Procurement software – can you tell your apps from your platforms from your networks?

So do you understand the difference in a procurement solution context  between a website, a software product, a network, an app and a platform?

You do?

Do you want to come and write for Spend Matters?

Seriously, technology is now so important for procurement people in almost every field and at every level.  Whether it is supplier networks, eSourcing, analytics and big data, or project management and workflow tools...  having a decent understanding is increasingly vital.  And of course it changes so quickly - so just as you think you understand “the Cloud” and “Software as a Service” then there’s a whole new set of buzzwords (around apps for instance) that we probably need to understand.

I rely on my US colleagues including Jason Busch to educate me, although I still struggle at times. And Jason is writing a series on Spend Matters US at the moment about apps and platforms that I suspect should be essential reading for every procurement executive. It is the sort of material that you’ll be very glad you studied  in a year or two’s time, when somebody very important asks you a tricky question in a high-profile meeting...

We’ve included below a short section from Jason’s part 1 article, which you can read in full here.

And part 2 is available here. But don’t just read this taster  – do go and look at both (excellent) pieces and get yourself up to speed with these developments. I do really believe it’s important stuff for all of us to understand.  For instance, as Jason says in part 2, in the future software buying decisions for applications will be based on which tools interoperate with which platform – the debates will be quite different from those we see now.  Anyway, here is the extract.

“ Even though we’re woefully under-qualified to write about apps and platforms compared to some truly geeky technologists we know, it’s important for general Spend Matters readers (on the procurement and supply sides) to understand the massive scale of how the application and network market is going to be transformed in the coming decade. This will occur as companies make buying decisions for applications as much on the networks and platforms on which they’re built — and/or integrated with — as the functional capability of the provider offering the particular fit-for-purpose tool (e.g., eProcurement).

This represents an emergence of the platform or stack to center stage — even for business users. Historically, most folks in procurement didn’t care what underlying platform a solution was built on... Except for biased software companies themselves, no one – I repeat no one – has ever bought a procurement technology based on what it was developed in. Rather, functionality, usability, scale, experience, reputation, interoperability, and many other factors came into play in past technology buying decisions...

Yet looking ahead, precisely the opposite is going to happen. “Apps” – not applications – will be purchased on top of platforms (a different sort than just development platforms of the past), and the best platform (or the one that achieves the most scale and reach) will emerge the victor”.

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  1. Derek Lancaster:

    As someone who is right in the middle of this, developing technology strategy for Procurement here at Surrey, I entirely sympathise! It feels like developments are going really quickly now and that makes it really challenging to develop business cases that will last long enough to implement.

    The gulf between business IT and the world of smartphones etc is narrowing, and there are lots of exciting possibilities – but it’s still the case that I have to do major config to apply software of any sort to my business, usually involving an expensive developer. Until I can just customise within the team, there will be a massive bottleneck in the IT dept whilst I wait for them to give me scarce resource. So, roll on ‘apps’ for Procurement – when can I have them?!

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