Technology Content

3 Reasons Why Public Sector Tenders Should Use Dynamic Purchasing Systems

procurement software

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Marko Rossi, product manager for Cloudia, a source-to-pay provider.

Dynamic purchasing systems have advantages over the venerable framework agreement, which has been the go-to structure for public sector authorities looking to procure goods and services for many years. Designed to remove uncertainty, traditional framework agreements typically bind vendors and authorities into four-year relationships that ensure all parties within the agreement commit to each other for the long term.

This works perfectly well — if the pace of societal and economic change is serene. The world today doesn’t quite fit this picture. A supplier that meets buyer requirements today may go out of business tomorrow, or their circumstances may change so drastically that they may struggle to fulfill their contractual duties.

Dynamic purchasing systems (DPS) were purpose-built to address these flaws. Read on to find out the three reasons public sector tenders should use DPS.

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Busting B2B E-Commerce Myths for Suppliers

If your B2B e-commerce system is not yet capable of digitally integrating with your customers' procurement systems, you are leaving a lot of business on the proverbial table. And we mean a lot of business. So let's dispel four common myths about the benefits and challenges of developing and maintaining a punchout-enabled e-commerce storefront. If not done well, it can derail the supplier journey before it even gets started.

Defining AP Automation Functional Requirements (Part 1): Core Invoicing (Set-Up, Creation, Submission and Receiving) [PRO]

AP Automation is getting a lot of attention recently from multiple angles. This includes both finance/procurement organizations considering these solutions independently or as a component of broader invoice-to-pay or procure-to-pay investments. And it also counts the investment community, which continues to throw support behind a broad range of providers (just recently MineralTree raising $50 million).

As we’ve noted before, from a breadth perspective, AP automation technology can encompass the following functional areas on the highest level, which include electronic invoice capture, paper/PDF invoice capture (scan/capture), core invoice processing, invoice validations/matching (e.g., match to a PO or goods receipt), invoice approvals, supplier portal, supplier enablement services, systems integration, pre-onboarded suppliers payment integration and payment.

As part of our continuing coverage of AP automation, this Spend Matters PRO series will explore the functional requirements that finance and procurement organizations should look for in a solution with “foundational” and “advanced” capabilities.

Part 1 takes our first look at the core invoicing requirements for AP automation and some of the criteria that Global 2000 and middle market organizations should consider when selecting solutions (i.e., invoicing set-up, paper scan/capture support and e-invoicing). Subsequent briefs in this series will analyze other AP automation requirements that customers should look for in a solution.

The Digital Transformation of Services Sourcing: What It Is and Why It Matters

gig economy

Remember when you could only book a flight by calling a travel agent? Or do a banking transaction by visiting the nearest branch? Buy insurance only through an agent? Shop for a new house only by reading the local newspaper classifieds, or search for a plumber or doctor only in the Yellow Pages?

The way consumers buy services now has been massively digitized, with the enormous benefits of great selection, convenience and value for all of us. Yet most business-to-business services are bought today in the same way they were bought 20 years ago. That still largely depends on a phone call between a business stakeholder who has a need and someone they trust to broker the work. That someone is often a senior executive in a large firm, who then rallies a team to prepare a proposal that will be presented to the buyer in person.

But change is coming.

Procurement’s Digital Transformation Goals Not in Sync with Development Priorities, Hackett Study Finds

Digital transformation is making it easier for procurement organizations to “do more with less,” according to newly released research from The Hackett Group consulting firm. However, as bluntly stated in its 2019 CPO Agenda: Building Next Generation Capabilities report, “Procurement’s transformation agenda is poorly aligned with its most critical development priorities.”

The procurement industry, according to the report, remains under pressure to act on its critical development priorities for 2019, including improving analytical capabilities, aligning skills and talent with business needs, leveraging supplier relationships, enhancing agility and achieving true customer-centricity.

Q&A on Digital Procurement’s Role in Sustainability, Ethics and Compliance [PRO]

As supply chains get increasingly externalized and globalized, the broad scope of operations is subject to equally broad regulatory oversight and supply risk. Meanwhile, as consumers increasingly demand transparency and ethical behavior by value chain brand owners, supply chain organizations at those brands (and also at their suppliers), are having to increasingly respond to these demands. Procurement organizations, for their part, are trying their best to support this externalization on all fronts, but they are so busy with strategic sourcing and P2P execution that even the “basics” of supplier qualification, certification and on-boarding are suffering — never mind having time for more strategic activities in supplier innovation, advanced risk management, digital transformation and other areas.

So, what’s the solution? Well, procurement must first practice what it preaches by tapping supply market innovation for itself, and this innovation is taking many forms. In an everything-as-a-service (XaaS) world, procurement must not only take a leadership role in robustly contracting for these diverse cloud services, but also:

— identifying how various providers beyond cloud applications can help procurement execute much more efficiently — at the cadence of the business.
— embedding the best digital supply market innovations into its own service delivery in order to expand its own influence and brand within the enterprise.
— enabling and empowering functional partners in GRC, IT, Finance, Legal, HR, Risk/Audit, etc. to enable their own service value (increasingly in a cross-functional GBS environment) and integrate the disparate services together much more coherently.

