Procurement Systems & Architecture Content

CRO-to-CRO Video Series: Episode 2 Explores the Evolving Role of Procurement

Procurement has come a long way from the 1980s, when it was simply a transactional function, up until today, when talk of artificial intelligence, blockchain, RPA, process mining and rapid self-service are all the rage.

Recently, Pierre Mitchell, chief research officer of Spend Matters, had a chance to sit down with his old friend and former colleague Michel Janssen, chief research guru of Everest Group, a research and management consulting firm based in Dallas, Texas.

In this second episode of their video series, watch as both CROs explore how the role of procurement has changed over the years, from buying at the lowest price, to total cost of ownership, to ever more complex layers of risk mitigation & value creation — and what it all has to do with "Minority Report."

From Watch to Know in 2019: State of Flux Focuses on User Experience in SRM

Each year, some companies on Spend Matters’ 50 Providers to Know list and the list of 50 to Watch honorees here in the Spend Matters Almanac push themselves beyond simply a standout performance. They earn the recognition that they are not only bringing innovation into procurement organizations but also leading the charge to change the way we do business for the better. These are the providers who shifted from Watch to Know in 2019, like State of Flux.

To learn more about these providers, we reached out to a few such cases in our 2019 50/50 lists, asking how they’ve changed over the years and what differentiates them from the competition. Today’s Q&A features State of Flux Chairman Alan Day.

Sourceit: Vendor Introduction, Analysis and SWOT [PRO]

Marketing procurement can be a touchy subject for businesses. This critical category can make or break a company’s ability to attract new customers, yet it is rarely managed in an efficient, effective manner — at least as a procurement professional would define it.

Within most businesses, marketing procurement is plagued by poor corporate governance, uncompetitive sourcing practices and unfocused project management, frequently leading to cost overruns and delivery delays. This in turn leads to a strained relationship between marketing departments and their peers in procurement, who find it difficult to overcome their seemingly incompatible goals. The problem is so bad and so distinct to this particular category that it practically begs for a niche technology solution to address it.

This is precisely the inspiration behind Sourceit, a four-year-old provider of sourcing and e-procurement tools for marketing services. Born out of a homegrown print sourcing solution at Finsbury Green, an Australian printer and managed services provider, Sourceit market and catalog offers a targeted set of capabilities that illustrate a deep understanding of the common hurdles of marketing procurement as it applies to print technology. The technology was spun out of Finsbury Green in 2015 as a standalone SaaS platform, then over the past four years has expanded from Australia into the UK, Canada, Brazil and, as of 2017, the U.S., under a reseller model in each market.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on Sourceit's capabilities. The brief includes an overview of “sourceit market” and “sourceit catalog” applications, a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a SWOT analysis and a selection requirements checklist for companies that might consider the provider.

Tradeshift Innovation Summit in London: A Few Takeaways

Brexit

Last week, I attended Tradeshift's new “Innovation Summit” series in London. It was a short event, lasting only an afternoon, and obviously one intended to test the waters to the receptiveness of both the format and the location, but an interesting one nonetheless.

From a vision perspective, Tradeshift is almost dead-on in terms of what the platform of the future has to look like, and from a marketing perspective, it makes perfect sense. But when there are still a large number of organizations using Excel and email, and a larger number still who remain on first-generation best-of-breed procurement applications, it's hard to sell a true “Procurement 3.0” solution approach when the majority of the world hasn't even caught on to “Procurement 2.0” solutions.

Simplify Workforce: Vendor Introduction, Analysis and SWOT [PRO]

Because of recent M&A consolidation and multiple external drivers, the market for vendor management system (VMS) solutions has become fairly complex. Competing vendors have been absorbed or combined, draining the field of vendor choices that can be applied in a wide number of scenarios. Concurrently, businesses have shifted away from their focus on temporary staffing labor to a rising emphasis on statement of work (SOW) spend, while also exploring new talent engagement models that increase program complexity, to include the exploratory enterprise adoption of the “gig economy” in the form of independent contractors. Add in the typical challenges of effectively operating a temporary staffing program — from cost control issues to quality maintenance and the management of intermediaries like MSPs — and it’s easy to see why procurement organizations are finding the old paradigm for VMS solutions is no longer holding up.

Going against the grain of complexity is a newer VMS provider that incorporates simplicity (i.e., ease of use) into its name — and its solution. Founded in 2016, Simplify Workforce provides an end-to-end SaaS solution for managing the extended workforce.

