Friday, 31 October 2014

Competition works! But only if customers want it - guest post

This is a guest post by Vlado Prosenik from Efekto Pro. Efekto Pro are our consultancy partner in Slovenia.  They help customers make purchase more efficient. You can read the original article here

Competition works! But only if customers want it.

The Slovenian Consumers' Association (ZPS) has demonstrated that a fresh approach can save money. In cooperation with external partners ZPS conducted an auction for the purchase of electricity and natural gas for households. The result was an average 21% reduction in electricity prices and a 15% reduction in the price of natural gas. 24,000 households joined the "change and save" campaign and will benefit from significant reduction in their energy bills, with the same service level they are used to.

Reverse auctions have become available to both businesses and individuals.

10 tips for creating savings with the reverse auctions:

  • Choose the right partner and the right tool for the execution of the reverse auctions
  • Select goods or services which have significant value and several providers are able to supply
  • Make the auction attractive to providers
  • Do not give providers details of the other suppliers who will be involved in the auction
  • Do not give special treatment to any suppliers who may not wish to participate in the auction
  • Use a weighted auction, where the price is not the only criterion for supplier selection - specify other important criteria and weight accordingly
  • Think carefully about how long to run the auction, and whether to offer a dynamic close period, which ensures suppliers will always be able to respond to the offer of their competitors
  • Think carefully about  the minimum and maximum price change you will allow
  • Help providers to understand the principles and techniques of participation in the auction and to provide ongoing support
  • Assign the contract to the winner of the auction

Auctions by the EFEKTO PRO perform for our clients usually bring savings of between 10 and 40%.



About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

Friday, 24 October 2014

Some of the things we've seen @ the Dojo!

As we now enter into our fifth year of business, we'd like to share with you some of the more unusual goods and services that we've seen tendered via our software!
 
For example, foodstuff seems to be a recurring category of choice.  We've witnessed eAuctions on anything from gourmet cheese, whipped deserts, biscuits, cooked chicken, banana purée and even pet food!  
eSourcing prevents you making a dog's dinner of your negotiation
It certainly makes the weekly shop more interesting, as we know the back-story of how that supplier's products came to be on the shelves.
 
We've encountered eAuctions on goods that we will never fathom, such as 'Gas Spuds' or our personal favourite 'Pig Launcher/Receiver'. 
The infamous pig launcher
We truly hoped it might be something to do with Angry birds or perhaps even a fantastic device for aerially transporting swine from A to B in a highly efficient manner.  Sadly we have since been told it is something to do with cleaning industrial pipelines.

Speaking of industrial, we've witnessed a number of eAuctions for items that seem like your everyday, run-of-the-mill product but quite simply aren't!   Dishwashers that can clean up to 3000 dishes per hour.  Ice machines that produce up to 24,500 ice cubes per day!  These are quite serious pieces of kit.

Then we move onto quite literally life-saving products that have been reverse auctioned.  Vaccines, medicines, drugs, medical sutures.  The old adage seems to apply: if you have a liquid supply market and you can define precisely what you need, you can auction it.
Sometimes reverse auctions can be a tough pill to swallow
Something we hear quite a bit on our travels is that only commodities or products can be eAuctioned.  Well, looking through some of our past successful events, it would appear that not everyone holds this view.  We've had auctions on pre-employment checks, canteen services, voice outsourcing services, print management and design agency services amongst many others. Our Lot Matrix can give you the detail required for those complex tenders with many pricing aspects.

Training and consulting seem popular choices as well, from contract management training to general management consulting.  It goes to show that not everything needs a like-with-like spec as you can instead opt for a weighted auction to normalise the proposals. 

Anyhow, back to bizarre stuff.  There have been quite a few auctions on dangerous chemicals including quite a worrying amount of Sodium Hydroxide.   Add to that the Aluminium Chlorohydrate and Potassium Permanganate and it sounds like we have something from Breaking Bad!
Hope you ran a reverse auction for that stuff
Before we go too off-piste, let's end with a couple of interesting automotive items we've seen eAuctioned, such as machined parts for Maserati, BMW brake pedals, golf carts, fork-lift trucks and some shiny new transit vans.

Lastly, we've seen a fair few construction and extension tenders, including the house extension and loft conversion for Market Dojo's very own Nick Drewe.

As for what is next going to be tendered via Market Dojo, I think you can see for yourselves that it is anyone's guess!


About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

Monday, 20 October 2014

Which is better? SaaS or On-premises software

When we started working on Market Dojo, we decided early on that we would use the SaaS model. This was an obvious choice for us, and has helped us and our customers throughout our history. Because we often get asked about this, I wanted to share the reasons for our decision in a bit more detail.
Google Trends - comparing interest in SaaS, Enterprise Software and On-Premises search terms.

