Category Archives: Event

The Direct Procurement Challenge Webinar is One Week From Today!

That’s right, only one week until the upcoming ISM webinar, sponsored by Pool4Tool, where both the doctor and the prophet will discuss:

  • the direct procurement lifecycle
  • how it is different from the classic indirect procurement lifecycle
    (which was cost-centric perfect for indirect)
  • key requirements to support direct procurement that indirect procurement platforms lack
  • key technological capabilities to truly manage the direct procurement lifecycle
  • 15 ways your platform likely isn’t up to snuff
    (especially if it’s a platform built for indirect)
  • the consequences of using the wrong platform for Procurement platform
    (which can leave a lot of blood on your hands)

The fact of the matter is that you wouldn’t use a Chihuahua to herd sheep, so why are you trying to use a mouse to herd cats (which is mission improbable anyway)? (This is exactly what you are doing if you try to use an indirect sourcing platform for direct sourcing.)

Join our webinar next Tuesday on June 28, 2016 @ 11:30 AM PT, 14:30 PM ET, and 19:30 PM BST (UK Time) and find out why your procurement platform may not be doing your Procurement organization justice!

All attendees receive 1 CEH certificate. This is an ISM webinar after all.

Register today. Don’t delay!

Can Your Platform Handle Direct? Take the Direct Procurement Challenge!

Or at least attend the upcoming ISM webinar, sponsored by Pool4Tool and featuring both the doctor and the prophet who will discuss how

  • the direct procurement lifecycle is different from the classic indirect procurement lifecycle, which was cost-centric perfect for indirect
  • key requirements of each phase of the direct procurement lifecycle …
  • … and key requirements indirect procurement platforms lack
  • key technological capabilities required to truly manage direct procurement
  • 15 ways your platform probably isn’t up to snuff for direct, if it even address the issue at all — and —
  • the consequences of using the wrong platform for procurement management!

The fact of the matter is that you wouldn’t use a Chihuahua to herd sheep, so why are you trying to use a mouse to herd cats (which is mission improbable anyway)? (This is exactly what you are doing if you try to use an indirect sourcing platform for direct sourcing.)

Join our webinar on June 28, 2016 @ 11:30 AM PT, 14:30 PM ET, and 19:30 PM BST (UK Time) and find out why your procurement platform may not be doing your Procurement organization justice.

Don’t think you need a better platform? Remember that while the most blood an indirect procurement manager sourcing office supplies and temp labour has ever seen is the blood on his finger from a paper cut from signing the paper contract, people have been seriously injured and died (in the dozens) from poor judgement in direct sourcing. And if you don’t believe me, check out the many examples cited in the new white-paper on The Direct Material Procurement Challenge: An Indirect Tool for Direct Procurement is Mission Improbable — Direct Procurement Requires Different Capabilities by the doctor! (Just another reason to join our webinar on The Direct Materials Procurement Challenge. Registration is free and can be done now by following the link.)

As this is an ISM webinar, 1 CEH Certificate will be awarded to each attendee.

Free webinar. Free credit hour. Free white paper. How good does it get?

While the Masses descend on ISM, the Masters will have the 50/50 in their Sights.

Today sees the beginning of the annual conference of the 101 year old Institute of Supply Management and the convergence of thousands of professionals upon Indianapolis to take place in the annual four-day revelry of the purchasing profession in the United State of America.

Recognizing that their audience is often more junior buyers than Directors and CPOs, this year the ISM has organized sessions into meaningful tracks to try and help the various purchasing team members understand the basics they need to do their jobs (as few people get any formal education in Supply Management before being thrust into a career, and training budgets are still slim to none in many organizations), with a focus on:

  • Dos and Don’ts
  • Direct and Indirect
  • People & Tools
  • Risk & Rewards

This is a great director for the ISM to go, as today’s buyers need all the education they can get. Unfortunately, there’s only so much that can be covered in a short talk on the critical subject matter a buyer needs to learn in depth to do her job efficiently and effectively (and run the Procurement Value Engine) and less still that can be absorbed, but we should at least applaud the effort of the ISM to make this event worthwhile for their average attendee (and possibly give her some fodder to go back and fight for an actual training budget).

