We Don’t Need Another Hero!

the doctor‘s response to the public defender‘s post on What’s the Future of Procurement? How the Rogues Will Become the Heroes

Out of the ruins
Out from the wreckage
Can’t make the same mistake this time
We are the relics
The last generation
We are the ones they left behind
And I wonder why we are always after change
Dancing around the way, till nothing pure remains

We don’t need another hero
We don’t need to know the way forth
All we want is rules stopping
Mavericks

Looking for something
We can rely on
There’s gotta be something better out there
Rules and processes
Their day is coming
All else is descriptive vapourware
And I wonder why we are always after change
Dancing around the way, till nothing pure remains

All the stoics say
We don’t need another hero
We don’t need to know the way forth
All we want is rules stopping
Mavericks

So what did we do with our lives
If we don’t leave our mark
Will our story shine like a light
Or end in the dark
Give it all or nothing

We don’t need another hero
We don’t need to know the way forth
All we want is rules stopping
Mavericks

While flexibility, collaboration, and innovation are to be nurtured and cherished … if the system is the workaround, then something’s wrong …

PRGX: Optics on Optix

In our last post, we noted that, as written by the doctor and the prophet over on Spend Matters Pro (membership required) in the PRGX Intro, PRGX is one of a select number of dominant services provider in the niche market for recovery audit services — a market that unlike other procurement services faces tremendous price pressure for its core recovery, statement and related auditing and profit recovery services but also a vendor that has started to remake itself quietly from within.

As a result, as indicated in our last post, PRGX has built the most complete, and in many ways the most advanced, analytics and recovery solution for the retail sector and, in doing so, has built one of the most complete and advanced analytics and recovery solutions for just about any sector that buys and relies on goods. It does this via two platforms, Optix, which has deep Payment, Spend, and Product analytics, and Lavante, which has deep SIM and automated recovery prevention analytics. (We expect they will eventually be merged, but, for now, they are separate.)

As we have covered Lavante multiple times in the past, we’re going to focus on introducing the features of Optix.

Spend Optix

Spend Optix is designed to help an organization get deep insight into their category spend like a typical spend analysis platform for Sourcing and Procurement. Reporting revolves around categories and suppliers. It is also the only PRGX product that today has a built-in report builder, which can build spend reports across pre-defined dimensions and fields. The product is designed to help you understand spend category performance, spend under contract, invoice-vs-supplier insights, item price variance, and commodity cost indices.

This product can also be configured to track all contracts, all meta data of interest, and relate the contracts to the relevant categories and products. This allows a user to drill into a contract from a category, a category from a contract, and create accurate “address spend” reports, as will be described below. The ease of use is not at the level of Lavante SIM, but we expect that will change over time.

Payment Optix

Payment Optix is designed to help an organization get deep insight into their payments and related metrics and, in particular, DPO (days payable outstanding), PO (purchase order) vs. Non-PO spend, deep AP analytics, and risk insights.

The home screen, as with the other OPTIX products, is a dashboard with key metrics and graphs, such as invoices processed by month, DPO, Benford’s law (by invoice amount or value), and related metrics that an organization wants to see on a daily basis. The platform is drill-down report oriented, and the reports are segmented into Invoice Processing, DPO, and Risk Management.

Product Optix

Product Optix is designed to help an organization get deep insight into their product pool, including net margin, equivalent products, and best supplier funding opportunities. Reporting revolves around categories, suppliers, and deals.

The best part is the product detail report which brings up not only detailed product information, but the most complete product margin breakdown report you ever did see. With their extremely strong background in retail, PRGX understands true lifecycle margin calculations as good as anyone and it shines through in their report.

This is just a brief overview of what PRGX can do. For a much deeper dive, see the Pro series (Part I, Part II, and Part III) by the doctor and the prophet over on Spend Matters Pro (membership required) that also dives into strengths and weaknesses and a very detailed SWOT analysis to help you understand where they fit.

Bye, Bye to Monochrome UIs …

In recognition of what’s to come …

A long, long time ago
I can still remember how that black screen used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make that cursor dance
And maybe they’d be happy for a while

But colour displays they made me shiver
With every app I’d deliver
Bad news on the ‘Net chats
I couldn’t sell more DOS apps

I can’t remember if I feared
When I read about this message clear
But something touched me deep inside
The day monochrome died

So bye, bye, to monochrome UIs
Took my green screen to the market but the interest was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey ‘n rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die

Did you write the book of code
And do you have faith in monochrome
If MRP tells you so?
Now do you believe in best of breed?
Can GUI save your efficiency?
And can you teach me how to colour scheme?

Well, I know that you’re in love with new
‘Cause I saw you were mesmerized too
Sat and kicked off your shoes
Man, you dig those yellows and blues

I was a lonely teenage hacker, mate
With a fifty six six and an X-8-8
But I knew I was out of luck
The day monochrome died

I started singing bye, bye, to monochrome UIs
Took my green screen to the market but the interest was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey ‘n rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die

Now for decades we’ve been on our own
And moss grows fat on a rollin’ stone
But that’s not how it used to be
When the hacker wrote for the king of blue
Coding up screens for MRP-2
For a dream that came from me and you

Oh, but while the king was looking down
VGA stole his thorny crown
The courtroom was adjourned
No verdict was returned

And while Heilmeier read a book on Crookes
Tang and Slyke wrote a new cook-book
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day monochrome died

We started singing bye, bye, to monochrome UIs
Took my green screen to the market but the interest was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey ‘n rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die

