9 powerful procurement tools and resources to explore today

Written by
Graham McConnell
Graham McConnell
Updated on
  9 min read
AI Proposal Management Responsive blog featured image

If you’re like most procurement professionals, you face a growing list of responsibilities within their organization. On top of your primary mandate to optimize spend and control costs, you’re also expected to participate in strategic planning, manage data, lead supplier experience efforts, champion sustainability and more. You may find yourself a little overwhelmed as you juggle these emerging duties and track industry trends. Luckily, there are plenty of procurement tools and resources available to help.

Every week, as I talk with our customers and engage with peers, I am introduced to countless interesting, helpful and innovative procurement tools and resources. Indeed, I recently talked with Rob Bonnar, Global Digital Procurement Director at BP, who discussed the future of procurement saying, “Top priorities for 2022 will be sustainability (including diversity), digital procurement and opportunity identification through AI enablement. [Procurement should be] setting ambitious targets for sustainability and a roadmap to delivery. The ‘democratization of sourcing’ to remove barriers and inherent bias will be the key to diversity goals.” Admittedly, it’s a lot of ground to cover. So, if you find yourself with an abundance of new responsibilities and a shortage of time, you’re in the right place.

This blog offers an overview of nine of my favorite procurement resources right now. For each procurement tool, I’ll provide a quick overview of it, why it caught my eye and key takeaways.

  1. Spend Matters SolutionMap
  2. HICX
  3. Trade wars, pandemics, and chaos by Dr. Elouise Epstein
  4. Sievo
  5. Fundamentals of Sustainable Supply Chains LinkedIn Learning Course
  6. RFP360
  7. World of Procurement Discord
  8. Circulor
  9. Art of Procurement

Spend Matters SolutionMap – Market intelligence

Procurement tool category: Solution intelligence and rankings

Overview:

SolutionMap allows users to track market developments and disruptors, assess provider capabilities and identify a best-fit provider shortlist.

Why it’s interesting:

SolutionMap does not prescribe to a one-size-fits-all approach with their rankings. Instead, the user tailors the input based on their own buyer persona, resulting in a map customized specifically for their needs.

Key features:

  • Buyer persona options for each technology category ranging from Nimble, Deep, Configurator, to Turn-Key, CIO Friendly and the Optimizer
  • Each persona is profiled by the organization’s characteristics as well as its needs
  • Rankings are released every Spring and Fall allowing for product development updates to be reported
  • Rankings are provided by both analysts and customers
  • Users can begin researching each solution straight from the SolutionMap page

A good fit for:

Supply management teams that are either looking for a new solution or wanting to simply stay informed on market trends.

HICX – Software

Procurement tool category: Supplier Experience Management (SXM)

Overview:

HICX is an SXM platform that manages and consolidates supplier data with a central portal for suppliers to manage transactions, their profile data and communicate with the customer.

Why it’s interesting:

HICX has created a collaborative and inclusive platform that serves all suppliers for an organization, not just those in direct partnership with procurement. It’s a low-code, highly customizable tool that accelerates time-to-value through configuration rather than additional development. Because it’s easy to use, easy to customize and onboard new suppliers, HICX lends a great deal of agility to procurement teams building a high-performing tech stack.

Key features:

HICX includes supplier data integration, supplier data models, supplier workflows as well as a supplier experience portal.

A good fit for:

Maturing, enterprise procurement teams in the midst of a full digital transformation

Screenshot from procurement tool HICX

Trade wars, pandemics, and chaos – Book

Procurement resource category: Book

Overview:

The book Trade Wars, pandemics, and chaos: How digital procurement enables business success in a disordered world was written by Dr. Elouise Epstein, who happens to be one of our procurement leaders to follow. But, we’re not just playing favorites. This book takes a deep dive into how to strategize, evaluate and approach procurement in an ever-evolving digital landscape. Indeed, it provides practical advice for investing in complex technologies. Furthermore, the book offers insight on the impact of successful digital transformation, things to look out for and how to navigate a post-pandemic world.

