Procurement News from the US – Weekly Round-up

First off, Happy First Birthday to Spend Matters UK/Europe from all of us! I did a special Afternoon Coffee post that highlights some of the skills of one-year-olds. In other news, I can’t keep track of Jason’s travel schedule anymore (I think he’s been in eight states over the past two weeks) but he’s certainly still been writing. Here we go:

I do know that he attended the Emptoris Empower event in Boston:

Emptoris Empower 2011, Dispatch Two: Does Conservative Positioning = Conservative Product Strategy?

Emptoris Empower 2011: Dispatch Three -- Ease of Use Takes Center Stage

Emptoris Empower 2011: Dispatch Four -- Streamlining the User Experience With Some Fresh Interfaces

And he had the chance to speak with Duncan Jones (of Forrester) about the SAP/Crossgate Acquisition:

Catching up With Duncan Jones on the SAP/Crossgate Acquisition -- Despite my travels in the fall, I often have the good fortune to encounter Forrester's Duncan Jones during this busy season of conferences and speaking events. Duncan and I both cover this sector closely and although our views are not always identical, I always respect his analysis (which, in person, is often dished out with a creative sarcastic punch line every 20 minutes or so). In a recent guest post on Procurement Leaders, Duncan shared a few thoughts on SAP's recent acquisition of Crossgate (you can read our analysis here, here, and here).

A quick perusal of Tradeshift:

Tradeshift: Making E-Invoicing Free by Gunning for a Slice of the P-Card Market (Part 3) -- Organizations considering Tradeshift on the electronic invoicing and dynamic discounting side of the procurement and AP fence also owe it to themselves to investigate a range of other upstart solutions in the supply chain finance space. One of these providers in Oxygen Finance, an organization with an equally bold vision to displace p-cards by leveraging a proprietary network environment that greatly reduces the borrowing cost for suppliers and improves the rate of acceptance in early discounting programs. Oxygen's main claim to fame besides their underlying payment architecture, which is quite unique through its simple but elegant execution that enables the ability to support multiple funding models while ensuring the capture (and agreement) of suppliers to participate or not in an early payment program. (Part 1 and Part 2 here)

Some pondering around supply risk...

Considering Brand Reputation as a Component of Supply Chain Risk -- Here at Spend Matters, we spend quite a bit of time considering all the different components that can increase supply risk for an organization. From supplier financial viability to vendor non-compliance when it comes to materials usage and disclosure to protecting against natural disasters that bring certain regions to a supply standstill, supply risk is a multi-headed spend hydra. But one area we haven't dug into much is how suppliers can threaten our brand reputation in the market.

Two guest posts focused on various aspects of spend management:

IT Spend: How to Cut Costs, Not Impact -- Enterprise IT leaders are feeling the uncertainty in the market. In years past, the mandate was "do more with less." Today, the demands are greater. For many companies, system upgrades and new investments aren't optional; they're required in order to keep the business relevant and/or compliant. Everyone in IT, from the CIO to sourcing, is being asked: how can we reduce spending without sacrificing our impact on business?

You’ve Got Legal Services Leverage...Now Use it Wisely -- This is an interesting moment for buyers of legal services. The recent economic downturn was unusual, bringing with it a decline in both transactional activity and litigation. This "double dip" in demand for legal services created significant excess capacity in the largest US and UK law firms. Although law firms engaged in unprecedented layoffs of non-lawyer staff, associates, and even partners, most seemed reluctant to cut as deeply as similarly situated companies in other industries might have. The prolonged non-recovery has aggravated the situation, and by most accounts, utilization numbers at many firms remain low.

Finally, I know it’s only October, but here’s my official pick for best album of 2011:

No tracks up on Youtube yet, but hop on Spotify and give it a listen (especially Raconte-Moi une Histoire, which verges on annoyingly cute until you become lost in the depth and then the amazing build, which literally takes you into the next track on a train). I love it when you can hear an artist grow up, so to speak, as M83 has done over the years.

-- Sheena Moore

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