Author: Pete Loughlin

What is often criticised and mocked as management consultancy speak is in fact a succint vocabularly of specialist jargon. The specialists understand it – they need it. They need a language to describe the highly specialist things that they do. To outsiders it can seem deliberately confusing – a launguage designed to exclude all but the initiated. But it’s not deliberate – is it?

In a piece on communication from a few months ago - you can read it here - I explained why I believe that management consultancy speak it is a substitute for plain speaking. And it's not just management consultants - analyst are much the same. To quote directly from a quiet brilliant article by Dennis Howlett: "If you’ve seen them you’ll know what I mean: pseudo-scientists, stat whores, one trick ponies, buzzword bingo compliant at every turn with a phraseology that reads like someone trying to get their head as far up the corporate rear end as is conceivably possible. It’s not pretty but you know what? Some vendors love it. It is not sustainable because sooner or later the really smart people knock them down and trust evaporates from those who play that silly game."

Embracing innovation is crucial in the procurement world. Peter Smith's recent series on procurement innovation has produced some fascinating debate, but it's not only innovation in our procurement processes that are important, we need also to be mindful of new products and new way of doing things so that when we don't become blinkered in our sourcing approach. Innovation is great - which is why our patent laws are so bad.

Recently, we published a piece about the e-invoicing opportunity that the bank have been ignoring. You can read it here. It was met with a large and polarized response. There were those that agreed wholeheartedly that the banks appear to have ignored e-invoicing, those that believe they've done so with good reason and those that believe the banks have responded to the opportunity. I was especially pleased and flattered that both Jason Busch and Peter Smith - men whose opinion is always worth listening to - took the time to pen robust arguments, one in support and the other disagreeing with the views expressing in Purchasing Insight. It is true that the banks have explored e-invoicing, JP Morgan and RBS are just two examples. But the investment is paltry compared to the investment made daily in other parts of the banking world. The opportunity that they're missing is not the one about jumping on the increasingly attractive bandwagon of P2P - that's the B2B and technology innovators game. The opportunity they are missing is the opportunity to destroy their transaction business - before someone else does it for them.

The problem with a fast moving market is knowing when to jump on and just as important, when to jump off. If only we had a crystal ball! Electronic invoicing is a bit like that at the moment - whether your organisation has a mature e-invoicing programme or not, it's incredibly useful to know what the rest of the market is doing - your competitors, your suppliers and your customers. That's why it's important that you support this research.