The Jersey City, New Jersey-based provider enables this through separate modules for contingent workforce (or in our SolutionMap classification, Temp Staffing) and statement of work (Contracted Services/SOW), with an emphasis on configurability, adaptability and ease of use that has typically eluded past VMS solutions. In doing so, Simplify Workforce aims to address the long-underserved middle market — specifically, businesses with annual contingent workforce spend of $1 million to $100 million — with the ability to scale up or down on spend easily, with a VMS and SOW solution that can solve the majority of daily contingent workforce challenges without overwhelming users, implementation teams and budgets with unnecessary complexity.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on Simplify Workforce and its capabilities. The brief includes an overview of Simplify Workforce’s offering, a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a SWOT analysis and a selection requirements checklist for companies that might consider the provider.

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3 Ways to Tell a Story from Your Procurement Data with Amazon Business

data

Procurement leaders want their purchasing decisions to be driven by lessons and insights gained from their organization’s order history data. Gone are the days where the post-purchase data was used only for accounting and reconciliation purposes.

With thousands of employees buying on Amazon Business, procurement organizations realize that they can do more with this data. However, to tell a story from their procurement data, organizations will need to invest in business intelligence (BI) engineers, data scientists and dedicated teams of IT personnel. Machine learning (ML) continues to be just a buzzword for these professionals, as they do not yet see the benefits of ML in their everyday decision-making.

The Amazon Business Analytics portal provides the tabular order history data by various pivots, including orders, refunds and reconciliation reports. While this acts as a good mechanism to look up specific details about an order, customers told us that they spend multiple hours each month to understand the data and gain insights into the spend patterns of their organization. Customers heavily relied on the CSV download feature to continue to their analysis. They essentially needed to gain BI from their data.

To help solve this problem, we partnered with Amazon QuickSight to bring BI to organizations’ Amazon Business order data.

CRO-to-CRO Video Series: 2 Veteran Chief Research Officers Dig into Digital Procurement Transformation

What happens when two chief research officers of two esteemed research firms sit down together for a video series chat? The viewer is in for a treat — an insightful series of video discussions on digital procurement transformation and the state of procurement overall. Recently, our own Pierre Mitchell, chief research officer of Spend Matters, had a chance to sit down with his old friend and former colleague Michel Janssen, chief research guru of Everest Group, a research and management consulting firm based in Dallas, Texas.

Ivalua NOW Paris event: A Dispatch on the Art and Science of Procurement

Spend Matters analyst Michael Lamoureux attended Ivalua’s customer event, Ivalua NOW Paris: The Art of Procurement, last week and found several advancements in the provider’s offerings, saw some improvements to its capabilities and learned about plans to upgrade its solution.

Microsoft 365 Freelance Toolkit: Retooling How Enterprises Work (Part 3) [PRO]

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this four-part Spend Matters PRO series, we wrote about how the Microsoft 365 freelance toolkit emerged and continues to evolve at Microsoft (based on our interviews with Microsoft managers who are central to the initiative). We now shift our perspective to the contingent workforce industry innovator Upwork Enterprise, Microsoft’s launch partner for the freelance toolkit.

In Part 3, based on discussions with Eric Gilpin, SVP of Upwork Enterprise, we look at the Microsoft 365 freelance toolkit from Upwork’s perspective and examine Upwork’s role as a partner and key participant in the process as well as what the partnership means for Upwork itself. Part 4 will include an analyst perspective on the freelance toolkit, the Microsoft-Upwork partnership and what it may indicate for services procurement practitioners.

ICYMI: Why the new Q1 SolutionMap rankings of procurement software firms matter

Q1 2019 Spend Matters SolutionMap procurement software company rankings

Nearly two years ago, the Spend Matters team birthed the inaugural set of SolutionMap rankings unto the world. This week, the latest quarterly update was released, showing how procurement software providers stack up against one another. So this is a good time to explore how SolutionMap came into being and to offer a Q&A on how it works.

Why ERP Does Not Suck Anymore for Procurement Technology*

It’s time to truly write off the ERP past with two of the top ERP providers.

SAP Ariba has doubled-down not only on core capability packaged approaches to accelerate adoption — and in the case of SAP Ariba, performs at the top of many of the SolutionMap functional rankings — but also next generation technology. For example, artificial intelligence to guide users down specific paths. Moreover, SAP Ariba is one of the top performing procurement technology suite vendors overall in SolutionMap.

And Oracle, with its investments in Cloud/Fusion, provides one of the best Deep-persona Procure-to-Pay (E-Procurement + Invoice-to-Pay) functional solutions in the market based on the latest SolutionMap benchmark — at least for companies also migrating their Oracle back-end to Cloud financials. Its platform-level investments in AI, blockchain and other areas are real — and are showing up in use cases that cascade across supply chain, finance and purchasing. The solution has capabilities for geeks and pragmatists alike.

EcoVadis to Add Risk Mapping Tool, On-Site Audit Feature to Its Core CSR Rating

wind power

EcoVadis, a provider that rates businesses on sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR), announced Tuesday that it is expanding its capabilities with the new Sustainability Intelligence Suite, which will include "predictive risk mapping, performance signals and audit management."