History

Over the last 15 years, enterprise software has undergone a radical shift. In the 1990's, customers would usually install software on their own servers. Today it is now usually hosted by the application provider, and delivered over the Internet. For a more detailed definition of the two terms - see Wikipedia articles on On-premises Software, and SaaS.

So what are the benefits of SaaS?

Running Costs

Running and support costs are lower, in all except the largest on-premises implementations. This is because all clients share the cost of servers and operations staff. On-premises software would duplicate these costs for each installation.

Time / cost to implement

Implementation for SaaS software is almost always much faster than for on-premises.
Staff must install an on-premises solution at the customers data centre and integrate it with an existing IT infrastructure.

In the case of Market Dojo a new customer can enroll themselves and setting up licences can be done in a few minutes.  Here’s an earlier blog post of our’s that shows how you can set up your organisation and be fully operational in 21 minutes.

Support cost and time to resolve issues

Support is simpler, as access to log files and identical system environment is available to the support team. This leads to a cost reduction and also to faster resolution of issues.

Contract length / agility

Because of the reduction in time and cost to install, SaaS vendors can be offer shorter contracts. It also means that they can add or remove users faster. Market Dojo can be purchased on a month by month basis with no minimum contract length.

New versions

New versions are immediately available to all users, without the need to be installed on customer systems.

Maintenance

On-premises solutions tend to be bespoke to each customer. This increases the maintenance costs and ability to roll out new features.  A SaaS application usually has only one version, which means these issues do not arise.

Software costs

Due to all the efficiencies that come from true multi-tenanted SaaS applications software companies can supply their SaaS solutions at a much lower cost than on-premises applications.


So why isn’t everything SaaS?

Great question!

There are some good reasons why not everything is SaaS. SaaS (as it exists today) is a newer concept, so some older software solutions are on-premises for historical reasons.

There are applications which are not so well-suited to a SaaS. Video editing software involves processing huge volumes of data, and is often done more efficiently on a powerful workstation, rather than across a network. This may change as technology improves.

For some classes of applications (e.g. Bank Networks) the risks may outweigh the benefits.

Here are some points that a buyer should consider when evaluating a SaaS product.

Data Security

Data security is a key issue with SaaS software. It has made the headlines due to events such as revelations about the US Government PRISM programme. These are valid concerns. SaaS companies are taking steps to secure their products from these risks, but a wise buyer would consider this point.

System availability

SaaS solutions usually have less downtime than those hosted on-premises, but relying on external vendors is a risk which should be considered.

Dependence on high-speed internet

SaaS applications depend on an internet connection to function. Several factors will affect actual network requirements. These include number of users, type of application, level of interaction.


Conclusion

We believe that most enterprise software is moving to the SaaS model because the benefits of this approach outweigh the disadvantages.

The preferred architecture for computing has swung like a pendulum between a centralised and distributed approach. In the 1970's a mainframe computer with many dumb terminals was state of the art. In the 1990's a distributed, client-server model ruled the roost. Long term, we cannot be sure if the pendulum has settled or will swing again. Will current innovations such as MS Office 365, Amazon AWS and Google Chromebook continue? Will the end of Moores law and the Internet of Things give rise to new and better tools and usher in a return to a more distributed model?

Unfortunately, we don’t have a crystal ball*. However, we do believe that, in the short and medium term, at least, SaaS will be the preferred choice for most applications.


*For more information about the Moores Law and accelerating technology, these links are a great place to start:
https://www.ted.com/talks/ray_kurzweil_on_how_technology_will_transform_us
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9wFXHYJgdo



About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

Friday, 17 October 2014

A round-up of our conference season

The last 4 weeks have been exceptionally busy for us all at Market Dojo as we firmly enter into the conference season! 

eWorld September 2014
Firstly we exhibited at the eWorld event on the 24th September, where one of our clients, Milla from Creative Education (seen above), held a talk on how to encourage innovative solutions with suppliers using social media to create best value for both parties.  The talk was very well received, as echoed by Supply Management in their article here. 

The rest of the event flew by in a blur as usual.  There were plenty of familiar faces plus a few new ones as well.  We heard mixed reviews on the quality of the talks, with the usual feedback that some sponsors just can't help but use the center stage as a chance to sell their solutions instead of engaging their audience with novel ideas and approaches.

As always we ran the prize draw for our customary one month eSourcing licence, which was won by Mark Revell at East Thames Group:
CIPS Annual Conference

Just a week later we found ourselves once again manning the stand, this time in the recently opened 155 Bishopsgate venue on Liverpool St.   

And what an excellent venue it was, spaciously spread out over one level with the conference rooms feeding directly off the main exhibition and catering space.  The food was tremendous, especially the ham and cheese toastie with a fried egg on top served in canapé proportions!

