2013 Ideas, from Top Thought Leaders

2013 Ideas, from Top Thought Leaders

by Jennifer Ulrich, Sr Project Manager

Welcome readers to our first edition in 2013! As we embark on this new and exciting year I’d like to start out by sharing some thought provoking ideas about where this year will lead us in business and sourcing from some key individuals. Some topics that will be covered include the rise of the small business and how data is attributed, potential new buzzwords for 2013, and strategic sourcing at Source One in the coming year.

Where would the country be without small businesses (or gigantic corporate conglomerates, for that matter)? Top thought leaders consider 2013 as the year that small business will really start to take advantage of big data and digital technology to compete with larger and more senior companies. In a LinkedIn blog post, technology writer Farhad Manjoo (of Slate.com and the New York Times), talks about how technology will be a major factor in how small businesses are run and how they manage their innovations in product development, service delivery, and general business practices. One example where this is already occurring is Etsy.com, a website where the small business population convenes to promote and sell their products to the consumer market. The concept is not unique and yet, through the use of technology, small businesses worldwide have access to customer bases they may never have found without the forum. In a separate blog post, Brad Smith, President and CEO of Intuit, also talks about how big data will drive small businesses up to the next level, allowing them to compete more effectively with bigger companies. Smith notes that small businesses will have access to information and technologies that were previously unavailable to them, such as data-driven tools and cloud-based services. An example of this is the dearth of developers for smartphone applications, taking innovative ideas and bringing them to profitability, in some cases with little resources, all through the effective use of technology that was previously out of their reach.

I think it is fairly obvious that the buzzword of 2012 and even before that was innovation. If you did not hear that in at least one conversation per day in 2012, I would be surprised. So what is in store for 2013? Geoffrey Moore (author, speaker, and advisor) predicts that engagement will be the next big focal point. He says each new buzzword or phrase has such immense positive value because of the negative counterpart people associate to it. Engagement is a result of wider access to media and technology along with partnerships in business. The negative counterpart in this case would be, he notes, detachment. The concept of engagement can easily take effect across multiple industries. Companies have been so focused on innovations developed in recent years that now is the time to put those ideas to use to engage in our relationships and operations, business and personal.

Another potential buzzword is a real oldie-but-goodie: collaboration. This is a relevant concept that has been used in business for many years, but as Dan Sanker, President and CEO at CaseStack, Inc., indicates, businesses should look to collaborate, not compete. Competition certainly has its place in business — without it we would surely see fewer innovations and new concepts brought to market — so how can these same businesses compete and collaborate in the same space? I think it is more about with whom a company collaborates. Collaboration is important with your customer base. Businesses can find prosperity in taking that relationship to the next level and building new ideas together. It seems like 2013 is notably the year for developing stronger partnerships throughout business relationships.

Finally, I would like to cover what the top thought leaders at Source One are saying about strategic sourcing in 2013. The strategic sourcing business has always been about cost reductions and helping those organizations that are lacking in resources or expertise maximize their spending dollar. While this certainly will continue to be a focus for many organizations, it is important to also develop new ways for strategic sourcing to provide value to its users. It is vital to look to more long term solutions for customers as cost savings initiatives have diminishing returns over time. Joe Payne, VP of Professional Services at Source One, says the coming year will be a time for strategic sourcing professionals to add value in new ways, such as delivering decision support. These days, strategic sourcing client organizations consist of progressive companies that are expanding and strengthening their businesses, with needs beyond cost reduction. These companies are looking to sourcing professionals to provide support in new areas, specifically in the services arena. By applying a well-established process sourcing professionals are able to help stakeholders make more informed decisions about what suppliers to partner with and how to manage projects more efficiently. Another important focus in 2013 for Source One is marketing procurement’s value throughout the organization. By promoting strategic sourcing as a service to internal stakeholder teams, they will begin to realize the full extent of support that these sourcing professionals can provide. If 2013 is the year for engaging and collaborating, these strategic partnerships should start within your organization.

As we enter into a new year, we do so with enthusiasm and hope for prosperity and growth within our organizations. These ideas are just a narrow view into what our top thought leaders are talking about for 2013. Be sure to follow Source One throughout the year to see what new and exciting ventures we take on in 2013!

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