Purchasing Content

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

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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.

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7 Half-Truths Purchase-to-Pay Providers Are Telling You

I spend a lot of time in product demos, discussing product features and functionality with the analyst community, digging into technology, and harassing our pre-sales team. I’ve gained a wealth of knowledge about purchase-to-pay software – more than you probably want – but what I’ve also learned is that there are some slippery providers out there. They might deliver a slick demo, but there’s quite a bit of information they’re not telling you, and only one party stands to lose in that situation: you. Keep reading for some examples of how our competitors have offered creative storytelling instead of the truth about what their product can and can’t do.

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Achieving a Personalized Buying Experience for Businesses

Today’s technology enables fine-grained customization and personalization. When applied correctly, personalization can lead to a better customer experience and higher sales or engagement. If applied poorly, it can detract from the user experience, causing frustration and possibly missed sales. In this article, we’ll walk through some of the personalization that can be enabled when using Amazon Business, helping to make it easier to find the right products and better control rogue spending.

If you’re not familiar with it, Amazon Business makes it easy for business customers to find and buy from hundreds of thousands of sellers and helps sellers reach millions of registered business customers around the world. Similar to Amazon.com, buyers search for products from millions of available items. For businesses, personalization helps make the buying experience fast and efficient. From relevant search results to customized messaging, buyers can find the items they need, and know upfront if they are approved for company purchase.

B2C E-Commerce Has Some Lessons for B2B Platforms Being Built, Report Finds

As B2B e-commerce platforms try to match the level of maturity found in B2C systems, a recent report takes a snapshot of how CEOs, chief digital officers and innovation executives are investing in technology, which innovation they’re pursuing and how they’re making those decisions.

In addition to that benchmarking aspect, a trend emerges in how B2B customers want their online shopping experience to be — and they want many of the same bells and whistles that consumers get when using B2C marketplaces online.

The survey found that technology that can seem cold or off-putting — like artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML) — is actually playing a role in connecting people and the products or brands they want.

Coupa-Aquiire Deal Highlights Key Change: Marketplace E-Procurement Models Aren’t One-Size-Fits-All Anymore

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Spend Matters’ recent coverage of Coupa’s purchase of Aquiire details Coupa’s acquisition rationale and the general wisdom of its decision — but the deal also calls attention to a useful context that evaluators of “Amazon-like” e-procurement systems would be well served to understand. As these systems are tailored for different industries, they should be evaluated for how they differ, not how they're the same. Let's look at three types of marketplaces spawned by the Amazon model.

‘Just Coupa It’: By Buying Aquiire, Coupa Targets Google-like Search and the End of Punch-Outs [PRO]

Coupa announced its latest acquisition Monday with its purchase of Aquiire, a provider of e-procurement and procure-to-pay software. The deal brings to Coupa’s business spend management suite — which now includes support for e-procurement, P2P, source-to-pay, travel and expense management, and services procurement — many of the latest features for front-end shopping and catalog management, particularly several patents related to real-time search and third-party-hosted catalog integration capabilities. Viewed as part of Coupa’s larger strategy, however, Aquiire is just one piece of a larger puzzle that Coupa has been trying to assemble for the last decade.

The purchase of Cincinnati, Ohio-based Aquiire, along with Coupa’s own innovations in the guided buying area and the company’s 2017 acquisition of Simeno, forms the basis of a shift away from one-to-one, proprietary “punch-out”-based B2B e-commerce models and toward a streamlined, almost touchless approach to finding and buying goods and services. This entails far more than creating a friendly user experience that’s “Amazon-like.” Coupa wants to go one step further, making the search for a corporate purchase as easy as answering a question with Google: one question (sometimes auto-suggested) into the box, numerous answers delivered within the next screen, in real time, prioritized by relevance, price and desired procurement controls.

Coupa’s goal is to make B2B purchasing as easy and reflexive as everyday information retrieval on the broader web. Said another way, when you need to know something, you Google it; when you need to buy something at work, you would Coupa it. Obviously, Coupa is not going to become a verb anytime soon on the scale of Google. The key is to provide a B2B buyer-relevant search that is tuned to the “persona” of the individual buyer to quickly get him or her the needed goods and services from the preferred supply sources and buying channels.

This Spend Matters PRO research brief explores the feasibility of the “Google-like” search concept, as well as how Coupa’s acquisition of Aquiire enables it. It also touches on how Coupa’s approach to front-end shopping enablement compares with the broader e-procurement market, as well as what this means for competitors.

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10 Questions to Ask in a Purchase-to-Pay Demo

Sometimes cleverly crafted demos can gloss over important nuances or mask inadequacies, which can cause major problems later during implementation — and the dreaded scope creep. So, here are some areas that I recommend digging into and questions to ask during a purchase-to-pay demo. 

5 Reasons Supply Base Rationalization Can Be the Enemy of Effective Procurement Spend Management

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Traditionally, procurement organizations have been advised to consolidate their supplier base (with the handful of suppliers with the greatest percentage of purchases), negotiate strong contractual discounts and encourage their employees to purchase from these preferred vendors at the prenegotiated pricing. On the surface, rationalizing an organization’s supply base can seem like an effective way to improve procurement performance. By rationalizing the number of suppliers that enterprises work with, procurement leaders can reduce costs, improve quality and save the time of procurement teams who are too often lost in the arduous process of managing indirect tail spend. However, due to the rise of more advanced B2B e-commerce platforms and highly volatile pricing fluctuations for products, the supplier consolidation strategy is quickly becoming outdated.

The 5 Key Benefits of Effective Buying

A wealth of worthwhile benefits can be gained through adopting an effective buying approach. By making just small changes in our approach to buying, we can expect to see significant value and benefits as a direct result. You might ask why you should do anything differently at all when individuals and organizations already manage to buy well without any kind of intervention. But to truly appreciate why we should consider a new buying approach, we must first recognize the size of the prize that can be obtained.

How to Make Time for Value-Add Activities by Controlling High-Volume, Low-Dollar PO Spend

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Editor’s note: This is part of the Ask Spend Matters series, where readers send in their burning questions about procurement and supply chain.

A reader recently wrote in asking for ideas on controlling high-volume, low-dollar PO spend on readily available commodity items in order to free up time for value-add activity. The conventional wisdom is that purchase orders act as a point of reference and an insurance of sorts against fraud or unintentional errors related to invoicing, pricing, duplicates and wrong products. Yet POs can undoubtedly be a pain for buyers to draft, not to mention that all of the paperwork lengthens and slows down the entire purchasing process. There are two main options here to consider.

Afternoon Coffee: OMNIA Partners Purchases U.S. Communities GPO, Argentine Ports Stalled by Sticker Shortage

OMNIA Partners, a group purchasing organization (GPO) composed of National IPA, Prime Advantage and Corporate United, announced Monday it had entered an agreement to buy Communities Program Management LLC, the organization that staffs and manages the operations of the U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance. Dangerous weather and labor strikes are not the only issues that can hold up shipments at ports. Sometimes a supply disruption can be caused by something as a simple as a shortage of green stickers. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest in procurement and supply chain news.

The 6 Different Approaches to Buying and the Implications Each Holds

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Jonathan O'Brien, CEO of Positive Purchasing. 

Everyone has a choice about how they buy. Within companies, this could be determined by marketplace understanding, suppliers, future needs or how important a supplier is now and in the future. However, to understand what level of “buying power” you may have, it’s important to understand what type of buyer you are.