Author Archives: Guest Contributor



The value of branding: 9 tips for procurement to create a strong brand, improve its standing

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post by Amanda Prochaska, the president of High Performance Procurement. Part 1 of this two-part guest series appeared yesterday and was written by Charlotte de Brabandt, a member of the Institute for Supply Management’s Thought Leadership Council.

For years, procurement’s role has been to reduce costs, or at least this is how it has been seen by others.

Procurement has always been a value provider, not just a cost-cutter. It is unfortunate that in the past it has been looked at so negatively, with such a narrow view. Perhaps this was because the procurement environment was heavily focused on negotiating prices. It did not focus so much on people or assets. The bottom line was always price and value.

However nowadays, most of the low hanging fruit where an easy monetary negotiation could be made is gone. And procurement is moving more toward being known as the value providers.

Part of making the transition to value providers is to change the brand of procurement. Learning from those who do this well, here are nine tips that marketers use to create a strong brand.

The value of branding: 6 ways procurement can redefine its brand, change misperceptions

Spend Matters welcomes this two-part guest series by Charlotte de Brabandt, a member of the Institute for Supply Management’s Thought Leadership Council, and by Amanda Prochaska, the president of High Performance Procurement, whose article will appear tomorrow.

Procurement professionals are not typically known for their ability to be great marketers. However, having a strong brand ensures procurement is at the very center of any business strategy. Look at any of the world's great brands and you will see that they all use their brand strength to gain attention. Strong brands are simply the key to creating value, and when this is done well, the full potential of procurement is realized.

Unfortunately, procurement’s brand has been largely left to their customers to define. These include definitions like “those are the people who negotiate contracts,” or “they buy stuff,” or “they are slow and non-responsive.”

As procurement professionals, we understand we deliver much more value than how we are being defined. So, what does it take to proactively define the value of procurement? Let's look at six tips:

7 Simple Ways to Control, Automate Your Accounts Payable

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Finly, a provider of business spend solutions.

Accounts payable involves a lot of challenges, like providing payment approvals on time, budgetary restrictions, ensuring policy compliance and keeping the accounting systems up to date. Organizations reach a saturation level where manually processing all these becomes increasingly tedious and difficult to maintain.

An automated accounts payable system is a great way to overcome these issues and increase effective communication as well as employee productivity. To control your accounts payable, let’s understand the bottlenecks involved in the manual process of accounts payable.

From tactical to strategic sourcing: Going beyond daily battles to long-term victory

Do you ever feel like you’ve been winning the battles but still losing the war? In the art of war, military strategists are required to look beyond short-term skirmishes, where little if any ground is gained, and instead focus on a vision for victory in the longer term. That doesn’t mean suddenly pulling your forces from the front or ignoring enemy advances but has more to do with creating a better line of sight between the guys in the trenches and the generals in the tents.

Joonas Jantunen, Cloudia’s CEO for the Middle East, sees a similar distinction to be made in today’s business procurement wars. Every large procurement function aspires to be strategic, but most are running their operations on short-term tactics.

Strategic sourcing, in contrast, sets out to align all sourcing practices with an organization’s long-term business objectives, with a view to creating new and sustainable value.

SRM and tariffs: Supplier relationship management provides dream ticket to control purchasing in a complex international landscape

trade

Purchasing is a core part of any business. That means software that can address the whole purchasing value chain and integrate closely with key areas of an organization is a real bonus for companies looking to expand their operational flexibility with suppliers. Applications such as supplier relationship management (SRM) provide the answer, limiting non-value-added work, offering real-time insight and playing a key role in helping companies come to grips with purchasing in a complicated, unstable global market.

How to prepare for the IR35 reform, the UK’s freelancer work-status mandate for the private sector

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Martin Konrad, co-founder of Shortlist, a freelancer management system provider based in San Francisco and with an office in London.

The UK government has announced that the IR35 reform introduced to the public sector in 2017 will also be rolled out to the private sector in April 2020.

What does this mean? In less than nine months, all medium and large private sector businesses using freelancers will be responsible for checking their employment status with every engagement. If it is determined that freelancers should be treated as an employee for the purposes of IR35, the business will need to deduct income tax and national insurance contributions from payments made to freelancers.

In this article, I would like to discuss how companies can determine their freelancer's IR35 status, and how your company can prepare for the upcoming reform.

3 Reasons Smaller Consultancies Can Compete with Traditional Consulting — Procurement Take Note

Bigger is not always better. Yet traditionally, the view is that a bigger business has, presumably, offered scale advantages and stability. But reliance on small professional services providers across many categories (creative, IT, engineering, business consulting) has been increasing for a variety of reasons — like hyper-dynamic market environments, the need for ever-changing specialized expertise and the reasons covered in this article: outcomes-based approach, new technology tools and lower costs/faster results.

How smart data extraction makes for smart AP automation

What you really want to know when investigating AP automation solution providers is whether the solution has a complete technology, combining OCR (converting images to text), smart data extraction (transforming the text into relevant data) — and machine learning (remembering the data and populating it into the applicable data fields each time the data is recognized). You are looking for a system that gets smarter the more you use it!

Protect Against These Risks when Working with Third-Party Vendors

risk

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Matt Kunkel, the CEO of LogicGate, a provider of risk management solutions.

A recent study revealed more than 60% of organizations in the U.S. that have encountered a data breach were compromised because of a third-party vendor. Organizations use vendors as a means to efficiently complete tasks, but they can create vulnerabilities for which the organization is ultimately responsible. Vendor decisions and operations are frequently out of a chief information security officer’s control, but they still carry serious risks to the organization’s business and reputation.

Retiring Murphy’s Law — Time for Procurement to Move On

supplier network

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Paul Martyn, VP-North America at SirionLabs.

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with several mid- to large-size companies' supply chain leaders. And while I assumed our conversations would be dominated by their views on the latest flurry of AI-enabled SCM tools, instead, several of our discussions turned toward recent advances in supplier performance management. Should I have been surprised? After all, the space is white hot, with several new risk and contract management vendors recently entering the solution market.

What follows is a brief summary of what I heard, plus some personal observations:

A look at GovShop and its agile insights as feds shift software development methodologies

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Public Spend Forum, a sister site of ours. It runs GovShop, a single place to search online, find and connect with suppliers for the public sector market. We'll occasionally highlight GovShop's capabilities in our Friday series on public spend. Today's story looks focuses on agile resources that can be found with GovShop.

The federal government has begun making significant strides in the monumental task of shifting software development methodologies from traditional waterfall development to a more modern agile development methodology. While this road will continue to be a long one, there are pockets of excellence in DoD, CMS and the VA (just to name a few). As much as this transition requires both culture change and resources on the government’s part, it is also highly dependent on a new breed of government contractors that are nimble, highly motivated, tech-savvy and of course agile.

Within this community of agile vendors, there are a few different disciplines that are collectively aiding the transition. These disciplines can be thought of as doing, advising and teaching. Within GovShop, these disciplines have been identified as Agile Development, Agile Coaching and Agile Training.

How to Use Drones in the Public Sector and Procure Their Services

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Public Spend Forum, a sister site of ours that each week helps us look at public sector procurement. This week we explore the increasing use of drones — in agriculture, construction, emergency response — and how to procure those services.

We are truly in the modern era — drones are now everywhere, no longer just tools for movie making or toys for tech-savvy teens. And “everywhere” includes their increasing use in the public sector. Between 2016 and 2017, drone bids and RFPs saw a growth of 194%. To properly cover this important topic, this article will focus on:

— What drones can be used for in the public sector
— Tips to keep in mind when procuring drones