It was a pleasure to attend Forrester’s Sourcing and Vendor Management Forum last week. Even though I did not necessarily agree with all the points in the content of every presenter, the keynotes were of a uniformly high quality and Forrester continues to prove itself to me as the analyst firm with the greatest focus on event/speaking presentation style, storylines and overall quality control and consistency. Forrester is one firm that knows how to polish content. This was true a decade ago, and it’s true today. If you’ve not been to a Forrester event and you’re in the procurement or supply chain world, definitely put it on your list to try. Both the analyst-led and practitioner-led keynotes provided significant useful fodder and insight. Rather than offer a general summary of the two-day event, I’ll provide a few high-level lessons and observations.
Some of these ideas came not from the presentations, but rather general networking discussions and interactions I had with analysts, practitioners and other vendors in attendance. To keep this post succinct, I’ll offer the condensed version of these points today and refer back to them in future posts:
- IT organizations and procurement specialists have a lot to teach corporate procurement about vendor and supplier performance management. It’s my belief that IT is generally ahead of most other functional areas in vendor management when it comes to managing and working with key suppliers outside of the negotiation/contracting phases
- IT does not think about risk management enough when it comes to both basic (e.g., supplier financial/operational viability) and more advanced use cases
- Most IT sourcing and negotiation sophistication is relatively basic at this point. Larger negotiations would benefit from the application of optimization and related non zero-sum-game price discovery tools
- IT sourcing and vendor management can be as important to the top line (from a growth expansion perspective, especially geographically) as it is to the bottom line…