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Leveraging Supplier Management Platforms for Multiple Goals: Risk Reduction, Supplier Diversity and CSR

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Supplier Management is booming – or so some say. But what exactly is supplier management and how should we define and consider the category of solutions that comprise this segment from a technology perspective? Should we consider targeted supplier diversity, supplier risk and supplier on-boarding as individual initiatives and separate platforms or should they comprise part of a broader solution set? In our most recent Compass Series research brief examining supplier management, Spend Matters cuts through the confusion and noise of this nascent and fragmented market, describing, in pragmatic terms, how companies have come to define and consider supplier management solutions both individually and collectively in the areas of risk, diversity and corporate social responsibility (CSR).

For many, the supplier management sector is confusing and cursory investigation into it raises more questions that it often answers. Vendors and analysts are contributing to this confusion – Spend Matters is as guilty as any party – by creating different terms to describe it (e.g., supplier information management, supply base management, etc.) as well as offering different explanations about what it encompasses. Part of the challenge is a lack of context and shared understanding about the decentralized requirements and forces that combined to create this emerging solution area.

Spend Matters research suggests the period between 2008-2010 witnessed a dramatic increase in the number and types of different offerings and capabilities that supplier management vendors could enable. Yet the majority of the Global 2000 at this time were not yet ready to tackle supplier management holistically, at least not earlier in the period. Rather, many still opted to pursue largely targeted initiatives. More advanced companies, however, began to experiment integrating different supplier management capabilities into a single set of capabilities.

To learn more about the evolution of this market and how leading organizations are tackling – both individually and collectively – different supplier management challenges, you can download this paper today. The research also provides checklists for key enabling supplier management feature, capability and solution requirements in the areas of supplier diversity, supply risk and CSR.