Daily Archives: April 30, 2007

The Top Three VIII: The Bloggers Enter the Fray

Dave Stephens was the first of the well-known sourcing samurai to enter the ring this week with his post The Three C’s – Cost, Complexity, and Compartmentalization. Makes one even more anxious to see what the other regulars, or should I say irregulars, of the sourcing space have to offer. Guess I’ll have to wait until tomorrow, when David Bush’s post is scheduled to go live on eSourcing Forum. And now that the European leg of Procuri’s Supply Management 2.0 Forum is over, you can be sure Tim “Mr. Perfect” Minahan’s post will not be far behind!

Also, Haydn Jones’, of A.T. Kearney Limited, will be blogging his post Sustainability, Sustainability, Sustainability over on the European Leaders in Procurement Blog shortly. And Chris Jacob Abraham of @ Supply Chain Management let us know that his post is forthcoming shortly as well!

More Than Coupacetic!

Every now and again, the oompa loompas leave the big-screen tv unguarded and the Wii unlocked. During such a time, it’s often possible to sneak past the grunka lunkas and get a demo of the latest development cut of the forthcoming Coupa Enterprise 1.0 release.

And I must say, it’s coupendous. Coupa is moving up the ranks and setting their sights on the minor league championship – the sweet spot for any small and mid size company that wants to stop living in the stone-age with the Flintstones and join the Jetsons in the future. (Now, I love the Bedrock Anthem as much as the next blogger, but I’d much rather you follow the first rule of cost avoidance.)

They’ve been working really hard at Coupa since their enterprise beta release and the number of features it supports has been Coupa-sized. The world’s simplest purchasing tool is not just for requisitions anymore! Look for a major announcement before ISM hits.

In the meantime, I can tell you that they’ve improved the application end-to-end with UI updates, improved search and filter functionality, and improved support for document management across the board. In addition, they’ve also implemented some internationalization support, including multi-currency.

Stay tuned. I should have more details within the week on this coupacetic application.

Emptoris – Setting the Record Straight Part II

Ammiel was kind enough to respond to my comment and provide more information about their overall solution offering over on SpendMatters. However, given that I copied my comments here and that this is very good information for a prospective buyer, the comment deserves to be repeated.

Regarding in-depth briefings to “affiliated” bloggers — IMHO it is also applicable to analysts and press — Each briefing is a unique instance, and we take into consideration the topic as well as the nature of work the individual is doing with competitors. I Note that in my original post the briefing exclusion was narrow, and specific to this very topic – not a broad brush statement towards you. As a CTO for hire there is a big difference between the type of work you do and what Jason and Andrew Bartels do – especially in the area of optimization. Kudos for the above board disclosure policy, as noted, we did not feel that we were deceived, etc.

My statement on the MindFlow team joining Emptoris made no mention of team size, etc. It was simply to state that we are qualified to judge the relative strengths of the two offerings (given Product Management and Engineering talent), you may have read more into this than was specifically stated.

Regarding our assessment of MindFlow capabilities, this was done from the End-User perspective, as a whole-product capabilities assessment. In the case of 5(a), 5(c), and 6(b) the MindFlow Front-end simply let down the back-end. On 5(b), we specifically meant the ability for suppliers to enter the constraints themselves – this area of our solution is very robust, and has evolved into a feature set that we’ve called Creative Negotiations in the past, and which has now matured to Supplier Decision Support. (Link)

Speaking of whole-product, that is very much the point of the Advanced Sourcing Service. It is all about running mega-events better and with much less risk (Think of $50M+ riding on a single event). It is not just an engine that we provide, we help the customer by providing e-Sourcing category experts specific to help these mega-event *optimization* problems (Transportation – Ocean, Truckload, LTL…, Packaging, Print, Fleet Acquisition, etc.). When we say infrastructure, we talk about a complete HW/SW stack along with instrumentation and surrounding services to ensure that the event will not go down, etc.

The challenge with these categories is that when companies put out $100M+ on a single event, things become very risky in several business dimensions (e.g. if the event is mis-handled logistically then supplier relationships can be burnt for years, if the event runs 3 weeks longer than expected – that’s $750K in lost opportunity cost, if the event misses a key deadline then a price lock-in may be permanently missed given rising fuel rates, etc.) The benefit of the Advanced Sourcing Service is that we and our partners invest and in a sense under-write some of the logistical risks the customer faces.

A benefit of this complete solution approach is that it helps accelerate advanced optimization’s adoption within the sourcing domain. At the end of the day it makes the core technology even more approachable to a greater number of organizations. And that is something good that I believe we can all agree upon.

I would like to thank Ammiel for responding and providing clarifications not only on Emptoris’ prior comments but on the Advanced Sourcing Solution as well.