Editor Disclaimer: Before anyone – okay Coupa – thinks that I am picking on them, I want to state that the reference to them in this post is purely a matter of timing. Had I received a press release about the PayStream report featuring another vendor, we would be talking about them right now. In short, the vendor is irrelevant. You will see what I mean shortly.
Over the weekend I received a Tweet from @SMMorseTX asking the following; Jon which procurement platform, if any, do you recommend for a company without any system in place?
It was a great question – in fact I told @SMMorseTX as much.
It took me just a few seconds to provide my answer. However, before I share with you my advice, I think it is important to ask yourself this question . . . to whom do you turn when you are looking for the kind of answers that @SMMorseTX was seeking? Gartner? Reports such as the one offered by PayStream? Bloggers? Who’s direction and input would you seek?
For far too long in this industry, procurement professionals have sought advice from sources who are the least qualified to answer questions. Or let me put it this way . . . the sources can answer them, but the information that is provided does not often reflect what is truly happening in the real world. The reason has nothing to do with IQ – I had to write this in case anyone protested that I was calling analysts and bloggers dumb – which I am not not.
The reason has more to do with the disconnect between cause and effect. Cause being the advice, and effect being actual client outcomes.
Think about it for a moment. The vast majority of eProcurement initiatives fail to achieve the expected results, yet have you ever seen an analyst firm like a Gartner discuss in any meaningful way, these end-user outcomes?
How about a blogger? Has anyone gone beyond their features, functions and benefits analyses and Top 50 To Watch reports, to actually delve into end-user success?
The end-users are the real experts, yet the traditional mediums have reduced their input to a handful of “satisfied” customers offering little more than soundbite endorsements – usually made during the honeymoon period. Why do you think that is?
This brings us back to my response to @SMMorseTX.
After suggesting that he start with a call to Virginia, whose eVA program has been a major success spanning many years, I closed with the following recommendation; don’t rely on vendors, or Gartners or even blogs – go directly to the end-user market in your industry.
This is the best advice I, or for that matter anyone, could give. @SMMorseTX agreed.
So to those of you who have (or have had) the same question as @SMMorseTX, to whom would you turn and why?