Both delegates and sponsors have to pay to attend this conference, and you could tell judging by the quality of the entire event, from the venue to the food to the speakers.  Many delegates had travelled far and wide, particularly from regions with a growing CIPS presence such as Africa and the Middle East.  

There was even a 'celebrity' talk to round the event off, given by Jay Rayner, a regular judge on Masterchef.  His presentation focused on debunking the myths in food supply chain and was an excellent light-hearted way to end the day.  

The winner of our free prize draw this time was none other than Kemi Ore from Trinity-Led Ventures.  Congrats Kemi!


Procurement Summit 2014

To round off our exhibiting this side of 2015, you'll be able to find us in Manchester at the Procurement Summit event on the 11th November.  Please do visit our stand to learn what new features we've been working on and of course to drop your name in the hat for our unique prize draw worth £500!


About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

Thursday, 16 October 2014

See what the Doctor says...




We would like to thank Sourcing Innovation for two great blog posts on Market Dojo. The Sourcing Innovation blog was started in June of 2006, is authored and edited by Michael Lamoureux, aka the doctor, a Computer Science PhD who has been heavily involved in the Sourcing and Supply 


A Dojo Where You Can Walk Your Own Way


marketdojo is a company that many of you haven’t heard of and a company that I’m sure many of you who have heard of them dismissed because of the Western notion of what a dojo is. In western thought, a dojo is believed to be a training school for Japanese martial arts where students to to learn from a sensei. So when you hear marketdojo, the first thing you probably think of is a training school for (e-)commerce best practices and a services company — not a do-it-your-self SaaS e-Sourcing platform.

But that is what marketdojo is — a state-of-the-art do-it-yourself e-Negotiation suite that supports complex RFX and e-Auction events as well as integration with their categorydojo product that helps a user determine appropriate sourcing strategies for each category and prioritize those categories based on the expected size of the opportunity.

Read more here


A Dojo Where You Can Plan your Own Path


In our last post, we introduced you to marketdojo, a state-of-the-art do-it-yourself e-Negotiation suite that supports complex RFX and e-Auction events as well as integration with their categorydojo product that helps a user determine appropriate sourcing strategies for each category and prioritize those categories based on the expected size of the opportunity.

In yesterday’s post, we described their basic marketdojo product which consists of an RFX and e-Auction offering (which supports multiple RFX types and Auctions). Today we are going to discuss their categorydojo product, which is one of the two real differentiators between them and the other players targeting the low-end of the e-Sourcing market (in an effort to bring smaller companies out of the Purchasing Dark Ages where some still remain).

Read more here.

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

Monday, 13 October 2014

Complex eSourcing with our Lot Matrix, what do you think? (see our videos)


Two years of development has resulted in our most ambitious release yet. The Lot Matrix allows you to build very complex sourcing events, very easily. Here are some videos, please have a look and let us know what you think?
Introducing the Lot Matrix - General overview
Creating advanced lots - How to create a complex sourcing event
Managing an event with advanced lots - What does a live event look like
Bidding in an advanced lot - How does a participant bid
Lot Matrix Demo - See the whole process to music
Our Lot Matrix allows you to build complex lots with different line items, components and include totals with bespoke calculations. You essentially start with a cell and grow a full matrix around this to cope with almost any scenario. You can create different unit of measure sets, chose which cells are ranked and we will be releasing mutli currency very soon and transformation bidding close after. As always we make things simple from the participant bidding side with excel upload and the host has the ability to see all the detail in real time during an auction. You can read more here.

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

Monday, 6 October 2014

Communication with suppliers key to driving innovation

(Editor's note:  this article was first published by Supply Management and is a review of a seminar given at eWorld Purchasing & Supply by a client of ours, Milla Harloff-Bernyk from Creative Education.)
 
By understanding suppliers' needs, teacher training provider Creative Education has been able to reduce procurement spend without compromising on quality.
 
When faced with squeezed budgets as a result of the economic crisis, the firm’s procurement manager Milla Harloff-Bernyk said she used innovation to make sure the company could still offer the same service.
 
She said she was determined not to drop quality – for example using budget hotels as venues instead of Marriot Hotels – because she knew how much the customers valued the experience.
 
Harloff-Bernyk told delegates at the eWorld Purchasing & Supply conference in London yesterday she made use of an e-sourcing platform from Market Dojo to free up her team’s time for “human interaction and communication”.
 
“I believe the data is good, software is brilliant but without adoption it’s not going to happen,” she said. “So that’s why we have used something that suppliers will find very user-friendly and easy to interact with." 
 
Please read the full article in Supply Management here.


 
About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com