So Why Shouldn’t We Talk About the Future of Procurement?

In yesterday’s post, we talked about the fact that conference season is around the corner and, with it, plenty of talks on the Future of Procurement, Procurement in 2015, and Procurement 2025 — What it Will Take to Get There. We noted that the doctor is beginning to really despise this because it’s repetitive, unnecessarily stressful (with the false sense of urgency for the wrong solution), and, most importantly, focussed on the wrong question. It’s not what the analysts and vendors think the future is, it’s what the future needs to be for your organization to be successful (and solvent) and what you need to do to get it there. These are not one in the same.

So why is it repetitive? the doctor recently reviewed dozens of “future” studies, papers, articles, PowerPoints, and posts written in the last year and compiled a list of 33 commonly identified “future states” that Procurement is supposedly, according to a plethora of authors that shall not be named to protect the guilty, going to have. The majority of these have been “future states” for years (and are old news). Only a minority are still somewhat innovative (and are ongoing blues) if looked at in the right light and only a portion of these from a select few forward-thinkers are truly new (like a pair of shiny new shoes) and informative and relevant to a future-state discussion as these select few trends have not yet been discussed and drubbed for nearly a decade, and, in a very small number of cases, could not have been foreseen a decade ago.

To illustrate my point, the doctor is going to discuss the full list of 33 “future states”, of which at most 7 “future states” are truly new and forward thinking and relevant to a current discussion. The majority are old news and ongoing blues. Once we get through the old news and ongoing blues, which will take us over a week, we will discuss the 7 “future states” that are still new and shiny and that were not clearly visibile through the long-range telescope as recently as five years ago. Given that we have 33 “future states” to get to, starting with tomorrow’s post, we’re going to dive right in.

But before we continue, let me make one thing very clear. These posts are categorized as rant for a reason. Just like the doctor has no restraint when it comes to rubbish, he has literally no patience for puff-pieces, which he has recently read a lot of. As a result, he’s not pulling any punches with this series. So if you have a habit of reading, sharing, or promoting these pieces, unless you’re ready for a rumble, you might want to go hop over to Spend Matters for the next week where I’m sure you’ll find friendlier pieces. Because, in this series, I’m going to call a duck a duck, a spade a spade, and an idiot an idiot*. the doctor will do his best to keep the language Safe for Work, unless you mention a trigger word, but the bile will likely bleed through where it is well deserved. You have been warned.

* the doctor is well aware you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, but he doesn’t want to attract any annoying little insects with brains smaller than a mustard seed who, after spending the bulk of their day in someone else’s excrement will, despite being swatted at repeatedly, continue to buzz around senselessly until they get their brains bashed out.