Enterprise Irregulars Content

Tips on Speaking to a Procurement Audience: Give Up the Slides, Please [Plus+]

Whenever I have a big speech to give, I usually spend a few weeks preparing, or at least going through in my head, a planned outline. Like many presenters for whom public speaking did not come naturally to start, I’ve often found myself relying on slides to guide my talk. They’re a type of crutch, if you will. But in recent years, in the rare cases that I’ve been forced to present without PowerPoint, I’ve found the audience was far more engaged – probably something about a lack of 12 point Helvetica fonts and multiple takeaway arrows per slide, I suppose.

Minima Maxima Sunt: Why SAP’s Acquisition of Fieldglass is not like Buying Ariba

Over the past 24 hours on Spend Matters, we’ve had the start of what promises to be extensive coverage of the largest services procurement software acquisition in history: SAP’s acquisition of Fieldglass. While much of our analysis will ultimately be centered on the solution, the technical side of product innovation and capability of the two combined providers, and the implications for customers and the broader market, there’s another, ironically “human” element to the deal that makes it very different than SAP’s acquisition of Ariba.

Breaking News: Coupa Closes on $40 Million in Additional Funds

Announced this morning, Coupa has added $40 million to their war chest via a Series F investment round lead by Meritech Capital Partners – with other new investors (Icon Ventures and Northgate Ventures) as well as their original investors (Crosslink Capital, Mohr Davidow Ventures, Battery Ventures, El Dorado Ventures, and Blue Run Ventures) also participating. We spoke to Rob Bernshteyn, Coupa's CEO and founder, this morning. Here's what we learned and subsequent commentary.

Spend Matters Almanac 50/50: 50 Providers to Watch for 2014

50 Providers to Watch includes many exciting and up-and-coming players in the procurement sector that we think our readers and members would do well to learn about – and learn from. Many smaller organizations made the list because a disproportional amount of innovation comes from upstart, entrepreneurial firms. But there are bigger organizations too, including some very large vendors that are not as established in the procurement market, but that we see breaking a new path forward. Every vendor on this list deserves a peek under the hood for anyone who wants to be in the know.

The Spend Matters Almanac 50/50 Lists Are Here: Providers to Know for 2014

The Spend Matters Almanac Top 50/50 lists are finally here! We’re excited to announce both our Top 50 Providers to Know and Top 50 Providers to Watch. The Top 50 Providers to Know are all members of the old procurement guard. Simply put, they’re companies you should already know about if you are in the procurement profession. If you’re not already familiar with the Top 50 to Know, don't worry. That’s why we’ve curated the list for you. But do invest the time to learn about these players that have shaped – and are still shaping, in many cases – the procurement marketplace.

Towards a New Procurement Portfolio: The Rise of Alternative Strategic Sourcing Models and Priorities

I’ve had an interesting couple of weeks talking to a wide variety of practitioners, consultants, and vendors about the area of strategic sourcing. There’s a tremendous amount of activity underneath the surface right now on what’s become known, in a classical sense, as the e-sourcing market, activity potentially missed by technology research reports, evaluations, blogs, and studies.While e-sourcing has grown up far beyond its reverse auction roots, I’m beginning to see alternative sourcing models and priorities taking shape like never before inside both mid-size and large procurement organizations.

Irrational Exuberance and Tech Valuations in B2B: Tradeshift, Tungsten, and Blur Group

I’ve come to believe that from an investment perspective we’re in the early to middle stages of a tech bubble in the procurement, supply chain, and B2B sector. This is a topic from a research perspective we’ve covered extensively on Spend Matters and Plus/PRO already (and been a part of behind the scenes, helping analyze and structure a number of deals in recent years). Today, I offer my shoot-from-the-hip market take on the valuations and potential of Tradeshift, Tungsten and Blur Group – three companies caught up in the high valuation time in which we find ourselves, albeit for different reasons.

Facebook & WhatsApp, The M&A Bubble, and Valuing B2B Companies With New Metrics

Looking at Facebook’s $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp, I’m getting a sneaking feeling like it’s 1999 all over again. As with the last Internet bubble, consumer-centric tech companies with stratospheric valuations are leading the charge in buying smaller firms with, well, stratospheric valuations. And the metrics being used to gauge acquisition value – the number of users and user growth rates – seem eerily similar to non-financial valuation metrics from last time around (eyeballs, anyone?). That is, when Mary Meeker and Henry Blodgett ushered in an era where discounted cash flow analysis was taught only to business school students and had no place in the bubble M&A world.

A.T. Kearney’s ROSMA Procurement Benchmark: The Good, The Bad, and The Implications (Part 1, The Good)

Management consultancy A.T. Kearney has announced a partnership with the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) to have ISM and CIPS offer A.T. Kearney’s ROSMA complimentary procurement benchmarking service to their respective memberships. ROSMA (pronounced “raahzma”) stands for Return On Supply Management Assets. It’s a complimentary procurement performance-benchmarking service (and associated benchmark) offered by A.T. Kearney – arguably the best-known management consultancy in procurement. I reviewed the benchmark survey directly, and in addition I had a chance to speak with A.T. Kearney top brass, who were kind enough to answer some of my questions.

“Ariba is Now a Product, Not a Company”

I have spent three of the past four weeks in Europe meeting with various procurement organizational leaders, technology vendors, financial services companies, consultants, business partners, and fellow industry observers. It’s been a whirlwind to say the least. One of the topics on many people’s minds appears to be the future direction of Ariba inside SAP. It would appear a number of the predictions we published following the acquisition are starting to come true, including some internal shifts in thinking regarding the future of the network (which we’re excited to hear). But there was one statement in particular I heard someone say that captured the evolution of the acquisition.

The Taulia Interview: Markus Ament on Growth, Dynamic Discounting, and the Long Tail of the Supply Chain

Markus (Maex) Ament, Chief Product Officer at Taulia, had a virtual sit-down with the Spend Matters team to answer some questions we had for him about Taulia, dynamic discounting and the future of trade financing. Maex has big opinions and a big personality (and is not shy in front of a camera, as his “Most Remarkable Man in AP Automation – see below – will attest to). Read between the lines as you see what Maex has to say – Taulia is doing exceptionally well right now in the field and the Taulia philosophy is one that is being mirrored by many AP, procurement, and treasury heads we speak with.

2014 Prediction: Services Procurement Finally Gets Respect! (Plus: Five Reasons Why)

With apologies to the late Rodney Dangerfield, services procurement “doesn’t get no respect.” Or at the very least, it hasn’t gotten the respect it deserved in the past. Sure, a material percentage of the Global 2000 have instituted some type of system and controls for overseeing contingent spend in at least a rudimentary tool. And many have either outright hired a managed services provider (MSP) to administer aspects of their contingent workforce program design and delivery or put some of this responsibility onto a larger, preferred staffing firm (but whatever you do, don’t take what MSPs tell you about their project and SOW experience experience with anything but a grain of salt). Yet few companies give services procurement the respect it deserves. The fact HR still often has a seat at the services table is testament to this. Kidding, OK!