The Technology Category

How to Limit Nature’s Impact on the Supply Chain

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Graham Parker, CEO of Gravity Supply Chain Solutions.

Real-time data will provide visibility and inform decision-making that safeguards the supply chain from the unexpected.

Wildfires, tsunamis, earthquakes and hurricanes.

These are just a few examples of the types of natural disasters the world has experienced in the last 12 months. With California still reeling from the catastrophic impact of the recent wildfires, it is increasingly evident that natural disasters are becoming a regular occurrence.

Sourcing and Engaging the Independent/Freelance Workforce — An Emerging Ecosystem? (Part 1) [PRO]

Coworks

It’s time for a Spend Matters PRO series to catch up on what happened to the gap that we identified several years ago between enterprise managers and independent/freelance workers.

In November 2015, we pointed out a barely noticed “white space” between the enterprise demand for independent/freelance workforce* and the supply of those workers. By that we meant that while enterprises, with the support of VMS technology and often MSPs, were able to source and manage contingent workforce from staffing suppliers and contracted services providers, they generally lacked the capabilities to systematically source and manage independent/freelance workers.

We also observed the emergence of FMS, the freelancer management system, at that time, but we were clear that it was just “a part of a much larger set of developments, encompassing a range of new —  and incumbent — solution and service providers that increasingly leverage advanced technology, digitized information and innovative approaches to sourcing and managing independent/freelance workers.” We further asserted that the independent/freelancer workforce white space would start filling with various providers of solutions and service providers.

We also speculated that — due to state-of-the-art cloud stack, APIs, services architecture and other technology that would be underlying their solutions — these providers would start to become components of a comprehensive digitally enabled and digitally connected ecosystem. By that we meant an ecosystem (and nested ecosystems) that could evolve and be reconfigured more rapidly to serve the unique needs and preferences of different enterprises and, just as importantly, the unmet preferences and needs of the independent/freelance workers whom enterprises would engage in many new ways (some previously not possible).

Now, three years later, we can ask what has actually happened and to what extent the white space between enterprise managers and independent/freelance workers has been filled to:

— Provide enterprises with the required capabilities to source, manage and maximize the value of this independent/freelance population.
— Provide independent/freelance workers with the access to the opportunity pathways and the support/services they require to function as viable “operators.”

In Part 1 of this PRO series, we assess the current state of the independent/freelancer workforce and whether it is overhyped. In Parts 2 and 3, we will focus on the extent to which digitally enabled sourcing channels and work intermediation platforms have effectively bridged the gaps. In other words, to what extent has the white space been filled? And what is the current state of the digitally enabled ecosystem?

Efficio Panel Debate: Good Banter, Robot Jokes and 3 Points About the Future of Procurement

Last week in London I participated in one of the livelier and more spirited panel debates on the future of procurement (skills, technology and more) in recent memory. The event, held at Efficio’s offices Thursday to mark the release of its latest report, “Procurement 2025: Is Digital Transformation Driving More Effective Procurement,” included not only a handful of esteemed panelists and facilitators from the procurement/CPO, consulting and academic ranks, but also a robot — which led to many robotic process automation jokes throughout the discourse. If Efficio does something like this again, ask them for an invitation — you won’t be disappointed!

Here are three points that stuck in my mind from the different panel discussions and chats that I had.

How the Contagion Effect Could Blow Up Network Finance

In the real world, you plan for an event and it works out for a while. Then things fall apart. So you react and plan more — hoping to stop the problem from creating a contagion effect.

And here you are, thinking that you built this nice network finance model to finance your suppliers not just on approved invoices, but invoices that have been issued, or even more upstream, purchase orders that have been issued. And things have been working smoothly for a couple of quarters, or maybe for even a year or two.

But then it happens. More things fall apart.

Wax Digital: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary and Competitive Analysis [PRO]

We can count on two hands the number of independent source-to-pay providers left in the global market with sufficient breadth and depth of capabilities to fully earn the moniker of “suite provider.” Wax Digital is one of them. But don’t fret if you’ve not encountered them yet.

