Category Archives: Adoption

The 39 Steps … err … The 39 Clues … err … The 39 Part Series to Help You Figure Out Where to Start with Source-to-Pay

Figuring out where to start is not easy, and often never where the majority of vendors or consultants say you should start. They’ll have great reasons for their recommendations, which will typically be true, but they will be the subset of reasons that most benefits them (as it will sell their solution), and not necessarily the subset of reasons that most benefits you now. While you will likely need every module there is in the long run, you can often only start with one or two, and you need to focus on what’s the greatest ROI now to prove the investment and help you acquire funds to get more capability later, when you are ready for it. But figuring out how much you can handle, what the greatest needs are, and the necessary starting points aren’t easy, and that’s why SI dove into this topic, with arguments and explanations and module overviews, both broader and deeper than any analyst firm or blogger has done before. Enjoy!

Introductory Posts:
Part 1: Where Do You Start?
Part 2: Where Should You Start?
Part 3: You Start with …
Part 4: e-Procurement, and Here’s Why.

e-Procurement
Part 5: Defining an e-Procurement Baseline
Part 6: There are Barriers to Selecting an e-Procurement Solution (and they are not what you think)
Part 7: Over 70 e-Procurement Companies to Check Out

Interlude 1
Part 8: What Comes Next?

Spend Analysis
Part 9: Time for Spend Analysis
Part 10: What Do You Need for A Spend Analysis Baseline, I
Part 11: What Do You Need for A Spend Analysis Baseline, II
Part 12: Over 40 Spend Analysis Vendors to Check Out

Interlude 2
Part 13: But I Can’t Touch the Sacred Cows!
(including Over 20 SaaS, 10 Legal, and 5 Marketing Spend Management / Analysis Companies to Check Out)
Part 14: Do Not Stop At Spend Analysis!

Supplier Management
Part 15: Supplier Management is a CORNED QUIP Mash
Part 16: Supplier Management A-Side
Part 17: Supplier Management B-Side
Part 18: Supplier Management C-Side
Part 19: Supplier Management D-Side
Part 20: Over 90 Supplier Management Companies to Check Out

Contract Management
Part 21: Time for Contract Management
Part 22: Contract Management is a NAG: Let’s Start with Negotiation
Part 23: Contract Management is a NAG: Let’s Continue with [Contract]Analytics
Part 24: Contract Management is a NAG: Let’s End with [Contract] Governance
Part 25: Over 80 Contract Management Vendors to Check Out

e-Sourcing
Part 26: Time for e-Sourcing
Part 27: Breaking Down the ORA of Sourcing Starting With RFX
Part 28: Breaking Down the ORA of Sourcing Continuing with e-Auctions
Part 29: Breaking Down the ORA of Sourcing Ending with [Strategic Sourcing Decision] Optimization
Part 30: Over 75 e-Sourcing Vendors to Check Out!

Invoice-to-Pay (I2P):
Part 31: Time for Invoice-to-Pay
Part 32: Breaking Down the Invoice-to-Pay Core
Part 33: Over 75 Invoice-to-Pay Companies to Check Out

Orchestration:
Part 34: How Do I Orchestrate Everything?
Part 35: Do I Intake, Manage, or Orchestrate?
Part 36: Over 20 Intake, [Procurement] [Project] Management, and/or Orchestration Companies to Check Out
Part 37: Investigating Intake By Diving In to the Details
Part 38: Prettying Up the Project with Procurement Project Management
Part 39: Deobfuscating the Orchestration and Fitting it All Together

Procurement is Global. Platforms should be Global. Truly Global.

And, in particular, as previously noted, those platforms should form the foundation for Virtual Procurement Centres of Excellence. But just acquiring a platform is not enough. It has to be adopted — and not just in the center of excellence, but in every local purchasing department around the globe.

This means a global rollout, but not an instantaneous one. Big bang roll-outs usually end up in big blow-ups. The biggest supply chain disasters in history have often been the result of big-bang ERP or technology projects that tried to update the entire system all at once, often in a bet-the-company endeavour. Such a project even brought down a 5B company. (Remember Foxmeyer? Probably not, but that’s because a big bang ERP project resulted in a big bust.)

Now, a global Procurement platform roll out is not replacing the ERP and a failure likely wouldn’t bankrupt the company, but it certainly would be very costly and knock Procurement back into the dark ages it’s trying to crawl out of. So it has to be done right. So how do you do it right?

1. Take it in steps.

Start with just enabling the center of excellence so that the Procurement leaders can get familiar with the platform before the questions start rolling in. After all, they will be the trainers, leaders, barkers, and bugle-men of the solution, and need to be prepared the lead the charge. After that, enable just a few locations at a time until each is up and running.

2. Get the data model right before a single implementation.

Remember, you have to control the information and financial chain with the platforms, and this will require integrating with data from dozens, if not hundreds, of systems and sources. Without a good data model, integrations will be difficult and time consuming.

