Event Season In The Procurement Technology Sector – Autumn 2017

Event Season In The Procurement Technology Sector – Autumn 2017

The autumn months are a busy time in terms of conferences in the procurement technology sector and I’ve  attended four excellent events in London recently.  Whilst e World offered a chance to compare a wide range of solution providers, Coupa, Basware and SAP Ariba organised single vendor events underpinned by their own sales agenda.

Each of these events offered an insight into the capability of the software through a number of informative presentations, and the cultures of the respective organisations.  I offer my own thoughts and comparisons below.

As a specialist recruiter in the sector and largely impartial observer, I find these events a very useful way of developing my knowledge, keeping up to date with the latest developments in the technology and enjoying the networking opportunities that exist between presentations. It’s great to catch up with long established contacts, meet new people and listen to conversations about people’s experiences of using the technology.

eWorld

I’ve been to several eWorld events now and it is the best option if you are looking to get a flavour of the myriad of options available in procurement technology.

This year had even more exhibitors than the equivalent event last year with the vast majority of the major players represented in the exhibition area.

There’s a wide range of presentations from solution providers, implementation partners and end users offering the procurement professional an great learning opportunity.

The opening Keynote, Procurement And The Brexit Bombshell from Dr. John Glen, Director of The Centre for Customised Executive Development Cranfield University was very interesting if slightly alarming for a self-confessed “remoaner” like me.  His advice was “plan for a hard Brexit, hope for a softer one.”  If you get the chance to see him present, take it.  Alternatively you can find him on YouTube.

I particularly enjoyed watching Mo Ahmad of Ariba talking about #MakeProcurementAwesome for the Mid Market and Ian Thompson of Tradeshift’s presentation on Procurement Innovation: How to Successfully Transition from Being Measured on Savings to Being Measured on Value?

Ian Thompson of Tradeshift

Both raised some interesting points and had an engaging, thought provoking presentation style.

You can view the other presentation topics and request details here: http://www.eworld-procurement.com/programme/

My only real negative about this event is that its surprising not to see more senior decision makers attend given the quality of the agenda and potential value of these solutions.  The audience appears largely dominated by middle management procurement people who seem to gain a great deal from it so I ask are the leaders missing out?

The next eWorld event is on the 28th February.

Messrs Edbury & Daley at eWorld

Coupa Inspire

The venue of Park Lane Hilton set the tone for the event along with a very upbeat feel about the environment. With impressive lights and modern introduction music, it was standing room only for Rob Bernsteyn’s opening address.  He gave a very bullish, strong performance, articulating Coupa’s values with an impressive presentation, extolling their Value as a Service mantra.  

A Coupa slide

He was followed by Paul Desrosiers of KPMG’s procurement technology practice.  Paul interviewed two Coupa/KPMG customers in a well-rehearsed Q&A offering an insight into what Coupa has brought to their organisations.

The Digital Leader – KPMG

With over 700 people in attendance, there was just enough space in the venue and this resulted in quite an energetic feel to the event, particularly around the exhibition area where the likes of KPMG, Deloitte, Hackett, Bearing Point and Xoomworks were all exhibiting as potential Coupa partners.

I had a series of very interesting conversations  with the consultants that I know from these organisations that typically had one common theme – there’s a shortage of people with experience of implementing the Coupa technology (and many of the competing solutions) to the extent where it can achieve its full potential with all the associated change management work that accompanies the use of such a powerful platform.

Of course it’s one of our jobs to help our clients overcome such skill shortages and we have various methods we can recommend but more on that another time.

One thing I particularly enjoyed was watching the dynamics of the event.  There was a lot of visible evidence of potential deals being discussed between Coupa sales people, prospective customers, and the various implementation partners giving a real buzz to the environment during the breaks.

My personal highlight was the presentation by Paddy Lawton, founder of Spend 360 (acquired by Coupa in January)

Paddy Lawton of Coupa talks about Neural Networks.

He gave a fascinating summary of his journey from the origins of Spend 360 with manually inputted and analysed data to the point where he’s at today.   In the process of explaining this journey he articulated a very compelling case for the use of these technologies with the emphasis on the value of the data, both now and in the future.  His message was largely echoed by Eric Wilson at Basware event the following day, and if there is one key headline for the layman to take away, its that the sooner you start to make better use of your data, the sooner you can start to reap the enormous rewards for procurement.

