The last week as been a busy one for the procurement world, with an acquisition announcement coming from the P2P software space, another provider announcing a new platform and our Spend Matters analysts scattered around the globe covering industry conferences. If you missed any of our coverage on these events, no worries – we have rounded up our recent articles on these topics, giving you an inside look to the latest news coming out of the industry in the past week.
Category Archives: Conferences
The Beeline Conference wrapped up yesterday near Jacksonville, Florida, with a thought-provoking talk about the millennial generation followed by the final conference session in which the results of the software development Hackathon were presented by the “extended” hacker team there (and some members connected online in the Philippines). The hackers – who worked for 2 days and 2 nights, reportedly surviving only on a diet of “Spam and Red Bull”—had taken on the challenge of making conference attendee requested enhancements to the Beeline analytics dashboard. They did just that, impressively creating the capability for Beeline users to personalize and supercharge their dashboards with widgets (little apps). Now, flying back to my home base in Silicon Valley (the home of technology juggernauts and upstarts LinkedIn, Google, Uber, Airbnb, Workday, Upwork, GitHub, Gigwalk, Task Rabbit, et al), I find myself reflecting on how rapidly and extensively new technology and a new generation of thinkers is changing “how the world works” (literally!).
As part of our continuing coverage of BravoSolution and its BravoConnect event that we’ve been attending, CEO Jim Wetekamp took us through the new BravoAdvantage platform, which not only enhances functionality in current Bravo products, but also focuses on a supplier management-centric approach called "supplier value management" (SVM) that is at the core of its platform. But, the bombshell that was quietly dropped (in a good way) was the news that Bravo is expanding beyond its current focus of sourcing and supplier management and working on adding P2P to the source-to-pay (S2P) space.
I’ve been attending this year’s BravoConnect event in the UK and have found it to be a true practitioner’s conference. (I am also having a blast.) A few years ago, this conference drew in just a handful of people but now has more than 200 attendees and is chock-full of great content and offers a community vibe. The theme of the conference focused on unlocking the power of procurement and the broader impact it can have on the organization. A few big surprises have come out of the event as well. I round up the main lessons I have learned and biggest takeaways from the conference thus far. Stay tuned, too, as coverage from the event continues on Spend Matters.
The Beeline Conference got off to its first full day on Wednesday when company President Doug Leeby addressed a conference hall brimming with well over a hundred extremely interested clients and partners. My interpretation of his overall message: Beeline is here to support you in your contingent workforce management today, but Beeline is also taking concrete steps now to leverage technology to take you into the future. Indeed, Beeline does seem to be leading the way. And with over 140 clients in nearly 70 countries and $23 billion of growing spend under management, Beeline appears to have quite a following as well.
At its customer event this week, Beeline shared a number of benefits that companies can expect to realize from engaging freelancers compared with contingent staffing resources. These include increasing the available talent pool, lowering costs by at least 13% and more. Spend Matters takes a look at these benefits and explores the potential risks (and how to avoid them) when it comes to engaging with a contingent freelance workforce. Also, stay tuned as we continue to provide coverage from the Beeline conference this week!
Not Just Along for the Ride: On the Ground and Covering the Action, as the Beeline Client Conference Gains Momentum Today
I’m on the ground here at Amelia Island (near Jacksonville, Florida) for the commencement of the 2015 Beeline Client Conference, where there is energy and buzz in the air. The theme for the event is “Technology in Motion.” Direct client engagement and value co-creation got started swiftly last night with the opening of The Tech Expo (staffed by key Beeline product team members ready to listen and talk up a storm) and the start of The Hackathon (a thread of this event where clients and developers will “get agile” and produce a winning coded solution by the end of the conference).
My colleague Andrew Karpie is covering the Beeline customer conference this week for Spend Matters (I had hoped to attend as well, but had a previously scheduled vacation with the family). Alas, the 2 of us spent quite a bit of time catching up with Beeline prior to the event on the latest news and will be providing coverage throughout the week and next (a number of my posts will follow after the event). I’ll start my first post around Beeline’s event by framing some of the context on why Beeline is so keen on embedding a broader capability around managing freelancers alongside traditional staffing resources and project-based services procurement within its suite (going back to the logic of the OnForce) agreement.
Since the company’s inception, Coupa has steadily bet on its high usability that has driven adoption (and getting spend into a system, aka under management), and doggedly focused on what creates success for its clients. The Coupa success factor comes from easy-to-use software-as-a-service (SaaS) technology to quickly empower the purchasing function, instead of the long journey of getting the complicated procurement modules in an ERP system to perform. This looked like a sound bet to us – and it has been very successful. The industry as a whole has changed and today, usability is the word most often used in sales pitches for every P2P system. Coupa has not only bet on usability but has also put its money and future into a vision of how businesses need to evolve in order to reach simpler and smarter processes to achieve operational efficiencies (purchases), while retaining (and even increasing) the agility to change course when necessary. The idea of having thousands of features and functions (from the start) is something that Coupa has never been in agreement with. This Spend Matters PRO article takes an in-depth look at the provider following its conference.
One of the presentations at Coupa Inspire this week that I was particularly inspired by did not come from Coupa at all, but from Michael O'Leary, director of procurement offerings and strategy at IBM Commerce. Michael is a former procurement and supply chain executive within IBM. If you are interested in the Cliff Notes version of IBM’s procurement transformation, read the article from yesterday, IBM and Procurement Transformation: By the Numbers, Risk Management and More. During the second part of his talk after the IBM transformation story, Michael shared some of the initiatives IBM is working on around big data and procurement, leveraging Watson Data Explorer – IBM’s big data solution – alongside procurement and related supplier data.
Ariba and Discover may be a number of years ahead in rolling out an integrated P2P and payments solutions, but Coupa is learning fast – and has taken its first steps, with MasterCard, to build a set of capabilities on top of MasterCard’s rails, starting first with a simple early pay solution that leverage a ghost card infrastructure. Specifically, at Coupa Inspire this week, MasterCard and Coupa announced its partnership with MasterCard’s Commercial Products and Enterprise Partnerships division (along with development/banking partner Silicon Valley Bank) to develop an integrated payments capability (which today is essentially limited to integrated ghost card capability in the Coupa platform – but could quickly grow to something more tomorrow).
Cloud-based spend management company Coupa held its annual customer conference this week, Coupa Inspire, and members of the Spend Matters team were there to both partake in and listen in on a number of events. They were also on hand to share insights throughout the multi-day conference, with Spend Matters Founder and Managing Director Jason Busch offering our readers near real-time reporting on the latest news coming from Coupa execs and other industry professionals. In case you missed any of the dispatch from San Francisco this week (which also included some in-depth PRO analysis), we have rounded up all our stories from Coupa Inspire 2015.