Gettin’ Sigi With It

Those of you joining the doctor at Emirates Stadium today at the Trade Extensions European Practitioners Conference on Managing the Future will know that today is the day we all Get Sigi with it!

Gettin’ Sigi With It!
To the tune of Gettin’ Jiggy With It.

Bring it.
Unh, unh, unh, unh
Hoo cah cah
Hah hah, hah hah

Bicka bicka bow bow bow,
Bicka bow bow bump bump
What, what, what, what
Hah hah hah hah

On your mark ready set let’s go
Sourcing pro I know you know
They went psycho when his new book hit
Just can’t sit
Gotta get Sigi wit’ it

Ooh that’s it
Now Procurement pro come nigh
Sourcing Mojo all up in my eye
You gotta new ride with alotta stuff in it
Give it to your friend let’s spin

Everybody lookin’ at him
Glancin’ the kid
Wishin’ they was dancin’ a jig
Here with that handsome kid
Ciga-cigar right from Cuba-Cuba
He just bite it
It’s for the look he don’t light it

IGsay the an-may on the rand-gay and-stay
List’nin’ to Sigi make it feel like foreplay
Yo his cred-dee-o is Infinite
Ha ha
Big Sigi style’s all in it
Gettin’ Sigi Wit It

Na na na na na na na nana
Na na na na nana
Gettin’ Sigi wit it

What you wanna tread with the kid
Watch your step you might fall
Trying to do what he did
Sourcer-unh sourcer-unh sourcer come closer
In the middle of the room with the rub-a-dub, unh

No love for the cynics, the cynics
Mad cause he bled savings from the bankers
See him on the fifty yard line with the traders
Met Stamper, he told him he’s the greatest

We got the fever for the flavor of a crowd pleaser
Blogger spin another
From the Mojo prince
His highness
His mad skillz bring you riches

South to the west to the east to the north
Take his plans and watch ‘em go off a go off
Ah yes yes y’all ya don’t stop
In the winter or the (summertime)
He makes it hot
Gettin’ Sigi wit ‘it

Na na na na na na na nana
Na na na na nana
Gettin’ Sigi wit it

Guaranteed savings if you need a lift
Who’s the kid in the mist
Who else Sigi Osagie
Livin’ that life some consider a myth

Save from South A. to the UK
Finance used to tease him
Give it to him now nice and easy
Since he moved up like George and Wheezy

Save to the maximum I be askin’ ‘em
Would you like to bounce with the brother that’s platinum
Never see Sig attackin’ ‘em
Rather play ball with Locke and um,
Flatten ‘em

You thought he skim’d a schill
But he didn’t
Trust the blogger in your life, he hittin’
Hittin’ hard a piledriver with a ribbon
Crib for his bros on the outskirts of Surrey
Savings troupe for you and me
Don’t be waylaid
Go get Sigi wit it

Na na na na na na na nana
Na na na na nana
Gettin’ Sigi wit it

Economic Damnation 3: (Un)Employment Rate

You’re probably asking why this is a Procurement damnation because, on the surface, it doesn’t appear to have anything to do with Procurement. And it’s a good question, because, on the surface, it has to do with the health of the overall economy, and nothing to do with the supply and demand (im)balances that drive day to day Procurement decisions, especially for those organizations still using the Kraljic (Portfolio) Purchasing Methodology.

And from that perspective, you would be right. But here’s the thing. The employment rate is related to the overall health of the economy and the amount of disposable income in the economy. The amount of overall disposable income combined with views on acceptable (consumer) debt levels determines how much consumers have to, and will, spend. The amount of spend determines overall demand for unnecessary and necessary products alike. (Yes, people need to eat and will always spend on food, as long as they can afford to, but if money is tight, “essentials” gets redefined to low-cost basic essentials and high-end food products like prepared meals, imported fruits and vegetables, and lobster are off the menu.) This, of course, determines demand, and demand determines not only your volume leverage in negotiation, but the overall profitability and health of the business, and, thus your overall budget. (Remember, no sale, no store.)

And even if you are in B2B sales, because you supply office supplies, MRO, technology, or equipment, you still depend on consumer spend because if consumers aren’t buying from your customers, your customers aren’t buying from you.

But that’s just one side of the equation. The other side is the talent side. If employment is high, people are buying, but talent, which you so desperately need to take your Procurement organization to the next level, is scarce, and your only option is to hire them away from a rival. This means a big bump in expected salary and lots of perks (and training, so bring that budget back or else) to get them to stay.

In other words, there is no good (un)employment situation for you because either unemployment is rising, which means falling demand and reduced leverage in negotiations and operating funds, or unemployment is falling, which means a lack of available talent and more funds dedicated to talent to keep the talent base you have.

In other words, the eternal damnation of (un)employment rate is not restricted to governments and economists. It affects Procurement quite heavily too.

Technological Damnation 91: Proprietary Madness Continued

Can I play with madness?
The prophet stared at his crystal ball
Can I play with madness?
There’s no vision there at all
  Dickinson, Harris, & Smith, 1988

And, as a result, big companies have decided to create their own vision, separate from everyone else’s, and thrust their own visions of damnation upon us. Locking us into technology platforms that we just can’t get out of.

Proprietary designs. Proprietary protocols. Proprietary APIs. All designed to lock you in and keep you in chains.

