SIG Speaks Blog

Talking to Your Tail Spend: Chapter 2 – 4 Tips to Work with Internal Stakeholders

Advice on how to work with internal stakeholders to manage tail spend

We’re releasing a series of articles to answer your questions about tail spend, starting with the basics so you understand what tail spend is and we’ll progress along the spectrum to help you manage it. To get up to speed, read our prologue and Chapter 1 on what this tail spend series will help you accomplish.


“Who purchased you and why?”

This is perhaps the most intriguing question and the right place to start when looking at tail spend. A spend analysis is often the first step in building a procurement capability, and if used on an ongoing basis, it can help to understand what spend consolidation efforts leave out. To accurately capture the full picture, analysis should pull in data from multiple sources, such as purchasing/payment systems, purchasing card data, travel and expense systems, and often multiple ERP systems, even petty cash if local branches still use it.  

Fortunately, there are many helpful tools on the market that range from free-for-use apps to complex software platforms enabled with artificial intelligence (AI). Nearly all of these will help with generating what we call a “spend cube,” which is an analysis, at the line-item level, of global spend. This can include:  

Amy Fong, Principal - Procurement and Purchase to Pay Advisory, The Hackett Group

Breathing New Life into Traditional Vendor Management

Vendor risk management is part of effective governance.

SIG University Certified Third Party Risk Management Professional (C3PRMP) Program graduate David England has noticed a decline in vendor management teams. He shares his thoughts on how the adoption of third-party risk management strategies by vendor management teams can help position them as a key asset and reverse their decline.

In the C3PRMP program, students focus on best and emerging practices to identify, assess, manage and control third-party risk throughout the lifecycle of relationships, and learn how to align risk fundamentals and frameworks with risk culture to develop the essential tools and controls for effective governance.


There is a growing awareness within the mainstream business community of the importance associated with effective third-party risk management – a capability that has been nicely incubating and maturing within heavily regulated industries, such as banking and financial services, for eons. This increased exposure and attention could be just what is needed to revitalize the flagging vendor management movement.

Many F500 organizations have well-established vendor management capabilities that spawned several decades ago with the onset of strategic process outsourcing and continue today as an effective operational strategy. Many organizations I have consulted with over the past 15 years benefit from these capabilities, which has helped them achieve the value intended from these important vendor relationships. These key capabilities include:

David England, Director, Governance Services at ISG

SIG Speaks Weekly Briefing - November 4

Here's your weekly update on the latest thought leadership, networking events and training with SIG. 

Learn Essential Capabilities for Modern Procurement and Finance

Most procurement and finance organizations struggle with data quality and visibility. Even the most sophisticated teams still find themselves stuck in a reactive mode. This eBook explores some of the technology trends and business practices that are helping to define a new, strategic role for procurement.

This Month at SIG

Take a dive into the Summit Anthology and Resource Guide to map your strategy for the coming year, catch up on some industry research, learn more about our new industry partnerships, with PeopleTicker and Spend Matters, and check out one of the many webinars happening this month.

Talking to Your Tail Spend: Chapter 1 - Why Don't You Call

When we talk about problematic tail spend, what we’re really talking about is unapproved supply sources. But tail spend is a cuter name.

Future of Sourcing Articles

Generally, there are four common mistakes that organizations make relating to real estate spend. Read more about some best practices for overcoming these mistakes

Hailey Corr, Content Manger

Who is Spend Matters, what is SolutionMap — and how can SIG members benefit?

SIG and SpendMatters Partnership

As part of Spend Matters' recently announced partnership with SIG, we’re excited to share exactly what Spend Matters brings to the table (deep insights into procurement software) and why that matters Spend Matters 12 SolutionMap Categoriesfor SIG members.

Spend Matters reaches a global audience of procurement professionals and provides coverage of procurement software and services vendors across the source-to-pay spectrum and other areas, like contingent workforce and AP automation. You can find many of the key players in the Spend Matters Almanac, a directory of 500+ vendors and consultants in procurement.

Through SolutionMap, anyone doing a procurement technology selection can explore 12 categories to get a snapshot of those markets for absolutely no cost. Players are ranked in areas like Source-to-Pay (S2P), E-Procurement, Contract Lifecycle Management, Sourcing, Supplier Management and more.

SolutionMap helps procurement organizations save time in their technology RFP processes by relying on the Spend Matters analyst team, who have already assessed capabilities at a granular level, validating them through live demos. Because technology is developed and updated so quickly these days, SolutionMap is updated quarterly.

Carina Kuhl, Chief Marketing Officer, Managing Director, Spend Matters

This Month at SIG – November 2019

A roundup of SIG content in November.

After a great week in Carlsbad, California, at the Fall Global Executive Summit last month, we are excited to bring you even more resources and connect you with a network of people to help you be your best. Take a dive into the Summit Anthology and Resource Guide to map your strategy for the coming year, catch up on some industry research, learn more about our partnerships with PeopleTicker, Spend Matters and TraDove, and check out one of the many webinars happening this month.

Summit Anthology and Resource Guide

Following each Summit, we publish an anthology that provides a snapshot of every Summit presentation and also includes speakers’ contact information if you’d like to follow up with them. The 2019 SIG Fall Global Executive Summit hosted over 40 keynote and breakout sessions.

This is a great resource for an overview of the content to share with your team members who were not able to attend and to demonstrate key takeaways and ROI to your executive team.

Northeastern Regional SIGnature Event

SIG’s last event of 2019 will take place in Toronto, Ontario at the BMO Institute for Learning. Delegates can expect executive roundtables (for director levels and above), deep-dive training on third party risk management, provoking general session speakers, lunch, CPO presentations, analyst overviews and more.