In Part One of this Vendor Snapshot, we introduced you to the firm — a source-to-pay provider from the UK that you may not be familiar with, especially since it has not yet participated in SolutionMap (although that changes this quarter). Then in Part Two, we dove in deep and examined, in detail, all of the strengths and weaknesses of this widely deployed source-to-pay platform that is just becoming known in North America.

Wax Digital is a particular provider to note among others, as it one of the few providers that offers a relatively complete, integrated, source-to-pay offering on one code base that is already used globally in over 100 countries. Maybe vendors tout “one platform” when in fact their solutions do not work as seamlessly together as claimed.

Now, today, in our third and final installment in this Vendor Snapshot series, we provide a SWOT overview of Wax Digital as a whole, a comparative and competitive market overview, and provide some final summary analysis and recommendations for organizations that might consider Wax Digital as a potential solution partner.

Extinction event: Amazon Textract has just killed the OCR industry. Who’s next and who’s safe?

disruption

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Doug Hudgeon, a business automation expert.

The annual Amazon AWS Re:Invent conference has just finished. The most interesting announcement in the conference was not one of high-profile changes to their serverless and machine learning platforms. The most interesting announcement was a three-minute video about Textract, a new OCR (optical character recognition) service from Amazon. This service extracts text and tables from documents and is priced at $1.50 per 1,000 pages.

The Textract OCR service is interesting for three reasons, each of which is worthy of an article in itself, but we'll briefly look at all three here and the industries that are affected.

Q4 2018 SolutionMap Source-to-Pay Release Notes

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider release note provides insight into the Q4 2018 SolutionMap release for Source-to-Pay, reviewing the process that we followed for this quarter’s release.

The providers in the Q4 2018 Source-to-Pay SolutionMap include Coupa, Determine, GEP, Ivalua, SAP Ariba, SynerTrade and Zycus. All of these providers were required to participate in SolutionMap for each underlying module, as well. These individual areas include Sourcing, Spend and Procurement Analytics, Supplier Relationship Management & Risk, Contract Lifecycle Management, E-Procurement and Invoice-to-Pay. All of these providers are also included in the individual Strategic Procurement Technologies (SPT) and Procure-to-Pay (P2P) suite views.

This SolutionMap Insider research note provides insight into these and additional considerations in the Q4 2018 SolutionMap release. The Source-to-Pay customer data set is composed of a subset of the 600+ individual organization references included in the overall SolutionMap scoring as of Q4 2018*.

*Customers using more than one module that a vendor provides can opt to fill out a single survey within each individual suite area (e.g., a customer using two modules for P2P and four modules for SPT would need to fill out only two surveys).

Q4 2018 SolutionMap Release Notes: Contingent Workforce & Services (CW/S) Enterprise Technology Solutions — Temp Staffing, Contract Services/Statement of Work (SOW), Independent Contract Workers (ICW)

Q4 2018 marks the second research cycle for Spend Matters’ Contingent Workforce & Services (CW/S) “enterprise technology” SolutionMap, the sourcing and management of three underlying spend categories: Temp Staffing, Contract Services/Statement of Work and Independent Contract Workers (ICW).

The providers in the Q4 2018 CW/S SolutionMap include Beeline, Coupa-DCR Workforce, Field Nation, Shortlist, SirionLabs, TalentNet, Talmix, TalonFMS, Upwork Enterprise, Vndly and WorkMarket (ADP).

Given Spend Matters’ procurement orientation, we evaluate “enterprise technology” vendors within a source-to-pay (S2P) reference model. In other words, we look at vendors in terms of their capabilities that address some or all enterprise requirements that arise within an S2P lifecycle (i.e., from supplier sourcing to worker or supplier payment).

In this second CW/S research cycle, there was again limited participation in the Temp Staffing and Contract Services/SOW SolutionMap categories. However, a good number of key vendors have expressed interest in participating in upcoming cycles.

