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Looking to move into the Spend Management sector?

Blog - Looking to move into the Spend Management sector

If you have noticed the increase in the use of the various forms of procurement technology in recent years and wondered how you might move your career into that sector, the information in this article is geared towards helping you.

There are several significant factors that could encourage you to consider a career move into the sector:

  • There is a skills shortage in key areas of the spend management sector.  It covers roles demanding implementation, delivery and/or sales experience.
  • All the signs point to the use of technology being a critical part of procurement in future and the growth in the sector is already very impressive.
  • This technology is at the heart of corporate transformation projects around procurement and finance.
  • The big consultancies are jostling for position in a fast growing market – they will need to hire more people in the next few years.

What Transferable Skills Are In Demand In The Sector?

Given the skills shortage that exists at present and some employers are focused on hiring excellent people with transferable skills that they can develop.

If you have a background in Procurement, Finance, Consulting or Technology Sales there could be organisations in the sector that are interested in you.

What other skills do you need?

  • Finance people – some knowledge of P2P and/or ERP systems like SAP or Oracle
  • Procurement people – exposure to e sourcing, P2P, SRM and/or analytics
  • Sales people – proven track record in SaaS or ERP sales
  • Technology people – experience in cloud based B2B platforms or similar.

Personal qualities

In addition to some transferability of your professional skills, it is vital to have the right mix of personal qualities.

Excellent inter personal skills – many of the best roles are client facing.

Consulting skills – analytical, problem solving, designing solutions, gaining consensus for change, ability to train and develop staff.

Drive, ambition and desire – many of the companies are still relatively small. They need people who fit their business culturally and in terms of their longer term aspirations to grow market share, develop their systems and technology.

In many companies that are growing quickly, these personal qualities and the ability to fit into the team are at least as important as relevant experience.

Why we are the market leaders in the UK Spend Management market

Blog - Why we are market leaders in the uk

Edbury Daley is largely known for our work in what we now refer to internally as the “core procurement market,” but our track record in the spend management sector dates back to 2007 when we first worked with the then market leader.

Fast forward to 2015 and we are now established as true specialists committed to this rapidly growing market.

Whilst other procurement and technology recruiters operate on the fringes of the sector, Edbury Daley has been at the heart of numerous high profile moves over the past two years. The market has truly taken off in recruitment terms.

Of course the increase in recruitment activity is closely correlated to the growth we’ve seen in both the leading procurement technology providers, and their target clients who often need specialist in house resource to project manage implementation and transformation projects.

If you add in the various consultancies seeking to benefit from the growing number of major transformation projects, it really does paint a positive picture of the current job market conditions in the sector.

There are a number of reasons why we have successfully established ourselves as the pre-eminent recruiter in spend management. They include:

  • An outstanding network of contacts ranging from business leaders to emerging graduate talent
  • Coverage across the entire range of professional skills including sales, implementation, transformation consultancy, senior management and technical staff
  • We offer both interim and permanent recruitment services along with talent mapping and bespoke salary benchmarking.
  • We are the only established specialist procurement recruiter with a dedicated team for the sector
  • We know the UK, EU, US and Asian markets intimately
  • We enjoy a high profile on social media and have had positive coverage on the leading industry news website Spend Matters
  • Due to our profile, industry professionals regularly come to us for career advice
  • We produce regular market analysis and recruitment thought leadership dedicated to the sector.

As a result of this, we observed a three fold increase in the number of roles we’ve filled in 2015 compared to 2014 which itself was a very positive year from our perspective.

We’ve also seen both our client list and network of international candidates grow significantly in the past two years.

As a guide to our coverage of the market, here’s a list of appointments that we’ve made in the past two years with spend management/procurement technology providers:

  • Pre-Sales Director
  • Sales Director’s in various European countries
  • Value Engineers in several European locations
  • Senior Business Development Manager
  • Account Development Manager
  • Account Principal
  • Senior Implementation Consultant
  • Senior Transformation Consultant
  • e Sourcing Manager
  • P2P Transformation Lead
  • P2P Project Manager
  • Spend Analytics Consultant

Our clients Include:

  • Several established providers in the spend management SaaS arena
  • The Procurement Technology practices of several leading consultancies
  • Leading players in the procurement outsourcing sector
  • Some niche consultancies focusing on procurement technology implementation and transformation projects.
  • Supply Chain Finance and Vendor Management Solutions providers

So in summary, whether you are looking at your own career options or need to hire the best talent available in the market, you really should be talking to Edbury Daley.

Here’s evidence of our specialist capability: European Reach Across Procurement Solutions Market.

Thoughts on Ariba Live in Prague – June 2017

Blog - Thoughts on Ariba Live in Prague

I attended my first SAP Ariba Live event in Prague from 12th-14th June and thought it would be useful to share some of my thoughts for those of you who didn’t attend.

