Organizations and individuals striving for peak performance know that practice and conditioning are what ultimately make success possible. Usain Bolt, known as the fastest man alive, holds six Olympic medals, three world records, and five world championship gold medals. When asked about his accomplishments, he said, “There are no secrets. You just have to develop strength, power, acceleration and technique.”
His observation about building the right combination of interlocked capabilities is also valuable to those in pursuit of procurement high performance. It is not enough to be technically proficient, or agile, or strategic. The organization that embodies all of these traits in harmony will achieve the most success.
“Gagetry will continue to relieve mankind of tedious jobs.”
Isaac Asimov’s predictive essay, “Visit to the World’s Fair of 2014,” was based on the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens, New York, and looked ahead fifty years to 2014. He addressed transportation, the environment, engineering, and – of course - technology. Like many of his contemporaries, he expected that advancements in technology would make our lives easier. If the tactical, or ‘tedious’ work could be automated or handled through artificial intelligence, people would be free to move on to more value-oriented, interpretive work.
His assumption is well applied to the spend management solutions of today. We have not yet been liberated from tedium by our solutions. In many cases, we are slaves to data cleansing and report creation. In the end, our solutions serve as no more than accessible, segmented, storage. In a recent survey of UK-based CPOs, Rosslyn Analytics found “that business leaders spend six working days per month collecting and preparing data for analysis and reporting.”2 If there are an average 22 working days in any given month, leaders are spending roughly a quarter of their time working with data – not drawing conclusions, but preparing it for analysis.
When you look for the story behind the formation of an organization, it is natural to think that you will find a linear narrative. In the case of riskmethods, what we found instead was an intersection - of professional experience, unmet demand, and external market forces.
Rolf Zimmer and Heiko Schwarz met in 2011 when Xcitec, a supplier lifecycle management solution provider, was acquired by Emptoris, a strategic sourcing solution provider. Little did they know that Emptoris would be acquired by IBM only months later. In the years they spent listening to global prospects and customers about their supplier management challenges at IBM/Emptoris/Xcitec, Zimmer and Schwarz recognized an enormous unmet demand. They made the decision to pool their knowledge and experience. In January of 2013 they launched riskmethods, an international, cloud-based supply chain risk management solution.