Tradeshift Analyst Day: Roy Is Back

Tradeshift CPO Roy Anderson talks at Tradeshift's analyst day in New York on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018. (Jason Busch photo / Spend Matters)

Am I the only one who missed seeing Roy Anderson on stage in the last few years?

Roy is an illustrious (and animated) CPO — and he's back in the game in a dual role as Tradeshift’s internal CPO and as its digital transformation officer. He’s also externally facing with Tradeshift customers and partners.

Roy unleashed!

Spend Matters’ Pierre Mitchell recently interviewed Roy, and those conversations will be posted next Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Today in New York, Roy took the stage at Tradeshift’s analyst event, combining his mix of standup (think "Car Talk" meets procurement) and storytelling. His theme this time was evangelizing the marketplace concept in CPO-speak — not marketing/platform speak. Attempting to bring the concept of a marketplace alive, he presented a range of business scenarios that a CPO could understand.

Making the ‘App on Platform’ Concept Alive

For example, Roy suggested that we imagine how a future CPO might manage the facilities category using “apps” on a marketplace vs. static applications designed to source facilities categories. Roy tossed out the notion of giving millennials a specific “app” with, perhaps, a social-type interface to make collaboration (a millennial trait) easy with suppliers. But an older worker in a different country might prefer a very different user experience and enabling capability through an application environment — all wrapped around facilities-specific requirements (e.g., linking SKUs and services together).

The point, as Roy argues, is that we must separate out “platform” from application and interface. And a marketplace enables that for all participants.

The Virtual CPO — An Orchestra Leader

The platform concept will also help in fulfilling Roy’s vision to build what he describes as the virtual procurement organization in which rather than hiring “experts” it will be possible to “put them in the marketplace” and tap them as needed alongside category specific apps and functionality.

Need a category guru (and enabling technology) for an esoteric IT hardware category to structure a contract or define SLAs? Search the platform.

Or what about experts (and experts enabled by specialized “apps”) to procure contingent labor, legal, print or other complex spend? Tap the marketplace.

The platform becomes the vehicle to enable capability, access talent and, of course, reach suppliers. The virtual CPO will use the marketplace (in this context) to access third-party expert applications and resources, becoming an “orchestra leader” in Roy’s words (albeit the leader of a virtual orchestra conducting a real symphony).

Roy and Tradeshift

It’s great to see Roy again in such a public role. If today was any indication, I suspect he’ll be a secret weapon for Tradeshift. As a colleague notes, “he’s wicked smaht” (in a real-world Boston way).

Roy can straddle the internal (operational) and external sides of the business. And he’s one of the few practitioners in the procurement world who is equally comfortable making a crowd learn and laugh (and cry — at his own war stories, sometimes gone wrong).

Welcome back, Roy!

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