Daily Archives: May 29, 2024


Why aren’t you bothered by the smell?!?

If you haven’t been following along, we’ll lay out the top six reasons for you.

1. Case studies are ranker than expired fish in a microwave … and you don’t seem to care.

As per yesterday’s post, Have We Been In The Dank Basement So Long That We Don’t Care If the Fish Stinks?, we’re accepting that case studies are now nothing more than meaningless marketing mush and not even saying anything.

2. Approximately 85% of companies are AI-washing everything.

And the majority of these solutions don’t have any AI, or at least don’t have any native AI and are reliant entirely on questionable AI integrations. AI is hard. Really f6ck1ng hard. It’s not something you whip up overnight, especially if you want a solution that addresses a real problem with a real solution with any reliability. Before the Gen-AI craze, the doctor spent almost two decades here on Sourcing Innovation (and six years on Spend Matters) trying to educate you on the value of (strategic sourcing) decision optimization (SSDO), advanced (predictive) analytics, and proper targetted machine-learning AI that could provide better projections than the majority of “experts” — and the handful of vendors (and he means handful) that had this technology because, at any one time, we’ve never had more than half a dozen or so true SSDO vendors, a dozen or so true spend analytics providers with best-in-class technology, and more than 1 or 2 companies out of every 10 with true AI (and none with AI for more than a few targeted problems, but sometimes that was all you needed to identify extremely significant pockets of value and savings). Now, all of a sudden, we’ve gone from less than 20% to 85% literally overnight, when true AI advances have traditionally taken decades? Not f6ck1ng likely! Not only is AI a buzzword (as pointed out by Sarah Scudder), but it’s a delivery mechanism which, FYI, is a method by which the virus spreads itself.

3. Gen-AI claims that it will deliver Procurement to the enterprise are false.

It will deliver Procurement somewhere, but not the enterprise, unless the enterprise is code for Purgatory or Sheol. Gen-AI, which stands for Generative AI, literally means “AI that makes stuff up“, and, more specifically, since it’s trained to please, it makes stuff up that it thinks you want it to, not stuff that’s true, safe, or even legal. It’s NOT trustworthy, and won’t solve your Procurement problems. And while it may be a bit better at creating natural language responses, we’ve had Natural Language Processing (NLP) commercially for almost two decades, and a few vendors built very good, very reliable solutions, that will provide you with a significantly better chatbot than yet another custom variant of “chat, j’ai pété“. (There are no valid uses for Gen-AI that can’t be accomplished better, faster, and cheaper with existing tech.)

4. Intake / Orchestration is totally useless on its own.

There’s always a bandwagon we have to deal with, but rarely do we have two competing, often overlapping, equally useless bandwagons to deal with, with intake-to-orchestrate now speeding towards the cliff almost as fast as Gen-AI. As we discussed in Marketplace Madness, the days of pure intake-to-orchestrate are numbered because:

  • Intake is Pay Per View on YOUR data. Why are you paying for another view into your data?!?
  • Orchestrate is Solution Sprawl. It’s adding to the problem it purports to solve.
  • Intake-to-Orchestrate is Where’s the Beef? Sure you’re integrating everything and getting visibility into everything, but that’s not Procurement — which is identifying and strategically managing spend. So if the platform isn’t doing that, why not buy a platform that is that supports intake-to-orchestrate natively and allows you to manage strategic spend for risk reduction and savings???

5. Consultancies, purporting to help you, are often more in the dark than you are!

The Big X, which followed the money into tech, and then followed the money into Procurement, did so without any knowledge of where they were going or what was at the end of the yellow brick road. While some of the firms had good knowledge of Procurement from an operational or logistics perspective, they generally had little knowledge in tech and even less knowledge on the ProcureTech landscape (and most would be challenged to name 66 vendors, yet alone the 666 companies in the Sourcing Innovation Source-to-Pay+ Mega Map). And they have no clue how to differentiate the vendors that purport to offer the same (set of) module(s) and determine which one is best for you … and, as a result, all they end up doing is recommending a “best-in-class provider” for which they are a preferred implementation partner (which usually happens to be one they picked from a Market Map, all of which give THE REVELATOR a migraine and the doctor anger management issues because meshing 6+ dimensions on an axis and/or putting a roll-up interface on top of the map that no one understands only adds to the confusion).

