In our last post on The UX One Should Expect from Best-in-Class Optimization (Part III) we continued our foray into the world of optimization and how the requirements for a good user experience go far beyond the requirements for e-RFX and even best-in-class e-Auction platforms. (We will remind you that you can review the basic requirements for e-RFX and e-Auction in our four part series on Best-in-Class e-Sourcing and Best-in-Class e-Auctions, Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV.)
As per the previous entry in this series, the doctor cannot emphasize enough just how important sourcing optimization is, and is about to become, for any organization that wants to continue to not only find savings but identify crucial value. This is because, as stated in our last post, in many global jurisdictions, and in North America and the UK (where many global organizations are headquartered) in particular, savings are about to go up in smoke due to inflation, protectionist policies, insufficient supply of raw materials, and forthcoming breakdowns in trade agreements.
There’s no other solution that can not only identify year-over-year savings of 10% or more but also an award scenario that will allow the organization to realize that savings of 10% or more if the award scenario is adhered to. It’s getting hard to understand how organizations, getting more budget-stressed by the year, can continue to hold out from adopting the only solution that can help them.
Buyers have to put aside their fear of the maths and go out and get a solution ASAP. But not just any solution claiming to be a true strategic sourcing decision optimization platform, or even any true strategic sourcing decision optimization platform, will do. It has to be one that provides the right user experience.
So what is the right user experience? One that satisfies about a dozen different key usability requirements, of which we’ve already discussed three — true, powerful, cost modelling; guided sourcing by the way of system-assisted “what-if” support; and identification of the constraints, or sets of, that are preventing a solution when the model is over-constrained and a solution is needed.
But this, as you can guess, is not enough. It’s only a fraction of the key requirements that need to be satisfied in order to provide the necessary user experience that will drive each and every buyer to find the value that only a true best-in-class optimization solution can be used to find.
Another key requirement, but by far not the last, is analytics-driven comparison reporting. You see, one thing that is critical in the identification and allocation of the proper award is, as the co-authors of this series identify in The UX One Should Expect from Best-In-Class Optimization Part IV over on Spend Matters Pro [membership required], effective visualization.
Why is effective visualization so critical? Consider that a power buyer’s job is to try and find the perfect scenario with the almost perfect award that maximally satisfies the constraints and the desires of all the stakeholders. This could require the comparison of dozens of alternatives that have about the same costs and about the same overall total constraint violation, but have the potential to dissatisfy each group in significantly different ways. Without an effective analytics and visualization component that can help a user visualize the mathematically minimal but not objectively minimal differences in the minds of the stakeholders, a user could spend days or weeks trying to decide on the right award variation among dozens of spreadsheets when a good visualization solution can eliminate the less desirable candidates in minutes. It’s another key requirement of a good, modern, user experience in sourcing optimization.
But, as you can guess, this is still not all a platform needs to do. For a deeper dive on this, and other requirements, check out the doctor and the prophet‘s final instalment in our optimization UX series, The UX One Should Expect from Best-In-Class Optimization Part IV, over on Spend Matters Pro [membership required] and stay tuned for our upcoming deep-dive series on the required UX for spend analysis as this will not only help you select an optimization solution with a good visualization solution but an analytics solution with a good visualization component as well.