Author Archives: Elaine Morris Roberts, Spend Matters Brand Studio



AI-powered solutions turn procurement into a catalyst for company value

In today’s fast-paced global economy, there is little doubt about the necessity for procurement’s digital transformation. However, many multinational companies are just starting their implementation journey, and they are realizing the benefits of having a digital business beyond just digitizing their processes. Regardless of what is being sourced, procurement teams need the ability to quickly draw from complex, compounding data pools, as well as process and analyze relevant information to mine insights. They also need to package findings into sharable, understandable recommendations. This enables business stakeholders to make fast, accurate decisions whether they are working to complete a one-off project or manage a long-term contract for complex services.

As use of the extended workforce grows, procurement has a key role in adding value

cloud solutions

Having little visibility into a company’s overall extended workforce results in procurement departments being focused on tactical, day-to-day matters. This approach leaves little time for strategic planning and the adoption of technologies to move away from the traditional to a modern, data-based approach. If companies can make the digital change, then procurement can help the organization gain control and visibility of extended workforce management across the entire company and better control spend.

Procurement Checklist: How to Boost Employee Adoption of Technology and Maximize Value

p2p deployment

Employee adoption of tools for spend and cutting costs is a critical and often overlooked key performance indicator for procurement. When employee adoption is low, procurement value is limited. For enterprises, the combination of aging technology and process adoption has five primary business consequences.

Why mid-market organizations need spend-management tools to remain competitive: A Q&A with Vroozi CEO Joe Fox

The procurement technology market continues to grow increasingly complex, with providers offering everything from specialty platforms to complete solutions. For mid-market companies, choosing a technology provider can be daunting, but it is essential to maximize spend under management, streamline purchasing and accounts payable processes, and stay competitive with peers who are investing heavily in technologies typically used by large enterprises.

“The mid-market is full of emerging industry players and rapidly growing startups that need procurement technology and processes to help scale and manage growth," said Joe Fox, the CEO at Vroozi, a cloud-based business purchasing platform that makes enterprise-grade procure-to-pay processes accessible to growing businesses.

Read the rest of Joe Fox's Q&A for insights on improving spend management with a digital upgrade.

Efficio: If procurement ignores digital literacy and soft skills, it faces ‘being wiped from the corporate map’

digital business transformation

Technology is becoming ubiquitous across all facets of the contingent labor industry, and procurement departments are feeling the evolutionary pull. Procurement operating models are changing, incorporating technology to enable better decision making. Without a greater focus on the people who will implement new strategies and solutions, however, that technology will not bring value.

In a recent Efficio study, “The Human Factor: Strategic Procurement and the Leaders of Tomorrow,” the procurement consultancy found that two key elements — digital literacy and soft skills — are necessary for procurement to successfully implement new models that will allow them to make data-driven decisions with a highly skilled workforce.

To understand how companies can use the survey in practical ways, we talked with Efficio Principal Simon Whatson.

VectorVMS says its revamp gave the veteran provider ‘freedom to work in startup mode’

workforce

“We’re an established company with the mentality and freedom to work in a startup mode, which is uncommon in our industry,” said Marc Husain, Managing Director of VectorVMS, which has 20 years of experience but recently refocused on one core mission. 

After only a year of being fully focused on the VMS marketplace, VectorVMS has made a name for itself. Formerly a division of PeopleFluent, the company boasts more than two decades of know-how establishing VectorVMS as an industry leader. PeopleFluent, established in 1999 as itiliti, was purchased by UK-based Learning Technologies Group (LTG) in 2018.

To find out how VectorVMS’s first year went and to get a glimpse into the future, we talked to Husain for a Q&A.

AI can drive better supplier negotiations with faster outcomes

global trade

Today, most sourcing teams ask for quotes by emailing one spreadsheet to many suppliers and re-assembling the resulting chaos in a pivot table. Some technologies have helped digitize the process, but the basic information included remains the same. Companies ask for quotes, and suppliers send what they believe to be their best initial offer.

To find out more about how technology is improving supplier negotiations, we talked to Edmund Zagorin, the CEO of Bid Ops, a Spend Matters Future 5 award-winning company that offers a cloud-based sourcing enablement tool. Bid Ops describes its platform as the first AI solution for automating sourcing negotiations using adaptive target pricing, or “Willingness to Discount” formula, as they call it. Find out more in this Q&A.