But it’s even worse than this … many of the mid-market specialist consulting firms don’t have any more knowledge than the Big X beyond the vendors they have personally worked with. the doctor is sad to say that he’s been talking to quite a number of them and has yet to find one that has a methodology for identifying third party solutions beyond hiring true expert consultants and practitioners with decades of solution (related) experience. And while you will get a good solution from one of their consultants (as they are hand picked by people that know what they are doing), there are two problems here for you:

  • you won’t necessarily get the best solution because the consultant won’t know about it
  • if that consultant retires, which is inevitable as the consultants with the cross-role and industry experience to get this right are closing in on three decades of experience (because you need practitioner/developer, manager, integrator, and consulting experience), and are, thus, a decade or less from retirement, will her replacement be as good?

and two problems for the firm:

  • when the leaders retire, will there be anyone with the necessary depth of knowledge to take their place
  • with not enough senior people to fill the roles relative to the large number of companies that need digitization and Procurement transformation, how will they scale and grow?

It’s too bad that, unlike the next generation of Procurement Providers (like Zip, who realized they needed a Head of Research in-house to help identify what their market was looking for so they could develop the right solution), it would appear that none of these consultancies have realized that they need an internal consultant to keep tabs on the market and help them not only manage technology partners, but qualify the solutions and figure out which clients those technology partners are most appropriate for, so that they can ensure the success of both their clients and their technology partners (and be the consultancy of choice for that partner who will prioritize their deals because they are confident the consultancy vetted the potential client before dangling a “deal” in front of them). (Or, if they are just starting to think about the issue, realize that they can’t just give an existing consultant this role as the background required is different than that of the consultant who works with the clients day-in-and-day-out.)

(FYI: the doctor is not the only one thinking this or saying this, although me might be the only one willing to state it publicly. He’s talked to a number of growing technology solution providers in our space that literally have “consulting” firms tripping over each other to be the provider’s “partner” as a result of the downturn many of these consultancies are experiencing [as qualified by THE PROPHET in his piece on the Consulting Bloodbath], but many of these consultancies are unable to qualify what unique value they would bring to the provider or joint clients. What these consultancies are failing to understand is that providers who are offering real, sometimes almost immediate, value with their SaaS solutions are getting a lot of traction in this down market and don’t have time or personnel [due to budget cuts when the funding taps turned off] to chase poorly qualified deals or deals with little or no profit for the provider. So when all the provider saw in the past from some of these consultancies was poorly qualified deals, they are wary of working with the consultancy that didn’t take the time to understand the potential customer, the necessary solution, and what the hot provider actually did.)

6. DEI is being misused to push agendas and, in some cases, commit fraud!

DEI, which was supposed to be about “equity” (which is supposed to be “fair” and “impartial” and “freedom from bias or favouritism”, as defined by the Oxford and Webster’s dictionaries), somehow became all about “equitable outcomes*, and now that is being used to push agendas and, sometimes, commit outright fraud as we have numerous examples of not only universities, cities, organizations, and countries mandating a lead Procurement role be filled by a minority (whether or not any exist with the required qualifications), but sometimes firing the person in the role to place a more junior person into the role under the guise of “DEI” so that the leader can ensure that all Procurements go his way (which can include purchases to organizations he is invested in, or gets campaign funds from, and so on). The most recent example is the city of Chicago, with the ramifications laid bare by THE PROPHET in his recent article on Why Would Chicago’s Mayor Fire Its Top Procurement Executive and Bring in Someone With a Fraction of the Experience?

* which is not at all equitable because that is not “fair”, “impartial”, or “free from bias” when you insist a minority be hired; equity is supposed to be about “equitable opportunity”, but apparently no one in DEI knows how to use a dictionary anymore

Now that you understand this, why are you putting up with it? Why aren’t you demanding more? You have every right to demand more, and you should be demanding more of your vendors, consultants, and Procurement leaders!

Because if you don’t, The Prophet‘s April Fools Day joke on how we must #EndProcurement might just become reality!