News

Leading Procurement Technology Industry Recruitment Report Published

Procurement Technology recruitment specialists Edbury Daley have just published their latest research and commentary on the procurement and spend management sectors. The report covers both the UK and Europe and includes:

  • All the latest news from the procurement technology sector
  • Observations on recruitment market trends including procurement leadership, the interim market, procurement technology and consulting
  • The impact of Brexit on the job market and procurement profession
  • Views on the recent Procurement Technology events and the subjects discussed
  • Thoughts on the future of the procurement skill set
  • Advice on how to progress your career in an automated world

You can download the report for free here: The Procurement & Spend Management Insider Autumn 2018

The Future of Procurement takes centre stage

The Future of Procurement is a subject that has attracted a lot of column inches from thought leaders in the past couple of years, but the debate has picked up some real momentum in the past few months resulting in it being a central theme at several of this autumn’s procurement events.

Following on from our feature on The Future Of Procurement, taken from our most recent Procurement & Spend Management Insider report where we examined the opportunities that exist for the function to evolve from a savings dominated agenda, I was asked to speak at two such events to give a recruiters’ perspective and some insight into how these factors are influencing market conditions.

At both Basware Connect and SAP Ariba’s “Procurement Summit” I was fortunate enough to see some great presentations from several respected procurement leaders. The discussions centred around the future skill set, the use of technology as a catalyst for change and the implications for professional development, staff retention and talent attraction, subjects which are of course close to my heart.

Starting at the SAP Ariba Procurement Summit on the 10th October, an event which was sponsored by Deloitte, there were excellent presentations from Guy Hubball (ex CPO of BP), Marcell Vollmer (SAP Ariba’s Chief Digital Officer) and Graham Wright of IBM, all of whom touched upon the skills debate to some extent.

Some excellent examples were given of best practice use of the latest generation of procurement solutions including enhanced visibility in the supply chain (seven tiers for one automotive business), opportunities to take CSR to another level, the use of AI and other exciting tools.

It was a very enjoyable event with no obvious hard sell, more of an education for the audience supporting a theme which was effectively a challenge to the profession to embrace the opportunities available and carve out a new iteration of procurement supported by the use of technology.

A week later Basware Connect offered a slightly different emphasis but an equally enjoyable range of topics to consider. The common theme was, as you would expect, the prospects that exist for procurement and finance professionals to embrace the digital transformation opportunity.

However, for me, a highlight of Basware events is that they have speakers from outside the immediate procurement and finance world to give a different perspective from many of the other technology vendors. They give the attendees something of a broader education and a great deal of food for thought.

Last year it was Matthew Syed (The Times journalist and “Ping-pong guy” from the BBC podcast) who gave the audience a fascinating presentation entitled “Black Box Thinking.” This time it was Rohit Talwar, noted Futurist, Author & Advisor.

His presentation “AI And The Next Frontiers Of Business” outlined a vision of some mind-boggling possibilities underpinned by the development of AI that is potentially closer than we think. He also explained several examples where AI is already infiltrating our lives in many ways we don’t realise.

I’ll be reading his book “The Future of Business” just as soon as I get through what is an incredibly busy period for us at Edbury Daley at the moment – significant demand from several of our procurement tech clients across Europe is keeping us really busy, along with finalising the next edition of The Procurement & Spend Management Insider due for publication in early November as outlined here.  Of course, we’ll be expanding on several of the themes mentioned here so be sure to check it out.

If you haven’t already done so, register for the last one and you’ll automatically be added to the mailing list or follow us on Linked In, Facebook or Twitter.

What skills are in demand in Procurement tech’ right now?

Since the end of the summer holidays, we’ve seen a significant spike in demand for people with experience of implementing cloud base procurement solutions, particularly SAP Ariba.  Typically we are being asked to recruit for people who can combine some technical skills with subject matter expertise in procurement technology and ideally the sort of experience that would enable them to thrive in a client facing role.

Strong communication skills and a good Project Management background are typically valued in such roles and would be a prerequisite for anyone seeking to move the spend management world from other areas like finance or supply chain solutions.

Besides SAP Ariba, experience of implementing solutions like Ivalua, Proactis, Coupa and other tools is also sought after by our clients.