Of course, as usual, the doctor won’t be there as the ISM conference, and the dozens and dozens of vendors with the big marketing budgets that converge upon it, really only represents the average state of Procurement today. As leaders of today and tomorrow, we are interested in the state of the art, what comes next, and what we have to learn — and do — to prepare for it to take our capabilities to the next level because, as we know it, Procurement is Dead and if we don’t redefine our job, and our capability, we will be buried with it.

As a result, in our niche, we don’t need to be bombarded with a dozen, almost equal, Source to Pay platform demonstrations (because we already know what the average platform does and minor UI differences and workflow tweaks don’t add much value) or last decade’s SIM solutions — we need to know which vendors are adding innovative capabilities like auto-correct and auto-suggest to m-way match to eliminate 90% of the “exceptions” that can be automatically handled, data analytics to let us do predictive trending and take advantage of prescriptive (expert-guided) strategies to maximize the value from each sourcing event, and modern SRM platforms that contain development and innovation management capabilities to extract value where the price is already as low as it can go with current materials, production processes, and supply chain designs.

That’s why we will be waiting with anxious breadth for the Spend Matters 50/50 list to find out who the 50 vendors to know are, and, just as importantly, who the 50 vendors to watch are. We need the next advance, and to get ahead of our competitors in tight markets without a significant increase in budget or support, we need it first. And where you are going to find that innovation is in the vendors on this list, and, surprisingly enough, not just the vendors in the “watch” list — some of the bigger vendors in the “know” list, having acquired some smaller companies and top innovation talent, have let their talent loose and there are some amazing innovations in the pipe this year — just not necessarily what, where, and from whom you’d expect.

While the doctor was consulted last year, this year the doctor was heavily involved in the discussion, including the final cut, and can honestly say that not only does this list represents the best cross-section of vendors in the global market, but it will surprise you. And you will be happy it did. And, better yet, there will be a continuation of the deep coverage of all of the vendors on SM (which will include joint coverage by the doctor, the prophet, and the maverick where it makes sense) and on the Sourcing and Complex Procurement vendors here on SI*.

Start the countdown!

* For the most part, SI will not cover the workforce, trade finance, or services providers in depth as SI will remain true to its core focus (which has kept you here for 10 years) on best practices and processes, technology, education, and topics that no one else covers in the Strategic Sourcing Execution Lifecycle (registration required). [However, this still leaves a LOT of vendors.]

Data Breach Response Planning Part I

Today’s guest post is from Torey Guingrich, a Project Manager at Source One Management Services, LLC who specializes in helping global companies drive greater value from their IT and Telecommunications investments.

It seems as if no industry or company can escape the potential of a data breach. Over the past few years, we have seen large retailers, health insurance companies, financial services firms, and the U.S. federal government deal with reporting and responding to large-scale data breaches. The first reaction to the threat of a breach is to bolster prevention. While there are clear ways that companies can mitigate the risk of a breach, there will always be someone looking to exploit weaknesses in security systems and protocol. While preventing a breach would be ideal, prevention should work hand-in-hand with preparation for a breach, including having the necessary partners identified or in place to respond to, cease, and mitigate damage. Procurement plays a key role in preparation by working with IT and various stakeholders to determine which types of services are needed for a data breach, as well as supporting the selection and management of the specific suppliers.

There are a few key supplier partners that Procurement should look to establish relationships with in preparation for, or in the event of, a breach:

  • Forensic IT
    While your IT department is very familiar with the systems in place and is able to manage them, they may not have the expertise needed to identify the source of a breach. Forensic IT firms can help identify the source and extent of a breach so that your IT team can focus on securing against the breach and ensuring operations can return to working condition. Procurement should work with IT to evaluate potential suppliers for forensic services based on the organization’s architecture, network, and potential entry points and vulnerabilities. Procurement can look to leverage sourcing activities or existing relationships for IT managed services to identify potential suppliers for forensic IT services.
  • Outside Council
    Unless your internal legal team is well versed and qualified to respond to a breach, you will likely need to bring in additional resources with specific expertise to direct your company on compliance and regulatory implications. When evaluating potential legal firms, Procurement should look for those who have expertise in notification requirements in all fifty states of the U.S. as well as in other countries, as appropriate for the company’s operations, and in your company’s specific vertical (e.g. healthcare, banking, insurance). Because these requirements are evolving, be sure to identify firms that are keeping pace with the most recent rulings and regulations.
  • Credit Monitoring/Identity Theft Repair
    With the increase of cyber threats and attacks over the past few years, firms that used to be seen primarily as credit monitoring tools are leveraging their experience and insight to offer response services that include customer notifications and call centre support, along with credit monitoring and identity theft repair services for affected customers. Procurement should ensure the chosen supplier is able to meet the expertise and capacity needs of the organization and can offer value-add services to bolster your response plan. Some suppliers offer services such as data breach simulations that can help identify holes or potential gaps in the designed response plan.

