Business & Technology Nexus

Dave Stephens on technology and business trends

Just For Laughs on Tim and Jason’s Phrase-War

with 5 comments

Just in case you hadn't noticed, there's a phrase-war raging between two heavyweights in the world of procurement – Jason Busch and Tim Minahan. I'm in the cheap seats on this one, popcorn in hand and hoping for some fireworks!

To recap, Jason is outraged that Tim believes "spend management" is just a marketing slogan with no discernable, well-accepted definition. Worse yet, Tim has brazenly accused the Ariba-invented term as having a dangerously narrow scope. He says it discounts value and innovation focusing instead on cost alone.

Jason has refused to stoop to Tim's "attackery" and respond by trashing the "supply management" term for being foolish too due to its goods-centric, manufacturing-esque qualities. Instead, he's promoted the spend management moniker further by citing its ability to garner at least a 10-second attention span from CFO's weary of all things procurement.

Now, thanks to Doug Hudgeon, I've learned of a handy tool for gathering some basic intelligence on "popularity" of terms – Google Trends. So, here's the data:


Now, you may have trouble seeing the line showing the number of Google searches for spend management (I know I sure did). Supply management is something that fared far better, but it still lags more mainstream terms such as Purchasing and Procurement. And Tim would probably argue that's fine because its implied scope is different. And perhaps I would concede that point.

But you have to admire the passion both these guys have for procurement as a vitally important discipline in the enterprise. Oops, I mean supply management. Or was it spend management? And whatever happened to SRM?

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Written by Dave Stephens

05/12/06 3:52 PM at 3:52 pm

Posted in Opinion

5 Responses

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  1. Hi Dave,
    In our survey of about 600 purchasing professionals, the results of which culminated in our 2006 Supply Chain Trends & Skills Report, we asked the question: Which term do you prefer for the purchasing function?

    25% said “Purchasing”

    25% said “Supply Chain Management”

    25% said “Procurement”

    10% said “Supply Management”

    and the remaining 15% was comprised of small number of votes for other terms like Materials Management, Sourcing, Acquisition Management, Spend Management, etc.

    This discussion really brings to light the fact that attempts to rename our profession aren’t elevating it to a higher level of respect among the higher-ups we want to impress. It is making us look like a bunch of confused, confused people to them.

    We didn’t include these stats in the report. But, perhaps we’ll ask the same question in preparation of the 2007 report to see which terms are gaining and losing favor.

    Maybe I’ll blog the actual statistics (beyond the top 4) later in the week…

    Charles Dominick, SPSM

    05/15/06 1:38 PM at 1:38 pm

  2. […] Former ERP, SRM, and CRM software executive Dave Stephens offers a humorous roasting of both sides of the debate on his own Procurement Central blog. […]

  3. I’ve posted some stats on the popularity of the various names of the profession at http://www.NextLevelPurchasing.com/blog

    Enjoy!

    Charles Dominick, SPSM

    05/18/06 9:09 AM at 9:09 am

  4. […] A couple of years ago, I posted on Google outsourcing trends. Dave Stephens then used the tool to weigh-in on a spend terminology bun-fight between the two blogging heavy-weights, Jason Busch and Tim […]

  5. […] couple of years ago, I posted on Google outsourcing trends. Dave Stephens then used the tool to weigh-in on a spend terminology bun-fight between the two blogging heavy-weights, Jason Busch and Tim […]


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