The inside track on the big moves, hiring and technology trends, the rise of supply chain risk and sustainability and much more

Specialist Procurement Technology Recruitment company Edbury Daley has just published the latest edition of The Procurement & Spend Management Insider.

In this edition of the widely respected report, in addition to industry insights on merger and acquisition activity and key leaders moving companies and their thoughts and views, they also look at the changing demands faced by procurement solutions providers. With Covid still presenting a challenge, they review major events and how the Procurement Technology software and consulting sector has responded in the past six months. To this end, they have valuable contributions from Ivalua, Rosslyn Analytics, SAP Ariba & Fieldglass, Olivehorse, Barclaycard and C2FO to name a few.

The authors and their contributors explore the dominant trends including supply chain risk, visibility, and resilience alongside the growing importance of Environmental Social Governance (ESG), the value of data and the marriage of technology with people.

Andrew Daley, one of the authors and a founding Director of Edbury Daley told us “We’ve been writing the P&SM Insider Report for several years now and I must say I am really proud of this particular edition.  If you are interested in what’s going on in the digital procurement market, whether it be high profile moves, hiring trends, supply & demand of key skills then our report covers it all.  However, what I am really pleased about this time is the input from a series of respected voices across the European procurement tech sector. The likes of Deloitte do a great job of surveying the international CPO community, whilst our friends at Spend Matters offer wonderful analysis of the solutions available to  Procurement & Supply Chain leaders, but this edition of our report surveys leaders from eight important vendors in the market offering a unique perspective of the trends in the procurement tech market.  So my heartfelt thanks go to all the valuable contributions from respected leaders at SAP Ariba, Ivalua, HICX, Barclaycard B2B, Rosslyn Data Technologies, C2FO, Claritum, and Circulor.”

“Furthermore, it’s great to be able to report that our market is alive and well, hiring activity is up, vendors and consultants are feeling positive about 2021 and that is something to celebrate after what we have all been through in recent months, so please enjoy reading more positive news and feel free to have your say on social media.”

The Procurement & Supply Chain Technology Market – what’s been happening?

If you, like us, like to know what’s going on in the world of procurement, finance and supply chain technology then you’ll enjoy this quick summary of recent developments, not all of which are general knowledge!

So, in our day to day networking across the sector we are hearing some really interesting information.  In summary, what I am seeing and hearing across the procurement, supply chain and data technology space in that the companies that are doing particularly well this year are offering greater insights, visibility and scrutiny across the supply chain, often using spend data and analytics which clearly ties in with the impact of Covid as supply chain planning and swift, often drastic, cost cutting measures become top of many agendas. 

Conversely, the picture for those companies whose solutions typically require major procurement/finance transformations is mixed as several have seen their growth plans hit by Covid.

Both Tradeshift and Tungsten have recently restructured operations resulting in  redundancies, whereas Coupa continues to hire and of course make significant acquisitions.

On that subject,  the big, recent news in the market of course is that Coupa have bought Llamasoft for around $1.5 billion in a deal that brings supply chain planning into the portfolio of Coupa solutions, something that could be a real game changer for them.  Spend Matters is the place to read more about that deal if you are interested.

One high profile move worth noting is the return of Henrik Smedberg to UK in his role as Head of Intelligent Spend Management UKI (i.e. SAP Ariba & SAP Fieldglass).  This role was previously held by Stephan Beeusaert (now Smartsheet) and before that Justin Sadler Smith (now Basware). Henrik is well respected with the business having previously work in the Nordics (2011-2013) and more recently leading sales for ANZ out of Sydney before moving to the UK. 

The mixed picture in the vendors is reflected to a degree in the consultancies that inhabit the partner ecosystems of the likes of Coupa, Ariba and Ivalua.  For example there is news from  Accenture that their UK practice leads for both Coupa and Ariba have recently left the business in moves that appear to weaken their offering in that space.  However KPMG, seen by many as the lead partner for Coupa, go from strength to strength with some excellent recent project wins (Astra Zeneca and Nationwide to name two) and impressive hires strengthening their capability.

As we head towards the end of the calendar year, there is hope that some technology vendors can finish the final quarter (traditionally the best quarter of the year for sales at the big players) on a high.  The reason being that with so many potential projects/sales placed on hold in the Spring as Covid first took hold in Europe, the message from the sales people in our network is that clients now want to get things moving again.  So we can expect a strong performance towards the end of year and maybe some deals dragging into early next year given the general pace of progress in the market.

Of course the procurement events calendar is still severely affected by Covid unfortunately and the companies that focus on this sector are having to work hard to reinvent themselves to a degree.

One interesting development that caught our eye came from the innovative Matthias Gutzman, founder of Digital Procurement World.  Besides his online awards that effectively replaced this years event (they featured pitches from several start up vendors competing in various categories)  he appears to be reinventing DPW or certainly adding to their service offering by using the likes of LinkedIn to post about major corporates looking to source vendors in areas like e-invoicing, spend analytics etc.  So far there have been opportunities with the likes of Shell and Roche so this is definitely something that sales people from vendors should be keeping a close eye on.

Procurement  Leaders held their virtual World Procurement Congress last week.  Normally one of the highlights of the procurement events calendar, the three day conference usually ends with the black tie dinner and awards.  This year CEO Nandini Basuthakur and guest host, comedian Sindhu Vee, did their best to celebrate some great achievements from the profession this year with another virtual event.