Procurement will need to consider the best-fit way to contract these services in order to utilize them in an efficient way. These services can be contracted in advance of a breach; this approach guarantees capacity, provides a faster response, but comes with both a monthly or annual retainer and variable costs that correspond with the breach.

You can also looks to purchase these services when a breach occurs; this would eliminate the retainer portion of costs, but would not guarantee capacity, may put you in a less favourable position in terms of negotiating variable rates, and will have a longer lead time. If you chose not to retain services, it would be prudent to establish beforehand a short-list of potential suppliers to approach for the necessary services when breach occurs.

Another option to obtain these service is through a data breach insurance plan; this is certainly an option for many organizations, but do consider your company’s ability to fully develop a response plan, ability to control the response, and reputation risk when working within the confines of an insurance policy. Deciding which services are used, and how they are purchased, will likely depend on your organization’s aptitude for risk and budget that can be allocated to these services. Procurement will need to explore the different purchasing methods against the risks associated with a data breach to determine the appropriate approach for securing these services for the organization.

Whatever supplier partners you decide to work with (whether proactively or reactively) Procurement should identify what they will need to begin working on your behalf and mobilize as quickly as possible. The development of your data breach response plan should also identify the types of data at risk (i.e. beyond customer data) and how a breach of that data will affect your business. This practice will allow you to identify business areas that may need to be involved in the creation and execution of the response plan in order to properly prompt internal action as you engage suppliers.

Now that you have your response partnership (plan)s in place, in our next post we will discuss the next key to a successful data breach response.

Thanks, Torey.

The Trade Extensions Event Was Different. It Needed to Be. Do You Know Why?

Those of you following Spend Matters and Spend Matters EU will have noticed Nancy’s and Jason’s posts on the recent Trade Extensions events in London and Chicago on Managing Complexity. In these posts they made a number of interesting observations (which the doctor can verify as he was at the UK EVENT) about the event and how it was different from many other customer-focussed vendor events.

Major differences included:

  • Focus of the talks

    Speeches focused on real, live issues and scenarios that listeners could learn from and apply to their procurement functions and their companies’ wider strategic visions. (Optimising Your Game) There wasn’t a single demo or even a detailed description of the next major release (which will be their biggest release since 2009), coming next year.

  • Make up of the crowd

    Users tend to be forward-thinking and technology-savvy people, given this is leading-edge software, and there were more people in their 20s (“bright young things”) than is usual at events of this nature. It was the leaders of today and tomorrow, not the leaders of yesteryear counting the days to their retirement. (A Rewarding Day)

  • Value to the crowd.

    Nancy noted that one person said that coming to the event had taught him more in one day than he could have learned from going on a £30K procurement course.(A Rewarding Day) The focus was on real-world value, not vendor messaging.

  • Key takeaways.

    There’s more to an optimization-based sourcing system than just product sourcing. One company noted that having changed from their existing sourcing system to something more advanced 12 months ago, has proved invaluable in two key areas: logistics activities (not surprisingly) and supplier data capture. Optimization is about total costs, goods and transportation, and in order to analyze and select the best total cost scenario, a lot of data needs to be captured. As a result, such a tool must be great at data capture. And, as a result, the tool can be used in more diverse ways and in more applications than you would expect. (A Rewarding Day)

  • Individual Thought

    Jason noted how many thoughts of the attendees center on areas around the technology rather than the core solution itself. Taken together, I believe the thoughts below point to the future of where sourcing technology is headed, which centers as much on people as systems. (Brainstorming) Trade Extensions is encouraging ideas and feedback, hoping to harvest the best for future development.

These were all major differences, but the biggest difference is the one that is going unsaid by Nancy, Peter, and Jason and Trade extensions. What is the biggest difference? What is left unsaid. What was left unsaid? We’ll tackle that in our next post …
after we give you a day to think on it.