Procurement News from the US – Weekly Round-Up

Well, despite the fact that we’ve dropped 40(F) degrees from Monday’s Memorial Day holiday high of 93 (and added in some rain as well -- my sunburn seems ludicrous under a sweater), Spend Matters has had an extremely productive week on all fronts. Here’s what’s up:

Spend Matters co-founder Kevin Brooks reflects on his time at Ariba.

From a Former Employee: Goodbye Ariba -- Much has been written here and elsewhere about the SAP/Ariba deal, but for me the acquisition has a personal angle, having spent six years there at the intersection of marketing, solutions and communications strategy. Also, a little-known fact is that Spend Matters would never have existed if it weren't for Ariba. But more about that in a moment. When you look across the procurement software sector, Ariba casts a long shadow. It was an early innovator -- the first 100% Java business application, the largest transacting supplier network, etc. -- and a ferocious selling machine. But more intangibly, for many people who didn't know a thing about enterprise software, Ariba (and to a lesser extent, arch-rival Commerce One) came to represent an exuberant spirit of global commerce back when that was seen as a good thing. With charismatic leadership, a simple value proposition (B2B!), high flying stock and an explosion of content-hungry business media outlets, Ariba benefitted from the perfect storm of hype.

One more mention of SAP/Ariba and that’s it, I promise.

The Ariba Fallout -- How the SAP Procurement Partner and BPO Ecosystem Could be Shaken Up -- If SAP closes the Ariba acquisition, the ecosystem that has been so important to SAP (especially in SRM and directly linked areas such as e-invoicing) could be in for a serious shake-up. Spend Matters believes that providers that have worked closely with SAP in the past by introducing complimentary and integrated applications including Hubwoo, Capgemini/IBX, OpenText and others could find themselves needing to take a more independent strategy going forward in procurement-related areas. Moreover, upstarts such as Taulia in the discounting market could find themselves being pushed outside of the SAP partner ecosystem as a combined SAP/Ariba introduce similar capabilities of their own with internally developed solutions. However, the ecosystem shake-up will not just be limited to these providers and partners.

Here’s what went up on Spend Matters PRO this week:

Catching Up With Spend Matters PRO -- Our First Week of Premium Content -- The past week has been an adventure for Spend Matters, as we dove head first into our premium content and subscription offering, Spend Matters PRO, albeit with a soft beta launch. We're lucky to have taken this conservative approach as we have had a few back-end hitches that we've ironed out (apologies to anyone who has experienced these first hand while registering or paying -- drinks on us at our next event to make up for it). Our current plan is to exit beta on June 1st.

Jason has some issues with the Federal Government attempting to develop its own RFP system.

Will RFP-EZ Give Small Businesses a Leg Up on Federal Procurement? -- The Obama administration recently announced a new procurement initiative (hat-tip Ryder Daniels). No, this is not one that promises a transformation of the GSA (replete with fewer shindigs in Vegas), however useful it would be to drop a spend-focused metaphorical savings bomb in the middle of that mess. No, this one is far simpler. And we think it's an idea whose time has come. Recently, the White House introduced its RFP-EZ program, the purpose of which is to enable "a platform that makes it easier for small high-growth businesses to navigate the federal government, and enables agencies to quickly source low-cost, high-impact information technology solutions."

We conclude our interview series with ISM’s new CEO, Tom Derry.

An Interview with Tom Derry: ISM’s New CEO (Part 3) -- Please click here for Part 1 and Part 2 of this series. Spend Matters: (continued) In its programming, training and certification, should ISM focus on the truly innovative and top performing organizations or the long-tail of procurement sophistication? Tom Derry: I believe that what drives someone to become a member of any association or group in part is the question: "do I have an opportunity to expose myself to the best thinking in the field so I can serve my organization in the best capacity?" We aim to be a showcase to highlight the best thinking in the profession. Inevitably, you will work with leaders in the field, but attempt to disseminate information more broadly to all members, at all levels of sophistication. In terms of emphasis, we do not prefer one type of member over another type. We need to make sure knowledge and ideas flows down to the base of the pyramid. This is a critically important role for us to play!

And finally, my favorite article of the week (featuring Brigitte Bardot!)

Last Year’s Reasoning Stands: Spend Matters Summer Fridays Begin This Week -- Last year, I wrote a piece on the Spend Matters corporate reasoning behind some extra fun in the sun between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Now, things at Spend Matters have definitely changed since last summer. We've grown -- both in numbers, sites, and overall offerings. A huge part of my work life has been the development and launch of Spend Matters PRO, arguably the most market-shaking and exciting project I've worked on in my career so far. I'm thrilled to see where it goes as an individual entity and also where it'll take Spend Matters going forward. As I worked on setting up our first CRM system (that's right -- us tech geeks have been running on Excel for all this time!) earlier this week, I gave some thought to just how far we've come in the past two years. It's astonishing. And MetalMiner is growing just as much, with the launch of the MetalMiner IndX, amongst several other things.

- Sheena Moore


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