Category Archives: Miscellaneous

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).

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.

Let’s Get Asynchronous!

To the tune of Redfoo’s
Let’s Get Ridiculous!

Yo!

Lets Phreak!
Lets Phreak!

Yo, yo, yo, let’s go!

We’re dialed-in, the signal’s strong,
packets ready, time to switch the network on
The queue is up, meticulous,
c’mon baby, let’s get asynchronous!

C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon baby, let’s get asynchronous (oh-ohh-oh!)
C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon baby, let’s get asynchronous (oh-ohh-oh!)
C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon baby, let’s get asynchronous (oh-ohh-oh!)
C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon baby, let’s get asynchronous (oh-ohh-oh!)

Wired, linked, signals on the brink. Let’s get-
Wired, linked, signals on the brink. Let’s get-
Wired, linked, signals on the brink.
Networked people! Let’s get asynchronous!

Networked people know the place to be (Hey!),
where the wires bring the two-phase beat
Let’s tap into the web’s heartbeat,
so sit down log in and send a tweet (Yeeah!)
This is how we chat (Hey!),
text, no vocals, characters,
So be a phreak in binary
and when we drop the bits we’re global travelers

And I love to text,
asynchronous is the best jam
Send a tweet, yeah take a chance,
and if ya can’t rock the keys then Instagram
Wanna know a lil something ’bout queues? (Hey!)
They were made for messaging you
A modern form of web voodoo,
they’re fresh, they’re slick, and standardized too

We’re dialed-in, the signal’s strong,
packets ready, time to switch the network on
The queue is up, meticulous,
c’mon baby, let’s get asynchronous!

C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon baby, let’s get asynchronous (oh-ohh-oh!)
C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon baby, let’s get asynchronous (oh-ohh-oh!)
C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon baby, let’s get asynchronous (oh-ohh-oh!)
C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon baby, let’s get asynchronous (oh-ohh-oh!)

Wired, linked, signals on the brink. Let’s get-
Wired, linked, signals on the brink. Let’s get-
Wired, linked, signals on the brink.
Networked people! Let’s get asynchronous!

All the time I am reading you online
And you so fine I just have to share the lines
You blow my mind, all the crazy tweets you do
I see that you wanna two-phase too,
so baby, lets get asynchronous!

We’re dialed-in, the signal’s strong,
packets ready, time to switch the network on
The queue is up, meticulous,
c’mon baby, let’s get asynchronous!

C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon baby, let’s get asynchronous (oh-ohh-oh!)
C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon baby, let’s get asynchronous (oh-ohh-oh!)
C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon baby, let’s get asynchronous (oh-ohh-oh!)
C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon baby, let’s get asynchronous (oh-ohh-oh!)

For Some Procurement Departments, Every Day Is Halloween!

A week from tomorrow is Halloween. While until recently meant to celebrate All Hallows’ Day, it’s common observance today is to provide an opportunity for kids to trck-or-treat, high school and college students to throw parties, and adults who miss their childhood an opportunity to play dress-up once again.

As part of this festival of tricks and treats, celebrants (regardless of religion), will carve pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, light bonfires, bob for apples, attempt to divine (and contact the dead), play pranks, purposefully visited haunted attractions (whether supposed to be fake or real), tell scary stories, and even watch horror films.

But for some Procurement departments, this is every day. Every day they are beaten up by the CFO and feel like they are being carved up like jack-o’-lanterns as their performance is dissected with biology lab precision. (Performance that’s not as good as it should be since the CFO won’t let them buy the best tools.)

Stakeholders, who bring (new) requirements, are constantly lighting fires under the team at the last minute, not realizing that great results takes great planning, and that doesn’t happen overnight. That sometimes strategic acquisitions take 3 to 6 months of hard work to find and unlock the hidden value, and that one cannot expect miracles when Procurement, already at 100%, is asked to (re)source a category 30 days before contract termination (and the date was known 1065 days in advance when the last contract was signed without Procurement involvement.

Senior buyers are constantly bobbing for new opportunities, checking out random whims because they don’t have a modern spend analysis system to help them identify the best possibilities for savings. At some point they will get so desperate they will go to gypsy diviners in their quest to identify savings opportunities, and even ask to speak to dead business gurus of ages past.

They will feel like they are constantly being pranked by sales people as they won’t have the insight to build true-cost models, the IT dungeons they have to go to for help normalizing market data from the free feeds they have access to will feel like haunted houses, every new request made from them is a scary request, and their entire
existence feels like a horror movie.

And the scariest part of this story, is that it’s not just a few departments, it’s a sizeable number of Procurement departments. Remember, 40% don’t have modern Supply Management tools, and of those that do, the majority have major holes in the Source to Pay to Delivery Cycle.

So, CFO, this Halloween, only you can change Procurement’s existence by giving them a treat — the budget to acquire new systems next fiscal year. Trust me, Procurement needs them.

Finally … A Good Use for Drones!

A recent article on Yahoo! Finance indicated that MIT researchers use drone fleets to track warehouse inventory specifically to help employees find particular items faster.

But the best use is regular inventory checks and fraud prevention. If the warehouse is lined with RFID readers and every inch is covered, then a system can be designed to flag when a palette is dropped at the wrong location, or when a signal expected to be there is not. But what a system can’t do is double check that a RFID chip is actually there. Once the palette has been read at the right location, and the inventory recorded, who’s to say the system will note when the inventory has been moved and used if a refresh is not performed on a regular basis or that
a hack has not been performed that can trick the system into believing the palette is still there when it has been moved.

In other words, the drone can make up for the inefficiencies in the non-mobile system. It can be programmed to traverse the entire warehouse every night and identify the errors in the system, which can immediately be investigated and corrected. While there is no sure way to prevent hacks that can lead to theft, any thefts would be identified much more quickly, which could increase the chance of recovery and, if the theft is for restricted / hazardous materials or technology, allow for responsible reporting that would keep the organization out of lawsuits and the CXOs out of handcuffs.

It’s a good use for drones. And one even the doctor can get behind.