As an aside the food was excellent and a lot of people seemed pleased with the range of top end Coupa branded merchandise.  The flask will certainly come in handy for me on the golf course this winter!

Basware Connect

The Basware Network

The following day took me to CodeNode, a very different, more understated venue with a real technology theme.  On a smaller scale to the previous day, it felt more intimate and the presentations had more of an educational rather than sales feel by comparison.

There were plenty of Basware staff on hand to meet with potential and existing customers and the venue made for easy networking and open discussion.

Matthew Syed (AKA “The Ping Pong guy” from the BBC radio podcast and Times journalist) gave the opening keynote and he was absolutely excellent.  His presentation on “black box thinking” was fascinating.   He talked about the “growth mindset” offering comparisons of learning methodologies between the aviation and healthcare sectors with some references to sport thrown in.  It’s well worth buying his book or watching some of his presentations on YouTube if you haven’t seen him speak.

He was followed by the aforementioned Eric Wilson (VP of S2P at Basware) who covered a range of topics including the huge importance of data.  He discussed how our current machines will be obsolete soon but the data we are producing through them will only increase in importance in the next few years.

Eric Wilson of Basware

There were several other really interesting presentations from the likes of Theresa Lacey and Louis Fernandes, and again it offered a great opportunity to develop one’s knowledge of the power and importance of spend management solutions.

Theresa Lacey Making Sense Of The Terminology

It was great to see some of my contacts from the old Procserve business and compare the different cultures of the US owned Coupa versus the Finnish owned Barware – fascinating stuff for a recruiter.

The Future Of Procurement – Ariba

In early November Ariba invited both customers and potential prospects to its latest event.  The Royal College of Surgeons was an atmospheric venue with its 500 year history, on-site museum and intimate lecture theatre where it felt like the audience were almost on top of the speakers.

It was a largely educational agenda with a subtle sell of the capabilities of their solution thrown in, making for another enjoyable event.

It was great to see Justin Sadler-Smith back in the sector after recently joining the business. He gave an excellent introductory speech and more evidence that he’ll bring a great deal to Ariba’s business in the UK, particularly with the partnership with IBM on Cognitive Procurement given his background at Emptoris.

He was followed by former SAP CPO and now Chief Digital Officer, Marcel Vollmer who gave a really insightful view of the impact of technology in both our personal and professional lives.  He also talked about SAP’s own implementation of Ariba.

Some of the numbers for SAP’s transformation to Ariba

Between them they touched on some interesting issues including:

  • Procurement moving into a different space in future business with its changing value proposition
  • The growing importance of data scientists in procurement
  • The potential for areas like Category Management to be largely automated
  • The move towards supplier management and innovation rather than just delivering hard savings
  • A strong message that the potential for change is here now and able to move at a rapid rate if we embrace it

The Future of Ariba S2P with Marcell Vollmer.

Later in the afternoon I really enjoyed listening to Andrew Croston of Smith & Nephew who gave a warts and all account of their experience of implementing the Ariba solution with consulting support from Deloitte.

It was a refreshing change from the often 100% positive presentations that are so common at such events.  He was largely very positive about both organisations but also gave a good account of the challenges they’ve faced, and some useful feedback for anyone about to embark on a similar transformation journey.  His dry northern wit also kept me and the rest of the audience amused throughout.

The three partners exhibiting were excelerated S2P, Deloitte & Apsolut but in keeping with the rest of the event they appeared to be in educational rather than full on sales mode.

Some Final Thoughts

  • Procurement professionals really are spoilt for choice with solutions at the moment, the power of the technology is amazing, the real challenge lies in how you harness it for your organisation and finding the skills required to do so.
  • Procurement professionals should go to as many of these events as possible.   There are so many ways to learn about what’s happening and ultimately to enable you to choose the right solution for your business.
  • The skill shortage I’ve been talking about for so long shows no sign of abating but you can raise your own profile and knowledge by embracing these learning opportunities.

