Upsell Versus Downbuy – Purchasing Meets Sales At IBM’s Smarter Commerce Event

Last week I was a guest at IBM’s Smarter Commerce event, mainly to see what it has been doing with Emptoris, which it acquired seven months ago. You may recall that I blogged certain misgivings when IBM announced the takeover (IBM's Acquisition Of Emptoris Further Reduces IT Sourcing Professionals' Options), and, though I still have concerns, I’m very encouraged by what I saw at the event:

·         Firstly, there was still a good focus on sourcing and procurement in the Empower event-within-an-event. IBM has preserved Empower’s best quality (and that of Ariba Live and Zycus Horizon, btw), which is that there is always lots of trends and best practices content, and not too much product plugging. Most of the event was aimed at marketing, selling, and servicing, but there was plenty for sourcing attendees too. For example, there were keynotes from the CPOs of AB InBev, Conoco Philips, and IBM itself about their priorities and how they are addressing them.

·         IBM leaders, including Craig Hayman, General Manager Industry Solutions, gave a clear and credible vision of Smarter Commerce. Hayman portrayed his Buy, Market, Sell, and Service quadrants as discrete offerings sharing common principles and technology, rather than an engineered stack that only works properly if you buy it all — best-of-breed complements to ERP, not a rival suite.

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