Spend Matters’ Recent Guest Author Post Underlines How The Industry Has Lost Its Objectivity through Familiarity

Posted on September 7, 2010


Earlier today I posted an article titled “OECM Pulls (or Perhaps “Censors” is the right word) their SlideShare PowerPoint: Thank goodness for downloads!” in which I talk about how the relationship between vendors, purportedly independent industry analysts, and client-side senior management highlighted in “The Bands of Public Sector Supplier Engagement,” is far too “mafia-style” for everyone’s good.

I went on to state that Until this problem is addressed, the industry will continue to be tightly controlled by those who truly do know where the bodies of failed initiatives are buried.

The issue of course is that it would appear that very few people who operate within the realms of the “old boys network” of the supply chain world want to truly move forward in addressing the real issues that have led to the staggeringly high rate of eProcurement initiative failures that have plagued the industry for some time.

Take one of Jason Busch’s most recent posts from September 6th, 2010 titled “SaaS Vendor Selection/Implementation Tips: Avoid Having the Cloud Pulled Over Your Eyes (Part 1)” as an example.

In his opening paragraph Jason writes;

“This column is jointly authored by Spend Matters’ Jason Busch and Deloitte’s Brian Umbenhauer. Brian is a Principal at Deloitte, with extensive procurement and supply chain experience in a combination of strategy, operations and technology areas.”

There is of course nothing unusual about having a guest contributor to one’s blog. I do it all the time as I am certain that the variety of perspectives and insights the practice affords benefits the reader.

However, who that guest author is goes a long ways to determining both the value and creditability of the information being provided.

In the case of Brian Umbenhauer, and more specifically Deloitte, wasn’t it ZDNets Michael Krigsman’s September 2nd, 2010 article “Understanding Marin County’s $30 million ERP failure” that pointed out the following;

“The Board of Supervisors in California’s Marin County voted to stop an ongoing SAP project and seek a replacement solution, implicitly accepting that it wasted over $30 million on software and related implementation services from Deloitte Consulting.”

In fact, Krigsman even wrote that “The dramatic decision to replace SAP comes after relations between Marin and Deloitte Consulting, the implementation consultant on this project, deteriorated to the breaking point,” and that “Marin filed a lawsuit against Deloitte “seeking actual and compensatory damages of at least $30 million, along with unspecified punitive and, or exemplary damages and interest.”

Based on the above, one would have to wonder what Jason was thinking re is he is truly out of touch with the market (re did not know about the Marin County fiasco) or, knew but for whatever reason did not consider it an important detail to share with his readers.

Either way, what matters is the fact that the needed objectivity in a market that is going through a major transformation is somehow absent in the hallowed halls of the industry “establishment,” including those who deem themselves to be its elder statesmen (or stateswomen).

The fact that both Marin County and the recent Ariba OECM implosion are the rules versus the exceptions gives testimony to this fact.


Posted in: Commentary