IT Content

Sourcing Validation as a Best Practice

Spend Matters welcomes another guest post from Jeff Muscarella of NPI, a spend management consultancy focused on eliminating overspending on IT, telecom and shipping. In […]

Procurement Information Architecture Part 3: Analytics [Plus+]

The biggest predictor of success of procurement organizations’ ability to make the best technology/business trade-offs and ‘pick the right tool for the job’ is having someone within IT and within procurement who is specifically tasked with an architect role to ensure that procurement is able to attain the elusive ‘long-term quick-fix’ solution. If nobody is the designated driver, then decisions are, at best, sub-optimal. Having effective IT/procurement governance goes beyond this discussion, but it is a key success factor. For example, IT may have some budget (and sunk costs and unused licenses) that procurement may be able to access, and there might be a broader IT initiative that procurement can use to latch onto for its own purposes.

Procurement Information Architecture Part 2: Portal Infrastructure [Plus+]

The vision I talked about yesterday, albeit narrow, requires a coherent infrastructure to support such a portal framework, but not the applications themselves that execute the processes that are being served up in the portal. It lends itself well to bigger infrastructure vendors like IBM, Oracle, etc. who have strong infrastructure products for content management, portals, etc. in addition to the business applications. But, this doesn’t mean that they are the only providers, nor does it mean that any vendor with some type of supplier management functionality is a supplier portal provider. In terms of the former, take the example of Oracle and SAP. Oracle’s iSupplier Portal and SAP’s Supplier Enablement help extended some basic eProcurement capabilities out to the supplier, but are not true supplier portal ‘platforms’.

The Problem with Portals [Plus+]

First, you have to define what the heck you mean by a "supplier portal." Is it the web page and custom functionality you construct to coordinate all supplier interactions? Is it just a place for suppliers to check on payment status, do PO flips, and do some self-service data maintenance? Companies are all over the board in their definitions, and so are the technology suppliers who serve them. Having a supplier portal vision/strategy and an overall procurement information architecture is really important. It helps procurement and IT get on the same page so that they can better support the internal stakeholders, the suppliers, and themselves!