Industry Trends

Read about trends that impact research-intensive industries.

Industry Trends

Evaluating R&D Procurement Technology Platforms: a Cheat Sheet for Innovative CPOs

According to the global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, procurement leaders are realizing that, to remain competitive, they must adopt B2B online marketplaces to manage indirect procurement — a spend category that includes services and utilities vital for business operations.

To quote the recent McKinsey article on the topic, 

“Industry analysts project that by 2021, indirect spending will be led and directed by tech-procurement people at up to 60 percent of large enterprises.”

“Indirect procurement will increasingly become platform management — a shift that will require teams to tailor their indirect procurement strategies more carefully."

Changes that are driving the transition of indirect procurement spend to online platforms include: 

  • Newly minted CPOs have increasing dependence on online shopping for all personal spend categories, including services
  • B2B online marketplaces deliver many benefits (see box)
  • CPOs can perform against goals that are broader, more strategic than transaction management; can eliminate the tedious work of indirect procurement
  • Companies rely more on 3rd party providers
  • Increased scrutiny on compliance and risk mitigation
  • Broader corporate emphasis on digital transformation

Need help evaluating software platforms?

Start with this list of must-have features to look for in a B2B online marketplace for R&D services procurement:

  • Built-in guided buying
  • Large selection of high-quality vendors
  • Clear accountability (single-vendor model) and system in place for refunds if necessary
  • A user experience that surpasses traditional procurement process — enjoyable, efficient, time-saving, so that users will WANT to use it
  • Has tools that help users achieve and track business goals
  • Smooth logistics and integration with buyer’s logistics and financial systems.
  • Payment options with currency choices

Benefits of B2B online marketplaces for R&D services procurement

  • Wider selection of vendors to choose from
  • Price transparency (including dynamic pricing)
  • Faster throughput
  • Cost savings
  • Ability to configure custom internal marketplaces 
  • Integration into S2P process
  • Easier to manage compliance and spend governance
  • Purchasing data (real time and historical)
  • Provider performance data, including standard and custom indicators

Schedule a free 20-minute consultation with Science Exchange to learn how implementing an R&D procurement platform can best advance your business goals.


Shaun O'Connor

VP, Corporate Development

Shaun leads Science Exchange’s Corporate Development and Partnership initiatives. In his role, he works closely with the C-Suite to identify, assess and execute on various value creation opportunities such as commercial partnerships, joint ventures, financing and strategic transactions. Prior to Science Exchange, Shaun worked at both large cap and boutique advisory firms, serving customers on M&A, Corporate Strategy, and Restructuring initiatives for 8+ years. Shaun is an External Advisor at prestigious consulting firm Bain & Company, former Mensa Member, Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, and holds degrees in Industrial and Management Systems Engineering from The West Virginia University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude.

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