Avner Schneur, President and CEO of Emptoris, opened its User Conference in Boston by describing the challenges of global supply chains with particular emphasis on the risks, illustrated by Mattel’s recall of toys sourced from China due to excessive lead in the paint. Announcing Emptoris 7, the latest release of its ePurchasing suite, Mr. Schneur explained the need for procurement professionals to move eSourcing beyond simply reducing cost and address issues of performance and compliance. He also stressed the need to extend Supplier Performance Monitoring into Supplier Development. "Mattel would not have had its lead problem had it been using our product" he asserted.

Emptoris is a market leader in its space but faces increasingly stiff competition from Oracle and SAP, along with peers such as Ariba. Independent vendors need to innovate to stay ahead of the pack, and Emptoris appears to be doing that. Mr. Schneur announced several enhancements in Emptoris 7 including automatically optimized events incorporating other decision factors beyond price, and support for collaborative supplier improvement programs. Yet most of the talk among customers in the halls is about driving adoption, of existing eSourcing technology, by conservative buyers in autonomous business units.

So what does this mean for applications professionals? Forrester believes that managers responsible for eSourcing initiatives must stay on top of leading edge functionality, but focus first on driving adoption to more buyers, and more categories. This isn’t rocket science — customers describe successful achievements from basic change management motherhood: getting high level executive sponsorship, investing in a few trailblazers and publicizing early success to encourage everyone to get on the bandwagon.

Duncan Jones | Senior Analyst
Forrester Research