In terms of the categories involving procurement technology, the prize for the best P2P Specialist went to Ivalua for the second year in a row whilst the Ecovadis CSR award went to Mondelez.  The Procurement Technology award went to the regular sponsor of the World Procurement Congress GEP.  Whilst anecdotally we are hearing that GEP have had a productive year in Europe winning several new clients, I wonder if there are people working for other vendors that would suggest a degree of favouritism!  

Here’s a list of all the companies that were shortlisted for awards.

We hope you’ve found this news summary interesting. If you want any more information or would like to discuss any aspect of the market, whether you are thinking about hiring or your own career, please do get in touch with me via andrew@edburydaley.com

 

Andrew Daley

Director – Procurement & Spend Management

+44 7711 715258

Edbury Daley – Putting Procurement Talent Within Your Reach

www.edburydaley.com

Coupa Inspire EMEA 2019 London – Some thoughts

The Coupa EMEA roadshow rolled into London on Tuesday 5th November starting with a day dedicated to partners and existing customers. I arrived for the evening drinks session and enjoyed catching up with some familiar faces from the various consultancy partners who are regulars on the procurement technology events circuit.  It seems like we’ve seen a lot of each other in recent weeks with events like eWorld, Amazon’s ABX and SAP Ariba’s ValueX the week before this one.

The main event really got started on Wednesday and saw a big increase in numbers with around 1,500 delegates made up of Coupa employees, partners, customers, prospects and industry press.

First up in the morning was an excellent opening speech from CEO Rob Bernshteyn. He’s clearly comfortable on the big stage and his passion for the business is obvious to anyone.  A lot of people in the procurement technology sector talk about Coupa being acquired by a bigger organisation, and maybe one day they will, but in my opinion it’s hard to see him letting go of the reins any time soon. He talked about their 10 years of progress, “but this is only the beginning” and I think he’ll be in charge for a while yet. They seem bullish about their future, confident of strong financial performance and delivering further shareholder value, so are surely in no rush to sell.

The key takeaways from his session were:

  • The massive growth in spend through the Coupa platform in the last 12 months.
  • His vision for the Coupa community (see pics of some of his deck below) including collaboration using anonymised data across the customer base to provide outstanding spend analytics-driven insights.
  • Showcasing some great stories from pioneering Coupa customers – the “spend setters” as Coupa likes to call them.
  • Several examples of how the growing ecosystem of add on solutions (see the pic of sponsor/partners organisations below) are offering customers even greater value.

He also made a point of stressing that Coupa integrates with all the major ERP systems in the market, correcting what he clearly feels is a misconception.

He was followed on stage by the keynote speaker Rachel Botsman who gave a fascinating talk focusing on Trust.

Early in her presentation, Rachel asked the audience to chose to clap for one brand that you trust the most out of Uber, Facebook and Amazon.  No one clapped for Facebook and Amazon won despite decent support for Uber. She then made the point that we trust Amazon to get our shopping to us quickly, but do you trust them to pay their taxes? This opened up the subject of the context of trust. Next was the question “who do you trust the least out of Putin, Trump or Johnson”.  I found that very difficult to make a choice!

Rachel went on to talk about how she met the founders of Air BNB when they were still selling breakfast cereal to make ends meet as part of her research for a book. Unfortunately, she failed to convince her husband to invest in them, and appears to have mentioned it to him a few times since!!

Of course, she recognised that her husband raised the very valid point that people would be reluctant to trust strangers to rent rooms in their houses, but clearly she thought they had the recipe to overcome this risk and of course has since been proved right.

Her points around trust and its relationship to risk were fascinating and she did a great job of drawing some parallels with the world of spend management. In summary, her message was, if you want to get people to make changes, to move from the known to the unknown, you need to reduce the level of trust required to enable them to make them jump into a new way of doing things and to do that you have to reduce the perceived risk of doing so. Sounds obvious in principle and it’s hard to do it justice here, but it was a very enjoyable 45 minutes. I’d recommend that if you get the chance to see Rachel talk then take it.  Here’s her TED stuff.

After the break, there were the usual talks from consultants (KPMG & Accenture were first up) on their work with customers to adopt Coupa. I must admit I missed these as I’ve sat through several similar sessions in recent years. So I spent my time talking to various contacts from the partners, sponsors and delegates. As usual, it was fascinating for me to observe the dynamics of the exhibition hall, watching the incestuous world of the procurement consultants who all seemed to have worked with one another at some stage, usually at one of the big five.

The afternoon sessions gave customers and prospects the chance to attend sessions giving them in-depth details of various aspects of the Coupa platform and generally seemed well attended.

Unfortunately, I have other commitments on Thursday so can’t attend the final day but as I write this on the train back to Manchester I can reflect on a very enjoyable, informative 36 hours in London. It’s clear to me that Coupa are continually striving for excellence as evidenced by a commitment to a $55m investment in R&D next year. With the likes of SAP Ariba, Ivalua and Jaggaer all intent on achieving their own ambitious growth plans, the procurement profession is surely set to benefit from the competition which is driving innovation, better adoption and providing some great career opportunities for people in  the sector.

Surely it’s time for procurement to embrace the opportunities presented by all this great tech, develop its people with digital skills and start to deliver the next level of value to their stakeholders.

Here are a few more slides from the day.