardashian here. This is about SciQuest and their acquisition of AECsoft USA, which took effect on Jan 1 this year. Per SEC filing on Oct 31, Tom Ren, one of the founding partners in the dynamic duo behind AECsoft (the other being his wife Lily Xiong) has now left SciQuest to pursue other interests. Tom clearly left on good terms, as SciQuest agreed to remove the revenue-based performance clauses (aka earn-outs) from his contract -- likely in return for a lengthy lockout period. Tom is also agreeing to make himself available as a pro bono fractional consultant (10 hours per month) to SciQuest in case his services are needed.

Friday Rant: The Time is Right for an SMB Procurement and Cost Reduction Renaissance -- I'm a small business owner with significantly growing (and out of control) spend that's increasing every year. And I can honestly say that until recently, I've felt the plethora of enterprise tools and services designed to help small and medium-sized businesses reduce costs through better spend management and general cost reduction felt like fitting a round peg in a square hole. In fact, many so-called savings tools (e.g., Amazon Prime) certainly ending up costing our venture more money because of the ease with which employees can buy.

- Brianna Tonner

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