Why it’s interesting:

Despite the somewhat triggering statements made in the book, it’s not just an opinion piece stirring up controversy — Dr. Epstein also provides breakthrough case studies and a playbook for procurement. Truly, it’s the freshest take on procurement as we all navigate unprecedented  business challenges.

Key features:

A historical view, context for how recent problems in procurement arose, guide for how to prepare for and execute digital transformation and guardrails to manage future risk.

A good fit for:

Procurement and supply chain practitioners, leaders and procuretech enthusiasts. It’s also a great read for anyone who works closely with supply management roles or are business stakeholders for procurement.

Procurement resources: Epstein book trade wars, pandemics, and chaos

Sievo – Software

Procurement tool category: Spend management

Overview:

The Sievo platform centralizes all aspects of procurement spend management: analysis, savings lifecycle, materials forecasting, contract management and procurement benchmarks.

Why we think it’s interesting:

Sievo stepped into the market in 2003 when analytics companies were rapidly getting scooped up by the larger P2P suites. They established a strong foothold as a standalone solution that enhances the performance of an organization’s existing procurement tools. The software evolved as the procurement industry did. Through several market dips and a pandemic, their product offering now extends beyond data analytics and into more value-driven tools that will continue to propel procurement forward.

The importance of data and spend analytics can’t be understated. As procurement expert Jill Robbins says, “Automating and digitizing supplier ecosystem data will give you a full view of both direct and indirect suppliers, and then you can maximize their value across the organization.”

Heather Fotch emphasizes the importance of clean data saying, Invest in your team, or outsource, to get your data classified and standardized … Your decisions are based on the quality of your data, and if your data is garbage, so are your decisions.”

Key features:

Sievo users enjoy full spend analysis using a data extraction system capable of 700+ integrations, continuous AI-powered data cleansing and enrichment, and valuable add-ons like materials forecasting and market benchmarking.

A good fit for:

Mid-market to enterprise level corporations.

Procurement tools: Sievo

Fundamentals of Sustainable Supply Chains – Course

Procurement resource category: LinkedIn Learning course

Overview:

In this course, Sarah Barnes-Humphrey shares case studies, real world examples and lessons. With 20 years of experience, she offers practical advice on what you need to do to start building an effective and measurable sustainability plan. In addition, Sarah explores how to win buy-in from your entire business..

Why we think it’s interesting:

For too long procurement and supply chain have been siloed functions, and now with the rise of sustainability initiatives, procurement has the chance to bridge the gap between business goals and supply chain efforts. This course is a great first step in understanding how both functions will rely on each other for successful sustainability programs. Sarah’s training removes much of the complexity that surrounds supply chain, breaking down the basics of sustainability into easily digestible chapters and short section quizzes.

Key features:

This course for beginners covers the power of planning, suppliers and procurement, data analysis and review and putting a plan of action in place.

A good fit for:

This resource is great for anyone wanting to gain some contextual knowledge around sustainability in the sourcing spaces. Additionally, it’s well suited for those who are specifically preparing to create or contribute to new sustainability projects.

Procurement tools linkedin learning course

RFP360 – Software

Procurement tool category: Strategic sourcing software

Overview:

RFP360 is an RFP management software that enables procurement and sourcing teams to centralize their request management processes. Specifically, the platform serves the entire RFP process from creation to selection, the platform focuses on enabling efficiency, transparency and collaboration.

Why it’s interesting:

Admittedly, I work at RFP360, so naturally I find the software compelling. While originally designed to improve the RFP process, the platform can also be used to manage RFIs, RFQs, due diligence questionnaires, vendor risk assessments and so on.

Key features:

  • RFx development and administration featuring a template library to simplify, standardize and improve your RFxs
  • Workflow and collaboration with task assignments, deadlines, stakeholder and vendor messaging
  • Dashboards and reporting to explore past responses and see the status of RFPs and tasks
  • Evaluation and scoring tools to compare responses in a single view

A good fit for:

RFP360 is a good fit for any organization that manages multiple complex, strategic sourcing projects.

