Finally, we come to our last recommendation in this series of how to make indirect spend more effective: providing an open architecture that will allow procurement and business users to access multiple communities and networks including supplier-led models, GPOs, BPOs, MSPs and related intermediaries.
Ironically, Ariba is the poster child for “closed models” in this sense because it forces customers using SaaS versions of its tools to use its network while sister SAP companies Fieldglass and Concur are actually among the most open in their orientation to other intermediaries among their peers in the field.
Regardless, in pushing for open architectures and networks, we must keep in mind the following guiding principals:
- We are not just supporting users, but enabling different ecosystems and must remember this when it comes to building and deploying solutions
- Procurement and line-of-business leaders may encourage us to work with other intermediaries to support strategic or tactical needs
- Indirect and services are not always linear supply chains – from a physical or financial perspective. Think through all the considerations for multi-tier and integrated third-party management of different areas (i.e., how an intermediary will work within our technology ecosystem)
- Change is a constant – suppliers and others can and will take on new roles after an initial strategy is put into motion. Make sure a technology approach supports flexibility throughout the indirect category lifecycle management process.
- No technology (or solution approach) is an island by itself – it is only as good as how it can connect and work with other systems and sources of information
We hope you have enjoyed this series and wish you the best of luck in reaching the next level of savings and results from your indirect procurement programs.
(Cross-posted @ Spend Matters)