Daily Archives: July 15, 2010

The Vendor in Black Comes Back

Editor’s Note: This is the sequel to The Vendor in Black which originally ran here on SI on February 17, 2007. And just like the sequel to The Cat in The Hat (appropriately titled The Cat in the Hat Comes Back) was even more esoteric and radical than the first, so is this sequel. Plus, it’s also quite symbolic, analogic, and terse* in a manner that is meant to obscure the deeper meaning and criticism. It is supposed to be this way. If you think about it long and hard enough, you should understand why. (And if you do not want to think deeply about it, just enjoy the rhyme. It will permeate your subconscious and one day you will have an epiphany.)

This was no time for play.

This was no time for fun.

This was no time for games.

There was work to be done.

All that deep,

deep, deep data,

all that data had to fit a schemata.

When the big boss went

out to a meet for the day,

she said, “somebody has to

clean all this away.

Somebody, somebody

has to, you see.”

Then she picked out two somebodies.

Sally and me.

Well …

there we were.

We were working like that

and then who should show up

but the Vendor in Black!

“Uh-oh!” Sally said.

“Don’t you talk to that Jack.

That Vendor is a bad one,

that Vendor in Black.

He plays lots of bad tricks.

Don’t you let him come near.

You know what he did

the last time he was here.”

“Play tricks?” laughed the Vendor.

“Oh, my my! No, no, no!

I just want to go in

to get off of the road.

Keep you mind on your work.

You just stay there, you two.

I will go to the servers

and find something to do.”

Then the Vendor went right in!

He was up to no good!

So I ran in after

as fast as I could!

Do you know where I found him?

You know where he was?

He was installing an app on the server!

He was!

The disc drive was spinning

and the hard drive heads, too.

And I said to the Vendor,

“What a bad thing to do!”

“But I like to install apps

on the server,” laughed the Vendor.

“You should try it some time,”

laughed the Vendor with splendour.

And then I got mad.

This was no time for fun.

I said, “Vendor! You get out!

There is work to be done.

I have no time for tricks.

I must go back and cube.

I can’t have you in here

installing apps like a rube!

You get out of this office!

We don’t want you about!”

Then I removed the CD

and let the timer run out.

The timer ran out.

And then I saw the tab!

A tab on the screen!

And, oh boy! What a tab!

An obnoxious cleansing tab!

It looked out of sync!

And I said, “Will this ever

work right? I don’t think!”

“Have no fear of that tab,”

laughed the Vendor in Black.

“Why, it will clean your input data.

Just like that!”

Do you know how he did it?

With old spending rules!

Now the data was mapped,

but our reports were April fool’s!

Then Sally looked in.

Sally saw the mess, too!

And Sally and I

did not know what to do.

We should work with the data.

But that mess! What a rot!

“It may never be fixed!”

Sally said. “It may not!”

But the Vendor laughed, “Ho! Ho!

I can clean the mess.

The way I fix report mappings

is express!”

“See here!” laughed the Vendor.

“It is not hard at all.

The way to clean up

a big mess is rule sprawl!”

Then we saw the Vendor code

more rules in the app.

Now the reports were all clean.

But the rules! What a frap!

“Oh, rule sprawl!” He laughed.

“Let me tell you some news.

The way to stop rule sprawl

is to create some more views!”

Whose views did he use?

I looked and saw whose!

And I said to the Vendor,

“This is very bad news.

Now the data is split

between S A P views!”

“But your boss will not

know about that,”

the Vendor did ack.

“She will never find out,”

Laughed the Vendor in Black.

“Her spending reports will have

no need for SAP.

I will clean up those views

with the embedded map-app.”

“But now we have too many views!”

I yelled. “What a day!

Map apps! What next?

Can you take them away?”

“Don’t ask me,” he laughed!

“Why, you know that I’m able!”

Then he popped up a dialog

and the Vendor he tabled.

“I can clean up these new views

before you count three!

No views are too hard

for a Big Vendor like me!”

He ran to the servers

and then the Vendor did twitch,

“It is good that your techs

have the right kind of switch.”

Then he mirrored the SAN!


Now the views were in twos!

And all I could say was,

“Now what, Vendor?

What do I do?”

But the Vendor just stood still.

He just looked at the rack.

“This is NOT the right kind of a switch,”

the Vendor did ack.

“To axe views with this switch

will be hard, I take it all back.

I can’t do it alone,”

said the Vendor in Black.

“It is good I have someone

to help me,” he said.

“Outside in the van

at the back near the shed!

It is good that I have him

here with me today.

He helps me a lot.

This is Vendor Rep A.”

And then Vendor Rep A

took his Hat off his head.

“It is good I have some one

to help me,” he said.

“This is Vendor Rep B.

And I keep him about,

and when I need help,

then I let him come out.”

And then B said,

“I think we need Vendor Rep C.

These views are too much

for the A Rep and me.

But now, have no fear!

We will clean them away!

The three of us! Vendor Reps B, C, and A!”