We’ve got a host of opportunities in Europe including the UK, France, Benelux, Germany and the Nordics as well as overseas markets like Saudi Arabia.  Most are advertised on the jobs page of this site, so you can click the menu section above or here to take a closer look.

If you don’t see anything quite right but you have these skills then it is still worth getting in touch with us via info@edburydaley.com.

We’ll be offering our usual in-depth analysis of the wider market trends in our next Insider report which is currently in production and due for publication at the end of October. If you missed the last one it’s well worth reading judging by the feedback we’ve received from the market – download it here.

The SAP Ariba Procurement Summit – 10th October London

We are very much into conference season now in the procurement technology sector and next week sees the return of one of the best events on the calendar from SAP Ariba.

Graham Wright of IBM is amongst the headline presenters as he offers a presentation entitled “Step up or step out: A Procurement leadership masterclass.”

We’re delighted to confirm that Andrew Daley, founding Director of Edbury Daley will share the stage with Graham, and will offer his thoughts on what he sees and hears from the broader market on issues like the use of procurement technology, its impact of the future of the procurement skill set, and what the implications are for procurement leaders who want to hire for such skills.

It should be a great event and as Justin Sadler Smith (Head of United Kingdom & Ireland, Ariba Cloud Procurement at SAP) said it’s personal and about you as a procurement professional, 5-10-15 years what will you be doing and are you ready?” Justin has lined up a fantastic agenda with Patrick McCarthy, Guy Hubball, FCIPS, Paul Bray, Graham Wright, Andrew Daley, Martine Booth, Timo Worrall, James Marland and many more.

You can register to attend here: https://lnkd.in/eSicpEu

Climbing the career ladder in an increasingly automated world

There’s a lot of talk these days about the future of work and robots taking over. It’s been covered in a number of recent articles on the future of procurement by the likes of Spend Matters. I thought I’d give my view, as a recruiter, on how I’m seeing things change as the world of Procurement becomes further automated.

We are increasingly observing terminology like spend analytics, process automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning creeping into job descriptions.

And CPOs asking for us to find candidates that can “understand and agree our analytics vision” or “provide a step-change in the way we use data to inform our decision making and problem solving”.

Others have asked us to find people with experience of “delivering procurement technology projects in the context of broader procurement transformation initiatives”.

As a result we are seeing CVs that list key skills like:

  • Solution design and implementation
  • Process evolution and mapping
  • Data gathering and analysis
  • Planning and delivering transformational training workshops.

But we’re finding that it’s adaptability and a willingness to learn new skills that are the key differentiator in today’s market. Attitudes to automation and new technology seem to vary dramatically, from people who see it as something that will put them out of work, to people who embrace the change and are actively developing new skill sets such as those mentioned above that will set them up for the future.

This is something that we’ll be exploring in more detail during a workshop I’m hosting at Basware Connect in London on 17th October. I’m hoping for a lively discussion where I’ll be sharing my own experiences and inviting outside perspectives on how people are climbing the career ladder in an increasingly automated world.

Connect is one of my top picks when it comes to conferences, it was a great event last year with excellent guest speakers and insightful content. You can sign up for free here.

Proactis make another acquisition

After a relatively quiet period on the merger and acquisition front in the procurement technology market so far in 2018, Proactis have announced the addition of Dutch spend management firm Esize into the group.

This follows a pattern of growth by acquisition by Proactis  who have previously bought the likes of Due North, EGS and Intelligent Capture.  Last year they made a significant step in what was an effectively a reverse takeover of Perfect Commerce and this is the first acquisition by the group since then.

As usual there’s some good analysis of the deal by our friends at Spend Matters which you can read here:

https://spendmatters.com/uk/proactis-back-on-acquisition-trail-acquires-dutch-firm-esize/

The Future Of Procurement

This is a subject that has promoted some very interesting comments and debate in recent times, not least because of the impact of the impressive range of spend management solutions available to procurement functions.

Our colleagues at Edbury Daley have been talking about this for some time and offer some insight from a skills, recruitment and development angle.  They talk about three opportunities for procurement to move on from its current agenda.  They are:

Brexit Related Challenges

Procurement as a force for good – CSR

Technology and the procurement skill set

As usual the excellent Spend Matters website has offered some fascinating thoughts from a different perspective.  Here are there most recent articles:

The Future of Procurement – Part 1, A Quick Wander Through the Past!

