Category Archives: Conferences

Now It’s Time For Implementing the ‘The Big Idea’ in Procurement: Tips From Rio Tinto CFO Chris Lynch

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At the Procurious event in late April in London, Rio Tinto CFO Chris Lynch gave one of the most useful talks I’ve heard to date on implementing big ideas in procurement. We’ve previously explored his thoughts. Today, as we conclude this series, we will discuss how to implement big ideas successfully (remember, few ideas get to this stage, at least those with management- and even board-level support!). Above all, in implementing big ideas, Chris suggests keeping things simple and introducing the bare minimum of complexity into the equation, at least as those from the outside (of procurement) can see it.

VMSA Live ‘Scorecard’ – Reflections on the Recent Contingent Workforce/Staffing Supply Chain Conference


I spent the greater part of last week covering the VMSA Live 2015 conference in Las Vegas, and I wanted to wrap up my coverage with not really a “scorecard,” but with a summary of impressions and key take-aways below. Incidentally, if this were a scorecard, VMSA Live 2015 would – in my opinion – score at the top across all conference rating categories. I’ve mentioned this a number of times in my posts: VMSA Live 2015 uniquely brought together professional practioners and leaders from all parts of the contingent workforce/staffing supply chain and successfully orchestrated their engagement and facilitated information sharing, discussion, learning and thinking about best practices for individual performance and for optimization and innovation across the supply chain.

Rio Tinto’s CFO Chris Lynch Speaks Out on Procurement – 2 Reasons Companies Spend Money

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It’s rare that married couples play off of each other in business. I can’t think of a better example than Tania Seary, the mastermind behind Procurious who has built numerous successful procurement recruiting, training and consulting businesses in Australia, and her husband Chris Lynch, who is CFO of Rio Tinto. Chris generously offered his time to speak at the recent Procurious event in London and gave a truly fabulous talk offering tips for procurement leaders to work more effectively in the business when it comes to pitching and delivering big ideas (the subject of the summit itself). Coming from a seasoned CFO, this talk was priceless. A big thanks to both Tania and Chris for making this happen! In a series of posts, I’ll share some of the highlights from Chris’ chat, starting first with his observations on why we spend money in companies, especially from a procurement angle.

Thinking Outside the Box: VMSA Live 2015 Brings Together Innovators of the Staffing Supply Chain


Yesterday at VMSA Live, an innovative and independent industry staffing supply chain conference, all types of participants from the different parts of the staffing supply chain (including enterprise contingent workforce programs, MSPs, VMS’, staffing suppliers of various kinds and other supporting service and solution provides) were collaborating and learning from one another, seeking a common ground between reality and what is possible. As I suggested in yesterday’s post, VMSA Live is demonstrating that the staffing supply chain is alive and kicking – collaborating, as it must – and, it turns out, innovating as well. My experience yesterday across sessions at VMSA Live allowed me to consider the topic of “innovation in the staffing supply chain” – the main focus of my current post.

First Full Day at VMSA Live 2015 – The Contingent Workforce Staffing Supply Chain is Alive and Kicking

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I am continuing my coverage of VMSA Live, an innovative and independent industry supply chain conference, which is designed and organized to bring together practitioners from all parts of the staffing supply chain (including enterprise contingent workforce programs, MSPs, VMS', staffing suppliers of various kinds and other supporting service and solution provides – including your own Spend Matters). Here I am reporting on the first full day of the conference (which goes on for another day and and a half), putting into context, recounting how it is working and describing what was covered in some of the sessions. One general observation can be made right off the bat, however: The contingent workforce staffing supply chain is alive, and it is kicking.

David Noble at Procurious: CIPS President on a ‘License to Practice’ Procurement


Last Thursday I spent the day at the Procurious Big Ideas Summit in London with some 40-50 rather diverse and senior individuals in attendance (from my old colleague Mark Perera, who was one of the co-founders of Procurement Leaders, to a number of CPOs, professors and other folks in and around the business of procurement). At the event, CIPS President David Noble gave a talk in which he introduced the concept of what some have called a “license to practice” procurement much in the same way as professionals in accountancy or investments must have licenses in their respective fields.