RFP360_screen_ISSUING_dashboard

World of Procurement Discord channel

Procurement tech category: Industry community

Tool overview:

Discord provides a platform for community builders to host and manage private servers with a completely customizable channel structure and governance. Users can set up profiles, chat in channels, engage with emoji reactions and direct message other users.

Why we think it’s interesting:

It’s inclusive for anyone wanting to learn and collaborate in the supply management industries — buy-side, sell-side, beginners, pros and everyone in between. There are dedicated channels for common industry disciplines where you can ask questions and provide your own expertise. In addition, there are spaces for promoting your own social media links, sharing upcoming events and exploring helpful content.

“I wanted to create a safe space, full of diverse people, to talk about procurement, supply chain and contract management. Here at World of Procurement, we are about pushing the professions forward, using tech and bringing new, younger people into these professions.” – Daniel Barnes, founder of World of Procurement

Key features:

Join the Discord channel for real-time conversations, categorized discussion channels and open collaboration opportunities.

A good fit for:

Anyone interested in learning and collaborating within the procurement, supply chain and contract management spaces.

procurement tools world of procurement screenshot

Circulor – Software

Procurement tool category: Supply chain traceability

Overview:

Tracing raw materials from origin to final product is a challenge. Luckily, Circulor is at the cutting edge of industrial supply chain sustainability. As a material is transformed into a product, the company traces it in real-time by, “… creating a digital twin at source and tracking the digital identity of the materials journey as it changes state, to provide full visibility across traditionally opaque supply chains.”

Why it’s interesting:

As organizations become more focused on sustainability, success will depend on the ability to trace the products they purchase to their original source. Circulor’s approach to solving that challenge is unique. In fact, it’s the only traceability software using blockchain to provide sub-tier visibility with an immutable record of supply chain mapping.

James Meads, host of the Procuretech Podcast commented on current procurement tools saying, “Of course, it would be remiss to not mention sustainability and ESG, and there is a huge amount of innovation and growth in this space as we move towards decarbonising supply chains.” Certainly, tracking, managing and improving sustainability will continue to be a priority as organizations more closely examine their n-tier suppliers to manage risk.

Key features:

Specializing in automotive, extractive services, recycling and construction, Circular uses a “suite of technologies to track materials, emissions, and compliance to overcome real world complexities of traceability, sustainability, and risk management.”

A good fit for:

Procurement teams with sustainability initiatives planned for 2022 and suppliers that are fulfilling governance requirements would benefit from the insights Circulor provides.

Art of ProcurementConsultancy

Procurement resource category: Industry content and services

Overview:

Art of Procurement (AOP), led by Phil Ideson, is a consultancy that advises procurement professionals and the organizations they work for. However, by looking at their website, you might think they are a procurement publication. Indeed, you could spend hours exploring the AOP website and only scratch the surface. Indeed, if you need advice, want to explore a new trend or hear from procurement leaders, start here.

Why it’s interesting:

No matter what your preferred format, Art of Procurement has something for you. From podcasts and peer networking to surveys and whitepapers, they have everything.

Key features:

  • AOP Mastermind LIVE virtual events
  • Procurement transformation consulting
  • Weekly podcast episodes

A good fit for:

AOP is a great place for early-in-career professionals seeking future-focused insights and practical advice from peers.

Explore more sourcing and procurement tools, insights, best practices and resources here:

  • 13 procurement leaders you should be following
  • The RFP process guide ebook
  • How to prioritize supplier diversity in sourcing
  • RFP and RFx definitions: A proposal and procurement glossary from A-Z
  • 33 of the best RFP examples: Explore sample RFPs by industry

Graham McConnell

Graham lives in the B2B marketing space. He dabbles in writing, usually about digital marketing, but has other interests like the Portland Trail Blazers, the Portland Timbers, sci-fi films, video games and of course, response management.

Ready to see Responsive in action?

Find out why leading response teams across the world turn to Responsive for their Strategic Response Management and RFP software needs.

Learn more about RFP software