Author Archives: thedoctor

UX is More Than a Functional Experience, It’s a Program Experience

This year we’ve attacked the UX in Sourcing and Procurement solutions, and for e-Auctions, e-RFX, Optimization, Spend Analytics, and Procure-to-Pay in particular. This was great, but if you really understand Sourcing and Procurement, you know that it’s more than just a set of (integrated) modules with a great user experience. It’s a plan, a process, and, most importantly, a program.

Those organizations that are reasonably advanced in their sourcing journey know that the best success often comes from a category management program that starts with category identification and opportunity assessment, proceeds through a sourcing plan, and then the sourcing process, which culminates in a contract, that then flips over to Procurement which issues a purchase order, receives one or more goods receipts and invoices, issues approvals, and, finally payments. This is all part of a program that works against a project plan and one or more category goals.

This project plan also needs to be managed. Hopefully within your S2P suite, but if not, in another tool that, hopefully, integrates with the S2P suite or, in some cases, the organization’s mix of best-of-breed Supply Management applications. But, as one might surprise by now, such a tool must be immensely usable and provide a great user experience if it is to be used.

However, this is easier said than done because simply slapping a great user experience on a traditional project management tool is not going to cut it. This is because the types of programs that revolve around Sourcing, SRM, Analytics, and P2P are considerably different and require functionalities considerably above and beyond a typical project management application. In other words, slapping a category management theme onto a project management or sourcing application won’t make the grade.

This is why the next UX series produced by the doctor will be on Program Management UX, with the P2P posts co-authored by the revolutionary. So keep a watchful eye out for this one — it might help you understand some of the key functionality that should be included in your S2P platform, which many platforms are still missing today.

One Hundred and Twenty Years Ago Today …

London licenses taxicabs. Just a few short months after electric battery-powered taxicabs became available on the streets of London in August the same year.

Just goes to show that once a government succumbs to the winds of change, they are fast to regulate and tax it.

In other words, if the North American government ever truly accepts not only e-Commerce but e-Procurement, you might see a model where all major transactions have to either flow though a government site or, more likely, be immediately reported to a government site and taxes paid immediately (so they don’t lose their share of the digital pie).

Per Angusta: End-to-End Cross-Platform Purchasing & Procurement Project Management

When we last discussed Per Angusta last year in our post on Purchasing CRM, they were a relatively new SaaS company focussing on the workflow that ties the entire Supply Management process together.

They were building a SaaS platform to manage sourcing pipelines, track savings for organizational validation, and make Procurement’s impact visible to the organization. And, more importantly, they were building a tool designed to manage the sourcing workflow by integrating (through APIs) with Sourcing, Procurement, and Supplier platforms … out-of-the-box. At the time, they were integrated, or building integrations with, Rosslyn Analytics, HICX, Market Dojo. Today, they are also integrated with Coupa, Dhatim, D&B, and Ecovadis and other integrations are in the way.

Back then, they were mainly workflow, budget management, and great project management. Since then, they’ve added (better) ERP integration; improved alerts with rule definitions that will, in the next release, also support approval management and “toll gates” for better project management capability; added better contract management and tracking support (with forthcoming DocuSign integration); added supplier (information) management capability (that can import data from existing systems); added opportunity identification and management (with some innovative capability for those that also use Dhatim); and added an overall progress management capability … with the ability to take reporting snapshots from any point in time (in the past). In this post we are going to focus on three key advancements: opportunity management, supplier management and the progress management capability.

Opportunity Management was designed as a “scratch-pad” based application that allows a sourcing and procurement team to track potential opportunities as they are identified. To start identifying an opportunity, all that is needed is a name, an opportunity type, and a category. A short description, stakeholder, scope, implementation difficulty, and expected start date can also be defined. Once an opportunity is accepted, a potential budget impact can be defined, and once the opportunity is implemented, the expected savings can be defined and then the actual savings tracked. And all of this is summarized on the dashboard that summarizes opportunities by status, type of impact, ease of implementation, and project duration. But the great thing is that if a customer also has Dhatim, they can use Dhatim’s AI to identify the likely best opportunities that can be attacked and then feed them right into the Per Angusta platform.

