Why You Should Not Build Your Own e-Sourcing System, Part I

In a recent post over on Spend Matters UK, Mr. Smith (who went to Washington, as per Buy, Buy, Buy, Once Bitten Twice Shy) asks you to please, please, please not build your own e-Sourcing system because, apparently, a few public sector organizations have this crazy idea that they can build their own and that it can compete with best-of-breed solutions on the market today.

Wow! Today’s best of breed systems have been built on fifteen-plus (15+) internet years of development, implementation, integration, and customer support experience by seasoned professionals who have had numerous bouts with weariness and wisdom. (And since we all know that internet years are measured in cat years, that’s really ninety-plus years of experience.) How could any average organization, especially in the public sector which is typically behind in technology and running on the B-Team (since unionized pay scales typically mean that they can’t afford the A-Team that commands private sector pay scales) really think they can come up with anything close?

In addition to Mr. Smith’s arguments that, especially in the public sector, you are:

  • going to waste OUR money building it,
  • waste exorbitant amounts of money keeping the system up to date and compliant with ever-shifting legislation, and
  • only feed those dangerous delusions (until the Smug reaches critical mass and puts us at risk of a disaster of epic proportions),

there are dozens of reasons NOT to build your own e-Sourcing system, or to even think that there is the slightest of chance you could build your own.

In addition to the standard reasons of:

  • Lack of Sourcing Domain Experience
  • Lack of Software Design Skills
  • Lack of A-Team Software Development Talent

in Sourcing, you also have to deal with the traditional software challenges of:

  • Big Data
  • Real-Time Requirements in a Distributed System
  • Variable Workflows

as well as a host of challenges in each of the main, traditional, areas of:

  • Spend Analysis
  • e-Negotiation (RFX & e-Auction)
  • Decision Optimization

which, to make it abundantly clear that no public and private organization should even remotely consider building their own e-Sourcing system, will be discussed in detail in the next three posts. Unless your core business is a software development and delivery organization specializing in Sourcing or Source-to-Pay, when it comes to building a modern e-Sourcing system to meet the needs of the organization and identify savings and value, just don’t do it. Put those Nike’s back in the closet and break out those Carolinas.