Spend Matters Yearly Round-up: Part 4

This last quarter began with Gartner’s eProcurement report, which rated 32 P2P technology firms against a set of 11 criteria. The report showed strong performances from the likes of Coupa and Periscope Holdings, who shared the highest aggregate score between them, in addition to impressive results from B-Pack, Sci-Quest and Veritan Technologies.

Hot on the heels of our first White Paper on the subject of Advanced Sourcing, October 5th saw the release of our follow-up, “Marked Informed Sourcing: A game-changer for Procurement”. The paper expanded on the themes of its predecessor, suggesting in particular that the advent of recent technologies actually changes how we need to look at the fundamental process of Category Management.

November 4th was a very special date at Spend Matters Towers, our first Birthday! Cue cake, party bags and little sausages on sticks, with just a smattering of tearful, fatherly pride from Mr. Smith. I believe thanks are due to all you faithful readers for helping make the site such a success over the past year *sniff*. That and search engine optimisation. In all seriousness though, thanks to all who came to our Event, Jason Busch for his fine oratory skills, the bands and, of course, our sponsors for the evening: Coupa, Science Warehouse and Andomise.

Newly inaugurated CIPS President David Smith announced his theme for the year. Smith’s focus was on encouraging more young people – and mid-career pros for that matter – into the procurement profession. Such themes have, historically gained little tangible traction in the real world, however David is insistent that this won’t be the case this time around, and given the man’s abilities we’re more than inclined to believe him.

Later that month, we decided to go all Jamie Oliver with a new comment paper entitled “School Catering: Value for schools; nutrition and enjoyment for children”. The paper focuses on the Eastern Shires Purchasing Association’s new catering framework, which makes use of an innovative new tech solution from Intenda – as covered earlier in the year. Feedback from the schools Cluster Manager and Head confirmed our suspicions that, in addition to simple cost, quality, flexibility and service were top of the client agenda.

The following day saw Comrade Peter in revolutionary mode with the publication of his comment paper, “If it ain’t broke, fix it!” The paper expounds the notion of the “sigmoid curve”, as proposed by legendary business guru Charles Handy. The paper seeks to discourage procurement folk from settling for the status quo, instead encouraging its readers to embrace more radical ideas and realise their potential for improving upon established protocol.

This revolutionary streak was continued in a three part series on “Procurement Activism”, in which we explored the various ways in which procurement leaders can use their positions to help put a tourniquet around various social malignancies. In particular, this included helping stem the rise of “corrosive” pay inequalities at large corporations.

December began with a vote on changes to the CIPS governance structure. With a reasonable if not exciting turnout of 300,the motion was passed with an overwhelming 90% of the vote.

The following week we published our final research paper of the year, entitled “Managing Indirect Services - Procurement’s Greatest Opportunity?” The issue is of growing importance as organisations focus an ever greater chunk of expenditure on services as opposed to goods (the example given being hiring cleaners as opposed to investing in mops and buckets). As a result, many procurement functions have been attempting the move into this area; however many have found it more difficult than first presumed. The paper highlights some of the ways in which procurement folk can overcome the challenges and succeed in these areas.

The national news in mid-December was dominated by the latest developments in the Eurozone crisis, in particular David Cameron’s veto of the Merkel/Sarkosy proposal. The result of the negotiations came as something of a surprise, considering the potential for mutual agreement that could have been realised with but a little compromise on either side. One has to wonder what these results might mean for our relationship with our continental neighbours when they finally pull themselves out of this economic quicksand.

The quarter draws to a close with the recent announcement that IBM are to take this year’s serial satellite acquirers Emptoris under their wing, kind of like a high-tech Russian doll, I suppose. This has the potential to be a powerful and exciting partnership, so long as the Big Blue doesn’t suck the wind out of their currently billowing sails, as it has been known to in past mergers.

Well, I guess that’s about it for another year! Happy New Year to all, and to all a good night.

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