GXS Acquires RollStream

GXS announced today that is has acquired RollStream, a SaaS vendor that offers solutions for supplier discovery/sourcing, master data management, compliance and risk management, and supplier performance. RollStream has a healthy customer base in healthcare distribution and grocery retail with marquee customers like TESCO, Sainsbury’s, and Owens and Minor.

The key functionality that RollStream offers that really stands out is its ability to track all supplier information, communications, and credentials in a single, shared repository. Reading the press release from GXS, this was in part why it made the acquisition — “The acquisition deepens GXS’s long-term commitment to the Social Supply Chain, a vision that brings together information flows and information workers to break down barriers hampering supply chain efficiency.”

We’ve been writing about this concept for some time and see tremendous potential in the concept of applying the social networking paradigm to supplier management. In my February, 2011 report, “Enterprise Social Networking Can Help Crack The Code On Supplier Risk Management,” I explore this very concept — that through virtual communities of stakeholders, both internal and external to a company, executives can share common supplier data and insights on risk-related events.

This report explores how enterprise social networking can help build communication across siloes, create smart feeds to help aggregate and refine the noise, and encourage adoption through more familiar UIs.

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SVM Professionals: Get Off The Policy Soapbox And Meet Your New End Users


Too often at Forrester, sourcing and vendor management (SVM) professionals tell us things like, “oh, we’d never implement a Bring-Your-Own-PC program. It would increase our risk and reduce our negotiating power with our PC vendor” -- only to find out later that their colleagues in the infrastructure team have in fact already implemented such a program.

The reality of today’s environment is that your end users have wildly different expectations of technology, and of the people who procure it for them. These users are mobile, empowered to make their own technology decisions, impatient to get what they want, and have multiple new technology options like BYOPC and cloud that make consumer-like enterprise purchases possible.  Yet too often, SVM professionals hide behind their corporate sourcing policies rather than try to get ahead of user needs.

You know the risks of denying a trend – users going around SVM with loopholes in the corporate policy to buy what they want, while selecting new vendors that don’t meet your risk criteria. And I know many of you are trying to avoid this fate. You’re already expanding your efforts beyond IT to work more with your marketing teams and spending more time giving guidance to individuals sourcing SaaS contracts rather than trying to take over responsibility for those contracts yourselves.

But even as these issues have been gaining steam for a while, 2011 is the year that the trends accelerate and converge. Why? The recession is mostly behind us and the effort to grow quickly brings out the natural tendencies of end users to focus on speed over risk or total cost.

2011 is the year you need to stop slow-pedaling new models of sourcing emerging technologies and instead put your foot on the gas. Get out there and be more proactive with your stakeholders about social technologies, mobile devices and applications, and:

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KPMG-Equaterra highlights Outsourcing Advisor Consolidation

KPMG’s recent acquisition of Equaterra signals some new dynamics in the market for outsourcing advisory services. The acquisition creates an intriguing combination of capabilities encompassing high-level consulting services for tax, supply chain management and IT strategy with Equaterra’s proven outsourcing transaction strengths. Moreover, it confirms a mini-wave of industry consolidation following TPI parent company’s Information Services Group (ISG) acquiring long-time benchmarking specialist Compass (more recently, ISG acquired public sector specialist STA Consulting).  

The mini-wave of consolidation may seem paradoxical given that growth has returned to the outsourcing marketplace. Forrester believes the overall market for such services will grow 7.1% to $254B this year. If the outsourcing market is again growing, why are the winds of industry consolidation blowing? Although the opportunity is broadening, large mega-deals that firms like TPI and Equaterra grew to prominence on are getting scarcer and scarcer. Moreover, clients are taking a more holistic view of outsourcing alongside evaluating shared services and other organizational dynamics, creating the need for a broader value proposition extending beyond transactional services. Although many outsourcing advisory firms have gone down this path with strategy and research services, the KPMG-Equaterra combination creates an unusually strong combination. KPMG, which heretofore had lagged principal competitors PwC and Deloitte in the scale of its outsourcing advisory service, should benefit substantially from the addition of Equaterra’s resources and capabilities.

Please vote in our Unfair Licensing Policies survey

As promised in a previous blog post: Which Software Licensing Policy Is The Unfairest Of Them All? , we've launched a survey to find out what sourcing and vendor management professionals think about some common software licensing policies.  This isn't about bashing powerful software companies, but about building a consensus behind a campaign to bring software licensing rules up to date - i.e. protection of innocent buyers, rather than regime change.  I've narrowed an initial list of 30 questionable policies down to this Foul Fifteen of candidates for the (un)coveted "Unfairest" award:

1.       Double charging for external users

2.       Prohibiting or overcharging for anonymous users

3.       Maintenance on shelfware

4.       Counting cores instead of processors

5.       Counting all processors in a server, even if partitioned

6.       Upfront license purchase only, not phased in line with project milestones

7.       Maintenance repricing

8.       Insisting on purchase of all licenses before implementation starts

9.       Product enhancements packaged as new SKU’s

10.   Licensing by deployment, even if unused

11.   Charging for use of modules that customers cannot control or track

12.   Retaining right to change licensing policies at any time

13.   Multiplexing – definition is unclear or too wide

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