Andrew Daley, November 2017

If you would like to discuss any of the points raised here please contact me via andrew@edburydaley.com

 

 

Edbury Daley Awarded G-cloud Framework

Edbury Daley Awarded G-cloud Framework

DfT Id templates 

Edbury Daley’s Role In The Digital Marketplace

The G Cloud framework of the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) is an initiative targeted at easing procurement by public-sector bodies in departments of the United Kingdom Government of commodity information technology services that use cloud computing.

As of September 2016 Edbury Daley can supply services through the G Cloud framework.

Edbury Daley is a specialist supplier of interim and permanent professional specialists capable of implementing cloud based solutions like e-Invoicing, Procure-to-Pay, Procurement Analytics and e-Sourcing on behalf of public sector bodies.

The CCS acts on behalf of the Crown to drive savings for the taxpayer and improve the quality of commercial and procurement activity. Their main objective is to work with departments and organisations across the whole of the public sector to ensure maximum value is extracted from every commercial relationship and improve the quality of service delivery. Its procurement arrangements are used by central government departments and organisations across the public sector including local government, health, education, not-for-profit and devolved administrations.

G Cloud is a CCS initiative that provides a database of cloud based IT services for use by public sector organisations. Utilising these cloud services on the Digital Marketplace helps public sector organisations create a more productive, flexible workforce and this subsequently allows them to provide more efficient and cost effective services of higher quality.

The professional specialists provided by Edbury Daley are sufficiently experienced to enable public sector organisations to harness the full power and capability of such cloud based solutions.

We are fully EU compliant and we provide easy access to expert professionals saving organisations’ time and money. Our services can be used by organisations across the UK public sector including central government, local government, health, education, devolved administrations emergency services and not-for-profit organisations.

Andrew Daley, Director of the Spend Management team said “we are delighted to be awarded the framework to supply our services through G Cloud, and look forward to supporting any public sector bodies that need experienced professionals to help them implement cloud based procurement and finance solutions.”

If you would like to talk to us about any aspect of our services or the people we can help you hire, please get in touch with Andrew Daley via andrew@edburydaley.com

How We Recruit Across The European Procurement Solutions Market

How We Recruit Across The European Procurement Solutions Market

 

Edbury Daley is widely acknowledged as the market leading recruiter in the Spend Management sector in the UK. We are now bringing hiring success to our clients across Europe.

Our recent projects have included:

  • Business leaders for appointments in UK, France & Northern Europe.
  • Regional sales leadership roles for Europe, Nordics, France, Italy, Sweden & UK
  • Senior procurement technology consulting roles in  the UK, France, Netherlands, Germany, Italy & Spain
  • Project Management & Implementation appointments in England, France & Germany

We offer broad coverage of Procurement Solutions which include Analytics, Payments, Vendor Management Solutions and Supply Chain Finance.

Our international network of contacts across the procurement technology sector allied to a deep expertise in the procurement profession enable us to provide an unrivalled service. Here’s how:

  • Identifying proven sales people with experience of selling to finance and procurement audiences across Europe.
  • Head hunting geographically flexible Implementation and Transformation Consultants with experience of international projects.
  • Building an outstanding network of EU nationals currently working in the sector wishing to move to the UK, and those already in the UK willing to work/relocate across Europe.

If you need a recruiter who understands your product, your target markets and the availability of the skills your business needs to grow then it’s time to get in touch with us via info@edburydaley.com

If you want to read our quarterly analysis on the recruitment market conditions affecting the sector, and gain evidence of our expertise in the market you can access the reports here: The Procurement & Spend Management Quarterly Market Updates.
To keep up to date with news from the sector and the career opportunities we are working on please visit http://www.spendmanagement.co.uk/ or follow us on Twitter via @SpendMgmt_UK or @EdburyDaley

 

 

Recruitment Excellence In The Procurement Technology Sector

Recruitment Excellence In The Procurement Technology Sector

 

Why A Quality Focus To Recruitment Makes A Difference

The Situation

One of our key clients is a rapidly growing Spend Management Company that is gaining market share because of the quality of both its product and its people.

It recognises that to attract the best talent and to retain its staff it has to give them exciting career paths, and needs to send a clear message to the market place so that talented individuals understand the opportunities they can provide.