There continues to be vibrant interest in participation by vendors in the emergent Independent Contract Workers (ICW) SolutionMap category. There are two new participants, Shortlist and Talmix, in Q4, and there are several other vendors interested in participating in upcoming cycles.

We have gathered extensive business profile information, received well over 30 client reference surveys and have assigned scores to specific solution capabilities (RFI line items) ranging from well over 100 to about 300, depending upon how many SolutionMap categories a particular vendor participated in.

Q4 2018 SolutionMap Sourcing, Spend and Procurement Analytics, Supplier Relationship Management & Risk, Contract Lifecycle Management and Strategic Procurement Technology Suite Release Notes

This Spend Matters SolutionMap Insider release note provides insight into the Q4 2018 SolutionMap release for Sourcing, Spend and Procurement Analytics, Supplier Relationship Management & Risk, Contract Lifecycle Management, and Strategic Procurement Technologies Suite SolutionMaps, reviewing the process we follow and highlighting what has changed since the last release.

Within the individual areas covered in this brief, the following providers have been added to the Q4 2018 release:

  • Coupa is now participating in Supplier Relationship Management & Risk and Contract Lifecycle Management
  • SourceMap is participating in Supplier Relationship Management & Risk
  • Wax Digital is participating in Sourcing


Additionally, providers such as AnyData, Determine, Exari, Ivalua, Jaggaer Advantage and Jaggaer Indirect, Keelvar, Scanmarket, Scout RFP and Sievo have received updated scoring following the submission and demonstration of new capabilities based on production releases of individual modules. (Non-GA capabilities are not considered in SolutionMap scoring.) Perhaps most important, over 67 new or refreshed customer references (and over 100+ modular references) were added in the Strategic Procurement Technology areas for Q4.

Interview with Malcolm Harrison, CIPS New CEO (Part 3 — Will artificial intelligence wipe out procurement?)

CIPS’ leader Malcolm Harrison says the professional organization is concerned for the future of procurement workers as “more work is ‘outsourced’ to technology.” Harrison, speaking in an interview with Spend Matters UK’s veteran procurement expert Peter Smith, was asked if artificial intelligence (AI) will wipe out procurement. “My view is there will always be events that happen that haven’t happened before — we will still need people to make those judgements based on new facts and situations,” Harrison says in this third and final installment. “But one of my concerns is this: How do we ensure we develop judgement skills in the profession?”

Join the Coupa Webinar Tomorrow to Learn About Community Intelligence

Spend Matters UK’s procurement veteran Peter Smith on Tuesday will join Coupa’s John Callan for a webinar in the UK about developments in community intelligence, the idea of driving benefits through a community of organizations that are each buying separately but look to collaborate in some way.

Leading procurement/spend management firm Coupa is hosting tomorrow’s event, “Community Intelligence — A Procurement Revolution.” The time of the webinar was changed to accommodate the North American audience, so sign up here and join the 45-minute session at 9 a.m. Central time (3 p.m. UK time), and bring your questions about community intelligence.

“Advances in technology, driven by firms like Coupa, are increasing the potential for benefits from it, making it a significant tool for procurement and one which we believe procurement leaders need to understand,” Smith says in a preview of the event.

The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insider’s Hot List: December 2018 [Plus+]

Welcome to the December 2018 edition of Spend Matters’ monthly feature, “The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insider’s Hot List,” available to PLUS and PRO subscribers. If you missed previous Hot Lists, you can find them all here. For those new to the Hot List, each edition covers the prior month’s important (and sometimes just plain interesting) technology and innovation developments within the CW/S space, where change may be accelerating or at least becoming more pervasive.

Despite the change of seasons, November was hot enough, with a continuing warm, steady stream of new developments like Spend Matters prepping the second contingent workforce comparison for SolutionMap (coming Dec. 4), an update on Upwork's stock performance since its IPO, Appen's aplomb with language, FlexJobs' map of jobs by states, and helping freelance workers help themselves.