US News: New E-Sourcing Research, Supplier Diversity ROI, Top SMB Procurement Services

Coming at you live from Influenza B-induced house arrest so I do not plague the rest of the Spend Matters team (is there as bad of an epidemic this year in the UK?? I received the second-to-last packet of Tamiflu from my pharmacy!) What's your best flu remedy beyond tea, honey, and self pity?

Back to procurement: here’s the news for this week:

New year, new research.

E-Sourcing Research: ERP Software Solutions Compared to Specialist Providers - We're excited to announce our latest Compass research series paper: Evaluating the Capabilities of ERP Providers Compared to Independent Vendors: Know Your Size? Before Trying on the Suit. The paper, free to all registrants, provides a cursory scan of the relative capabilities of ERP providers in the e-sourcing sector compared to specialist vendors. It also provides recommendations for how to discern whether ERP vendors can provide the right mix of capabilities either replacing or augmenting existing providers (it's important to remember that a surprising number of the more advanced procurement organizations are using specialist e-sourcing tools alongside Ariba, SAP and Oracle).

Open up to sell-side impact, innovation, and growth.

Supplier Diversity ROI – Distribution and Supply Chain Impact - The strategic return on investment (ROI) of working with small and diverse suppliers can be hard to define. This is a topic that we've covered in detail on Spend Matters before. The link is worth reading if you haven't already.

Out with the old.

New Category Management Approaches to IT Spending (Part 1) - Computer Weekly recently featured a great guest blog from Deloitte's Bhupinder Sandhu about how IT departments are approaching category management and broader sourcing and procurement strategies. While the full-text of the article can be found here, we'll share some of our key takeaways, beginning with a new approach to working with prime suppliers in a general contractor model for IT. (See Part 2 and Part 3 as well).

Commenting on a “State of Flux” report.

Supplier Relationship Management: Cost, Risk, and Value (Part 1) - Every year, State of Flux's Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) report presents one of the more comprehensive non-sourcing focused takes and surveys on the procurement market. The 2012 report is truly phenomenal. Its sample size (while definitely slanted towards the UK marketplace) is significant, representing responses from 287 individuals across 224 companies and public sector organizations. Anyone involved in supplier development, supply risk management, supplier on-boarding/enablement or related areas should reach out to State of Flux and request a copy of the 100+ page report. I promise, you won't be sorry. (See Part 2 and Part 3 as well).

2013 predictions!

3 Essential Procurement Services For Small and Middle Market Businesses - We're big believers that 2013 is going to be the year that procurement technology adoption takes off in the SMB procurement market. But which technologies across the source-to-pay continuum are most suited to small and middle market environments? Hint: it's only a handful. Granted, there are opportunities for the full suite of capabilities (including strategic sourcing, eProcurement, e-invoicing, contract management, supplier management and related areas) from Ariba, SAP, Oracle, SciQuest and others that sell end-to-end capabilities (typically to much larger companies). Yet we believe that smaller and middle market companies are going to prioritize just a handful of areas for investment.

And the winner goes to…

The Most Volatile Commodity of 2012: Copper - We don't make this pronouncement lightly. Nor do we do so in a truly scientific manner. Yet according to our sister site, MetalMiner, copper takes the metals cake as the most volatile commodity of 2012. As MetalMiner observes, "Copper earns the dubious distinction of 'most volatile metal' for 2012. And this comes as no surprise. MetalMiner's monthly Copper MMI® registered a value of 97 in January, on par with December's value ... the copper price has ended 2012 at nearly the same place where it started, despite double-digit volatility based on the supply/demand fundamentals and too much copper stock given slowing China demand (4.8% expected growth in 2013 vs. 7.8% in 2011)."

And finally, here is an amusing bit of super computer news.

Image source:

Teaching Watson the Urban Dictionary turned out to be a huge mistake - IBM’s Watson is one of the, if not the most intelligent supercomputers in existence, and it proved that by destroying humans at Jeopardy in 2011. But Watson hasn’t always been the well behaved and polite game show contestant.

- Sheena Moore


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