Deloitte webinar: How CPOs can tackle an increasingly complex world of procurement

Today’s procurement organizations are facing increased complexity from an array of sources — economic downturns, working with mega-suppliers, global trade issues and digital transformation, said Ryan Flynn, Principal Deloitte Consulting, in a webinar that explored the findings of Deloitte’s 2019 Global Chief Procurement Officer Survey.

While these complexities present challenges for procurement leaders, they can also be a means to increase procurement’s influence across entire organizations.

Deloitte’s survey — this year titled “Complexity: Overcoming Obstacles and Seizing Opportunities” — offers insight into how CPOs can evaluate their current situations and take actions that will secure a more successful future.

Classification Complications: How Companies Can Use Technology to Navigate Stricter California Freelancer Law

sharing economy

There were already abundant federal and state laws surrounding freelance worker classification before California approved the adoption of the country’s most stringent test. In the recently passed Assembly Bill 5 (AB-5 or the “Uber bill,” as it’s commonly called), the state tightened the rules to close what they saw as loopholes hurting workers and the state.

Growing from the 2018 California Supreme Court decision Dynamex Operations West v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County, AB-5 establishes a new three-part test — dubbed the ABC test — that employers must satisfy to classify workers as freelancers or independent contractors. If even one part of the ABC test isn’t met, the worker is considered by the state to be an employee of the company engaging them.

So what are companies supposed to do? Set a policy and add the right technology to manage freelancers.

With the number of freelancers on the rise, companies need to take action to be sure they have visibility into and control of their independent workforce.

While companies continue to use VMS technology for certain worker management functions, there is now technology specifically geared to freelancer management. By adopting a cloud-based freelancer management system (FMS), companies can take a major step in reducing risk and meeting compliance requirements while managing their total freelancer population from a single platform.

Procurement’s technology revolution needs digitally literate workers with highly refined soft skills to succeed, Efficio report finds

Procurement is facing a turning point, one that gives it the opportunity to become more integral to the success of businesses than ever before, according to a survey by Efficio, a consulting firm that works with procurement professionals around the world.

Technology, like it does in many other internal departments, plays a major role in procurement’s transformation, but the Efficio survey states that a focus only on technology misses the point: People and their ability to capitalize on the benefits of technology will be vital to success.

“The procurement function can become more effective through an operating model that achieves the right mix of technology, insights and expertise” and puts people at the center, according to the authors, who analyzed feedback from 500 procurement professionals who participated in the survey, “The Human Factor: Strategic Procurement and the Leaders of Tomorrow.”

The experts at Efficio recently teamed with the UK’s Cranfield University School of Management to poll the procurement pros and find out how to craft that operating model. Researchers looked specifically at the need for future procurement leaders to have people skills, strategic abilities and digital fluency.

Beyond savings: How procurement departments can digitally transform and elevate to world-class status

Business competition across industries is intense, so companies are looking to their procurement departments to increase capabilities, become even more efficient and save money. To meet those demands, many are turning to technology, seeking ways to implement digital transformation. While few organizations have fully made the shift to digital, many are taking steps to move their departments forward.

A recent webinar, “World-Class Procurement: Redefining Performance in a Digital Era,” sponsored by the business spend management experts at Coupa and presented by Amy Fong, senior procurement adviser and P2P program leader at The Hackett Group, looks at current research data and where it situates procurement departments now and into the future. The webinar grew from the 2019 Hackett Group report of the same name, where procurement executives were asked about their views on trends impacting their departments and how they see their futures.

While today’s procurement departments are still tasked with finding cost-savings, Fong said savings alone are no longer the primary driver. Meeting the needs of customers, both internal stakeholders and external clients, is quickly rising to the top of the list. In previous years, The Hackett Group found that efficiency and effectiveness were the top performance metrics, but in the recent report, customer experience is now an equal factor.

How risk, technology reshape the CFO role

Traditionally, chief financial officers have spent their time poring over budgets, auditing seemingly everything and ensuring compliance. In today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world, their role is shifting, incorporating strategic planning, risk management and predictive analytics.

To find out what CFOs are facing and how they’re making changes, the survey “The Strategic CFO: Thriving with Risk” compiles the answers from 500 CFOs and global financial executives about their evolving experiences. The survey was prepared by The Wall Street Journal Custom Content group in association with Coupa, a business spend management technology solutions provider. In a webinar, Coupa CFO Todd Ford and Wall Street Journal contributor Rosa Harris discuss finance’s role as it tries to take on risk and other findings from the survey.