Plus or PRO Content

A User’s Guide to the Gig Economy for Procurement Practitioners [Plus+]

The gig economy has been talked about so endlessly that the term has become nearly meaningless. Yet contingent workforce and services procurement practitioners know there is something going on beyond the buzzwords, something that is beginning to matter to the work they do. It is difficult, however, for many practitioners to distinguish what is essential and of importance in the context of their procurement goals. To aid in that effort, this Spend Matters Plus brief explores how practitioners can make the gig economy work for them.

Catalog Management: Technical and Functional Component Requirements (Part 2) [PRO]

As our Spend Matters PRO series on catalog management continues, we turn our attention to the business, technical and functional requirements that comprise this component of procure-to-pay solutions, specifically what procurement organizations should look for as they evaluate technology vendors as part of an e-procurement selection process. The capabilities we describe in this research brief are based on the Spend Matters SolutionMap RFI requirements for catalog management as a component of procure-to-pay.

Today, we turn our attention to two components of catalog management: catalog creation (inclusive of supplier onboarding) and data quality control, outlining the functional requirements we look for when evaluating catalog management as part of SolutionMap scoring and when defining requirements with procurement organizations in e-procurement and procure-to-pay selection processes.

We welcome discussion with organizations interested in exploring catalog management further. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Catalog Management: What It Is and Why It Matters (Part 1) [PRO]

One can almost hear Rodney Dangerfield strutting on stage, blurting out, “Catalog management.It don’t get no respect.” At least if you’re as into old 1980s stand-up comedy reruns and e-procurement technology as us.

But seriously, we miss that guy. And with a statement like that, the late Dangerfield would have been spot on about catalog management, an area that is not as well understood or respected as a centerpiece of e-procurement as it should be. This Spend Matters PRO series provides an introduction to catalog management for both business and technical users. Our goal is nothing short of getting it the respect it deserves.

Today, we begin our series with a look at what catalog management is and the different capabilities of which it consists, as well as its intersections with supplier network enablement and connectivity. Those interested in how different providers compare to each other in the catalog management arena as part of broader e-procurement and procure-to-pay capabilities should also check out our latest SolutionMap Insider reports.

We welcome discussion with organizations interested in exploring catalog management further. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Supplier Management: When the User Experience Guides Functionality (Part 3) [PRO]

This Spend Matters PRO series provides an insider perspective on what separates best-of-breed supplier management technology providers from the pack. It emphasizes both the user interface and underlying solution capabilities of technology solutions, and, in certain cases, how the two come together. We also provide a hint at what’s to come throughout the rest of 2018 and 2019 — that is, what top performing providers will be introducing when “procurement 2020” becomes reality rather than punditry.

Need to catch up on what we’ve covered thus far? Part 1 in our series explored messaging, chat and collaboration; guided survey and template creation; and leading functional elements that enable the uploading of templates and documents. Part 2 unearthed differentiation among leading capabilities that support supplier categorization and tagging, scorecards (inclusive of alerting and predictive analytics), corrective action management, innovation management and master data management.

As our series concludes today, we will turn our attention to:

  • Guided supplier workflow management
  • Relevant risk identification for both parties
  • Integrated smart catalog and product management

Best Practice Tips For Implementing Dynamic Discounting and Other Trade Financing Programs [Plus+]

In this Spend Matters Plus analysis, we investigate some of the key best practice tips for dynamic discounting implementation and trade financing programs. In a follow-up post, we will also share “worst practices” that far too many procurement and AP organizations are pursuing with dynamic discounting and trade financing programs because they don’t know better.

HICX: Vendor Snapshot Update (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses, Customer Perspective and Summary Recommendations [PRO]

HICX is representative of a provider that excels in a single platform-level element of a particular discipline (i.e., master data management within supplier management), using this element to build competitive differentiation and a strong customer following in a highly competitive marketplace. While much of our original Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot from 2016 (see Part 1 and Part 2) on HICX remains an accurate review of the provider in 2018, the MDM specialist has leveraged its core strengths to deliver adjacent capabilities and product line extensions.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot Update provides an update to our previous analysis HICX. Part 2 provides updated strengths and weaknesses, customer reference insight and summary recommendations on when to prioritize HICX as a shortlist candidate. The first installment of our 2018 update provides 2018 key facts on HICX, a solution overview, a recap of its overall footprint and solutions, insight into new features and capabilities, and a competitive landscape update.

HICX: Vendor Snapshot Update (Part 1) — Updated Facts, Solution Footprint, Solution Enhancements and Competitive Landscape [PRO]

In our last deep dive analysis of HICX, a U.K.-based supply chain master data management technology firm, we noted that the provider delivered a unique set of supplier-centric MDM capabilities coupled with configurable workflow for buyers and suppliers. Our original HICX Vendor Snapshot series (see Part 1 and Part 2) still provides a useful foundation for those considering the MDM specialist as a shortlist candidate for supplier management.

For those evaluating HICX, we also recommend the latest Q1 2018 Supplier Management SolutionMap Insider coverage to understand how the provider compares in the supplier management and risk management market on a comparative basis.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot Update provides an refresh to our previous analysis of HICX. Part 1 provides updated key facts on HICX, a solution overview and a competitive landscape update. Part 2 provides updated strengths and weaknesses, customer reference insights, and summary recommendations on when to consider HICX as a top shortlist candidate for supplier management.