All the big companies in the tech space at large have done it. Adobe. Apple. Google. IBM. Microsoft. Etc. And now some, like Microsoft, are taking it further than we ever thought possible. Earlier this year, Microsoft decided to go beyond automatic updates to automatic OS upgrades without the user’s permissions. (Which, of course, bricked a number of machines due to problems with drivers and underlying hardware incompatibility.) Now, they’ve supposedly backtracked on this, but it seems that those who have been upgraded, or choose to upgrade, to Windows 10 will have updates forced upon them with no ability to choose or defer, meaning their machines could be bricked at anytime! Ouch! (And that’s why the doctor does not use Windows.)

But they didn’t start the fire. (Although it appears they did a lot of research in choosing the best accelerants.) Pretty much every big tech company has forced proprietary designs (that restrict upgrades to other products provided by the same company or authorized partners), protocols (for interfacing), or APIs (for developing) upon us and still does.

And it’s not limited to the tech space at large and underlying operating systems. In our space, we have proprietary networks, like Ariba, that mandates its hosted P2P tool users also use the Ariba network for all connectivity with suppliers, even in cases where suppliers are connected to other networks that then connect to Ariba’s in the same transaction stream (Source: SpendMatters). (And since suppliers have to pay to use the Ariba Network, this puts a heavy price tag on purchases through the network as opposed to a network where the buyer pays a flat fee and the supplier doesn’t, because the supplier is just going to increase their prices to cover this cost.) And to make matters worse, as Ariba starts to lose prominence in the traditional analyst rankings, it’s stepping up its efforts with the smaller tier firms who, probably lacking the manpower to do the in-depth analysis the larger firms are capable of, are giving it rave reviews on the plus side with very little mention of the weaknesses on the negative side. Case in point: this recent review by Ovum which called Ariba the “largest supplier network”, listed four strengths, and only one weakness. SI has to wholeheartedly agree with Spend Matter’s review of Ovum’s analysis here — the coverage of the weaknesses was not thorough or fair and while SI does not have insight into Ariba’s network statistics beyond what they publish, SI does know that Basware’s volume is on par with Ariba’s published numbers. While Basware may not be a household name in North America, they are probably the biggest and most established network player in Europe in this space and one of the oldest (as the company turned 30 this year).

To make matters worse, there’s not a lot of open standards in our space. You could say that we have cXML, which a number of PunchOut sites are based on, but do we? While it is open and free for use without restrictions apart from restrictions relating to publications of modifications and naming, this protocol was not only created by Ariba in 1999 but is still controlled by Ariba. They could change it at any time, force all sites on the Ariba network to update at that time, and offer very little documentation or guidance as to how anyone outside of that network will go about doing that and, more importantly, support multiple versions simultaneously (for those in the network and those not), which would be a major IT headache. Even worse, they could decide to replace it with cXML 2.0, keep that version proprietary, and create a dichotomy where only those in the network have 2.0 and those don’t.

There is no completely free, non-proprietary, fully open-source standard in our space, and no guarantees. Proprietary Madness is a damnation that is going to haunt us for years to come.

Thirty Years Ago Today

The Free Software Foundation, which launched the GNU General Public License, was founded by Richard Stallman, and the fee software movement, which started when he launched the GNU Project on 27 September 1983, began in earnest.

It took less than 15 years from the start of the movement, to the dismay of companies like IBM and Microsoft, for many open source projects, including Linux (1991), Apache (1995), MySQL (1995), and PHP (1995), to dominate the web.

And allow LOLCats everywhere to dominate the web. ;-)

Seventy Three Years Ago Today

The space race begins with the launch of a V2/A4-rocket from Test Stand VII at Peenemunde, Germany which becomes the first man-made object to reach space.

Less than nineteen years later, Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space when he orbited the earth on 12 April 1961 in a Soviet Vostok spacecraft.

And a mere eight years later, unless conspiracy theorists are to be believed, the United States put the first man on the moon on 20 July 1969.

Less than two years after that, the Soviet Union launched the first space station, Salyut, and public-sector extra-planetary supply management began.

Speaking of the space race, the Space Shuttle Atlantis made its maiden flight thirty years ago today on 3 October 1985, forty two years after the space race began. Atlantis, the fourth operational space shuttle, flew thirty-three missions and orbited the earth a total of 4,848 times, travelling a distance that was more than 525 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon. Notable missions were it’s 4th, which deployed the Magellan probe bound for Venus, its 5th, which deployed the Galileo probe bound for Jupiter, its 14th, which represented the 100th US manned mission and the first shuttle docking with Mir, its 21st, which was its first docking with the International Space Station (ISS), and its 30th, which was the final Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission.

And eleven years ago, less a day, on 4 October 2004, SpaceShipOne won the $10 Million Ansari XPrize when it became the first-even private vehicle to carry a human being into space.

And this year, Space Exploration Techologies, SapceX, became the first company to ship private cargo to the ISS using its own rocket and ship, the Dragon.

And Virgin Galactic is working on a new SpaceShipTwo that could be ready to take commercial passengers into space as early as next year.

It won’t be long before someone puts up a private space station, and private sector extra-planetary supply management becomes a reality. (And when it does, and you need someone to optimize those supply models, you know who to call.)