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Procurement Leaders: Hit the Refresh Button in 2020 at SIG’s Procurement Technology Summit 

They say April showers bring May flowers, but I wanted to let you know 2020 will be different. This April 20 to 22 in Championsgate, Florida, SIG’s Procurement Technology Summit will bring you an event you’ve never seen before that will pay dividends throughout the year (not just May).

SIG is committed to staying at the forefront of all the forces impacting our industry. It was from our unique sightline into sourcing we recognized that procurement technologies advance so quickly that many people simply aren’t able to stay in the know. Awash in information, many of us are uncertain which digital technologies deliver and which are hype. While none of us can predict the future, we can be ready for it. That’s why we’re placing digital procurement and emerging technologies center stage for three days.

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A Holiday Gift Your Team Will (Actually) Appreciate

This time of year, giving presents to your team members and colleagues can be awkward no matter how well you know them. Look beyond the restaurant gift cards, trending gadgets and dried-out fruitcakes to a gift that will deliver an actual return on investment — an industry-recognized certification. By coming together in a virtual classroom, you’ll avoid those awkward, gift-giving faux pas and delight your team with an investment in their professional development to sharpen their skills, boost performance and credibility with both stakeholders and management, and contribute to the overall success of the organization.

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Are your spend classification efforts relevant and truly moving the needle?

Last month, we examined the current constraints on procurement today and discovered that data spend quality is an issue that’s holding organizations back. Digging in further, we found that spend classification is a big factor affecting organizations’ abilities to get high-quality data. The reality is you don’t know what you’re actually spending in each category. For many procurement teams, getting the insights they need is challenging because classification is painful and time-consuming, and they don’t know how to make things better.

Let’s take a deeper dive into some of the problems with spend classification today:

CPO masters of complexity (Part 2): A new approach to augment talent

Deloitte's 2019 Global CPO Survey shows that many procurement leaders are finding it hard to balance a variety of competing demands for their limited resources. One common theme expressed was the challenge of how to find, recruit and retain the talent required to implement and optimize a more digitally complex and increasingly sophisticated procurement function. Many organizations are using this opportunity to challenge the traditional operating model, including the roles, responsibilities and skill sets required for this new digital world.

Demand for top talent in the global procurement space continues to outpace supply, even as the expectations from the corporations they serve continue to increase. While investment in training in both technical and softer skills appears to be rising, the CPOs surveyed felt the negative impact of a “talent drain” on their ability to keep pace with the increasing complexity of reducing costs and risks while implementing digitally-enabled procurement functions.

Why RPA is not a breakthrough advancement in procurement

Procurement teams globally are facing the same common challenges. We hear it over and over: CPOs are constantly being tasked with cutting costs and doing more with less … yesterday. But how are they doing in actually overcoming these challenges? Let’s take a look.

Today, many procurement organizations are attempting to solve these challenges by turning to robotic process automation (RPA) as a solution. But RPA, while serving as an important automation tool, operates in a regime that accepts current constraints as a given and works within them. It represents an incremental advance in the evolving technology frontier by addressing a subset of procurement domain competently, but it cannot be justifiably elevated to the status of a breakthrough technology.

Xeeva’s patented specialized procurement AI demolishes the resident constraints in procurement by transforming spend data and digitizing domain expertise.

CPO Masters of Complexity (Part 1)

It sure seems like most everyone’s life is getting more complex. When I casually ask friends how they’re doing, the response is usually something about being ridiculously busy and barely being able to keep their head above water. In this age of constant connectivity, rampant over-scheduling at work and home, and constant barrage of information, complexity seems like the new norm.