3. Identify the systems of record for each data component.

The days where the ERP is the system of record are long gone in leading organizations. These days, organizations have a financial system as the system of record for invoices and payables, a supplier management system for supplier (and sometimes catalog) data, local catalog management for products and services that are primarily sourced locally, a CAD/CAM system for product designs, a MRP system for custom product designs, and so on. Make sure the integrations with each of these core platforms is complete and accurate before using the new system for the first Procurement event.

4. Define small test projects that can be used to evaluate the implementation adequately before continuing with the roll-out.

Pick a few representative, but not mission critical, projects that can be completed in weeks (not months or years) that will adequately test the system, define milestones and checkpoints, and evaluate at each stage. Only continue when any issues or bugs are identified and corrected.

5. Make sure you have experienced, expert help for the roll-out.

Each office will have its own particular process needs, regionalization (in terms of language and currency), audit trail requirements, and so on. Expert help can not only help you identify these requirements but appropriate system configuration options for maximum performance and minimal complexity at each location.

In other words, create a reasonable plan, with expert help, and stick to it. Things will generally go smooth if you realize that, like every evolution before, the advancement of the Procurement function is a journey. You can’t always afford to stop and smell the roses, but you can’t afford to run through the thorns either.

Good Strategies for Microsoft AND Big Software Co. Enterprise Renewals

A guest post earlier this month over on Spend Matters on 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Renewing a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement in 2015 had some good tips not just for Microsoft Enterprise Agreement renewals but Big Software Co. Renewals in general.

The major pieces of advice generalize as follows:

Waiting until the last minute for renewal negotiations.

While this may have worked in the past, the bigger providers have smartened up. They have learned that it’s not the month or quarter or the year, but profit that matters, and will wait a month to get more profit when they are sitting on a huge cash reserve. Also, they have learned that if you wait until the last minute, you probably haven’t identified any other options, and even if you did, would not have time to implement another option and it’s you they have over a barrel, not the other way around. In addition, as per the article, there are only so many sales people and, unless you are a really big customer, if the sales people are busy, they may not get to you before the licenses expire and the systems lock up.

An over focus on price and an under focus on terms and conditions.

Price is important, but, as per the article, so is matching the service offering to the organizational need. Not only do you not want to over subscribe, and end up with a large number of unused licenses, but you don’t want to subscribe for products that don’t meet organizational needs either. But this isn’t the most important thing — it’s the fine print. If organizational needs are in flux, the last thing the organization wants to be is locked into a multi-year agreement or a minimum license count, with a huge penalty if the organization tries to end the agreement early. Similarly, the organization wants to understand the full cost of a cloud service and, if additional bandwidth or CPU usage costs can be added on during periods of intensive usage, this needs to be understood as well.

Treating negotiations as a one-time event.

The buying organization may set-and-forget the three year renewal until thirty (30) months, or more, have passed, but the vendor will be analyzing the contract, and usage, every quarter and looking for ways to extend the offering as soon as possible. The organization needs to monitor its usage as well to be able to make an informed counter to a vendor who indicates that the company is nearing capacity in licenses, computing power, etc. when it is still 20% away from maxing anything out and only increasing in usage at 1% a month.

Not being audit ready.

Chances are your Big Enterprise Software Vendor has an audit clause in the contract for any licenses installed on premise. And chances are that if the organization has not had an audit in the last couple of years, that, unless the organization agrees to the default renewal (which will often be for more licenses than required at a higher rate), that the customer will be audited for usage. The organization should do it’s own software (license) audits on at least an annual basis and keep detailed records. Not only will it have the data to dispute any claims to the contrary made by the vendor, but it will be able to make sure it remains in compliance at all times.

Enterprise software is costly. But it doesn’t have to be a spend sinkhole.

Robbie and the Coupa Factory, Part II

Oompa Loompa Doom-pa-dee-do
We can’t stop building products for you!
Oompa Loompa Doom-pa-dah-dee
If you are wise you’ll try it tout-de-suite

What do you get when you’re UI obsessed?
Teams of coders who are distressed
Until they reduce the clicks to one or two
That’s what the ‘loompas will do for you.


Coupa is still trying to make the easiest end-to-end e-Procurement platform on the market, and still innovating new releases on a quarterly cycle.

So what’s changed since our last update in July?

  1. A greater focus on the front office.
  2. A stronger focus on supplier support.
  3. Better Inventory Management.
  4. Universal Search.
  5. Transactional Spend Analysis.

A greater focus on the front office.
This shows up in the form of better budget visibility and better contract management. In Coupa, a user can see what the budget impact of a requisition will be before they submit it, not after the fact. This feature is more powerful than it appears to be on the surface. For example, in one large retail client, every department that used Coupa was under budget, while every department that did not use Coupa was over budget. When people see the impact of a purchase before they make it, they are much more frugal.

