Author Archives: Spend Matters Brand Studio

The challenge of external workers: How can a CEO turn a hidden workforce into a more flexible force?

If a CEO asks for a snapshot of the company’s external workers, it wouldn’t be a snap for most procurement departments to pull that information together because individual departments like HR and IT often use different technology to engage an array of workers — for gig jobs, contract labor, overseas staffing, shift work and more.

If those departments operate separately and the systems aren’t integrated, a hidden workforce exists that the CEO and senior leaders can’t effectively manage.

This becomes even more problematic in the coronavirus era, when companies shed temporary staff during the lockdown, but for the recovery stage may need to re-engage talent.

How procurement leaders can become catalysts for enterprise transformation: A Q&A with Globality’s Keith Hausmann

The way that businesses buy and sell services and goods has dramatically changed over the past few years. Procurement leaders are rapidly revisiting their operating models and investing in capabilities that provide ongoing business continuity as well as position their companies for long-term growth.

In this article, Globality Chief Revenue Officer Keith Hausmann shares some of the important actions that procurement leaders can take to become the impetus for enterprise transformation, driving new sources of value for their companies and stakeholders.

Technology can bring departments like HR, procurement together to increase extended workforce and solve problems

As the use of workers not categorized as traditional W-2 employees — aka the extended workforce — grows at a rapid pace, companies are often struggling to find, engage and keep those workers at competitive market rates. Traditional sourcing methods are no longer optimal in the global economy, which demands a wide search for the best talent, increasingly without regard for the geography of that talent.

While sourcing this extended workforce is often managed through procurement, there may be required input from legal, HR and finance. These departments often operate independently, with limited communication and siloed business practices, creating inefficiencies and slowing the process.

Outdated technology (if any) and manual processes associated with extended workforce procurement, management and oversight create even more potential issues.

To find out how companies can enhance procurement, use data better, break down barriers between departments and have procurement improve overall business value, we talked with Jens Audenaert, General Manager at WorkMarket, ADP’s freelance management system provider that helps businesses unlock the power of their extended workforce.

Knowing your supply and demand before it happens is now possible with demand sensing

Forecasting customer demand for goods and services is not simply the territory of the supply chain manager, although it is a crucial operation for them. It is also the foundation for the intelligence on which business-critical assumptions are made by other stakeholders regarding budgets, profit margins, cash flow, capital expenditure, risk assessment, capacity planning and resource allocation.

So, demand forecasting — or demand sensing — gives an organization a prediction on which strategic plans can be made, and clearly that prediction must be as accurate as possible.

Before demand-forecasting techniques were employing AI and machine learning, a user would choose a single algorithm that could give them the best prediction, but now, powerful machines can run dozens of algorithms in parallel, allowing the system to pick the one best suited for a particular geography, customer, channel or any combination that can run into the thousands.

To cut business risk, tax problems need to be addressed in procurement’s digital transformation

Discussions about the digital transformation of business processes often go into great detail about things like the technology for matching invoices and purchase orders (PO’s) or how e-procurement catalogs can ensure on-contract buying and tame rogue spend — but the complexity of handling taxes is rarely addressed. And that’s a huge risk to businesses.

Digital procurement Q&A: ‘There is no excuse … to not adopt even the most basic toolkit’


Digital transformation of procurement departments at large corporations occurs so that the enterprises stay cost-effective, strategic and growth-oriented. But smaller businesses can struggle with how to make the case for buying procurement technology.

“There is no excuse for an organization’s procurement team to not adopt even the most basic toolkit,” said ProcurePort Director Jemin Patel, who mentioned that companies have viable options because of the array of procurement technology at various price points.

‘Procurement can lead’ the COVID-19 response — with digital capabilities and agility, Corcentric says

The coronavirus disruption has put the spotlight on procurement departments. CEOs are skipping IT and CFOs to go directly to Chief Procurement Officers (CPOs) for answers. Executives are getting insight from procurement — like the state of a company’s supply chain, risks from suppliers and visibility into spend.