The event itself was very impressive overall in that a great deal of thought, time and investment had clearly gone into the venue and the organisational logistics.  SAP Ariba’s branding was very prominent, there was an endless supply of food and drink for everyone, and the event app enabled delegates to effectively plan their time over the three days.

The attendees included seasoned professionals from some of the biggest and highest profile procurement departments in Europe, with delegate numbers up from c.1000 in 2016 to around 1500 this time.

The overall message to the audience was clear – Ariba have made it their mission statement to Make Procurement Awesome, adopted the hashtag #MakeProcurementAwesome and made it a key part of their branding.  The phrase was repeated regularly by the leadership team to drill the message home to potential and existing customers alike.  

Conference delegates were encouraged to contribute to the message as well through videos and interviews where they were asked “how do you make procurement awesome for your organisation?”

Many of these interviews will be shared on http://makeprocurementawesome.com/ and will make for interesting viewing for anyone looking to understand the potential benefits of using the SAP Ariba solutions.

There was a presentation by the leadership of the business on each of the three days which drew the vast majority of the 1500 delegates attending.   Led by Alex Atzberger (President), Alicia Tillman (CMO) and Paul Devlin (General Manager EMEA & MEE) they really set a very positive tone.  All were slick, very well choreographed and crucially didn’t go on too long ensuring the audience remained engaged.  

They included live demos of various aspects of the current range of solutions from other key members of the leadership team.  They also interviewed several existing customers live on stage.  These interviews had clearly been well rehearsed, and the case studies brought to life the real difference that the Ariba solutions have made to organisations such as BASF and MSD.

After these presentations, delegates could then break away into smaller sessions to learn more about their chosen areas, whether it be through workshops, presentation or panel discussions.  I particularly enjoyed the the piece on Cognitive Procurement even though it’s very much about the headlines and potential at this stage.  I think we can expect to see a lot more about that as the alliance with IBM’s Watson business takes shape in the coming months.

The live demo’s were largely seamless and even the very rare glitches ended up being quite funny.  For example when the CTO couldn’t log into his Ariba account three consecutive times because he had his caps lock on, he still managed to make the best of it, much to amusement of the audience.

The Hilton in Prague was an ideal venue for this type of event.   The partners and sponsors (mainly consultancies who partner with SAP Ariba on implementation projects) were nicely spread around a high traffic area giving them a real opportunity to make a return on their investment, which isn’t always the case at these events.

It was big enough to accommodate everyone, but not so spread out that it was hard to find the people you wanted to meet.

The Ariba Marketplace area was an excellent environment for networking and watching a range of demo’s which was great for me to develop my product knowledge, meet customers and some of the great people I have helped the business hire.  

On to the technology – there was a time when people weren’t particularly complimentary about the Ariba solution or the interface.  Well those days are gone.  The investment from SAP is now really paying dividends with a range of solutions available to empower any procurement department.

Whether it be the guided buying capability, the new spot buying partnership with Mercateo to address tail spend with a single invoicing solution, the movement into direct materials or the new partnership with IBM’s Watson business to push Cognitive Procurement, the technology has taken a huge leap forward.  The user interface is also impressive and has taken a positive step towards the B2C formats that we are so used to in our personal lives.

The general consensus amongst those that I spoke to is that SAP Ariba now have a series of game changing tools available to their customers that will no doubt fuel their already impressive growth figures since SAP acquired them.

What Does This Mean For The Procurement & Spend Management Job Markets

I learnt a great deal about what the future holds for procurement and from the conversations I had with many people it’s clear we have a significant challenge in this sector – a clear skills shortage.

Whether it be the Consultancies needing experience of procurement technology implementation and associated transformation projects, solutions providers needing similar people and sales professionals who understand the challenges procurement leaders face, or the many other skill sets required in spend management technology, the sector is growing at a pace that the relevant talent pool can’t keep up with.

So my message to the procurement professionals I work with is clear.  The procurement skill set required to be a leading professional is going to evolve rapidly as organisations embrace the power of this technology, whether it be Ariba or their competitors who will no doubt respond by improving their own solutions.  

You should find a way to get some exposure to these solutions as fast as you can.  CPO’s and other Procurement leaders, it’s time to train your people in this new era of procurement.  Ambitious professionals, now is the time to find a way to get some experience in this field if you haven’t already.  There is a skills shortage which the profession needs to address and developing yourself in this field will undoubtedly increase your market value.

Ask for training, go to events like this one, watch the presentations and demo’s on the web.  The tools and resources are out there to get you started.  The link above would be a great place to start because of the customer stories on there.

Spend Matters releases SolutionMap

Blog - Spend Matters releases SolutionMap

Spend Matters released its first SolutionMap, an essential tool for procurement executives and their teams to access and understand vendor capability on an ongoing basis, and described as “transformative given the pace of technology providers’ innovation” by Jason Busch, Founder and CEO of Spend Matters.

Read more at: Spend Matters