Category Archives: Event

A New Year of Procurement Events Is Almost Upon Us. Time to Get Ready for the Next Round of …

Bullshit. (Cafe Press wants to sell you a cap. We have no affiliation, but we like this cap in particular.)

SI has already logged over 50 Sourcing and Procurement events for 2020, and it hasn’t even tried to list them all! There is not that much new stuff to talk about every year (and, to be honest, it would be difficult in some years to fill just one 3-4 day event with all new material), so you know what that means. Either:

  1. Replay the skipping record. (The Bird is the Word, after all!)
  2. Resuscitate some long dead hype (which is probably a reality after a decade or two, but old news just the same).
  3. Talk about some “future” development that is so far off in the future that it’s totally useless to anyone who is attending the event.

In particular, get ready for a year of:

  • Community Themes: we know community intelligence is incredibly useful across S2P (market price intelligence, supplier performance, best practices, group buying, etc. etc. etc.), but we need more practical implementations today
  • Automation: after all, two decades old technology will likely get confused with AI if there are enough embedded rules, right?
  • Procurement 4.0: we only started the 3.0 journey about 3 years ago with the appearance of the first S2P suites … it will likely be at least 5 more years before we see the full realization of Procurement 3.0, and before anything appears with the first hints of 4.0 functionality (and there’s no way your C-Suite is waiting 5 years for a return on investment)

And now you know why the doctor doesn’t go to many events. As for you, the best events are, to be honest, typically vendor events that have multiple streams with educational material (from peers) appropriate to where you are in your Sourcing and Procurement Journey. There will be one or two decent events each year where a lot of the content will be relevant, new content, based on where we are now, but a lot will be the same old same old. So choose your events with care, unless you like the broken record (and still think The Bird is the Word!)

What is the Future of the Procurement Function? (Webinar)

In the beginning, there really wasn’t much of a Procurement function. When someone needed something, they either went to the local buyer (who was either the office manager or the designated purchaser) or the local boss and got permission to buy it themselves if it was small. Assuming it was large enough, then it would go through the buyer who than bought either from a catalog, a local vendor, or a contracted supplier for products he or she couldn’t get locally.

Volume leverage was small, time was short, and deals weren’t that great. It was typically the lowest price from some semblance of 3-bids and a buy. And any deal found by one location typically wasn’t shared with another.

As organizations grew and began to realize these inefficiencies, they decided to centralize the purchasing function to achieve volume leverage and better deals, at least for common categories, and in turn decrease the manpower needed for common buys. This also allowed best practices to be created and shared and archived in a knowledge center, but the centralization came with its own problems. Uncommon or unique categories to one or two locations were often sourced with worse results (as the centralized buyers couldn’t exploit volume and didn’t know the local market), local knowledge was lost, and manpower wasn’t reduced that much as inventory managers and designated “buyers” still needed to be at each location to order off of the master contracts and manage inventory.

So, these organizations moved to a center led model. Common, strategic, and/or high dollar categories were centralized, but uncommon, non-strategic, and/or low dollar were managed in a distributed fashion. This, presumably, would achieve the best of the decentalized and centralized procurement worlds with no disadvantages. Right? Wrong.

As center-led organizations matured, a number of cracks in the shiny new armor appeared. This model, like every model before, had its own disadvantages which leaders are now grappling with.

Another evolution is needed. What is that evolution?

A Virtual Procurement Center of Excellence.

What does that look like?

Join THIS THURSDAY’s free webinar (registration required), sponsored by Pool4Tool and featuring the doctor, and find out.

Procurement-as-a-Service: High Priority or HYPE HYPE HYPE!

Next month, the public defender will be hosting a webinar on the evolution of procurement: alignment, flexibility, and Procurement-as-a-Service where he will be discussing whether Procurement-as-a-Service (PaaS) is high priority for your Procurement organization or just hype. Guess which way SI is leaning?

First of all, let’s define what Procurement-as-a-Service (really) is. Procurement-as-a-Service is the new name for the service you get from a Managed Services Provider that combines technology, personnel, and expertise to take over part, or even all, of your Procurement operations in a transparent and effective way. They use technology to identify what you are spending on, what you need, and where savings likely are; choose categories for sourcing and assign category experts; modern technology to do the sourcing and procurement; and track the purchases and payments and do m-way matching to make sure you only pay for what you get and that you get what you are supposed to when you are supposed to. They also make the process visible through, at a minimum, a reporting and progress portal, and may even give you some access to the analytics and procurement tool to run your own reports, record inventory, and upload payments.

Second, let’s break it down.

1. Technology

Nothing new here. Given that MSPs are typically using someone else’s tech, there’s nothing new here. In fact, they’re probably using inferior tech as they are looking for something that works best at managing multiple client procurement portfolios and not at conducting that best sourcing event, bringing the best analytics or optimization solution to the table.

2. People

Note that we are using people here, not talent. MSPs have people. A lot of people. Because they have to fill a lot of seats, but not all are talented, or at least not talented with respect to your business. And this is key. Talent is appropriately educated, experienced, and relevant to your business. This brings us to:

3. Expertise

While there will likely be a number of people at the MSP with expertise in your categories, this number could be a dozen or two among thousands. And you won’t likely get them working your account, nor are you guaranteed to even get the results you would get from a GPO (Group Purchasing Organization).

