Best of Spend Matters: Technology

From individual "Vendor Snapshots" to overarching viewpoints on where the sector's technology has been and where we see it going, this is one of our favorite areas to explore here at Spend Matters -- and one where we are proud of providing original thought, insightful analyses, and unbiased opinion that doesn't hedge, obfuscate, or pander.

Procurement Technology, Consulting Pricing Trends and Negotiation Strategies – Changing Times -- This 4-part series will provide a look at software provider and management consulting pricing trends and negotiation strategies within the procurement and operations area. It provides insight to buying organizations that may be helpful in negotiating with vendors such as Ariba, SAP, Oracle, Emptoris, Zycus and others, as well as recommendations for how best to engage with consultancies for price and value in the current environment.

Friday Rant: What are the Benefits of a True Single End-To-End Platform or Suite? -- I had a colleague pose this question earlier this week: what are the definitive benefits of a true single end-to-end platform/suite built on a common data model (one that is a platform in the true sense of the term, allowing for third-party development through open APIs and possibly even a defined configuration/development environment to enable third-parties to create their own applications on top of it)? Do you even need developers, or will technical business analysts do? Even though we've tackled this subject before, I thought it would make sense to list out all the benefits of end-to-end platforms.

A Retrospective Essay -- Looking Back on Ariba's Transformation -- Like many close to the market, I've watched Ariba's transformation over the years with a combination of criticism and respect. I've long believed that the transition to a business model funded in large part by increasing supplier fees would obfuscate the true cost structure of doing business with particular vendors, not to mention the potential ill will and tension it might create between trading partners. Moreover, I've also been critical of how Ariba transitioned to becoming a SaaS/cloud company, opting to leverage the core of its Buyer architecture rather than starting anew with a system which would enable them to innovative more quickly, deploy more rapidly and integrate more easily with various customer systems (the last point they've gone a good way to solving).

A Review of Oracle Fusion Procurement: Lifting Up the Spend Reactor's Covers -- Over the past eighteen months, we've had the chance to look at Oracle Fusion Procurement on multiple occasions, including briefings and demonstrations at Open World in 2010 and 2011. Since launching Oracle Fusion Applications, Oracle has been relatively quiet as it focuses on delivering and implementing Oracle Fusion Applications successfully with select customers, rather than emphasizing a large-scale marketing push. Oracle Fusion Procurement represents a big leap forward for Oracle not so much in functional capability (at least not yet) relative to Oracle E-Business Suite, but rather in integrated capabilities and design philosophy.

Segmenting and Analyzing the Broader Commodity Management Applications Sector (Part 1) -- At Commodity EDGE this week, I facilitated two panel discussions exploring the broader commodity management software and intelligence market. As a sector, commodity management technology and data as consumed/used by procurement and supply chain groups is something new. It's also a sector that isn't well defined or segmented, especially on an end-to-end basis. Given this context, knowing where to get started is not the same as areas like purchase-to-pay (P2P) and strategic sourcing/e-sourcing, which by this point, should be old hat for organizations that can easily refer to Spend Matters, Forrester, Gartner or other reports, rankings and shortlists.

- Sheena Moore

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