Companies of all sizes now realize that they need procurement with more agility. To find out more about that capability, we talked with Joe Payne, Senior Vice President of Source-to-Pay at Corcentric, a leading global provider of source-to-pay, order-to-cash and fleet solutions.

“A lot of our customers are really recognizing that through this crisis, procurement can lead,” Payne said in discussing how pre-COVID thinking about the digital transformation of business has been altered. “It's an interesting time to be in procurement.”

Digital procurement’s new frontier: Closing the knowledge gap with market intelligence tools


The last several weeks of the COVID disruption has laid bare just how little companies sometimes know about their suppliers. It has become evident that truly knowing your suppliers goes beyond which one has passed their certifications or which one is hitting their KPIs. Your teams probably keep tabs on that, or soon will. But who is keeping tabs on what’s happening outside of your organization, giving your business visibility into the things that are outside of their sphere of vision?

“As organizations seek to become faster, more resilient and more agile, the modern procurement professional needs to know, in real time, what is happening in the suppliers’ world,” said Tim Czerwonka, COO of CatalyticsHub, a newly launched supplier intelligence tool from procurement consulting firm Proxima. “For example, it should influence your thinking if your supplier (or a prospective one) has had poor financial results, made an acquisition or divestment, made a key hire, announced a new innovation or is facing litigation.”

Procurement must identify third-party risk: Owning and mitigating threats

Business performance relies heavily on the strength and efficiency of relationships external to the organization. Our third-party partners’ performance, and exposure to risk, can make or break our own profitability, reputation and overall success if we do not monitor and manage these partnerships strategically.

As supply chains grow, and become ever more interdependent, and as outsourcing booms as an alternative to growing in-house talent, our exposure to risk grows too, and becomes harder and harder to mitigate.

How AI is transforming the ways companies source enterprise services

Services sourcing is being dramatically changed by AI — a previously untapped domain and significant opportunity for businesses.

The pace of change has never been faster. Companies are accelerating the digitization of business operations and processes, resulting in the re-engineering of work around the world. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in procurement. Companies are revisiting their digital strategies to ensure near- and long-term continuity and resiliency across the value chain, all of the steps needed to keep a business running.

This is where the power of AI comes in.

Promena’s view of the crisis: ‘Companies that do not manage processes digitally are facing difficulties’

Since Promena has a broad perspective on the business climate in these trying times, we wanted to know what it is seeing with the business reaction to the coronavirus crisis. Orçun Güven, Director of Promena Strategic Sourcing Services, joined us recently for an interview. He said the coronavirus disruption has shown the importance of having digital solutions instead of manual processes.

Coronavirus crisis shows that visibility into supply chains is critical

The coronavirus outbreak has disrupted supply chains big and small — and not just ones connected to China’s global manufacturing sector that the coronavirus hit first. As COVID-19 affects supply chains around the world and people must work from home or not at all, businesses everywhere are feeling the pain of halting operations, dealing with supply shortages and suffering from a lack of demand.

“We’re seeing companies ask what to do in the crisis, and from our perspective there are really two things,” BearingPoint Partner Chetan Rangaswamy said. “First, invest in visibility tools that will help manage your supply chain and supply chain disruptions; really understand your planning and procurement technology options. Second, use that visibility to understand your suppliers’ strengths and weaknesses. Supply chains are based on complex relationships, including your supplier's supplier. You need to know the benefits and risks beyond the first tier of your suppliers.”

Spend Matters is hearing from providers of cloud procurement solutions that their clients are switching from the typical tech uses, which focus on cutting costs, to deploying the solutions for what was once considered tasks to be put off for the future — tasks like real-time supplier collaboration and involving more stakeholders in analytics. Procurement has long championed the idea that it could add value to the business, making it a higher profile ally across the company. In this crisis, procurement teams that have digitally transformed can live up to that promise.

But let’s consider how procurement and supply chain departments can adapt to help in any crisis.