Process and Best Practice Content

7 Ways to Improve Your Public Procurement, Acquisition Knowledge

Recently, the lessons we’ve drawn from Public Spend Forum articles have focused on doing the basics of public procurement well, and this week’s post will look at a workforce competency model that PSF has helped create to develop procurement professionals by exploring seven competency areas that can take your government-contracting organization to the next level.

After taking what we learned from the beginner’s guide to the procurement cycle, we’ll see what wider lessons we can draw by looking at advice for government procurement workers given by PSF, a sister site of ours.

So what is the Public Procurement Workforce Competency Model? Read on for the highlights.

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For CPOs, Life Is Getting Complicated

During a routine meeting with one of our clients, the Chief Procurement Officer at a large Fortune 500 company, we were struck by something this person said: “I feel like I’m wearing so many hats these days, I need a hat stand to keep them all in one place!” Our client’s observation encapsulated something we were starting to see more often: a dramatic broadening of the role of the CPO.

A mere decade ago, a CPO’s job, while often difficult, was relatively straightforward: Find the best deal possible when sourcing raw materials or setting up production. But increasingly, that’s a fluid concept. What’s more, the changing nature of both technology and the manufacturing workforce has pulled CPOs into decisions that were once outside their purview.

Intrigued, we wanted to delve deeper into this trend, and we decided that this would be a fascinating area of focus for our annual “Chief Procurement Officer Survey.” Every year Deloitte conducts this global, cross-industry study to take the pulse of sourcing and procurement professionals. So, this year we’ll be exploring the role of the CPO — how it is evolving, and how procurement leaders are navigating and mastering complexity in the areas of technology, workforce management, and both the business and political environment.

GBI gems: 60 CPOs share procurement insights, war stories

Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of attending my first CPO event run by Global Business Intelligence. Some 60 chief procurement officers, many locals, gathered for the daylong GBI event at the W Union Square in New York to exchange thoughts on supplier collaboration, value engineering and procurement digitization — among other topics. Here’s what I saw and was of interest to me, as Spend Matters’ chief marketing officer.

An Interview with SAP Intelligent Spend Group’s Marcell Vollmer: From CPO to CDO

SAP recently has consolidated its separate business units SAP Ariba, SAP Fieldglass and SAP Concur under its new SAP Intelligent Spend Group division. So it seemed like a good time for me to catch up with an industry insider to shed light on the issues.

Dr. Marcell Vollmer is now the chief digital officer of the Intelligent Spend Group, after filling the CDO role for SAP Ariba since 2017, when I talked to him in a series of Spend Matters interviews about digital transformations and about his stint as the chief procurement officer for SAP.

Recently, he said one area of opportunity that he sees is in procurement, where CDOs should spend more time.

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‘What Were They Thinking?’ E-Procurement Solutions Reveal Critical Insights into B2B Buying Behaviors

At EqualLevel, we believe that procurement leaders need more than visibility and flexibility, they need intelligence. Leveraging the power of advanced data analytics and emerging artificial intelligence technologies, the EqualLevel Savings Advisor (ELSA) doesn’t just document what was purchased, when, by whom and for how much, but, most critically, it will capture the user justification for any choice that diverges from established corporate procurement parameters in a structured report that can be analyzed by management. We call this “the power to know.”

Go Deep or Go Home: A personal essay on my favorite SolutionMap persona

I make no apologies for my choice of favorite Spend Matters’ SolutionMap persona: Deep.

Although my colleagues might need to defend their selection as we begin a series of personal essays on personas (Nimble, Deep, Turn-Key, Configurator, CIO Friendly as well as Optimizer for sourcing providers and Global for CWS vendors) my confidence is brimming because even though I know that my views represent a dying breed — those who pursue wisdom for the sake of learning and continuous improvement — the results of my favorite persona speak for themselves.

I am Deep. Without hesitation.

CRO-to-CRO Video Series: Episode 5 Helps Procurement Organizations Drive Business Value

Over the course of the first four episodes in the video discussion series titled “Chief Research Officer to Chief Research Officer,” Michel Janssen and Pierre Mitchell have run the gamut of where digital procurement transformation stands today.

“In our previous installments of the series, we were talking a lot about the complexity of the digital and services ecosystems,” says Mitchell, chief research officer of Spend Matters. “There are thousands of providers and lots of sourcing models.”

