Edbury Daley publish their latest Procurement Insider Report

Procurement Technology Recruitment Specialist Edbury Daley has just published the Spring 2020 version of their well-respected Procurement and Spend Management Insider Report. It is available for free download from their website (link below).   One of the authors, Andrew Daley told us:

“The world has become dominated by the Covid-19 outbreak with the business world changing in ways that many of us could never have imagined.

So rather than just providing commentary on what has happened in the procurement and procurement technology job markets over the previous six months as past editions, this report is slightly different.

Firstly, we focus on sharing some examples of how the procurement supply chain and spend management communities have stepped up to help deal with the crisis with valuable contributions from SAP Ariba, Rosslyn Data Technologies, HICX, C2FO, Risk Methods and Sievo. 

Secondly, and not forgetting the history of this publication, we report on the job market trends dating back to our last report in October 2019 and take this commentary up to the point where it became clear that Coronavirus was going to have a significant impact on Europe.

Finally, we report on what we are doing as a business for our clients and how our unique offering is still proving valuable and will continue to do so in the future.”

You can download the report here: The Procurement and Spend Management Insider, Spring 2020

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.

Headlines from SAP Ariba Live – “We are listening”

The week of the 4th-6th June saw the biggest European procurement technology event in the calendar as the SAP Ariba roadshow rolled into wonderful, sunny Barcelona. If only it could be there every year!

The event had a different theme to typical software conferences and evidence of further evolution of the business’ message to customers over the past couple of years.  Ariba Live in Prague in 2017 was the age of “making procurement awesome” as they showcased all sorts of innovations. Last year in Amsterdam the message was about “procurement with a purpose” as the business embraced the CSR agenda. That theme continued strongly this year with a lot of coverage of ethical issues in the supply chain and rightly so, although this year’s headline was #3trillionreasons, a reference to the amount transacted on the Ariba Network.

What I did note was a more humble theme than other similar events with the tone set by the President of SAP’s Cloud Business Group Jennifer Morgan at  the opening plenary session. She talked about the business adopting an outside perspective with a greater focus on customer feedback. In plain terms, I thought the underlying message was “we are listening.”

Her three key action points were:

  1. Refocus on quality and support with problem resolution at the top of the agenda.
  2. Faster implementation (as evidenced by big developments in their partner ecosystem).
  3. Continuing to strive for innovation.

Jennifer was the first of six speakers that made up the all-female line-up in that opening session, including high profile guest, the very impressive Amal Clooney.  It sent a strong message about diversity in the business which continued on the second day at the Diversity Luncheon where the keynote speaker was the excellent Michele Mees.  I’d recommend her TED talk. Anyone who was there will remember it for one of the questions that was asked as much as her outstanding content. Let’s just say Michele did a wonderful job of educating us all about what diversity really means, and how it can truly benefit organisations.

The second day saw new President of the SAP Intelligent Spend Group Mike Eberhard continue the theme of working to improve the effectiveness of the solution.   He particularly talked about bringing customers together into the breakout sessions throughout the event to share their experiences and learn from one another.

Sean Thompson (SVP, Business Network and Ecosystem) built on this theme with the emphasis on the importance of using partner organisations as he told us that over 50% of implementations are now partner-led, whilst 75% of all implementations include partners.  I believe this is quite an increase from previous numbers.

The other big theme was the promotion of the power of the unified platform offered by the Intelligent Spend Management group.  Of course, news had reached the industry press that SAP was bringing the Fieldglass and Concur solutions into the stable before the event, but we heard more about the potential for this at various stages.

It struck me that the audience and partners received this news well, as they did indeed the message around members of the leadership team acknowledging that customer feedback and experience would be a central theme of how the business moves forward. It might seem like an obvious thing but it’s not something you hear enough of at these industry events in my opinion.

There were two other highlights from the main stage that I think worth mentioning.

The announcement of the partnership with Barclaycard streamlining payments within the Ariba Network – it was noticeable that the Barclaycard stand was mobbed in the next break and was busy all day as prospects wanted to learn more so that clearly went down well.

From a personal perspective, it was great to see Graham Wright and Mayank Chandla from IBM on the main stage as well, as they shared their vision for the future of procurement, particularly the development of their people enabled by tools like Ariba and Watson.  As regular readers will know this is a course we are particularly passionate about.

There’s so much more to cover from a wealth of breakout sessions and presentations so if you want a more detailed account I suggest you look at the coverage from our friends at Spend Matters here.

Next year the event is in Berlin so unfortunately there’s no beach on my day off and no sunbathing for Mrs Daley, but it’s another great city to visit.  I’m looking forward to it already.