What’s Top of Mind for Procurement This Year: 3 Hot Topics from Q1 2018

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As frost and overcast skies turn to morning dew and sunshine, many procurement leaders continue to take their New Year’s resolutions from aspiration to reality. During the first three months of 2018, Spend Matters brought plenty of news to support them in that journey, from our annual trends and forecast series to exclusive interviews with industry executives and the latest in comparative vendor analyses.

What topics have been top of mind for procurement this year, and what can practitioners expect as they head into the second quarter of 2018? Here are the top three topics our readers have been examining over for the last several months.

2018 Trends and Forecasts

No January would be complete without speculative articles describing the coming disruptions of the new year. While we at Spend Matters try to stay away from the futurist fervor, there were a few areas would couldn’t help but offer our take on.

On the tech side, our analysts focused on two areas: e-procurement and e-sourcing (inclusive of spend analytics). Interestingly, several trends overlapped between the two areas, pointing to broader forces that are driving enterprise software selection.

If anything, 2018 could be termed the year of the Nimble buying persona, as defined in by the Spend Matters SolutionMap process. These are software buyers looking for modern, intuitive, cloud-based and inexpensive solutions. This year interest in software providers that align with the Nimble persona has grown, along with the number of companies that can fulfill these requirements.

But while the emergence of Nimble e-procurement and e-sourcing providers has offered more choice to procurement organizations on one end, increased consolidation and M&A has reduced choice on the other.

As our analysts wrote, “You’d have to have not read many of the headlines from 2016 and 2017 to be blissfully unaware of the consolidation that is happening in the technology provider segment of the e-procurement market.” That said, procurement organizations should expect the consolidation trend to continue in 2018 — and that their vendor, regardless of size, could be acquired.

How should you prepare? Start by reading the full 2018 trends and forecast series:


E-Sourcing and Spend Analytics

Executive Spotlights

Equally as important as the trends driving the broader solution market are the executives leading those companies. During the first quarter of year, we spoke to several of those people, and they shared fascinating perspectives on where they see their companies and procurement going in 2018.

In particular, readers were interested in three executive spotlights. First we spoke with Wade Burgess, who in September 2017 became CEO of Shiftgig, a platform that connects people to available shift work. Then later in January, SAP Ariba announced the appointment of Barry Padgett as its new president, succeeding Alex Atzberger, who moved to president of SAP Hybris. Finally, we conducted a wide-ranging interview with Leslie Campbell, former CPO of Reed Elsevier and now a member of the board of directors at Coupa, on everything from artificial intelligence to automation and the future of procurement as we know it.

Check out each top-read Q&A below:

Vendor Updates: Capability Surprises and Head-to-Head Matchups

Finally, the first three months of the year brought some surprises in the comparative vendor analysis space, with three briefs in particular attracting interest.

In mid-March, we published an update on Oracle’s P2P capabilities. As our analysts explained in “A P2P Cloud Surprise: Oracle Leapfrogs Ahead in E-Procurement and Invoice-to-Pay,” Spend Matters’ Q1 2018 SolutionMap findings suggest that Oracle’s e-procurement capability is now a top feature contender alongside rivals SAP Ariba, Coupa, Ivalua and others. The brief examines several areas where Oracle has made investments to come up to par in the procurement technology space, as well as reveals where Oracle Cloud Procurement left us genuinely surprised.

In addition to the Oracle update, the Spend Matters analysts illustrated through a new recurring series how our SolutionMap data can be used to systematically compare similar vendors. These Head-to-Head Technology Evaluation and Comparisons provide a technology summary comparative rating of each provider being evaluated and then explore business requirements and scenarios, calling out the winner in each matchup. Our first two matchups looked at e-sourcing providers: Coupa vs. Jaggaer (BravoSolution) and Scout RFP vs. EC Sourcing.

Looking for more comparative vendor analysis and highly granular data on provider capabilities? Be sure to check out the Spend Matters SolutionMap Q1 2018 release.

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