I was in London for part of last week, primarily for a client meeting. Despite my short, packed trip, I also had the chance to sit down with a few other folks, including Peter Smith, who recently began contributing to Spend Matters, and Mark Perera and the team from Procurement Leaders. Still, the best cost savings tip I learned did not come from any experts this time around. No, it came from the clerk at my hotel who suggested the lobby of my hotel offered free WIFI, but the rooms did not (they charged twenty pounds per day). Because of this piece of intelligence, I asked and received a room on the first floor and was magically able to access the lobby signal, saving $100 or so in the process. Nice. But when it comes to more important things that transpired on the trip, among others, while catching up with Mark and his colleagues, I had the chance to do a quick interview on camera about Spend Matters' new research focus (yes, I was having a bad hair day, as you’ll see if you have a few minutes to watch the video).
But more important than appearances, my discussions with Peter and Mark touched on a number of areas. For one, I’m particularly excited to see Peter's new book as soon as it comes out. Titled, Buying Professional Services: A Guide to Getting Value, the forthcoming book dovetails quite nicely with some of our own research in the area. Moreover, Peter shared with me a rather useful angle on this research that suggests the book could be a good starting point to engage both suppliers of professional services (e.g., consultants, accountants, etc.) and buyers in dialogue about how the professional services procurement paradigm is changing from one founded on just long-term relationships and word of mouth to, ideally, one based on value, performance and trust (among other characteristics). Moreover, as procurement moves to step in to help manage both the sourcing of professional services as well as the relationship / performance management components, we'll see new types of three-party relationships emerge between spend owners, those responsible for procuring services and the suppliers themselves. A new supplier management dynamic? You bet.
I also had the chance to see Procurement Leader's facilities for the first time. This is an organization literally bursting at the seams with growth and energy. It's an exciting time for the many things they're involved with and I look forward to beginning to collaborate with them in some areas more closely this year. If you're in the US and not already planning to attend the Procurement Leaders Forum in Chicago on March 24th, you should consider going. I'll be there and look forward to seeing for myself the difference in their events, which have created quite a following in Europe among procurement executives. Stay tuned for additional analysis and discussion on Procurement Leaders as they take their proven and highly regarded model in Europe and bring it across the pond as well as some observations on how their new venture, the Procurement Intelligence Unit, is starting to challenge incumbent research models with a new value proposition.