With respect to contracts, Coupa has set up a “contract dropbox” where all contracts can be uploaded to the system and real-time spend dashboards by contract. Again, this may not sound that important until you realize that without such dashboard, the average user in an organization does not see the importance, and impact, of a contract. When spend quickly adds up, it becomes clear not only which products and suppliers are critical to the organization, but which contracts — and it also becomes a trivial exercise to determine the cost of buying off contract, which is where a lot of the savings leakage occurs in an average organization. The reality is that most savings available to an organization in the majority of non-strategic and non-high dollar categories lie in off-contract spend. In many organizations, just getting the majority of spend on contract can increase savings 50%. (Given that, on average, savings leakage is 40%, and the majority is due to maverick spending, shifting another 30% of spend on-contract where only 60% of spend was on-contract before increases savings opportunities by 50%.) For example, one company saved 120K in one year just be getting bottled water on contract with Staples!

A stronger focus on supplier support.
Suppliers, who are never charged by Coupa (as this greatly increases the odds that they will use the system) will soon be able to invoice their Coupa clients any way that they want to. In addition, a lot of effort has been put into insuring that their UI is as easy to use as the buyer’s UI.

Better inventory management.
Coupa has created a new API for inventory management and the system can automatically determine if the order is for internal inventory or external inventory. In addition, it now supports configurable lists for items bought on a regular schedule, which support par levels and auto-buy calculations based on current inventory to make it simple for a user to do regular re-orders. In addition, the system can auto-generate GL codes based on user, department, and commodity so that the re-order is charged against the right budget and filled by the right contract.

Universal Search.
One thing that Coupa learned is that its average user did not want to leave Coupa and punch-out to a third party site to find a product or service they needed to accomplish their day-to-day job. In response, Coupa now includes punch-out and other external products and services from partner-sites through scraping and auto-loads. In addition, they have integrated back-end reporting that lets Procurement know when prices change.

Transactional Spend Analysis.
They have implemented a basic data analysis tool (GoodData) that lets a user slice and dice spend by contract, commodity, department, and other basic measures so that they can better understand the Spend Under Management through the Coupa System. While not a replacement for a full-fledged Data Analysis Engine, it now has the same power as any package that contains a canned set of spend visibility reports and a basic report building engine, which is impressive for a Procurement platform. No more heavy lifting in Excel for the simple stuff for sure!


Oompa Loompa Doom-pa-dee-do
They can’t stop building products for you!
Oompa Loompa Doom-pa-dee-dar
They have the goal to take your spend far.

High Definition Adoption Measurement Part VIII

Today’s guest post is from John Shaw (Senior Director, Adoption Services) of BravoSolution, a leading provider of spend analysis, (e-)sourcing, supplier performance management (SPM) and healthcare sourcing solutions and a sponsor of Sourcing Innovation (SI). It is the eighth and final part of an eight (8) part series, which forms a white-paper that BravoSolution is releasing to the general populace today.

Yesterday’s post (Part VII) provided a case study that describes typical challenges faced by a national provider of construction materials. In the case study, a 30,000-foot view might also show positive progression even though only 23% of forecasted spend is being sourced through the system and four (4) users have an average event size that is significantly lower than expected value.

Today’s post completes the series on High Definition Adoption Management by reviewing some best practices for implementation.

From 30,000 feet to Detail:

Best-of-Breed Sourcing isn’t conceptually all that much different then Best-of-Breed software adoption programs. A competent Sourcing Professional knows that an organization doesn’t operate based upon negotiated savings, but upon realized savings. It isn’t until an agreement is implemented and adopted by an organization that the contract yields value to the organization.

The same is true with the tools and process that you select for your sourcing team. The path to success lies in how your team adopts those tools and processes.

Whether you are managing a contract or managing an e-Sourcing implementation you can be infinitely more effective if you understand how it is being utilized by the organization.

If you are starting your journey towards understanding adoption in your organization, start at 30,000 feet. Stop, ask questions, find your initial opportunities and keep digging deeper. Adoption measurement is a journey and the end measurements tend to be different for every organization.

Don’t get lost in the woods!

Remember your business case. Yes, it will naturally evolve over time and those changes will need to be managed and communicated. Overall, it should serve as a compass for helping your Adoption Team navigate your organization, keeping them on track in guiding your organization towards superior performance.

Discuss, Commit and Revisit

Share your data, open a discussion with Category managers on what make sense for measurement in their Category and get a commitment from then on their targets. Make tool usage metrics a regular part of your team communications so the team knows it will remain a priority within the organization.

Now that the series is complete, please show your appreciation for this first-look by downloading the white-paper through this link or the big orange download button below. This will help to ensure that SI is able to bring you more educational pieces on a first-look basis in the future. Thank you.


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