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The Market Speaks: Procurement practitioner requirements and the tech vendor response — Scoutbee

08/09/2023 By

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Spend Matters constantly updates its understanding of the state of the procurement tech market via RFIs for our SolutionMap dataset, vendor interviews, global event attendance and product demos with the aim of keeping tech-selection decision makers ahead of market trends. But we also endeavor to grow our understanding of the wants and needs of the customers using that tech – the practitioners.

In one series of interviews this summer and through to the end of the year, we are talking to vendors about what their customers really want from them and how they are proposing to address those needs. In a second one, we are talking to the end users about their expectations and requirements.

This week we spoke with Roger Blumberg, VP Global Marketing of the AI-powered supplier discovery suite Scoutbee.

What are the challenges and asks of your customers?

Organizations are increasingly seeking out ways to transform their procurement function and drive strategic goals: ESG performance, innovation, faster time-to-market, competitiveness and more. These companies are realizing the role supplier intelligence plays in achieving those objectives and are leaning on Scoutbee to help them accomplish initiatives they wouldn’t be able to without deep insight on suppliers. We’re seeing customers look for our support in several key areas:

  • Consolidate their spend with fewer, more strategic suppliers. They’re asking Scoutbee to help them identify top-performing suppliers from which they could source more of their direct and indirect spend needs. We help them understand what their top suppliers offer in terms of products and capabilities that they need but aren’t tapping into and reallocating spend to these top partners.
  • Reduce their tail spend and lean on more sustainable and diverse suppliers. Customers are also looking to do this while reducing risk across their supply chain. We help them tackle all three objectives by showing where related gaps are in their supply chain and where to redistribute suppliers to close those gaps.
  • Near-shore suppliers to reduce risk and environmental impact. Customers are looking to divert spend from certain countries and regions, such as Russia and China, to those closer to their manufacturing facilities and markets. We help them identify the best areas to move to that simultaneously reduces geopolitical risk, ensures security of supply, lowers carbon emissions and reduces overall climate impact.

Are you witnessing a shift in demand towards more ESG and supply chain risk capabilities?

We’ve seen a significant shift in our customers wanting help in moving their spend to more ESG-focused and diverse suppliers while ensuring this shift reduces risk in their supply chains.

Companies are specifically focusing more on mitigating forced labor and cyber risks. Most companies previously considered labor and cyber issues strictly reputational or brand risk. But now, with more state, national and international laws and regulations governing forced labor and cyber security risks within their supply chains, these issues have also become compliance risks, which means the potential impact of these types of issues is growing.

While companies are working hard to maintain costs, they’re also keeping a keen eye on their ESG and diversity commitments. They’re being asked to balance goals to increase spend with sustainable and diverse suppliers while keeping supply chain risk low. It’s a big ask, especially since many diverse suppliers struggle to raise cash during challenging financial times, which heightens supplier financial health risks.

What is Scoutbee doing to address these customer challenges?

Companies are balancing a lot of priorities and uncertainty right now. They’re shifting and re-balancing their global supplier base to mitigate risks and respond to market challenges and opportunities. Our customers no longer make one-dimensional decisions based on cost or time to delivery. They must solve three to five elements at once – including cost savings, hitting ESG- and diversity-related goals, complying with multiple laws and regulations and mitigating risk across many risk domains.

Scoutbee’s role is to give the buying community a 360-degree view of their suppliers so they can make the most informed sourcing decisions possible as they manage their complex business challenges.

We pull together all the external and internal data they need to make these multifaceted decisions. This includes sourcing and procurement tools, ERP systems, supplier information, third-party data and more to build a solid data foundation. Then, we use knowledge graphs to organize our customers’ multiple streams of structured and unstructured data, enrich them and synthesize them into actionable supplier insights that are greater than the sum of its parts. We provide our customers with best-in-class and AI-driven intelligence and visualization layers which showcase the output of any supplier query, enabling our customers to make the most informed decisions possible.

Our goal is to help our customers build resilience, create enterprise value and drive continued improvement within their supply chain and procurement operations. We are tirelessly committed to helping our customers achieve better outcomes – for themselves, their communities and the planet.

Many thanks to Scoutbee. We’ll be talking to more vendors next week – check back in then.

To help you with your tech selection challenges, Spend Matters offers vendor analyses as part of its Insider membership, providing independent and in depth tech selection tips across all procurement categories.

TechMatch helps you understand how the capabilities you need match your technology provider.

The Market Speaks
Digital Procurement