Supply Chain Matters encountered a conflict last week, namely two of our favorite technology vendor customer conferences occurring during the same dates, but on opposite parts of the U.S..  While we have provided detailed commentary concerning the Kinaxis Kinexions 2011 conference,along with our appearance as a invited panelist, we would be remiss without adding some highlights from this year’s Emptoris Empower 2011 customer conference.

Emptoris is a one of the leading best-of-breed technology providers in applications supporting strategic sourcing, supplier management, services procurement and contract management. The annual Empower conference provides us the opportunity to familiarize and refresh as to leading procurement related best practices from multitudes of industries as well as to have open access and interact with  senior procurement executives representing well recognized corporate names.

Supply Chain Matters was alerted to two major announcements for this year’s conference. The first announcement concerned the upgraded release of version 9 of the Emptoris suite. In the increased ease of use category, this new release  includes a more intuitive interface to improve user interaction with various features and applications, along with tighter integration support for Microsoft Office integration. Also included is broader web browser compatibility and support for mobility based access via Apple iPad and a variety of mobile devices. Added functionality includes support for program management, suite-wide information and business process intelligence including a virtual supplier master, along with enhanced supplier life cycle management. The latter is the assimilation of the capabilities of Xcitec, which Emptoris acquired last spring.

The company also introduced enhancements to its services procurement application. Emptoris Services Procurement 9.3 includes support for mobile access and reporting from a variety of mobile operating systems including those of Apple iOS, Android, and Blackberry.

For more detailed perspectives regarding Emptoris 2011, readers can review the detailed coverage penned by Jason Busch on the Spend Matters blog.  Jason also attends this conference most every year, and provides an in-depth perspective.

Supply Chain Matters has often advised our readers and clients to specifically focus on the broader business process and time-to-value considerations when evaluating the deployment of advanced technology. In today’s dynamic and quickly changing business environment, new technology must to non-disruptive, must enhance productivity and support needs to start small and ramp quickly.  It is therefore noteworthy that vendors such as Emptoris have placed greater emphasis on usability and adoption, functionality that does not inhibit the ‘super user’ or novice in adopting the application and generating value from the technology.

In the coming weeks we will schedule a more detailed briefing with Emptoris regarding its new and future software releases  and will feature further commentary.

Bob Ferrari