Helter skelter in a summer swelter
Xerox flew without a fallout shelter
Eight miles high and falling fast
It landed foul on the grass
The players tried for a forward pass
With the jester on the sidelines in a cast

Now the halftime air was sweet perfume
While Three Rivers played a marching tune
We all got up to buy
Oh, but the system did not fly

‘Cause old Xerox tried to take the field
Apple Lisa refused to yield
Do you recall what was revealed
The day monochrome died

We started singing bye, bye, to monochrome UIs
Took my green screen to the market but the interest was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey ‘n rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die

Oh, and there we were all in one place
A generation lost in space
With no time left to start again
So come on, Jack be nimble, Jack be quick
Jack Flash sat on a candlestick
‘Cause fire is the devil’s only friend

Oh, as I watched ERP on stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage
No angel born in Hell
Could break that Satan’s spell

And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite
I saw Satan laughing with delight
The day monochrome died

He was singing bye, bye, to monochrome UIs
Took my green screen to the market but the interest was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey ‘n rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die

I met a girl who coded Shell
And I asked her for some happy tell
But she just smiled and turned away
I logged in to the BBS
Where I’d learned the code and to transgress
But the admin said we’re now dispossessed

And in the streets, the children screamed
The lovers cried and the poets dreamed
But not a word was spoken
CRTs were all broken

And the three men I admire most
Wozniak, Moore and Tim Berners Lee
They caught the last train for the coast
The day monochrome died

And they were singing bye, bye, to monochrome UIs
Took my green screen to the market but the interest was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey ‘n rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die

Yes they were singing bye, bye, to monochrome UIs
Took my green screen to the market but the interest was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey ‘n rye
And singin’ this’ll be the day that I die

S2P Nirvana is a LONG Way Off!

And no amount of M&A is going to change that.

Why?

  • 1. There are still lots of problems software does not address
  • 2. No provider can address everything, even with a narrow functional focus
  • 3. Benefits only come from integration, not acquisition

1. There are still lots of problems that software does not address.

Software is simply automation of process by way of (mathematical or logical) algorithms. It is not intelligent (despite claims of AI supporters to the contrary), cannot sense the problems you need to solve, and cannot tell you what you are not doing outside of the process it was coded to support.

For example, in spend analysis, it cannot tell you what spend to look at, how to slice and dice it for unidentified opportunities, and where the functionality is lacking. It can identify trends, indicate what processes worked in the past to take advantage of those trends, but cannot identify any new, unknown, variables that could prevent those processes from working again.

2. No provider can address everything, even with a narrow functional focus.

There are at least half a dozen pure-play best of breed providers in pure spend analysis, and these follow half a dozen pure-play best of breed providers in pure spend analysis that were recently acquired, and all have unique capabilities. Thus, when there is still no provider that does it all, and still so much innovation to do in each narrow functional domain, it’s obvious that S2P Nirvana is still a long, long way off.

3. Benefits only come from integration, not acquisition.

Without integration, there are no more benefits than each solution had on its own. Just because the two solutions are now owned by the same provider does not mean there is any benefit besides potential volume-based cost leverage (if the provider can be persuaded) or more staff for additional services support. Benefits come from simplified and expedited processes, which generally only come from smooth integration, and, sometimes, even absorption of a smaller product into a bigger one.

In other words, S2P Nirvana is a long way off and M&A isn’t going to change that, so while the M&A train is going full steam ahead, it doesn’t mean it’s going to get you to your destination any faster.

The Coupa Factory … Rethink!

In recognition of Coupa’s recent acquisition of Spend360 and it’s planned acquisition of Trade Extensions …

Oompa Loompa Doom-pa-dee-do
Our goal is a great product for you
Oompa Loompa Doom-pa-dah-dall
But demands are too high when suites promise all

What do you get when you go enterprise?
Encroaching upon the ERP course?
Where they are spending to salvo back?
What do you think will come of that?

I don’t like the look of it

Oompa Loompa Doom-pa-dee-dar
We were all willing, and we went far
We wanted to give you happiness too
Like the Oompa Loompa Doom-pa-dee-do

Oompa Loompa Doom-pa-dee-do
We built a great product for you
Oompa Loompa Doom-pa-dee-done
but it’s not enough, it must be the “One”

There was a time best-of-breed tickled pink
Multiple products working in sync
But platform providers promised it all
Now the market expects us to fall [in line]

Amongst the propaganda

Oompa Loompa doom-pa-dee-dar
But here at Coupa, we said you’d go far
That You will buy in happiness too
Like the Oompa-Loompa doom-pa-dee-do

Oompa Loompa Doom-pa-dee-do
So now we buy great product for you
Oompa Loompa Doom-pa-dee-derd
If you are wise, you will heed our word

Use Spend360 to find all your waste
Use Trade Extensions to eliminate
Use Contractually to manage your deals
And Use InvoiceSmash to balance your Riels

And ZenPurchase to manage it all

Oompa Loompa doom-pa-dee-dar
Now here at Coupa, we’ll take you far
You will buy in happiness too
Like the Oompa-Loompa doom-pa-dee-do

Oompa Loompa Doom-pa-dee-do
I have a great product for you
Oompa Loompa Doom-pa-dee-dise
If you are wise, you’ll buy enterprise

You’ll buy our whole line, from source down to pay
You’ll Source and Procure the new Coupa way
Finance and HR, they’ll be happy too
With the Oompa-Loompa doom-pa-dee-do

You’ll have no … you’ll have no … you’ll have no more wants!

Oompa Loompa doom-pa-dee-dar
Yes now with Coupa, you will go far
You will buy in happiness too
Like the Oompa-Loompa doom-pa-dee-do