How I Became a Temporary ‘Staffing Supply Chain Anthropologist’ at VMSA Live 2015


Before getting down to business for 2.5 days of working sessions, VMSA Live kicked-off last night with a vibrant networking reception for attendees, representing all parts of the staffing supply chain (including contingent workforce managers, VMS and MPS professionals and staffing suppliers and other service providers). When I entered the reception hall, it occurred to me that I was walking into a kind of microcosm of the whole intermediary staffing supply chain, and it was an incredible opportunity to just talk with, listen to and hear the perspectives of those practitioners who – in their different roles – are actually making that staffing supply chain work every day. If there was such a thing as a “staffing supply chain anthropologist,” then that was what I tried to be last night. I was interested to see what I would learn and what kinds of inferences I might draw from a random ethnographic sampling of thoughts and opinions. So what did I, the accidental “staffing supply chain anthropologist,” take away from this evening?

Apttus: Beyond CLM – A P2P Provider About To Seriously Challenge Ariba, Coupa, Ivalua and Others


Apttus. We admit the name does not exactly roll off the procurement tongue – at least not yet – but the Spend Matters research team believes that the firm is the most important new procurement solution company you’ll be hearing about this year. This Spend Matters PRO brief, based on our recent attendance at the Apttus 3-day customer event in San Francisco, explores context and background on the entrance of the P2P provider into the procurement solutions market. Among other areas, we explore why practitioners, consultants and competitors should be paying close attention to Apttus, not the least reason of which is that the solution is built and architected on the platform, which is now referred to as the “Salesforce1 Platform,” and which provides instant compatibility out of the box into hundreds of other applications including CRM, marketing automation, customer support and other solutions. Buy side meets sell side? Yes, you got it (a dream that Ariba and SAP would love to achieve, but have only taken small steps to enabling, despite starting out light-years ahead of other vendors in the space).

Live From ISM 2015: Congrats, and Here’s a Free Spend Matters 50/50 Placard!

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Back in the day when I ran strategic marketing at FreeMarkets – it feels like an eternity ago – I remember the hilarious juxtaposition of the silly awards that various trade magazines and other groups issued that were supposedly “free.” But, of course, they were only free if you didn’t purchase any of the junk such as the use of logos, desktop awards, framed awards and related placard awards to show them off (and it was made fairly clear this was expected or at least implied by aggressive sales people). Here at Spend Matters, we’re turning convention on its head. Not only are we doubling down on the commitment to finalizing our 50/50 lists (see our “50 Providers to Know” and “50 Providers to Watch” lists), but we’re giving away the table-top award placards for free.

Spend Matters Talks to ’30 Under 30′ Winners at ISM 2015

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Thomas Kase, Spend Matters vice president of research, will be on a panel later this afternoon at ISM 2015 interviewing some of the "30 Under 30 Supply Chain Stars." The recognition program was launched by ThomasNet and ISM last year and was designed to call attention to millennials working within the supply chain and procurement world in the US. Thomas will be talking to of these stars this afternoon at the ISM event in Phoenix. Linda Rigano from ThomasNet and M.L. Peck from ISM will also be joining Thomas for the roundtable discussion with 5 of the "30 under 30" winners.

ISM’s Mastery Model and Musings on Supply Management Associations

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Last night at ISM 2015, I sat in on a presentation with ISM’s CEO Tom Derry, who was discussing the official launch of ISM’s Mastery Model – a new competency-based assessment and training model. It’s always good to see a CEO formally taking responsibility for communicating the rollout of a new product – sort of like the Apple launches by Steve Jobs and now Tim Cook. But, the Mastery Model is not really a “product” per se, and as Tom said, “We think this is a career standard for the industry… Our goal is make ISM Mastery Model a recognized brand.” To make something a standard though, it has to be open (unlike, say, how NIGP manages its NIGP Codes), and the good news here is that it is!

VIVA Las Vegas: Kicking Off Coverage of the ‘VMSA Live 2015’ Contingent Workforce Management Conference

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In keeping with Spend Matters’ growing coverage of the services and contingent workforce management procurement category, I am heading to Las Vegas today, where I’ll be attending and reporting on VMSA Live, a unique conference designed for practitioners in all parts of the rapidly changing contingent workforce (CW) supply chain/ecosystem. I am looking forward to having this opportunity to get an up-to-date, direct read on current CW supply chain and management issues, as they are being discussed and thought about by a cross-section of top practitioners and thought leaders in the field.