The ProcureCon team was nice enough to give me a pass to drop by their “East Indirect” event today for a few hours in Charlotte en route to another destination. The event seems to be quite well attended, similar to the “West Indirect” event I spoke at last year. A number of the practitioner speakers asked that we not comment or quote from their presentations so this dispatch will be intentionally vague.
But one thing I’ve observed straight off the bat is the candidness of the dialogue during the morning keynotes, including some very specific discussions on strategies for managing the buying of services categories and how to drive staffing effectiveness within both AP and procurement teams.
It would seem ProcureCon Indirect has evolved into a catch-all for services and indirect spend together (except marketing, which the events company has carved out separately). No doubt, it’s good to see services procurement, inclusive of contingent labor, consulting, telecom, etc., getting the respect it deserves, but there could an entire conference on just this.
One of the ironies here is that the “indirect” piece, in the initial hour, has been of almost a secondary focus recently from a category perspective (process-wise, it’s still front and center).
Another quick observation: ProcureCon has done a commendable job getting many of the same faces and companies back on the speaking front – cultivating a program that’s almost membership-like. This feels like a material difference between parent company WBR’s strategy from a number of years ago when ProcureCon felt very much “event to event” in execution.
From a provider/vendor perspective, there are some names that are reemerging again. IBX (now part of Capgemini) is once again showing a public face and has a number of folks at the event (after a couple of years of keeping a lower profile in North America). There are also a number of contingent / services procurement providers out in force as well (Allegis, Beeline, Fieldglass, and Superior Group, just to name a few).