The Finale, Finally!!
Ladies, Gentlemen, and procurement fans of all ages, we, once again and for the last time in 2012, welcome you to March Madness, Chief Procurement Officer Style, where different procurement tools and strategies meet to crown a champion.
What began as glimmer of an idea, just a few short weeks ago has been realized: a competitive tournament where CPO Tools/Strategies/Concepts old and new alike can meet head to head and try to answer the question that every procurement pro wants to know
What is the best CPO tool or strategy in 2012?
The once-crowded field of 32 now stands at 2 in The CPO Rising Tournament 2012, a tournament unlike any other™. Strategic Sourcing against Executive Engagement…… Next on CPO Rising
Welcome back to Las Vegas everybody. Before we get started, we’d like to hear a few thoughts and words from our resident expert “Coach” about the CPO’s Final Four. Here he is speaking from his home yesterday -
“Coach” interview transcript: I think we really have the Goliaths here. It’s almost like an Ali, Tyson, Frazier, and Holyfield fight wrapped into one main event. Unbelievable baby! I think that many of us projected before the tournament started that this would be the year of the Goliaths, that eventually the Davids would be put away because of the talent level, there is a separation in 2012. And, who knows what we’d have seen if more CPOs had fully adopted technology to automate their processes, you can bet that eProcurement & eSourcing will be back with a vengeance next time.
And oh, how my heart goes out to the beautiful fans and the players and coaches from Spend Under Management a No. 1 seed in anyone’s book when you think of powerful tools. It has been a crazy tournament, I think about Savings losing and then I go one step further and think about the disappointment of Supplier Collaboration and Spend Analysis both losing out. Those were major losses at a time of the year when it’s so difficult to be able to get a rhythm and get back into that flow.
But saying all that, you look at Strategic Sourcing and Executive Engagement – they took advantage of their situations and their number one seedings. Each has been on great a run. I mean, Strategic Sourcing has been a top CPO tool since day one, everybody has projected it as a tool that would be here. But let me add that the one beauty of the CPO Rising Tournament is that most people you talk to right now, including Yours Truly don’t know what’s going to happen today. This is not four out of seven or even two out of three. It’s a one‑time shot, BABY!
And we have seen miracles before. Just reflect back when little Contract Compliance pitched the perfect game to beat eSourcing. Think about eProcurement, running around the court looking for somebody to hug and cutting the nets down after beating a great Supply Risk Management team. Simply awesome!!!!
Saying all that, we really don’t know who will win it all but I’ll tell you this: Vegas will be rocking, baby! You’d better believe The Strip will be alive with big numbers from both sides, and it’s going to be a phenomenal time. They do a great job in that city, Viva Vegas, hosting this tournament, and I’m excited. I can’t wait to get there and be part of this incredible and historic event.
The Road to The CPO’s Final Four for each finalist was paved with a few close matches and several physical battles. Most memorably, Strategic Sourcing scrapped past Implemented Savings and then Spend Under Management to show it was far from dead. Cleverly ditching the old style of strategic sourcing and leveraging eSourcing to the hilt has positioned this tool as a big winner and finalist today.
Likewise, what began as a strategy focused on the CFO, quickly broadened itself to become “Executive Engagement” and it hasn’t looked back since.
So here it is folks – two top CPO tools, champions in their own right, towering over their fallen competitors. Each tool now has a chance for that “one shining moment” and the opportunity to go down in the annals of procurement history as the King of 2012.
The game starts after these messages and a word from our sponsors
Music Interlude (click here for background music) Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity. To seize everything you ever wanted in one moment. Would you capture it or just let it slip? You better lose yourself in procurement, the moment; You own it, you better never let it go. You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow; This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo…Music trails off…………
(1) Strategic Sourcing vs. (1) Executive Engagement (CPO/CFO Collaboration) on CPO Rising!
The game begins as expected with each tool leading with its strengths. Much like the real world, Strategic Sourcing starts strong with spend analysis to capture the total category spend with detail on current suppliers, pricing, and contracts. It then captures and consolidates requirements from the stakeholders, analyzes the supply market, and develops a strategy.
Strategic Sourcing is really on a roll, but Executive Engagement grabs the keys and starts driving towards the executive suite. But wait, before engaging the executives, it shifts gears (and lanes) and starts to get its house in order first. It delivers what it said it would (actually exceeding expectations) when it said it would and how it said it would – Brilliant! And, just like that, the procurement team has established credibility with the rank and file and with the business leaders, giving it a strong foundation and reputation as a top performing group. We did not see that coming. Now it’s ready to let the executive engaging begin!
But, Strategic Sourcing is immune to the pressure, having delivered an average of between 12% to 14% savings on categories of all shapes and sizes, including those categories sourced just last year. But hold everything procurement fans, Strategic Sourcing has a few tricks of its own and just broke out a wave of “quick win” categories. Say good bye to 12% savings and say hello to 20%, 30%, even 40% savings from the list of usual suspects. This was just enough for Strategic Sourcing to hold onto a small lead as the first half ends.
Executive Engagement comes out guns a blazin’ to start the second half. Fired up from halftime speeches by CPOs who successfully engaged other executives and then became them in what was a veritable who’s who of C-level executives who were once CPOs including Scott Singer, Mark Guinan, & Barbara Lavernos. Next came the 19% of CPOs report to the CEO (according to this Ardent Partners report), a number that has grown in recent years and will continue to grow in future because success breeds success. Talk about engaging executives!
Despite a valiant effort by Executive Engagement with a strong CFO Partnership, Strategic Sourcing just has too many things going for it to lose. It includes process and strategy and project management and budget holder engagement and in 2012, it must surely include technology. It also includes nuance. Strategic Sourcing does not need to include process overkill; in fact, the new and improved Strategic Sourcing can be applied to smaller projects with just a few mandatory steps mixed with general guidelines and suggestions on what to do to complete the project efficiently and effectively while maximizing results.
When CPOs need to find savings, they know what to do, where to look, and who to engage because of Strategic Sourcing…..
Strategic Sourcing is the winner of this year’s CPO Rising Tournament!
Cut to a movie scene: The game has ended and there is much celebration. Suddenly, Strategic Sourcing is sprinting through an empty airport.
Cut to scene two: Interior living room where a CPO is engaging with other executives talking about the fickle tools that they employ to drive value. A knock at the door. Strategic Sourcing walks in and says “I’m looking for my CPO.“
Strategic Sourcing looks at the CPO and continues, “We had big night tonight. But it wasn’t complete, it wasn’t even close to being in the same vicinity of being complete because I couldn’t share it with you…. You complete me.”
CPO: “Shut up! You had me at ‘savings.’ You had me at savings”
Yes procurement fans, Strategic Sourcing is alive and well in 2012. If you think otherwise, you’re doing it wrong.
We’ll be back next time to try to make some semblance of this tournament and begin a path back to our more traditional style and topics (here on CPO Rising). For now we want to extend our thanks to the 32 tools, the CPOs and other procurement leaders, and to all the procurement fans who participated, watched and cheered alongside us during a very different kind of series.
Finally, for those of you who submitted your picks, the winning contestant will be announced next time too. This is Andrew Bartolini, signing off from Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, where Strategic Sourcing has just been crowned the Top CPO Tool of 2012.