Supplier Management: When the User Experience Guides Functionality (Part 2) [PRO]

digital

When it comes to procurement and supplier management technology solutions, you can learn a lot when spending time looking both at and below the user interface surface of specific solutions. However, the user experience and underlying technology stack are increasingly interconnected — and coupled. Thus, separating the two from each other can be difficult.

This Spend Matters PRO series explores what separates best-of-breed supplier management vendors from the pack, with an emphasis both on the UI and underlying technology capabilities. Part 1 in our series explored messaging, chat and collaboration; guided survey and template creation; and leading functional elements that enable the uploading of templates and documents. In Part 2, we continue with an emphasis on exploring the intersection of functionality and usability.

Supplier Management: When the User Experience Guides Functionality (Part 1) [PRO]

tech

When it comes to supplier management technology, there seems to be a near universal playbook that most of the top technology providers follow for defining, capturing and managing supplier data. It’s not surprising, then, that when it comes to marketing such capabilities, there's essentially no differentiation at all. As a result, you'd be forgiven if you thought that many supplier management vendors sound interchangeable, despite claims of advanced master data management, metric tracking or portal superiority.

In practice, however, nothing could be further from the truth. As our latest Supplier Management SolutionMap indicates, there is significant differentiation among providers, and our PRO Vendor Snapshot reviews on providers such as Aravo, HICX and Lavante only further illustrate this point. But you need to dive deep to find the variation that counts — differentiation that only comes into play when you start unpacking the specific supplier information management, performance management, supplier portal, relationship management, initiative management, discovery, master data components and related capabilities of best-in-class providers.

The purpose of this series on supplier management functionality and user design is to, in effect, share the ingredients to the secret sauce we see in use today among both top performing providers and those making the recipe list for tomorrow’s supplier management menu. We kick off our series by first exploring messaging, chat and collaboration, guided survey and template creation, uploading of templates and documents, and simplified data creation and validation.

The Digital Evolution of the Contingent Workforce Supply Chain: What Does It Mean? (Part 1) [Plus+]

contingent workforce

Driven by the effects of new digital technologies and other factors (talent availability, generational change, etc.), contingent workforce procurement — and the contingent workforce supply chain — will be noticeably evolving over the next 10 years. The last impetus to change in the supply chain and procurement was the advent of VMS over 15 years ago, a set of developments that is well known by now. Given how much the world of commerce has changed since that time, we probably should not be surprised that another round of change has now begun. This time, given the range of drivers — technical, economic and social — that are converging, we should also not be surprised if the new round of change may give rise to new kinds of technology-enabled labor/services intermediaries and technology-based innovation across the existing contingent workforce supply chain (staffing suppliers, VMS, MSP and others). This Spend Matters Plus brief helps contingent workforce and services procurement professionals form a broad, strategic perspective on how technology, specifically, may bring about changes to the contingent workforce supply chain and how that may unfold. However, as will discuss later in this series, this is not just the “long game,” as both specific opportunities and threats will arise along the longer path forward.

Spendata: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses [PRO]

data analytics

Spendata is one of the first third-generation spend analytics platforms that takes analytics out of the fixed data warehouse world and into the modern big data era, where you can do the analysis you want, when you want, where you want and how you want. As it runs in the browser, your only restriction is an OS that runs Chrome (which are 99% of the OS deployments). And you don't have to worry about whether or not the vendor is GDPR compliant, because the data stays on your machine.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Spendata’s product strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should shortlist the vendor. It also offers a critique of the user interface. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Bonfire in the sourcing technology area. The final installment in this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Spendata: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview [PRO]

There are two views one can take of spend analysis. The modern view envisions that all of the data needs to be centralized in a data warehouse, business intelligence (BI) or spend analysis tool in a single standardized hierarchy agreed upon by the entire organization. The belief is that there needs to be only one view into a single version of the truth before any (spend-related) progress can be made. This desire to find the be-all single spend taxonomy structure bolted onto a corporate data warehouse is a fool’s errand because there is no single hierarchical structure that represents the multi-variate richness of spend/supply data that category managers need to extract value. For more on this topic, see here.

Then there is the postmodern view, where success depends upon taking appropriate action on whatever data you can get, whenever you can get it, in whatever form it's in. Any intelligence is better than no intelligence, and any savings or value you can identify today is worth more than the hypothetically better savings that you might identify next week, next month, or, more likely next quarter or year (which is likely how long it will take to agree on a common schema, collect all of the data across the organization, categorize it, cleanse it and enrich it). And while more data can allow for the identification of bigger opportunities, it's often not worth waiting until you have it all to start the analysis and start pursuing those opportunities that are available today.

In this series we are going to talk about a new and disruptive spend analysis solution that adopts the postmodern view of spend analysis, where a practitioner should be able to take action on any data she can get her hands on whenever she can get her hands on it and take immediate action wherever and whatever. This includes the situation where the practitioner already has access to an enterprise data warehouse or business intelligence solution, because the data doesn't always get into that solution right away — and even if it does, it's not always the case that the schema of the data warehouse or business intelligence solution will support the type of analysis that the practitioner needs to do.

Oh, and it’s only $699.