Afternoon Coffee: TikTok-Microsoft deal?; HICX targets bad supplier data; online lender OnDeck sells cheap; Lithium-ion batteries and local supply chains

Microsoft on Sunday formally declared its interest in buying parts of TikTok after President Donald Trump reversed course on banning the popular video platform from China, Reuters reports. The U.S. gave the companies 45 days to work out a deal, Reuters said

The proposed acquisition of parts of TikTok, which has 100 million U.S. users, would make Microsoft a competitor to social media giants such as Facebook Inc and Snap Inc.

But the move also led to an outcry on Chinese social media as well as criticism from a prominent Chinese investor in TikTok.

HICX finds lack of quality supplier data in new report

HICX released a report into the challenges and opportunities associated with supplier data in large organizations. The report, detailed in a Spend Matters Europe article, revealed that adoption of technology within procurement departments has largely been hindered by lack of quality supplier data.

One of the biggest findings of the report said that while many procurement professionals might claim to be satisfied with their supplier data, 89% of respondents admit that they do not have total oversight. The report found procurement does not, or is not empowered enough to, take supplier data seriously. It shows that 88% of senior procurement people responding do not have ownership of supplier data management, and that it is often spread across various functions.

“We’re moving away from a world where everyone’s been operating in their own silos towards one where processes are more joined up across the organization, and even joining buyers to suppliers,” said Nic Walden, a senior advisor at The Hackett Group. “That means we need to adopt new ways of working. We need to be more collaborative ... and organizations need to see the value in having quick access to high-quality master data.”

Payments news: OnDeck sells cheap

Technology that enables payments is a hot sector, as Spend Matters’ coverage attests. A recent sale highlights how the coronavirus disruption has affected the market for some like OnDeck, an online lender that sold to Enova Capital recently for $90 million. That’s a fraction of its market value just a few years ago, according to a report in American Banker, which delved into the reasons for selling beyond the coronavirus crisis.

“Our mission at OnDeck has been to make lending easier for our small-business clients, and this opportunity delivers that promise on a larger scale,” OnDeck CEO Noah Breslow said in the article. “Our analytics capabilities and advanced fraud detection will build upon Enova’s existing platform, and our investments to date in our next-generation technology infrastructure are a complement to Enova’s as well.”

Lithium-ion battery: COVID-19 highlights needs for local supply chains

The COVID-19 crisis has increased concerns across the lithium-ion battery industry about China’s dominance of the supply chain, according to the website S&P Global. What's more, the pandemic has also highlighted the need for local supply chains to improve sustainability and work toward net zero targets, the article states.

The U.S. concerns about the importance of lithium and other minerals date from 2017, when the Trump administration signed an executive order to “ensure secure and reliable supplies of critical minerals.” But there's been little to no forward movement, the article states.

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