Procurement News from the US – Weekly Round-Up

Goodness gracious is it hot in Chicago. It’s too hot. Going outside is like walking into a thermos of soup. But! Procurement commentary must go on, so here’s the haps:

We’ve started a series on Next Level Purchasing and where we see “procurement certification” going...

Next Level Purchasing: Growing Upstart Targets Global Procurement Certification/Community (Part 1) -- Spend Matters has featured occasional coverage of the procurement training and certification market over the years. One of our original Spend Matters research reports, What is Your Best Option? Procurement Certification and Training Today, is still occasionally downloaded. Even though it's dated, and there is more recent information on the ISM CPSM certification uptake and salary benchmarks for example, which we plan to cover more in the coming months, anyone interested in procurement certification and training would do well to at least take a quick pass through it. (Part 2 here)

More on surround strategies (hint: it's possible to take what you have and deliver in incremental return on top of it!)

eProcurement, P2P Surround Strategies: Getting More From SAP/Oracle/Ariba Investments (Part 1) -- Earlier this year, Spend Matters published a Compass Research Brief: "Surround Strategies" to Get More From Existing eProcurement and P2P Investments. It's proved a popular download from ourResearch Library and we've already presented some of the highlights of the paper on two webinars. Our concept of following a "surround strategy" is simple: leverage what you already have, augment, and improve (don't necessarily rip out). In other words, if you've made an investment in tools like Ariba Buyer, Ariba P2P, Basware (P2P), Oracle eBusiness Suite, PeopleSoft SRM, SAP SRM, homegrown P2P tools, and even core financials and direct procurement, it's possible to take what you have and deliver in incremental return on top of it. (Part 2 here)

Look out, sourcing tool providers.

CombineNet: Loading up on Patents -- When asked, CombineNet was somewhat coy about the specifics around how they will put these patents to use, and preferred to point to future product offerings. They did, however, validate that the new patents all relate to various ways of enhancing an iterative bid gathering process and added, "these enhancements will define the state of the art of expressive competition, encouraging suppliers to participate on their own best terms while still supporting optimization in near real-time," so it will be interesting to see how this takes practical shape.

BPO: an evolving definition??

Growing the Market Pie: Expanding the Definition of Procurement BPO (Part 1) -- The definition, history and future of Procurement BPO are topics that always engender scintillating debate and conversation amongst those in the sourcing community as well as on the provider side. Clearly, this is a market in transition -- in fact, it's one that is really in a constant state of evolution that began with select (and often sub-optimal) multi-tower deals back in the early days. Following these early market days, we entered what we sometimes describe as the BPO paper stack days -- when un-awarded RFPs would pile up following no- or extended-award decisions. Within this timeframe, procurement BPO continued to develop a reputation in many circles for what it could do wrong as much as what it could to right. This negativity continues to dog procurement BPO today and is one of the reasons fewer providers are using this description (or at least leading with it) to explain what they do.

Statistics are perfect for a Friday morning, right?

Understanding How to Use Price Indexes in Sourcing: Running Predictive Forecast and Models -- Yesterday, I presented with Lisa Reisman on a MetalMiner/Spend Matters webinar looking at new sourcing strategies for organizations that purchase material quantities of commodities or raw materials (or in cases where their suppliers do it on their behalf). The central theme of the webinar was how to leverage price index information at the core of five new sourcing strategies. During the discussion, we talked about how underlying third-party datasets (including price indexes) can serve as a foundation for advanced sourcing strategies.

A good guest post from NPI: Some genius market data analysis by Orbitz (as annoying as it is for us Mac users)

The Orbitz Effect -- How Will it Impact Your Next Analytics Purchase? -- Of all the industries that benefit from the advancement of business intelligence and analytics technologies, retail tops the list. And, I'm always interested to learn exactly how retailers are using these technologies. Like most consumers, I have pretty much accepted that my favorite retailers know me better than I know myself. So, it's no surprise that I found the following revelation from Orbitz to be riveting. From Dana Mattioli at The Wall Street Journal.

Summer music (local Chicago edition)!

Golden Birthday: I went to this band’s record release party on Monday night and was quite impressed by them (though the vinyl pressing was delayed so we have it on back order -- how’s that for supply chain issues??):

Chandeliers: Also very enjoyable/dance-y for summer (and who played on Monday as well)

- Sheena Moore

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