The same is true for chief procurement officers (CPOs). According to our eighth annual “Global Chief Procurement Officer Survey,” CPOs largely see procurement-related risk on the rise — nearly 60% of the 481 respondents indicated that risk has risen either significantly (19%) or somewhat (42%). This is part of a broader theme of increased complexity that came out in the survey findings, where we profile complexity in four main areas: external complexity (headwinds coming from outside of the four walls of procurement), internal complexity (challenges of managing internal relationships and alignment with business objectives), talent complexity (building effective procurement teams and operating models), and digital complexity (defining and executing on digital strategies that are aligned with broader digital transformation efforts). In this post, I will focus on the first two areas of complexity. A subsequent post will discuss the last two areas.

5 tips from SIG on presenting at procurement industry events

Presenting at an industry event is an important step in any professional's career. It is also an excellent opportunity to promote, showcase and reward a team for a job well done. But most importantly, it is a critical factor in keeping an industry relevant, competitive and strong. Every professional worth their salt should consider it their duty to share their successes and failures.

Of course, in order to present at an industry event, you must first submit a proposal in the form of a session abstract. Sourcing professionals are well-versed in writing business cases and category strategies, and we have all read our fair share of good and bad proposals. However, when it comes to writing a speaking proposal, many sourcing professionals don’t give it the time or energy it deserves. These abstracts are often used to describe your session, and if the goal is to share your thought leadership, you will want to make sure your abstract grabs your audience’s attention. Consider the following five tips to write a compelling proposal for your next industry event.

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5 Easy Steps to Better Manage Your Suppliers

If you work for a large organization, you most likely have tens of thousands of suppliers, and any of them, to some extent, can pose a risk to your organization's operations, brand or customers. In addition, managing that many business partners is a difficult task that takes time, attention, organization and resources.

You and your suppliers are intimately linked, and what they do affects you, for better or worse. As a result, you need to be able to monitor, manage and collaborate with your entire supply base more broadly and effectively than ever before.

Before you get started, ask yourself these questions:

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A ‘Big Picture’ Procurement Mindset

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There is a considerable difference between what procurement can do with an eProcurement platform, what they should do, and what they actually do. Part of the problem is the level of technology segmentation that exists in the typical enterprise. Procurement has technology, legal has technology, sales has technology, etc. Everyone transacts with and stores their information separately. It may not be intentional, but it prevents companies from getting the full benefit of the technology they implement.

Huge strides have been made in digitizing procurement, but the work is not nearly done. Procurement needs to move into a larger business role where it is highly involved in the development and execution of enterprise-wide business strategy — and therefore enterprise-wide technology and data development.

If procurement is to think “big picture” when it comes to data and technology, it has to include suppliers as well. Corcentric has some reasons why.

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SIG Summit sneak peek: It’s not your average procurement conference

Readers of Spend Matters and SIG’s member companies have a lot of overlap. I’ve read many articles on this site from companies that are part of the SIG community. Through the years, Spend Matters has never failed in delivering amazing content that is actionable and reality-based, as well as non-sponsored ratings for those of us who work with procurement technology.

In that way, SIG and Spend Matters are kindred spirits. SIG provides its members thought leadership, networking and career training so sourcing, procurement and risk professionals can stay on top of the latest innovations — from updated best practices to the technologies that continue to change the way we work.

As the President and CEO of SIG, I’ve seen the industry grow and the roles of sourcing, procurement and risk professionals morph. We’re all staring down the barrel at these new technologies of robotics, automation and machine learning and wondering, Is my job next? Well, it could be. But I not only believe that this technology comes in peace, I want to show you how it can help you be a little bit better at your job every day.

Want to find out how? Join me and over 350 of your colleagues next week at SIG’s Global Executive Summit in Carlsbad, California, Oct. 14-16.

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5 benefits of multi-tier supply chain transparency

Consumers expect brands and retailers to know much more about their products than in the past, such as where it was sourced, how it was manufactured, who was involved or what countries it passed through on its journey to the store. All this requires a deeper understanding of the supply chain.

While multi-tier supply chain transparency is challenging to achieve, it can reap serious benefits for businesses that invest the time and resources. Taking progressive steps to achieve visibility at multiple tiers can benefit businesses in five ways.

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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.