SIGnature Events are like mini-Summits, with ample time for networking with peers and provider thought leaders. There’s still time to register for this event, but space is limited and registration will be capped.

Stacy Mendoza, Digital Marketing Manager

Key Takeaways from the Fall Global Executive Summit

Key takeaways and resources for sourcing and procurement professionals from SIG's Fall Global Executive Summit

The Fall Global Executive Summit was one of the most well-attended Summits to date. With record attendance, compelling thought leaders, the first-ever Innovation Hall and a glitzy night recognizing the Future of Sourcing Award winners, it was one for the books! During this year’s speed networking, a whopping 207 meetings were booked and this year’s prizes for raffle winners were really spectacular, including a $5,000 donation to the winner’s charity of choice from Givewith, one of our newest social impact provider companies.  

Fall Summit Keynotes

Fall Summit Recap

The general session keynotes kept audiences engaged and our thought leaders answered some really great questions from the audience. Coupa’s CEO Rob Bernshteyn talked about how data, AI and community intelligence are impacting procurement; a panel of experts from Bank of Canada, PwC, Adobe and Boeing discussed tried and true best practices to be better at your job; the panel with LeaseAccelerator on upcoming changes to leasing standards elicited lots of discussion; and Kate Renwick-Espinosa closed us out with a look inside VSP Global’s inspiring company culture and commitment to fiscal fitness. 

One of the most buzzed about events at the Summit was Innovation Hall where provider companies that are utilizing AI and machine learning for everything from talent management to contract writing and negotiations networked with attendees while the Future of Sourcing Awards talks took place alongside them. It was great to see everyone’s gears turning as they talked about common challenges, potential solutions and learned more about opportunities available to them.

Dawn Tiura, President and CEO, SIG

SIG Speaks Weekly Briefing - October 28

Here's your weekly update on the latest thought leadership, networking events and training with SIG. 

A Report on Maverick Spend

The Hackett Group conducted a survey to gain insight into the strategic importance of maverick spend reduction, understand the adoption of specific procurement practices, and differentiate how top-performing organizations approach this topic.

Procurement Experts Outlook 2019

Practitioners, experts, and analysts share key insights and trends that will shape and impact procurement in 2019.

Aligning Risk Management Tools to Protect Customer Data

A health insurance professional with a small team helps protect the big data of her organization’s customers.

Future of Sourcing Articles

Some believe conflict in teams is bad and others might believe it can be a productive source for creative tension used to drive innovation. So, who is right?

Many security issues that pop up in outsourcing cases are due to a lack of proper expectations. Avoid these common mistakes by listening to Dan Pinto. 

Hailey Corr, Content Manger

Talking to Your Tail Spend: Chapter 1 – Why don't you call me by my real name?

In this blog post, tail spend is defined as unmanaged spend.

We’re releasing a series of articles to answer your questions about tail spend, starting with the basics to help you understand what tail spend is and progress along the spectrum to help you manage it. To get up to speed, read our prologue on what this tail spend series will help you accomplish


The term “tail spend” has become a common term in procurement-speak because in our minds we like to visualize all of our spend fitting on a nice curve with suppliers on the X-axis and spend per supplier on the Y-axis, something like in Figure 1 below. The suppliers with the lowest spend are plotted to the right and we think of that as the tail. A shorter tail implies we’ve done a better job of consolidating our spend among fewer suppliers. Since supplier consolidation with the goal of cost savings was the raison d’etre of early sourcing groups, the shape of this curve feels like an indicator of success.

Typical Spend Curve with a Long Tail

Amy Fong, Principal - Procurement and Purchase to Pay Advisory, The Hackett Group

SIG Speaks Weekly Briefing - October 21

Here's your weekly update on the latest thought leadership, networking events and training with SIG. 

Benchmark & Optimize Your Spend Strategy

Gain exclusive access to a chapter highlight from Coupa’s annual benchmark report, where they look at 3 KPIs across the source-to-contract process to gauge your organization’s progress and optimize your spend strategy.

Artificial Intelligence and Its Impact On Procurement and Supply Chain

Read how GEP is breaking down some of the essential AI concepts and showcasing the game-changing applications that they believe are most relevant in procurement and the supply chain.

Hailey Corr, Content Manger

Aligning Risk Management Tools to Protect Customer Data

SIG University's Certified Third Party Risk Management Professional Program helps protect against company data breaches

SIG University Certified Third Party Risk Management Professional (C3PRMP) Program graduate Cindy Lingerfelt works at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida. She shares what she’s learned about third-party risk management and how her small team plans to build a stronger risk culture.

In the C3PRMP program, students focus on best and emerging practices to identify, assess, manage and control third-party risk throughout the lifecycle of relationships, and learn how to align risk fundamentals and frameworks with risk culture to develop the essential tools and controls for effective governance.


I work for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida on the Procurement team. My sub-team, Supplier Management, is small and we wear many hats. We were the first in our organization to implement some standardization for how critical suppliers were managed by developing a segmentation questionnaire to tier our suppliers and worked with business owners to get all Tier 1 suppliers on performance scorecards. Our role was to provide standard formatted scorecards with a library of the most common KPIs, stationary, QBR templates and more. 

Due to an incident with a supplier, the board made a directive that supplier risk should have a more explicit focus. A new team called Enterprise Risk Management was formed within Corporate Affairs/Internal Audit to address supplier risk and closely partner with Procurement on new suppliers and manage risk with our current supplier base.

Cindy Lingerfelt, C3PRMP, Sourcing Specialist, Florida Blue

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