For example, consider the question: Who is responsible for establishing the single face to the supplier when we digitally on-board and manage them to not only transact with them in a compliant manner, but also ensure that they’re operating securely, ethically and transparently more broadly? It’s not just procurement, but rather a combination of procurement, IT, GRC and various centers-of-excellence that should be working tightly together. Unfortunately, misalignment is the norm, but not because of outright conflict or malfeasance, but because functional folks are too busy just trying to execute within their own silos. And they’ll never extricate themselves from that situation unless they have drastically new capabilities to deploy.

This is where procurement organizations need to make smart choices on how they apply digital strategies and tools/services to this area of sustainability, ethics and compliance.

I was recently catching up with an industry colleague of mine named Tomas Wiemer on the topic (he’s a former procurement transformation leader from Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent). He is very deep into this area and typical of leaders at European firms who are definitely in the vanguard here. Tomas is considering some career changes right now, primarily with some emerging tech players who can have a dramatic impact in the industry. Tomas reminds me a bit of a European version of Roy Anderson, who just joined Tradeshift (here’s part 3 of an interview that I did with him), and I think that Tomas will do similarly well when he lands somewhere. He’s doing some interim work for a client, and I agreed to let him interview me for my inputs, but given my role, I asked him for the questions in writing so that I could fully respond in kind and publish it to our subscribers. The questions are below:

How do you view topics as compliance and sustainability in the procurement digitalization landscape?
Do you foresee a convergence/harmonization of sustainability/compliance requirements toward suppliers thanks to the rise of S2P platforms/marketplaces?
What do you believe is the greatest added value of procurement digitalization / AI for compliance and sustainability?
What do you think are the key conditions/requirements to enable the emergence of sustainability/compliance topics in digital procurement?

What’s interesting is that this topic is very hot right now. My business partner Jason Busch just attended the recent EcoVadis conference in Paris, and the buzz (beyond the buzz from the sustainably grown coffee that was undoubtedly served there) was palpable. Part of the reason is that the topic is giving many procurement organizations new ways to engage the business and the suppliers alike in a way that drives much more meaningful value across the value chain beyond just price-centric cost savings. And it also engages a new generation of procurement professionals who want to have a meaningful impact on value chains rather than just being deal-makers and “firefighters.”

Anyway, the questions above are big ones, and require very thorough answers, so without further ado, let’s get to answering them ...

Why Well-Run Hospitals Need Tailored Technology to Care for Patients, Business

healthcare

As one of the nation’s largest nonprofit health systems, BJC HealthCare needs to provide consistent, high-quality patient care across all of its hospitals while maintaining operational efficiency. When the St. Louis, Missouri-based healthcare provider began its search to upgrade how it supplies its facilities, it found the healthcare marketplace provider Prodigo Solutions, which knows what hospitals of all sizes need because it provides online shopping and other services to more than half of the top 15 hospitals in the U.S.

Today, BJC uses ProdigoMarketplace to requisition a range of medical items that have been negotiated for price and vetted for compliance. To understand how the Marketplace helps, the staff at BJC answered some questions about working with Prodigo.

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."

AI in Supplier Management: Today (Part 1) [PRO]

suppliers

With this brief we begin the next installment of our series on the application of artificial intelligence (AI) to various source-to-pay technologies. Previous entries focused on AI in procurement (Today, Part 1 and Part 2; Tomorrow, Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3; and The Day After Tomorrow), AI in sourcing (Today; Tomorrow, Part 1 and Part 2; and The Day After Tomorrow), AI in sourcing optimization (Today; Tomorrow; and The Day After Tomorrow, Part 1 and Part 2) and AI in supplier discovery (Today, Tomorrow and The Day After Tomorrow).

Following the path from supplier discovery and selection is the topic of our current series, supplier management. As with each preceding entry, the aim is to define what is available with AI(-like) technology and what will be possible tomorrow. And just as the best platforms for supplier discovery are starting to use machine learning and RPA, so too are the best supplier management platforms — but we're getting ahead of ourselves.

After SIG’s Spring Executive Summit, I Think Procurement is Officially Cool Now

One day you wake up and realize that you’re nearly 10 years into a procurement career (which you never expected, considering your English literature degree) and you’ve never been to a SIG conference. That changed this week as I headed down to Amelia Island, Florida, for the Spring Executive Summit. And I learned a few things that Spend Matters readers should know.

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.

Easier-to-Use Sourcing Optimization Can Put the Power in the Hands of Everyone, Scout RFP Says

Sourcing optimization holds much promise for crunching the vast amount of data that procurement organizations increasingly face — as well as cutting costs, saving time and guiding buyers and suppliers to better decisions. But to date, the tools used for optimization have been too complex for most professionals to easily examine and understand the wide range of sourcing events presented.

That’s starting to change as procurement technology modernizes and customer-experience expectations rise.

To understand how the barriers to using sourcing optimization are dropping and to see the wider adoption of dynamic negotiation and sourcing optimization tools, we asked Scout RFP Co-Founder and President Stan Garber to shed some light on the latest developments.

“Today, we can optimize the entire sourcing process with a click of a button. We’re going from the days of manual Excel modeling and email juggling to a collaborative application that is as simple to use as an iPhone,” Garber said for this Q&A about the future of the procurement and sourcing technology.