The Future of Procurement – Part 2, What Needs To Change Now?

We welcome your thoughts on the subject. Why not join the debate via Twitter or Linked In or email us at info@edburydaley.com

My thoughts on the World Procurement Congress

Blog Pic Procurement Leader

The event is organised by Procurement Leaders and is perhaps the biggest collection of the professions senior managers. The delegates truly were a wide of range of genuine functional leaders from around the world with a significant percentage of them from Europe. It felt like a real leadership get together.

The sponsors and exhibitors were a broad mix with technology as the dominant theme rather than consulting. Given the large number of people carrying the CPO job title from big organisations it surprised me that non of the major consultancies, SAP Ariba or Coupa were exhibiting although SAP Ariba did sponsor some of the categories at the World Procurement Awards dinner on the Thursday evening.

This left a number of the other key players in the procurement technology market like Jaggaer, Barware, Determine, GEP and Ivalua to get themselves in the mind of the audience alongside some of the supply chain finance companies (C2FO, Taulia) and niche players like PRGX and Risk Methods. Here’s a full list of the partners.

There were some excellent presentations which presented what was probably a very positive view of the achievements of the speakers procurement functions, but it was clear to see why several of these people had been asked to speak. They offered a fascinating insight into what they had achieved and/or the initiatives that they are working on.

I particularly enjoyed listening to Walter Charles of Biogen talk about how his people are using AI on supplier discovery and analytics. His team is clearly at the forefront of really using technology to change the value the profession can bring to his organisation as is Tom Linton of Flex. His demonstration of how his team uses data science is the best example I have seen at the many events of this type that I attend. His team get access to what are effectively huge iPads of useful data offering meaningful insights that are shaping how they deliver value to the business.

Barry Parkin, Chief Procurement and Sustainability Officer at Mars was also hugely impressive and gave some great examples of how their investment deep into their supply chain is paying dividends for them. He talked about various initiatives with smallholding farmers including one with basmati rice growers in Pakistan.

Mars have taught the farmers to use less water in their process yet still increase their yield. When they used this as part of their marketing campaign to promote their Uncle Ben’s brand it resulted in an increase in sales of over 40% for the duration of the campaign. Barry described this as a Win Win Win and it’s hard to argue. Here’s some more info on that.

Thomas Udesen, Global Head of Procurement at pharma giant Bayer delivered a great presentation on the second morning. I’m sure many of the audience were envious of his position when he talked about being able to re-design his procurement function from scratch to suit the changing needs of the business.

He was able to quote his CEO stressing the importance of procurement to the entire business and could demonstrate the words are backed by action with the range of resources available to him. He talked about various initiatives that I’m sure many of the audience will seek to replicate when they get back to their own businesses. They included:

  • A dedicated team of AI specialists working in innovation projects
  • A Supplier Enabled Innovation programme
  • The “Procurement Kickbox” programme designed to encourage innovation from within his core team
  • A “Rapid Deployment” Team ready to commit to urgent, business critical projects – he mentioned this being a great talent incubator and that particularly got my attention.
  • The support of a team of dedicated professional mentors and coaches within Bayer who are challenging his people the think differently

I also enjoyed listening to Katrina Thorogood of Xylem who gave an interesting insight into driving cultural change in the team she inherited whilst Alpar Kamber, (founder of Denali and now part of WNS) offered some thoughts on future procurement operating models in his session.

I left the event with the impression that the leading CPO’s really are making an impact at board level in their organisations by delivering real value that goes way beyond savings. This is something we talked about in the skills section of our most recent report on the procurement job market.

It was also clear to me that these visionary leaders have really embraced the power of procurement technology solutions and that’s been a key factor in the momentum they have established in their teams. I’m sure many of the delegates will be keen to follow their lead.

From a personal perspective, the event offered lots of valuable networking opportunities to supplement what was another useful learning experience.

I chose not to attend the awards dinner that concluded the conference on the Thursday evening, but judging by the pictures on Twitter and Linked In it looked like a great night for all those that attended. Maybe next year.

Next up for me is The P2P Transformation Summit in London on the 5th June.