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Spend Management Platforms: No Longer Just for the Big Boys

Procurement organizations large and small all have issues they need help with. The problem is not all of them realize it. For reasons from pressure to secure cost savings to lack of qualified resources, many procurement groups remain blind to process inefficiencies or daily headaches that could be easily relieved: misplaced purchase orders, byzantine spreadsheets, forgotten contract renewals, papers stacked to the ceiling. These were and continue to be real issues that plague procurement organizations. Unfortunately, small and middle-market firms have found themselves locked out of the opportunities that technology such as spend management platforms offer procurement.

‘Ask Spend Matters’ Lightning Round: Marketing Spend, Public Procurement and Finding a Contractor

As we work behind the scenes to turn Ask Spend Matters into a more regular feature, we thought we’d chip away at a few of the reader questions we’ve been sitting on. As managing editor Taras Berezowsky promised last month those who have submitted a question but not heard back, we haven’t forgotten about you! Today’s lightning round edition, if you will, tackles three specific questions on the value versus price debate in marketing spend, where federal agencies find their suppliers and how to find a young person to prepare those boring databases.

Q&A With Graham Wright: The Tools IBM Procurement Is Using and Why

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In Part 1 of our interview chat with Graham Wright, IBM’s vice president of global procurement and IBM procurement services, we had just gotten down to brass tacks on what he considers to be the hallmarks of procurement transformation for organizations today. (ICYMI, catch up on Part 1 here.) Wright was also — for once — back at home in the U.K., which is not a regular occurrence lately. However, upon a minor run-in with a hotel room doorway, he’s had to take it a bit easy. Luckily we caught up with him post-recovery. Here’s the second part of our conversation.

Q&A With Graham Wright, IBM’s VP of Global Procurement: It’s Not the 80s Anymore

When the term “global” is in your title, chances are you’re going to be a jet-setter. That’s indeed the case for IBM’s Vice President of Global Procurement and IBM Procurement Services Graham Wright, who is based in the U.K. and has been ping-ponging around the planet on behalf of the Global 100 giant for the last several years. Between meeting with clients and presenting at conferences, Wright made some time to catch up with Spend Matters about how he and IBM see the state of procurement technology within our increasingly digitalized business ecosystem.

How AI Will Help Procurement Advance Analytics Beyond Basic Spend Analysis

Leading procurement organizations today don’t just measure what they spent. They push their definition of spend analytics to encompass their total value contribution to the business, taking advantage of both conventional and newly accessible data sources to enable true supply analytics. How have they done this? While strong leadership and evolving best practices have played an important role, the simple answer is that analytics technology has finally advanced to the point where it can enable a supply analytics strategy. Key to this evolution is the rise of artificial intelligence within the enterprise.

Traditional Workforce Models are Constraining Business Growth — Here’s How Procurement Can Fix It

Businesses operating in today’s disruptive economy need innovative thinking and agile teams to meet rapidly changing customer demands. Yet standard models of workforce engagement remain antiquated and inflexible, limiting companies’ ability to respond to new opportunities. The ascendance of the knowledge economy and the explosion of new technology applications, however, have created new opportunities for organizations to rethink how mission-critical, highly skilled talent is sourced, managed and consumed. Accordingly, new models of workforce engagement have begun to emerge, allowing organizations to break free from their legacy processes and tap a new source of innovation for the enterprise.

Upwork’s Work Without Limits Executive Summit: A Retrospective

Before the unofficial end of summer, I had the opportunity to attend Upwork’s first Work Without Limits Executive Summit in San Francisco. Upwork, the largest global online freelancer marketplace in terms of gross payment volume (effectively, spend), has earned a place on Spend Matters 50 to Watch list two years in a row, so many eyes are on the company. The focus of the summit was actually Upwork Enterprise, Upwork’s online freelancer sourcing and services solution for enterprise-scale organizations (from midsize to Fortune 500 firms).

Updating Risk Management for the 21st Century: One CPO’s Approach

Deloitte Global CPO Survey 2016

When the financial crisis struck, in 2008, Ron Wilson learned fast that his company’s approach to managing risk had become obsolete. As chief procurement officer at Wilbur Curtis, Wilson intimately knew the ups and downs of managing a global supply chain. But when it came to risk, the Montebello, California-based manufacturer saw him as the point man — and that was it. The aftermath of the Great Recession made that impossible.

Terrorist Attacks Pose Growing Problem for Supply Chains Worldwide

Terrorist attacks on supply chains are on the upswing, according to a recent report from BSI, a provider of supply chain intelligence. The number of such attacks have increased 8.5% from last year, and the year-over-year increase in the proportion of terrorist attacks on supply chains versus all attacks has also risen, by 19%.

Blending Internal and External Talent with Technology: A New Recipe for Businesses (ICYMI)

A recent webinar, which I presented with KPMG’s Sougata Banerjee, is now online, and it is free to view. The webinar covers what Spend Matters regards as a new generation of contingent workforce and services that is supported by new technologies, solutions and intermediaries. While at an early stage — and easy to dismiss as “way out there” — it is real, and an increasing number of enterprises are beginning put to a toe into the water, closely examining, testing, piloting or even starting to move up the adoption curve.

Sustaining Value From Oracle Procurement: After the First Wave

In an earlier installment in this series on getting value from Oracle procurement applications, we explored where to focus on if you want to move fast with Oracle technology. Contrary to what many might believe, it is now possible to get Oracle technology to move at whatever speed you need it to — at least in select areas. But once you get past the “first wave” of savings and value generation from Oracle procurement technology, where should you turn next? That’s the topic we’ll explore in this article in more detail, as well the implementation and deployment nuances that Oracle — by nature of being Oracle — creates relative to its peers.

Getting Value From Oracle Procurement Applications Fast

Within the procurement technology arena, Oracle is not as well known as many of its peers with similar market share. There are numerous reasons for this, but in starting with the obvious, we would note that Oracle has so many product lines (and so many procurement products) that any individual application or suite of combined modules is likely to get lost in the brand shuffle (i.e., there is no SAP Ariba of Oracle). When thinking of these products, many procurement practitioners will likely conjure up a now somewhat dated perception that getting value from Oracle technology solutions takes time — sometimes lots of time. But there is no longer a need to “wait” for Oracle procurement value.