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IT Managed Services Provider Resource Recommendation Updated on 16 July 2020 – TechSNAP, Everything, PowerToys, OpenSSH, Microsoft Teams Together Mode, and more

The headline on 16 July 2020

Term of the Day: Procure to pay

Procure to pay is the process of requisitioning, purchasing, receiving, paying for and accounting for goods and services. It gets its name from the ordered sequence of procurement and financial processes, starting with the first steps of procuring a good or service to the final steps involved in paying for it.

There is software expressly designed to handle the entire procure to pay process or components of it. One of the biggest benefits of integrated procure to pay suites is the ability to consolidate data, and enable the intelligent spend management that executives can use to get more control over expenses.

Vendors of e-sourcing and procurement software, such as Coupa Software and SAP Ariba, have developed significant procure to pay features. A few niche players, among them BirchStreet Systems, Basware, GEP,  Verian, Jaggaer, and Zycus claim to automate the entire process.

Term of the Day: Strategic Sourcing

Strategic sourcing is an approach to supply chain management that requires analysis of what an organization buys, from whom, at what price and at what volume. The goal of strategic sourcing is to help an organization consolidate its purchasing power and ensure purchasing strategies are aligned with business goals.

While the most important advantage of strategic sourcing is still to reduce cost, the benefits of rethinking the sourcing process itself can be far-reaching. It begins with analyzing business needs and historical spending, followed by outlining a strategic plan, and then conducting data collection and market analysis to guide the selection of a roster of suppliers.

Term of the Day: TensorFlow

TensorFlow is an open-source framework developed by researchers at Google to run machine learning, deep learning, and other statistical and predictive analytics workloads. TensorFlow platform is designed to streamline the process of developing and executing advanced analytics applications used by data scientists, statisticians and predictive modellers.

The TensorFlow software handles data sets that are arrayed as computational nodes in graph form. The edges that connect the nodes in a graph can represent multidimensional vectors or matrices, creating what is known as tensors. TensorFlow applications can run on either conventional CPUs or higher-performance graphics processing units (GPUs), as well as Google’s own tensor processing units (TPUs), which are custom devices expressly designed to speed up TensorFlow jobs.

Term of the Day: Chief Procurement Officer

Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) leads an organization’s purchasing department and oversees the acquisitions of goods and services made by the organization. The CPO’s policies and procedures determine which acquisitions require the procurement department’s involvement and need to begin with an RFP and which can be handled independently as non-RFP purchases by employees.

A CPO’s policies and procedures are intended to help the company:

  • Evaluate and select suppliers
  • Reduce and contain costs
  • Facilitate contract negotiations
  • Establish supplier performance metrics
  • Meet internal and external compliance requirements.

A CPO must be well versed in regulations and compliance, as well as in the various laws and requirements governing the procurement process. This position is most common at larger companies, where the volume of purchases justifies the need for an executive position and staff to handle those acquisitions.

The headline on 15 July 2020

TechSNAP is a podcast on systems, networking and administration with a focus on best practices and helping listeners solve problems. TechSNAP features topics of importance to those in the tech industry, with a segment dedicated to audience questions in every episode. New episodes are released every 2 weeks.

Update #1: TechSNAP stopped producing episodes last month, but you can now find host Jim Salter in a new tech podcast called 2.5 Admins.

Everything is a command-line search engine for Windows that instantly locates files and folders by filename. Everything initially displays every file and folder on the computer and then filters what is displayed as you type. Because it only indexes file and folder names, it generally takes a few seconds to build its database (e.g., a fresh install of Windows 10 (about 120,000 files) will take about 1 second to index).

PowerToys includes Windows system utilities to help improve productivity, especially likes, “PowerRename, PowerToys Run (ALT+SPACE is a universal shortcut for search/run/navigate) and Keyboard Manager (Rebind keys to other keys). There is a lot of other stuff too, and it is still evolving. It is pre-1.0 so might contain bugs (e.g., running it as admin was breaking PowerToys Run last week).”

OpenSSH is a connectivity tool for remote login with SSH as the best alternative to PuTTY. All traffic is encrypted and it also provides a suite of secure tunnelling capabilities, authentication methods and sophisticated configuration options.

Shortcut: CTRL + SHIFT + <Click Taskbar or Start Menu Icon> 

“Opens an instance of selected program with elevated privileges. This also works on non-pinned open programs on your taskbar. (E.g., I have Windows Terminal pinned to my Taskbar, which I regularly need to open PowerShell or Command Prompt with elevated privileges to run some scripts or stop services. This is one of the fastest ways for me to do it.)”

Microsoft is trying out some new ways to present a conference call that’s well, not like Zoom. Together Mode in Teams will put everyone together on the same virtual background, which it hopes will make these calls more human and less exhausting. I think this is a powerful feature that really speaks to our need to connect with each other in better ways.

Term of the Day: Procurement Plan
A procurement plan, also known as a procurement management plan, refer to the document that is used to manage the process of finding and selecting a vendor, justifies the need for an external supplier and explains how the process of finding a supplier will be performed from identifying the project requirements to closing the contract.

The goal of a procurement plan is to increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency of the procurement process. Procurement plan specifically describes how products or services will be acquired and how vendors will be managed during the project. It includes information such as the types of contracts that will be used, the planned delivery or implementation dates for the contracted products or services, the types of metrics that will be used to evaluate the vendor’s performance and an explanation of how the procurement process will be performed.

Term of the Day: Technology Buying Team

A technology buying team is a committee within a company whose members are responsible for making software and hardware buying decisions, using either a request for proposal (RFP) or non-RFP procurement process.

Technology Buying teams are the result of two important trends in technology:

  • Technology design is now increasingly driven by business needs and ease of use rather than the complexity of capability or depth of features.
  • The sales cycle for technology has become shorter and the amount of time for vendors to influence purchasing decisions has become shorter as well.
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