The Conferences Category

Zycus Horizon Dispatch: Partnerships and Partner Ecosystems Matter

Tradeshift Baiwang

A subtle shift took place at Zycus Horizon this year compared with past events. Partners started to do more than show up, instead engaging with both the Zycus team and customers. Zycus has a huge opportunity to increase its customer base and defend its existing customer fort from an increasing number of competitors by building out a partner ecosystem that can expand the value of its own solutions. Yet it has been slow to the game to date — a significant tactical mistake, in our view.

Zycus Horizon Dispatch: Bad Seinfeld References Meet New Procurement Tech “Ingredients” (Including Blockchain)


Yesterday at Zycus Horizon, I gave a talk to a small breakout group titled “Cooking in a New Source-To-Pay Kitchen.” The topic gave me carte blanche to essentially bring up trends and ideas shaping the future of procurement and combine these with some bad references from my favorite Seinfeld episodes (for example, imagine the equivalent of procurement saying “no soup for you” to stakeholders that it would rather avoid engaging). Here are the five core cooking ingredients for new procurement dishes, according to yours truly.

Zycus Horizon Dispatch: ‘Pseudo’ Suites Do Not Lead to Sweet Adoption Levels


During his strategy and keynote talk Monday at Zycus Horizon, CEO and Founder Aatish Dedhia dropped one of the more consistent, direct and humorous phrases he has ever used to describe what Zycus is not doing: pursuing the development of a “pseudo procurement technology suite.” For Dedhia, a suite is about breadth, depth and, ultimately, adoption levels. And there’s nothing “pseudo” about that. I think.

Zycus Horizon Dispatch: Head West, Young Vendor (But Not Too Far West)!

Coach driving into sunset

I touched down late last night to Zycus Horizon (along with my colleague Pierre Mitchell), the procurement suite vendor’s annual customer (and prospect) conference. The event is truly managed from the heart – the Zycus team is so committed to the details (and running it themselves), from being on top of every aspect of speaker planning and scheduling to orchestrating a great set of morning sessions, including one of the best outside keynotes I’ve heard in recent years (Space Shuttle Captain, Mark Kelly). But as impressive as Mark was, Zycus’ founder and CEO Aatish Dedhia has come such a long way as a leader and voice over the years at the helm of Zycus. Aatish is an engineer and strategist at heart, who gets more comfortable every year with not only explaining Zycus’ position in the market, but offering a truly personal view of why his firm is making investments in key areas and why.

BravoConnect Dispatch: Where Configuration and Data/Analytics Architecture Converge


One of BravoSolution’s mantras in North America in recent years has been: get out of the professional services business.
Now, this is not entirely true – as a cloud-based solutions provider, there’s an inevitable amount of configuration associated with deployments (and source-to-contract vendors tend to do this in-house as opposed to with consulting partners). But what’s curious is that one aspect of professional services BravoSolution has not given up is one that separates it out from many other providers we’ve recently examined...

BravoConnect Dispatch: The Components of Future Procurement Technology Suites

Jim Wetekamp 2

I’ve known Jim Wetekamp, BravoSolution’s CEO, for well over a decade now. Before he got too busy and before I was able to surround myself with an analyst team far more savvy than me, Jim was one of my “go-to” folks to understand the latest around procurement products and ideas (and for virtual sniff tests) back when I was getting started with Spend Matters and Azul Partners. I previously thought of Jim as someone who was not only close to products, but close to both current and emerging customer needs. Now that he’s running the show at BravoSolution, Jim is as close to his firm’s solution strategy as ever. Here are 5 highlights from his talk at BravoConnect earlier today.

BravoConnect Dispatch: BravoSolution by the Numbers and a New Supplier Network Strategy

BravoSolution CEO Jim Wetekamp's fireside chat on supplier networks.

Earlier today, BravoSolution’s CEO, Jim Wetekamp, gave a talk entitled, “Enabling Procurement’s Journey & Maturity to Unlock the Power of Procurement.” While much of the chat centered on Bravo’s strategic and product direction, including a hint that the provider was looking at new approaches to building supplier networks, Jim shared a few items around BravoSolution’s growth in recent years. While I’ll touch on a number of the initiatives which BravoSolution is pursuing that Jim shared, one previously mentioned item stands out.

‘Smith Matters’ Descends on BravoConnect 2016

Peter Smith quite enjoying the 'conferencial' festivities.

I landed in London yesterday to attend and participate in BravoSolution’s 2016 customer conference, BravoConnect. The event is being held south of London, in Dorking, and is probably the most diverse midsize (roughly 200 attendees) procurement event I’ve been too – people are here from all across Europe, the U.S. and the Middle East, including my esteemed colleague and Spend Matters UK Editor Peter Smith. There are a number of topics I’m looking forward to exploring, not least of which is Bravo’s early integration and plans with Puridiom, which the firm acquired earlier this year (see also: BravoSolution & Puridiom Acquisition First Take: SWOT Analysis, Customer, Partner & Competitive Considerations). But more than just becoming a source-to-pay suite vendor with the addition of e-procurement and limited e-invoicing, there’s another side of BravoSolution that is almost more curious to explore.

HR Tech 2016 Post-Mortem: Was the Elephant in the Room?

tiero/Adobe Stock

Last week, at the start of HR Tech, I posted this article, The Elephant in the Room at HR Tech: Contingent Workforce, where I raised the question of whether technology for accessing and managing non-employee /contingent workforce would be present at HR Tech. In the article, I noted that the growth and importance of this external workforce seemed indisputable and, therefore, highly relevant to HR professionals. To make the point, I likened this workforce — and the growing number of technology solutions that businesses use to access and manage it — to the elephant in the room. I also vowed to put on my safari hat and hunt the big game among the exhibitors, speakers, and attendees. Unfortunately, I ended up going home empty-handed (except for some plush toy tigers). Despite trekking around the conference, remaining alert to anything hiding in the shadows, talking to the natives, and absorbing the wisdom of the village elders, I did not even get a clear shot at the big game, but I did find some tracks that indicated the presence of a huge animal that was probably there but unseen.

Lessons from HR Tech: Apply Talent, Human Capital Management to Procurement


This week saw 8,000 human capital (HR) technology vendors, consultants and investors converge on Chicago for the Human Resource Executive Technology Conference and Exhibition. From Spend Matters, Andrew Karpie and Kendra Cato attended the event. I had the chance to go to a cocktail party hosted by HR tech analyst goddess extraordinaire, mensch, and fellow Enterprise Irregular, Naomi Bloom, following the event yesterday. I’ll leave the praises and critiques of the show to those who spent time there (I got an earful yesterday from folks). More important, from my perspective, are learnings from analysts, practitioners and consultants I spoke to last night while playing the fool about total talent management and human capital management (I really don’t know very much at all about this corner of the corporate universe, especially from a technology perspective, except its intersections with services procurement). Those involved in human resources – let’s just call it HR for simplicity – tend to be much more outgoing than those in procurement, and many are great conversationalists – and most have a perspective that you can get them to share. So I asked the same question to a bunch of folks I met: what’s new in the area, what are takeaways for procurement, finance and supply chain?