Third, let’s analyze what we broke down. No guarantee of even best of breed technology. No guarantee of the right talent for your organization (based on your categories or industry). And no guarantee of the right expertise, or sufficient expertise to go around.

So what is PaaS? In SI’s view it’s a quick-fix band-aid for those organizations without enough tech, talent, or transition management capability to handle its own Procurement operations. But for any organization with any capability to acquire and manage even basic tech, attract talent, and acquire and employ expertise, what does a PaaS provider offer, especially when there are GPOs, niche consultancies, and SaaS solutions that have been offering the same, if not more, for quite some time now? The answer: so far, nothin’.

So, in SI’s view, it’s hype, hype, hype. But it will be interesting to see what the public defender has to say when he goes head to head with Comensura‘s Jon Milton on March 7, 11:00 EST, 16:00 GMT.

The Key to e-Sourcing Success (Free Webinar)

e-Sourcing has been touted as the key to Sourcing and Procurement success and savings for almost two decades, with many providers promising double digit ROIs from their platform. While it is possible for any organization to reach this level of savings with a good e-Sourcing process and platform, the reality is that only a fraction do. But why? Especially when this should be a mature technology, when over a dozen players seem to have all of the same foundation technology, and when the process is well known?

The answer: the platforms are bought, but not used. A little overlooked statistic is that even though close to half of modern Sourcing and Procurement organizations have some form of a modern platform, the average utilization of the platform is typically 25%. In other words, only 1 in 4 people are using it or only 1 in 4 events are being put through it. If the promised ROI depends on 90% utilization but the utilization is less than a third of that, of course the ROI will never materialize.

So why aren’t platforms adopted? It’s proven that they can deliver the savings, so they are effective. Their online nature means that you don’t need fax and e-mail, so there is some efficiency. So what’s the problem? Just because a platform checks the functional boxes, it doesn’t mean it meets the organizational need. And if a platform doesn’t meet the need, it will be avoided, not adopted.

The key to e-Sourcing success is platform adoption, which means that the most important characteristic in platform selection is adoptability — which is often the least evaluated characteristic when organizations are comparing feature function check lists, estimated ROI, value-add, etc. And the key to adoption is adoptability. What makes a platform adoptable? That’s what this webinar will focus on … because the reality is that even a mediocre platform that is adopted 100% will deliver a 3X return over a best of breed platform that is adopted 25%. So imagine the return your organization could see if it replaced its unused e-Sourcing with an adoptable best of breed platform. Curious? Join us next Tuesday, February 7, 2016 @ 10:30 Pacific, 12:30 Central, 13:30 Eastern, 18:30 GMT for our webinar on The Key to e-Sourcing Success.

Eved: Events Demystified

Eved, an event commerce company, was started to fill one of the holes in big organization spend management — event spend management. In many organizations, including those that use Ariba, event spend management can be a Million-dollar black hole — per event! For example, all most sourcing platforms can do is cut an all-inclusive PO to the event management vendor and process an all inclusive invoice, which could just be an invoice for venue, food, and services. Not much visibility or control into event spend management!

Without good expense management, companies are missing out on opportunities to impact millions of dollars of meeting and event spend because of disparate, disconnected systems and manual processes. This results in, among other inefficiencies, missed sourcing opportunities, extreme workflow inefficiencies, budget overage and spend leakage, and compliance (policy) risk.

However, with the Eved platform, the organization’s sourcing platform can cut a PO to be managed by the Eved platform, which can give fine-grained spend visibility into all event costs, track, and limit them, to a budget. The Eved platform has evolved over time to meet the needs of end-to-end event spend management including, but not limited to, budget management, program management, schedules, purchase orders, services, invoices, receiving, and other event-related requirements.

It also supports the full event sourcing process including, but not limited to, sourcing, supplier management, award, contract, change orders, invoices, reconciliation, and payment — capturing all of the necessary data for analytics and tax management. It also handles registration, attendee management, and related activities. The expense reconciliation is in real time, budget updates are real time, purchasing policies can be created and enforced, and the platform can be integrated with your accounts payable processes.

Both the sourcing process and the scheduling process can be governed using calendar-based program management. Just like good sourcing requires a good project plan with milestones, good event management also requires a solid timeline, with dates that often cannot slip in order to ensure a successful event. The platform allows milestones, tasks, and change orders to be tied to calendar dates to ensure that events get finished on time and that an event manager can see what is due to today and what is coming up. In addition, the integrated user-assigned color coding allows the event manager to see what types of tasks are (coming) due.

There are also strengths in collaborator management, statements of work, analytics, Ariba integration, and payment (including EvedPay that, through a Merchant partnership, allows event managers to use pre-paid debit cards that can be tracked through the platform using a p-Card type system). For more details on these strengths, and some of the unique Eved platform offerings, check out the recent Pro series by the doctor and the prophet over on Spend Matters Pro (membership required) [Part I]. The insights provided in this piece, particularly those straight from the prophet, are worth the long multi-part series read.