The One System Solution Is Still a Pipe Dream! And no vendor is going to get all of the pieces right no matter how big they are or how many resources they have. I bring this up because, in talking to a number of smaller, innovative, vendors lately the number one reason that they’re offering as to why they’re not getting more business is because a number of customers are apparently demanding a one vendor solution when it comes to their sourcing or procurement technology platform. This is ludicrous! (Not to be confused with Ludacris.)
If one vendor could get all the pieces right, don’t you think it would have happened by now? Don’t you think that either Microsoft, IBM, SAP, or Oracle would already have the perfect solution? And more importantly, don’t you already deal with a plethora of technology vendors – and a slew of hardware, software, and consulting vendors to boot?
It’s not about one vendor – it’s about one platform. And by platform, I mean a common architecture and communication capability, not a specific vendor software offering. What’s important is that you choose a set of products that support a set of standard protocols for data interchange, because then you can use best of breed solutions for each part of the sourcing and procurement process – and that’s the key to extracting real value from the process. Let’s face it – it’s not just about integration and automation – because there’ll always be exceptions, so you’ll never get rid of all of your tactical staff. Furthermore, the more the suite doesn’t do with regards to best practice sourcing and procurement, the more people you’ll need to do those tasks manually, so you’ll just be switching out tactical staff for more strategic staff – who won’t be as productive as they could be because you don’t have a best of breed solution!
The reality is that most of your savings will come from proper application of advanced analytics tools for spend analysis, award optimization, and risk management – and, let’s be honest here, weak imitations will not cut it! A static reporting application on top of a data warehouse is not spend analysis; monte-carlo simulation or heuristic evaluation of a handful of possible award scenarios is not optimization; and the ability to identify risks is not the ability to manage them.
So next time a marketplace gorilla tries to tell you that maybe a single suite solution will be better, take a quote from Wayne and say “and maybe monkeys will fly out of my butt“! And next time you find yourself starting to fall for such a line, got get a cup of joe and jump in a cold shower. The only valid reasons not to consider a best of breed provider are that they don’t make the solution you need, they don’t (and don’t plan to) support the standard protocols that your platform is based on, or the value they provide is not sufficiently more than the value a competitor with a broader solution provides. I’m not saying the little guy with a best of breed solution will always be better, it depends upon your specific needs, but “not a suite” is not a valid reason. It’s your problem – shouldn’t you get the set of solutions that are right for you?