Supplier Management, which can take data from the ERP, organizational Sourcing / ERP / Supply Management systems, and third party systems (D&B, Ecovadis, etc.), can be use to provide a basic Supplier snapshot independent of any given Sourcing system that can merge all the relevant data and provide consistent information to all Supply Management personnel. If they integrate a supplier discovery platform, it will be quick and easy to identify the best current and new suppliers to invite to your next Sourcing or Procurement project.

The Progress Management capability is essentially a pair of operational and financial dashboards that summarize target, forecast, and actual results for the year on top of the opportunity management and tracking capability. It’s trivially simple, but when data from all the platforms is integrated, extremely powerful and useful to the Procurement and Finance organizations.

Per Angusta has come a long way in a short time and SI looks forward to see what they do next year, especially as they are now working on “finding ways to use AI to make sourcing and procurement professionals much more productive and effective”.

M&A: And the Mania Continues …

Our last post on the subject was on how The M&A Mania Ain’t Over Yet. In it, we had two words of advice. Don’t Panic! Those two words are more important now than ever now that Jaggaer has bought BravoSolution. Big has bought big to become bigger and fatten the bottom line, most likely dancing to the tune of the private equity firm looking to get a return on its investment by either growing the company big enough to take public (again) or by making a global offering attractive enough to a bigger private equity firm.

And while this could be very good for the private equity firm, is it good for the customers? Let’s think about this. There are three things that make an M&A attractive:

  • More Customers
    Check, and check. The first check for the sizeable customer base that BravoSolution has. The second check for the fact that most of this customer base is in Europe, where Jaggaer is not well established (with the exception of Jaggaer Direct as a result of its Pool4Tool acquisition).
  • Synergy
    Either in customer base (for cross-selling) or in application (for broader platform). Check, but no check. There is a theoretical synergy in customer base (as both organizations sell to Procurement organizations), but there is not only a geographic divide, but a bit of a cultural divide as well (as most customers tend to buy from organizations with similar cultures, and BravoSolution and Jaggaer have, at least historically, considerably different cultures with regards to solution development and delivery.
  • Cost Reduction
    If there is an overlap in personnel, systems, locations, or other cost centers that can be reduced, then there is a great opportunity for cost reduction. Check, Check, and Check! First of all, while Jaggaer needs to be on all continents, and needs multiple offices on big continents (like the USA, EU, etc.), but only so many. There can be office reduction. This would be a big savings. They now have 2 of just about every Purchasing system — one set can be retired (in time). This would be a big savings. And as for personnel — while customer support personnel cannot be reduced (without losing customers, which negates reason one for M&A), tech support and sales and back office personnel can — especially when one set of systems is retired.

Now, we can’t be sure any of the changes hypothesized above will materialize, but unless some do, how will Jaggaer realize the potential benefits of the merger? It’s not time for panic, but it is time for thought. And the formation of a plan, or at least a back-up plan, if you are a current, or potential, Jaggaer or BravoSolution customer and someday it is announced that your solution, local support office, or team is being retired.

Ninety Years Ago Today …

The Ford Motor Company taught us how long a product line built to last should last when it unveiled its Ford Model A as its new automobile NINETEEN (19) years into production of the Ford Model T. Can you believe it! What else lasts nineteen years (besides versions of Unix and Linux, but even then support is sometimes only guaranteed for a decade) in today’s economy?

When you look at fast moving industries like fashion, sometimes you are looking at product lifespans of 19 days! And most companies roll out a brand new mobile phone model every twelve to eighteen months and an upgraded model every six to nine months. You cannot get a laptop or computer warranty for more than three years. And you’re supposed to trade up to a new car as soon as the current model is paid off.

But products can, and should, be built to last. Will we ever remember what the Ford Motor Company taught us?