What’s happening in the Interim market for procurement technology specialists?

As procurement departments increasingly turn to the latest generation of spend management solutions to drive improvements in efficiency and process, where are they getting the specialist expertise from to drive successful transformation programs?

CPO’s & CFO’s have various options open to them including consultancies and the solution providers themselves, but it seems they are starting to consider alternatives like specialist interim managers.

Andrew Daley of procurement technology recruitment specialists Edbury Daley (LINK) recently posted a two-part series on this very subject.  In it, he addressed how the digital procurement revolution is impacting the interim labour market, the supply/demand equation and what that means for employers.

You can read more here in the first article.

The second of his articles reveals what Edbury Daley are advising their clients to do in order to adapt to the challenging market conditions in order to be successful when hiring for specialist skills in solutions like SAP Ariba, Coupa, Ivalua and Jaggaer.

You can read that article here.

New sponsors, new venue and one big question – my day at eWorld

Having missed the September event both myself and my colleague Peter Brophy were very much looking forward to attending and we weren’t disappointed. The new venue gave the event a fresh feel and was ideally suited to the number of sponsors and delegates at the event.

Proactis was the headline sponsor as has so often been the case, understandably so given their public sector footprint and the traditional make up of the audience.

Amongst the usual suspects among the other sponsors were the likes of SAP Ariba, Tradeshift, Scanmarket, Market Dojo and growing social media presence (and increasing their portfolio of services) Procurious. Other key players from the procurement tech sector included GEP, Wax Digital and Ivalua along with several others we hadn’t seen there before like Tungsten Network, Sievo and Amazon for Business. There’s a full list of sponsors here.

I had planned to attend several presentations as usual, but I spent much of my time networking with the vendors’ sales and marketing people along with a few long-standing procurement contacts, so much so that I only made it to the opening keynote (more on that later).

The question on everyone’s lips was “what’s the market like?” and the answer of course is that the Brexit related uncertainty is certainly impacting on the wider UK professional job market as companies delay key investment and hiring decisions. Frustration with the politicians is clearly not confined to the offices of Edbury Daley but for some, there was a refreshing sense of “it’s still business as usual for us.”

There were the usual brief, cryptic conversations with those who would like to talk further in a more private setting, no doubt about their own personal career objectives, which is always welcome from our perspective of course, and much discussion about the challenges of hiring experienced sales or implementation specialists for the vendors targeting further growth.

So, all in all, a very productive day on the networking front, particularly as I felt there were more senior procurement leaders from the private sector present than has been the case at some previous eWorld events.

In terms of the keynote presentation, Michelle Baker, CPO of Dutch telecoms firm KPN gave an interesting insight into her career, leadership philosophy and of course the impact of technology on procurement.

Amongst the points that resonated with me were the following:

Michelle talked about innovation coming from small businesses that would typically be found in the long tail of spend for most organisations. She cited the example of companies in the pharma sector crowdsourcing from 2-3 person businesses to identify real sources of competitive advantage but flagged the challenges for procurement professionals of identifying the sources of this innovation, and the difficulties of managing those sorts of supplier relationships effectively. I thought that was a fascinating example of the changing demands and skills required for procurement professionals in the future.

She also talked about the need for procurement professionals to take responsibility for their own personal development, how they should focus on deep learning and what she is doing as a leader to help facilitate this. This was of particular interest to me given that my own recent public speaking engagements have focused on the need for self-education for those that have real aspirations to embrace the future of digital procurement.

There’s another eWorld event in the Autumn so keep an eye on their website for more details nearer the time.  I hope to see you there.

What’s happening in the procurement technology market? Acquisitions, moves, careers.

In this article taken from the most recent edition of The Procurement & Spend Management Insider report we cover two key areas following on from the previous report published in April 2018:

  • Industry News and Developments
  • Demand and Supply trends in the sector

The procurement technology market has been a little quieter in terms of senior management moves and merger/acquisition activity than reported in our previous update.

In terms of acquisitions, we’ve seen three significant deals in recent months. Coupa acquired specialist vendor management solution provider DCR Workforce in early September on the back of announcing impressive quarterly financial results, showing revenue growth year on year of some 38%, better than analyst predictions according to Spend Matters.

This resulted in Coupa shares reaching a post IPO high of $80.73 in mid-September although they’d dropped back to just over $60 by mid-October.

More recently Coupa bought Aquirre in mid-October.  Again more details on the deal are available from Spend Matters who explained that the new acquisition “stands out against competing e-procurement and procure-to-pay solutions for its superior front-end shopping user experience and its continued efforts to drive innovation within this segment of the procurement software market.”

Meanwhile Proactis continued their growth with the acquisition of Dutch firm eSize in August.

Rumours continue to circulate the market of at least one more significant business sale before the end of the year with a few underperforming vendors looking vulnerable, but nothing has been confirmed in time for this publication.

Notable senior management changes include both Dean Pathak and Patrick Hyati, Heads of Northern and Southern Europe respectively leaving SAP Ariba towards the end of the summer.  Both had previously reported to EMEA GM Paul Devlin who left earlier this year.

