Category Archives: Sourcing Best Practices

Sourcing Best Practices

Still in the dark ages?

It’s time to face the music; your outdated processes and technologies are killing your business. Successful businesses of the future must adopt and embrace change. For years now, as an analyst or consultant and a managing operator, I have been a catalyst for change within organizations. Today, cloud computing and certainly mobile and big data are changing the future of business. But more than that, the digital revolution has led to a wave of connected technologies and a culture of … More

eSourcing – what does it take in the modern economy?

Sourcing technology over the years has come a long way. While its beginnings initially focused primarily on auctions and RFx, today strategic sourcing efforts can provide a much more comprehensive and integrated view of the supply base. What can be attributed to this development over the past decade is the change in the endgame for procurement, and how procurement views its role in the proverbial organization. Don’t get me wrong, managing cost is, and continues to be, the motivating factor … More

Getting to Insight (Part 3 of 5)

This is the third in a five-part series discussing the obstacles and potential paths forward to achieve visibility — essential to any Procurement organization. The series was initiated based upon the following Ardent paper – HERE.  In the first and second installments the need for procurement visibility starting with Spend Analysis was discussed. Let’s dive right in and examine the second key area or leading indicator of procurement success as outlined by Ardent: Savings. Savings Congratulations are in order if … More

eSourcing vs. eProcurement: What are the differences?

Sourcing and procurement are often used as interchangeable terms, and indeed they are related ideas in supply management. However, they’re not quite the same, and neither are eSourcing and eProcurement. But what exactly are the differences? Let’s start with their definitions. Preceding the actual purchase of goods and services, sourcing facilitates the full life cycle of procurement by analyzing how a company spends their money on those assets. This includes identifying and selecting opportunities to reduce spend using knowledge of … More

Getting to Insight (Part 2 of 5)

This is the second installment in a five-part series discussing the obstacles and potential paths forward to achieve visibility – essential to any Procurement organization. The article was initiated based upon the following Ardent paper – HERE. In the first installment I discussed the overall drive for procurement visibility. In this installment, we’ll discuss the first of the three key areas of procurement visibility: Spend. Spend Having been a long-term evangelist for spend visibility programs, it continues to puzzle me … More

Why Your RFPs Aren’t Getting Responses – and How to Fix Them

Nearly everyone in the business world has worked on an RFP in some way, whether by helping to put one together or by responding to one. Either way, it can be a source of frustration. Why is that? A recent Spend Matters paper, which you can download for free here, outlines the issues with the RFP process specifically as they affect software providers, but it could really apply to RFPs in any competitive, fast-growing field. The best suppliers in the … More

Why your Board is Thinking About Innovative Processes, Strategies & Technologies

In the past, we’ve seen innovation as the critical ingredient for creating and sustaining company growth. Now, leading executives are asking for innovative new frameworks and processes for designing higher value business models on which to build their enterprise. Many, however, still struggle with day-to-day operational function and count on their vendors to provide innovative solutions. Today the responsibilities of the CPO are even greater. There’s more pressure and expectation for procurement to cut cost and realize every contractual savings. … More

How Integrated Analytics Solves Problems with SIM

In the past, Supplier Information Management (SIM) systems have focused on, well, managing supplier information. They kept everything in one place and made supplier data available to those who needed it. But that’s essentially where it ended. And that old SIM method is no longer enough. Sourcing is increasingly complex, forced to satisfy a growing number of regulations and strict compliance requirements, in addition to constant directives from executives to trim waste wherever possible. As a recent Spend Matters™ paper points … More

Getting clarity for building a holistic approach to Procurement technology (Part 2)

In a recent post, Getting clarity for building a holistic approach to Procurement technology, we looked to address the challenge of the terms often used to describe procurement technology. Even the other day our sales team encountered a client RFP that asked us to elaborate our capabilities of RFx and auctions in the context of eProcurement. What? The initial reaction was that RFx and auctions are a part of eSourcing, not eProcurement. Based on this example, and hundreds of others … More

Contract Management: Yours, Mine, and Ours

In his recent book Global Supply Chain Ecosystems, Mark Millar wrote, “…today’s supply chains encompass complex webs of interdependencies, frequently spanning the globe, designed and deployed to optimize critical attributes – such as speed, agility, and resilience – that drive competitive advantage.” His point plays out on a daily basis through the contract management strategies and practices in many organizations. Because our supply chains are no longer linear or consecutive, we may be buying from and selling to the same … More

Getting to Insight (Part 1 of 5)

“Big data” and “analytics” are the buzzwords of the day. Or as our friends at Ardent more concisely say, visibility”. From the solution provider’s perspective, the challenge of delivering on the promise of visibility requires plenty of hard work, collaborating with customers and, frankly, a little trial and error. Prioritizing which critical areas to enable is more often than not the key decision a solution provider must make. Which brings me to this article that I found to be an … More

Is there “Tough Love” Embedded in Your Budget Process?

It is the worst question Procurement ever faces. C’mon – you know what question I’m talking about. That horrible, terrible question from Finance for which there is no good answer… If Procurement worked so hard and saved all of this money, WHERE IS IT? Ugh. The problem is that the space between negotiated and realized savings is full of pitfalls: unexpected requirements, inaccurate demand, and budget holders who see an opportunity to unofficially reallocate savings elsewhere. Even when additional value … More

Getting clarity for building a holistic approach to Procurement technology (Part 1)

Terms like eSourcing, ePurchasing, and eProcurement that describe the electronic “source-to-pay” processes have been established for some time, probably a decade or more. But when they become interchangeable, or are used inconsistently within our industry, it makes understanding their differences and why they’re important confusing. Lack of common definition is not just a challenge for practitioners but for analysts as well. For example, Forrester Research notes the definition of ePurchasing as the entire source-to pay-process, while Gartner describes ePurchasing as … More

eSourcing and eRFx: Procurement terms to know

Remember the days when you asked for information from a vendor and they would send you a slick brochure? Some in fancy packages, others oversized (so they stand out). When you asked for a proposal, you’d get a 30-page bound book while others emailed you a PDF, or you got invited to a private page on their server to access the information. For some of you, that was back in the day. For others, it’s business as usual, and very … More

The Five C’s of a Good eSourcing Tool

As a Business Development Representative (BDR), I am the person you talk to when you ask for information. My job is to understand your needs and direct you to the right member on the sales team to help answer your specific questions. Sometimes, I get calls from prospects in the very initial stages of researching what products are available. They’ve outgrown their current solutions and they’re shopping for what might meet their needs. I had a recent conversation with a … More