Amazon vs. Ariba, Oracle’s Value Chain Summit, ADP, and CatMan

Amazon goes B2B.

Amazon vs. Ariba: The Coming Battleground? -- Over the past year, we’ve begun to take a closer look at Amazon’s strategy in a B2B environment, including targeting the SMB industrial and MRO market with Amazon Supply (see coverage here and here). But the big question on our minds is not whether Amazon will become a thorn in the side of Grainger, MSC, Wesco, or even metal distributors like O’Neal or Reliance with its warehousing and fulfillment network combined with a storefront. Rather it’s a question of whether we’ll see Amazon on the corporate purchasing desktop competing against the likes of Ariba for supplier network dominance.

Jason hung out with Oracle this week.

Oracle’s Value Chain Summit: Procurement Dispatch 1 -- I’ll be at Oracle’s Value Chain Summit in San Francisco for the first part of this week, covering the latest from them in procurement and related realms. Oracle shared in advance that the purpose of the gathering is to combine six individual summits (maintenance, manufacturing, procurement, product lifecycle management, value chain execution and value chain planning) into one event.

Oracle’s Value Chain Summit: When Endeca Met iProcurement and Sparks Flew -- In recent memory, Oracle E-Business Suite iProcurement has not offered a truly bad shopping experience for front line requisitioners like some not-so-distant versions of other ERP procurement tools. Still, a small cottage industry has emerged to support the re-skinning and improvement of Oracle’s E-Business Suite iProcurement search, catalog management and shopping experience (just as it has with SAP SRM mind you). Vinimaya built a good portion of its business on it. More recently Enrich (formerly EnrichIT) and BuyerQuest have done the same.

Oracle’s Value Chain Summit: From Spend Analytics to Spend Planning -- In the past few years, Oracle has been aggressively making up the customer momentum that it lacked in the basic spend analytics area, including spend classification, until it introduced a product that was relatively late to the game compared with specialist procurement providers. Even though we believe that the real differentiation that Oracle will drive within spend analytics will come from its Oracle Endeca Information Discovery solution (showcased on the main stage at the start of its Value Chain Summit Event) by combining procurement analytics, spend data, quality information and related areas together, Oracle’s BI-driven approach to analytics isn’t exactly shabby today – and stacks up well in terms of configurable reporting.

Speaking of Oracle.

Enrich and e-Three to Merge: Consolidation in Oracle Procurement Ecosystems -- On February 4,  2013, Oracle systems integration, BPO and consulting partners Enrich (formerly EnrichIT) and e-Three announced their intent to merge. The transaction is expected to close by the end of February. Prior to the merger, Enrich had roughly two hundred employees, of which approximately twenty were dedicated full-time to the procurement area. e-Three also had twenty employees (in total) focused exclusively on procurement.

An e-invoicing solution that may not be on your radar.

ADP: An E-Invoicing Alternative Across Industries (Part 1) -- ADP has been a quietly growing e-invoicing player for many years, focused mainly on the oil and gas industry. Some might describe “quiet” as an understatement – the e-invoicing market is full of buzz, self-promotion, controversy (supplier fees) and confusion (explain to us the workflow, process and specific document exchange that must occur between buyer, supplier and the government in Brazil for an e-invoice in two minutes or less – go!) Part 2 here.

The buzz around category management.

BuzzwordPalooza Part 1: Category Management -- My colleague Peter Smith (Spend Matters UK) has done a great multi-part Spend Matters PRO series on ‘Category Management’ (Part 1Part 2Part 3), reflecting back on the importance of “CatMan” in relation to strategic sourcing over the years. As I read it though, it highlighted something that has been bugging me for years, namely, the lack of clarity on procurement buzzwords and terminology. Given my background, I am a bit of a stickler for precision in terminology and definitions, and also in trying to understand the variation that exists within any type of definition or measurement in order to draw better conclusions and recommendation (although I am not as much of a stickler as someone like Jacque Fresco!). This is especially true with the terms category management and strategic sourcing.

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