They understand the value that we can bring by acting as their ‘ambassadors’ in the market and the value we add by both Talent Identification and also by how we present a consistent and compelling message about their business.

They have invested considerable time with us to jointly build the relationship so that we fully understand their business and the skills and attributes they require and the kinds of opportunities they offer. They recognise that they need an external partner who can sell their brand and position them well and not just source  CV’s. They need a business that really understands a very competitive candidate marketplace.

How Does This Approach Make A Difference?

For one Senior Consultant role we had two offers rejected – one was very aggressively counter offered by their current employer and the other candidate was offered £10k more basic salary elsewhere.

We realised that market conditions may have changed so we undertook some salary benchmarking research on their behalf.

It is easy and all too common for recruiters to drive salary increases and to claim that a client needs to raise their pay bands – we will always advise a client based on real data so that they can make an informed decision.

In this situation based on our research and a full open discussion with the client they reviewed and raised their basic salaries and with them we refined the message we took to the market – the role has now successfully been filled as a result.

Based on this success this approach was adopted further and we have since successfully filled a number of other roles and have candidates in reserve for future appointments such as:

  • Account Manager
  • Pre- Sales Director
  • Consultant
  • Senior Analyst

We are currently working on four more roles for this client

It is clearly a success story for us and the client. It proves that even when facing incredibly competitive market conditions because we work together and they trust our advice we have some superb recruitment success and have together driven and produced market leading KPI’s

  • Our interview to offer rate this year of 75%.
  • Our interview to appointment rate this year is 50%
  • Our interview to appointment rate since our client realigned their salary bands using our research is 80%

The Lesson Learnt?

If your organisation achieved these levels of performance in your recruitment process how much time and money would be saved?

Yes we usually cost more than those rates typically quoted on many PSL’s but our value and advice on key issues like process, salary, availability of relevant skills and market conditions makes a significant difference to the actual cost.

Equally our expertise is understood and recognised by candidates and this allows us to influence and persuade the best people to consider leaving their current jobs to join a new team when others may not. Detailed sector knowledge is critical, particularly in a job market like procurement technology.

Ultimately to save time and money and to add real value, you must invest time together with a business that knows the market. We seek to understand your recruitment challenges and give credible advice so that we can deliver candidates that fit your brief.

So ask yourself this, do you want a low price/high volume option for your recruitment or do you want value and a source of competitive advantage?

If it’s the latter, I look forward to hearing from you.

 

The Spend Management Recruitment Market – A Case Study

The Spend Management Recruitment Market – A Case Study

 

Case Study – Adapting To Competitive Market Conditions

A rapidly growing spend management platform provider needed to make a key appointment.  They ideally wanted to identify  a candidate with experience from a direct competitor  that could fit seamlessly into client facing projects.

In a market where those skills were particularly rare, we identified an outstanding candidate who met all the core criteria.  After reviewing our findings on recruitment best practice, the client ran an excellent interview process, and the candidate accepted an offer at the perceived market rate.  However the candidate was then made a very aggressive counter offer when he resigned which increased his basic salary by 32%.  The candidate then decided to stay with his current employer.

We then focused on a second candidate that we had identified earlier in the process.  He was offered a salary at the very top of our clients band for that grade.  However he was made another offer by a Consultancy which was worth 15% more on the basic salary alone and accepted that.

At this point our client realised that the market had moved on from their existing salary bands and they needed accurate, up to date salary benchmarking data for their specific market sector.

Within 10 days we were able to gather salary data from their direct competitors and make our recommendations on the market rate for their various different grades.  Using this hard evidence HR and the senior management team were then able to revise their salary bandings across all grades giving them more flexibility to recruit external talent without creating pressure on their existing internal structures.

This client’s ability to adapt to changing market conditions has now enabled them to compete successfully for the best talent in the market.  As a result the role has now been filled with a very strong candidate that we sourced from a direct competitor.

We’ve also been able to recruit for additional roles for this client at the lower and mid points of their salary bands by tapping into an alternative talent pool that we discovered through extensive networking across the sector.

If you would like to understand how Edbury Daley can have a positive impact on your hiring process in challenging market conditions, please contact Andrew Daley.

For more information on the Spend Management market place, please visit our new site http://www.spendmanagement.co.uk/