Amabel Grant, formerly of Procserve, Barware and most recently the CCS has joined Bloom Procurement Services as CTO where she teams up with her old OGC colleague David Shields.  This is a significant boost for the public sector focused firm.

Simon Dadswell has left Proactis where he was Marketing Director. Simon was a popular and regular presence at industry events like eWorld and moves into a new role outsider the sector.

In Europe Ivalua have been busy with their expansion. New recruits include Markku Kronqvist formerly of Synertrade who will give increased presence in the Nordics market. They’ve also hired Olga Alvado from BravoSolutions (now Jaggaer of course) in France who lost their Sales Lead Maurice Hamoir to Per Augusta.

SAP Ariba continues to hire extensively across Europe with clear emphasis on increasing their capability in their Customer Value organisation. This includes people with experience of implementing their solutions along with investment in key areas of customer success and value realisation.

Despite Coupa’s impressive results, it appears that hiring hasn’t been as aggressive for them recently, but the consultancies who support their implementations continue to invest in their teams, both in terms of numbers and developing capability.

Hot off the press is the news that Lance Younger will be leaving Deloitte in the next few months.  Lance is the Lead Partner for Deloitte’s UK and EMEA Sourcing & Procurement practice with a focus on procurement transformation, enterprise cost reduction, supplier management and digital procurement.  

He has strong relationships across a number of the key procurement software solutions including Ariba (where he used to lead their EMEA Consulting Team), Coupa, Tradeshift and several niche providers. We expect he’ll be a significant loss to Deloitte’s capability in this area, so it will be interesting to see how they replace him and where he’ll land next.

Notes on our observations from our last report

We predicted limited hiring from newly merged organisations in our last report. The three main deals that we mentioned were Jaggaer’s acquisition of BravoSolution, the Proactis/Perfect Commerce reversed takeover and Advanced Software adding Science Warehouse to their portfolio.

We haven’t seen any evidence to contradict our prediction as each of these organisations have largely been successful in retaining its key people albeit with a couple of exceptions as outlined above.

We did predict more merger and acquisition activity and there maybe more before the year end but with the uncertainty created by Brexit and other political trends geared around trade, it’s quite likely that we’ll see business leaders acting cautiously until these issues settle down.

23/1/19 update – this latest point is an interesting one. There was in fact one more deal in late 2018 as Coupa acquired Risk Management provider Hiperos although that was obviously driven in the US.  Around the same time rumours surfaced of Tradeshift’s bid to buy Basware which is ongoing at the time of publication.  In fact the one deal we heard may happen before Christmas hasn’t done so we’ll bring you news on that as soon as we can.

Andrew Daley


Edbury Daley


New research – hiring, salary & bonus trends in procurement technology

Specialist procurement technology recruiters Edbury Daley have undertaken some research into salary and bonus trends in the sector on behalf of some of their clients with some interesting findings.

The fundamental issue is that the procurement technology market is growing at a pace that the existing talent pool can’t support and that is leading to shortages in key areas. The result is challenging hiring conditions and rising salaries.

The headlines from their research include:

  • Salaries for experienced Sales Directors continue to rise due to the shortage of proven leaders with experience in the sector.
  • Furthermore there is an acute scarcity of mid-level sales people with experience of articulating the value technology proposition to procurement and finance stakeholders.  This is forcing vendors to go outside of the sector for such hires.
  • The salaries required to hire experienced pre-sales specialists from the industry are proving to be prohibitively expensive for several vendors. Unfortunately, the situation is not much better when you consider going outside our market into neighbouring sectors.
  • Experienced Implementation consultants are the single biggest skill set in demand. This is driven by both solution providers and consultancies who support the implementation and associated transformation projects.  We have a clear supply/demand inequality that is creating real hiring challenges. We’ve been expecting the interim market to gain a boost from this problem for a while and we may be about to reach that point.
  • Account Management and Customer Success are two areas where the issue isn’t quite as acute as hiring based on transferable skills is more achievable than in some of the areas mentioned above where specific experience is vital. Even so, strong performers can expect to see their skills in demand as the industry continues to grow.

Edbury Daley provide bespoke salary research for the sector and would recommend it to any organisations thinking about end of financial year pay reviews, staff retention and planned recruitment.

This article is taken from their Procurement & Spend Management Insider report which is available to download here.

The Future Of Your Career – Training & Development

Following on from his previous article mentioned in our November news, Andrew Daley turned his attention to the question of your training and further education options in his most recent career advice piece.  Here’s the link to his article on the Edbury Daley website: The future of your career – part 2

If you want to keep up to date with more valuable content on all things relating to procurement technology careers and hiring advice, including new video content due to be published in February, why not follow Edbury Daley on Linked In or Twitter.


The future of your career – some advice!

Andrew Daley, Director of Edbury Daley, specialist recruiters in procurement and spend management has recently published an article aimed at helping professionals in both sectors develop their skills to suit the new era of digital procurement. With a clear emphasis on self-education, Andrew intends to share advice, tips and valuable online resources in a series of articles over the coming months.

It’s a subject he’s very passionate about, and one that he’s been asked to speak about at various industry events.
Here’s the first article in the series:  The future of your career.

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.

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