“Come on! Take it away!”

Yelled Vendor Rep A.

“I will cleanse the new views

just like this! I avow!

It comes off the old SAN!

It goes to the web cloud.”

And then Vendor Rep B

cleaned up the web cloud

He cleaned it with SaaS,

put the views on dot net!

And then C replaced

all the views with ancient Vignettes!

“But look where it went!”

I said. “Look where it blew!

You blew the mess

off of the SAN. That is true.

But now our views are all free!

What are we to do?”

“Let us think about that now,”

said C, B, and A.

“With some help, we can do it!”

said Vendor Rep C.

Then pop! From the van

emerged Vendor Rep D.

Then, pop! Pop! Pop!

Vendor Reps E, F and G!

“We will clean up those views

if it takes us all day!

If it takes us all night,

we will clean them today!”

said Vendor Reps G, F, E, D, C, B, A.

They ran to the servers

and we ran to them too.

And the big Vendor laughed,

“Now you will see something new!

My Reps are all clever.

My Reps have the muse.

My Reps have good skills.

They will clean all those views!”

But this did not look

very clever to me.

Seven reps to clean views?

That just could not be!

“All those reps do is make more views!”

We yelled at the Vendor.

“Your Vendors are no good.

Take back those pretenders.”

“Take your Vendor Reps G,

F, E, D, C, B, A.

Shove them back in your van

And you take them away!”

“Oh no!” said the Vendor.

“All they need is more help.

Help is all that they need.

So keep still and don’t yelp.”

Then Vendor Rep G

took the phone off his hip.

“I’ll call Vendor Rep H

here to help us, ” he quipped.

“Vendor Reps H, I, J,

K, L, and M.

But our work is so hard

we must have more than them.

We need Vendor Rep N.

We need O. We need P.

We need Vendor Reps Q, R, S, T,

U, and V.”

“Come on! Kill those views!

Kill the mess!” yell the Reps.

And they jumped at the servers

with SQL and greps.

They coded in basic

on terminals Citrix!

Green and black! DOS attack!

The views were transfixed!

Oh, the things that they did!

And they all worked so proud,

It was all one big mess now

all over the cloud!

But the big Vendor stood there

and he said, “this is good”.

This is what they should do

and I knew that they would.

“With a little more help,

all the work will be done.

They need one more Rep.

And I know just the one.”

“Look close! In the back

You’ll see Vendor Rep V.

By his side are Reps W, X, Y, and Z.”

“Z’s a Rep you rarely see.

Don’t ask why. Or what’s up.

But Z is the Rep

who will clean the views up!”

“Now here is the Z

you will see,” said the Vendor.

“And I bet you can’t guess

where he gets all his splendor!”

“He has something called Voom.

Voom is so hard to get,

you never saw anything

like it, I bet.

Why, Voom cleans up anything

clean as can be!”

Then he yelled,

“Time to get going,

Vendor Rep Z!

Do your job, use the Voom!

Time to put on a show!

Hurry! Now Vendor Rep!

One! Two! Three! Go!”

Then the Voom …

It went Voom!

And, oh boy! What a Voom!

Now, you know what the Voom did?

It put everything back!

The views were deleted.

The reports were unhacked!

“So you see!” laughed the Vendor,

“Now your screens are all tight!

Now your work can be done!

Your reports are put right!

And you know where my Vendor Reps are?”

asked the Vendor.

“They all went back to the van

services tendered.

And so, if you ever

need views, now and then.

I will be very happy

to come here again …”

“… with Vendor Reps A, B, C, D …

E, F, G …

H, I, J, K …

L, M, N …

and O, P …

… and Q, R, S, T …

and Vendor U and Vendor V …

and Vendor Reps W



and Z!”

* It’s so much more esoteric, radical, symbolic, analogic, and terse than the first, partially because of the forced meter, that the editor sat on it for almost a year while deliberating whether or not the time had come to post it!

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Want Savings? Stop Ignoring Indirect Spend!

Procurement leaders recently summarized a new study by A.T. Kearny that found that CPOs [are] slow to focus on indirect categories such as IT, Marketing, Professional Services, Facilities Management, and MRO. This is worrying when you consider that not only do some of these categories represent an organization’s biggest savings opportunity, but that indirect spending accounts for up to 50% of spend in many manufacturing organizations, 60% of third-party spend in non-manufacturing companies, and 90% of spend (or more) in the financial services industry.

This is doubly worrying when you consider that:

  • IT savings can be double digits across multiple categories

    10% to 15% on PCs and Laptops is normal; and 20% to 40% on consulting and integration

  • Marketing savings can be 20% to 25%

    and even higher on print spend

  • Legal spend can also be cut by over 20%

    with appropriate AFAs and negotiation

There are ample savings opportunities where indirect spend is concerned, and they can all be uncovered with good visibility and analysis. To find out how, start with the recent Sourcing Innovation Illumination on Strategic Spend Visibility.

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