So in the final episode, Mitchell and Janssen, chief research guru of Everest Group, a research and management consulting firm based in Dallas, Texas, get into more detail around how to get some deeper intelligence around the providers, how to leverage that, and then how to tap that innovative ecosystem that they’ve been exploring with viewers to drive business value.

Deloitte 2019 CPO Survey — Insights Needed on Procurement Mastery in Action

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Deloitte has opened up the 2019 version of its annual CPO survey for participants to share their insights. It’s important to participate because the survey’s depth, rigor and relevance produce influential findings that have set the gold standard for procurement studies.

And this year’s edition is very exciting, especially for me. I’ve been doing procurement research and benchmarking for 20 years, and I was thrilled to not only be given a sneak peek into this year’s study design but to be made me an honorary member of Deloitte’s extended research team to provide input. So, my challenge became how to make a great product even better.

But you can participate too. CPOs and their direct reports are needed — and participants will get an intelligence briefing about the study’s results. At the end of this article, I’ll get more specific about the ROI of participating in this year’s study.

Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality Are Spicing Up Public Sector Procurement

It’s time to check in on Public Spend Forum, our sister site, to  see what’s happening in public procurement. And what we see isn’t real. Instead it’s augmented reality and virtual reality technology taking hold. AR and VR don’t seem like the best fit for public procurement, but PSF writes that the innovative technologies can play a key role in a number of areas.

The article begins with an overview of the technology, also known as extended reality (xR). It gives these definitions for AR, MR and VR:

Augmented Reality. This is a type of software which can be run on a device (smartphone, tablet) that uses our reality and incorporates images into it.
Mixed Reality. This is a combination of AR and VR and utilizes a handset and a real environment for a more immersive feeling than augmented reality alone.
Virtual Reality: Instead of projecting an image into our environment, VR instead creates a whole new environment. The user wears a headset as well for a completely immersive experience and a 360-degree vision field.


PSF says that xR has many uses, from offering hospital patients a sense of being outside the facility to education to workplace training — to aiding government work.

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Unconditional Procurement with Cybersecurity

In the global supply chain landscape, threats to cybersecurity are increasing exponentially. Fortune 500 companies have seen sensitive information exposed because hackers have targeted their vendors and business partners, which are organizations that might not be as secure as their corporate buyers. Every supplier and business partner becomes an added risk.

Working with global companies large and small, one of the biggest opportunities that I’ve observed is managing multi-tier suppliers and mitigating risk. We can support all of our suppliers through secured technology and the principle of “unconditional procurement.” What does that mean? By “unconditional,” I mean an unrestricted approach to procurement.

CRO-to-CRO Video Series: Episode 4 Grapples with Contingent Workforce & Talent Management Challenges

Think about this: A decade ago in the U.S., statistically there were about 700 people looking for 100 jobs. Today, by comparison, there are only about 90 people looking for 100 jobs.

Meanwhile, in India, over 25 million people are applying for just 90,000 positions with India’s state-run railways.

Those vastly divergent scenarios, shared by Michel Janssen, chief research guru of Everest Group, a research and management consulting firm based in Dallas, Texas, paint a fascinating picture of global talent markets — and the need to effectively manage them.

In the fourth episode of our “Chief Research Officer to Chief Research Officer” video discussion series, Janssen and his old friend and former colleague Pierre Mitchell, chief research officer of Spend Matters, explore the key talent management challenges faced by enterprises and what it means for digital transformation projects.

(Not to mention Mitchell’s self-admitted attempts to alleviate the talent shortage in procurement and supply chain by persuading his kids to join the profession; that effort is currently stymied by YouTube gaming, among other pursuits …)

Beginner’s Guide to the Procurement Cycle

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Public Spend Forum, a sister site of ours.

Procurement isn’t a household topic, but it is a ubiquitous process in the business world, nonetheless. Let’s break down the concept to make it more accessible.

At first glance, procurement might seem daunting to the unfamiliar; the behind-the-scenes process can be dizzying. While there’s a lot of meat on the procurement bone, it can be broken down and more easily understood by dissecting the pieces that make up the process. You see, procurement isn't just one set-in-stone idea or methodology, and it’s also not something that can be done overnight. It’s a dynamic process that can take any number of forms. It’s facilitated by the individuals or entities that play a role in its operation and the factors that couple and interact with each other throughout all the steps.