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Sourcing Industry Group’s 2022 Procurement Technology Summit: Minding the Gap(s)

04/19/2022 By

There isn’t anything much better than escaping the doldrums of a dreary, gray, muddy late Chicago winter than showing up somewhere like this in Florida, especially when you get to hang out with the SIG team and dozens of other industry colleagues and friends you haven’t seen for over two years.

If I were to sum up what I heard from CPOs at SIG’s 2022 Procurement Technology Summit from April 4-6, it was: “please, please, please help us fill gaps.” (We think so too, from a tech perspective — check out our view on “Alt Suites” here). So what gaps are we talking about?

The talent gap. The “where do we even start with supplier diversity?” gap. The “omg, you’re already planning to go carbon-neutral by 2030 — we’re still printing and mailing paper contracts and have no idea what our tier-2 supplies are up to” gap. The “I have a suite in place but don’t know what my tail spend/contracts/category strategy looks like” gap. The “how do I build an RFP that’s not in spreadsheets and know I’m fully prepared to negotiate with my suppliers, especially with this insane inflation?” gap. The “how do I pull a list of all of my Ukrainian and Russian suppliers and know exactly where we are in our contracts with them?” gap …

The list goes on, as you can imagine.

From Spend Matters Managing Director, Pierre Mitchell:

“CPOs are really CEOs (or should be). They are “Chief Externalization Officers” that help orchestrate commercial engagement with third parties in a firm’s value chain, and they help create/extract maximum value from them while reducing risk from them and lowering the engagement/transaction costs with them. They also run their own spend/supply management services business of sorts — and very high ROI services if done properly. However, this is a tough business to run if a CPO goes it alone rather than leads-by-example to engage the external supply/services market as a force multiplier to the procurement service portfolio.”

That supply market encompasses your procurement technology vendors, who deserve the same level of care and scrutiny of sourcing you’d give to any other critical category. Yet we see so many practitioners who are completely clueless about what’s out there (and that’s not a knock – how could you be completely up on this market with everything else you’re doing!).

The interesting thing? The technology vendors who were at SIG alone could address literally all of the gaps above. Every single one. Not to mention the hundreds of other vendors out there who can do that and more.

At Spend Matters, we have the pleasure of a 10,000-foot view: what’s going on across vendors and consultants of all shapes and sizes, investors and procurement folk across all industries. And what’s NOT going on enough is connection. In talking to so many of these incredibly talented, smart, capable and busy CPOs, they simply don’t have the time or wherewithal to sit around pondering “the art of the possible” around their tech stack. And whether based on pressure to just get the deal done, still-learning sales teams, or several other factors, many tech vendors are missing the mark in their sales pitches and go-to-market, failing to take the time to really listen and diagnose before prescribing. It’s ships passing in the night, and it really doesn’t have to be. It’s the reason we launched TechMatch, but I’ll save the plugs for a different day.

The thing I love most about SIG is that Dawn Tiura and her amazingly talented team create an environment where people open up and start actually talking like the humans we all are versus hiding behind some kind of fake corporate sheen. We’re all dealing with triumphs and difficulties of all kinds, both personally and professionally. It was just so damn nice to do it in person, and not on Zoom!

So, here’s who has the capability to solve what’s in my big list above, based on the sponsors that were at SIG. Go forth and connect!

Talent ESG/Supplier Diversity Tail Spend Contracts Category Strategy Sourcing
 APEX Analytix  X
 Archlet  X  X
 Arkestro  X  X  X  X
 Beeline  X
 BlueBurro  X
 Canon X X X X
 Certa  X  X
 ContractPodAi  X
 Coupa X X X X  X X
 Datamark Inc.  X X
 DocuSign  X
 EcoVadis  X
 Everest Group  X  X
 Flextrack X
 GEP X  X  X X X
 Grubhub Corporate Accounts  X
 Icertis X X X
 Interos X X
Ivalua X X X X X X
Jaggaer X X X X X
ProcureAbility X X X
PRO Unlimited X X X X
SAP Ariba X X X X X X
Scanmarket X X X X X
SIG University X X
Terzo X X
Utmost X X X X
Varis X
Vendorful X X X
Vertex X X
Workday X X X X X
WorkLlama X
Zycus X X X X X