I’m a man of the land, I’m into discipline
Got a Bible in my hand and a beard on my chin
But if I finish all of my chores and you finish thine
Then tonight we’re gonna party like its 1699
from “Amish Paradise” by Weird Al Yankovic
After talking to companies like Vinimaya and Co-exprise over the past few weeks and then reading the latest “press releases” to come out of companies like Ariba and Sterling Commerce, I can’t help noticing how appropriate that verse seems to be. It seems to me that too much of the sourcing nation is still stuck in 1999, which, relatively speaking, was the 1699 of e-Sourcing solutions, and, more importantly, that too much of the sourcing nation seems to be happy about it!
Let’s think about this. A major vendor comes out with a new release that is, more-or-less, rather ho-hum, but still it gets picked up on by every channel out there because the vendor is in a Gartner magic quadrant or a Forrester outlook report (the “bibles”), because that’s just what these publications do (the “discipline”). It’s then accepted by the current customers (the “men of the land with the beards on their chin”) as the next big thing, put in the implementation queue (the “chores”), and when the implementation is completed, it’s celebrated (the “party”).
Meanwhile, when someone like Vinimaya comes along with a new solution to a problem that is, in some ways, down-right revolutionary and starts to actually solve a problem that was never really solved before, you barely hear a peep. It’s put in the closet with the skeletons when it should be put on display in a trophy case. Meanwhile, new offerings that are merely incremental improvements of previous offerings that never really solved the problem anyway continue to get the limelight. Sourcing Nation, we need to stop this!
Now, I know we can’t put all of the blame on the analysts. After all, the analysts have to spend a lot of time talking to the vendors that fund the company they work for, and, unfortunately, many of these innovative new vendors are a lot better at building the solution than communicating what the solution does, the problem it solves, and the value it offers. But still, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to understand what the new vendors are doing and why it’s important.
I do know that many of the new solutions aren’t perfect, but then again, no solution is perfect, and at least some of the new, innovative, vendors are trying to solve real problems and taking risks – something that more companies need to do if they want to ever truly achieve innovation. And sourcing innovation is something the sourcing nation needs to achieve as a whole if it’s going to take its rightful place as the driver of the modern business world! (And you can’t even spell sourcing innovation without a sourcing nation to support it!)
So the next time an old-school vendor hands your colleague a cup o’ kool aid, do him a favor – test it for fluoxetine before you let him drink it – just to be sure it’s free of antidepressents. (It’s not an expensive test – fluoxetine reacts with hypochlorite variants, and that’s basically bleach.) After all, don’t we all deserve real happiness?