CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE: Our PRO introduction to finding go-to technology vendors in a crisis is now unlocked

The response to the coronavirus outbreak has gotten more urgent since last week, when Spend Matters’ analysts brainstormed and began a PRO subscription series about the procurement technology providers that can help in a crisis, like the global COVID-19 pandemic.

A national emergency has been declared in the U.S., and more actions are being taken by nations, businesses and individuals to stem the virus’ spread. The series is meant to inform our PRO subscribers about the go-to vendors to seek out in a crisis, but we would like to share the introduction to it outside the paywall given the crisis, to help all Spend Matters readers.

Short of finalizing investment decisions in specific technologies, our hope is that this will get you far down the path of pursuing the right investments now, and on the upswing from the crisis. If you need a specific COVID-19 tech provider shortlist, recommended options based on your specific needs or want to speak to an analyst about any topic, don’t hesitate to reach out, as we’re offering a significant incentive for new Spend Matters practitioner clients.

Through March 2020, Spend Matters is offering a special PRO Expert Survival Pack to procurement practitioners only at up to 50% off our normal subscription and services package. — Click here to learn more

The basics about the series

The Spend Matters analyst team got together virtually last week in an emergency brainstorming session about the coronavirus outbreak. The purpose was to review our existing research and identify the most critical groups of procurement technology providers by type (and then selected providers within each) to help procurement organizations manage through the COVID-19 pandemic. We decided during this session to publish a comprehensive series to inform our subscribers.

As such, this PRO series will explore five types of providers. And it will detail, at minimum, three providers in each category*, including how each specifically can address COVID-19 procurement challenges.

The five groups of providers (with one illustrative provider per group shown below) we will profile in this series are:

1. Supply risk management (e.g., riskmethods. See its profile for this series here.)

2. Sourcing and commodity management, including advanced sourcing, direct sourcing and commodity management to help dynamically plan and source (e.g., Jaggaer)

3. Advanced procurement analytics to enable direct procurement and/or to perform “spend planning” when demand drops out or spikes (e.g., Sievo. See the series profile of Sievo here.)

4. P2P that emphasizes working capital, dynamic discounting, payment control and related finance priorities (e.g., Basware)

5. Fraud, P2P and Vendor Management Safeguards (e.g., APEX Analytix)

We can’t profile every provider in this quick-hit series, especially those that have not gone through a formal briefing, demonstration and fact-check process. And we do not want to risk recommending providers that we would not trust for the specific task at hand based on our existing body of research.

Please note, this series will not duplicate past coverage. It is meant to build on existing research and share, specifically, how solutions can address the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic (and those challenges that will emerge during it). Our approach is one of not just about throwing tech at the problem, but more of “the art of the possible” and tapping supply markets for innovation and capabilities (which is what procurement is increasingly tapped for itself).

Our guidance does not focus on technologies to support “the basics” such as listening to your customers (for example, a major retailer is advising suppliers to turn up the heat in warehouses, if possible, to reduce the likelihood of transmission). Nor other foundational work streams such as doubling down on janitorial support to disinfect surfaces, checking in with critical suppliers and getting feedback, evaluating the most critical contracts to get out of (and/or amend), understanding if you can get additional allocation if needed (with your hard-earned “customer of choice” status, right?), adjusting savings targets, reducing budgets (generally), etc. Some of this can seem like “supply risk motherhood and apple pie.” But, to borrow another cliche, you still need to “Just do it”!

Yet, some opportunities are not as obvious. So, in this PRO series of research briefs, we will focus on sharing specific use cases and example vendors that can make the difference beyond the basics, and put you, ideally, in a better situation than your peers — rather than simply treading water (or worse).

In our first installment, we will begin by framing each area in terms of the specific business issues that targeted technologies solutions can address. We’ll also give a preview of our shortlist of providers in each area (i.e., vendors we will explore in greater detail in individually in subsequent briefs each and every business day in the early weeks of the now global COVID-19 pandemic).

* Note: Each provider selected must have briefed Spend Matters about their solution, including going through detailed product demonstrations and research fact-checks in the past (resulting in PRO coverage and, if applicable, SolutionMap ratings). We may opt to add additional providers beyond these depending on the length of the crisis. Please note, owing to the fluidity of the situation and “need for speed” we may not provide fact-checks to the vendors mentioned if time does not permit, as we are basing our write-ups on our working knowledge of the solutions already, as demonstrated and validated previously.

Click here for the full introduction where we discuss more than 20 vendors to consider during a crisis.

 

Spend Matters offer

Through March 2020, Spend Matters is offering a special PRO Expert Survival Pack to procurement practitioners only* at up to 50% off our normal subscription and services package. — Click here to learn more

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