UK/Europe Content

Ivalua NOW Paris event: A Dispatch on the Art and Science of Procurement

Spend Matters analyst Michael Lamoureux attended Ivalua’s customer event, Ivalua NOW Paris: The Art of Procurement, last week and found several advancements in the provider’s offerings, saw some improvements to its capabilities and learned about plans to upgrade its solution.

Commodities Roundup: EU Steel Quotas, a Mid-January Review and More Brexit Drama

Brexit

For the buyers and category managers out there, especially those of you deep in the weeds of buying and managing commodities, here’s a quick rundown of news and thoughts from particular commodity markets. From price movements to policy decisions, we scour the landscape for what matters. This week: EU imposes steel quotas, mid-January review of metal prices, a new auto alliance and the Brexit deal goes bust, giving way to more uncertainty.

How to Succeed with Systems Integrators and Procurement Technology Implementation: Lessons From Spend Matters UK/Europe and Determine [PRO]

e-procurement

In too many cases, system integration (SI) and consultancy partnering decisions take a back seat to technology selection and related business process considerations when in fact all three areas are important to consider in equal measures as parts of source-to-pay and procure-to-pay deployments. This misstep is often one of the root causes of procurement organization dissatisfaction with technology decisions and adoption.

In this PRO brief, Jenny Draper, Spend Matters’ managing director for UK/Europe, shares her experience and best practices on the topic from serving as a procurement consultant over two decades before recently joining Spend Matters.

This best practice essay includes Jenny’s lessons learned on the importance of systems integration partners and how to set them up for success (and get the most out of a relationship). It covers such topics as when (and why) superior technologies fail, change management missteps, the role of the modern SI and finding the right fit partner. She then explores specific lessons learned from Determine’s boutique partner ecosystem in Europe.

Throughout, the brief also includes key takeaways and summary recommendations for procurement organizations going through procurement technology selections and deployments.

New Year’s Truths for Procurement: 6 Tips from Spend Matters UK/Europe

Where is procurement going in 2019? While it would be easy to fall into the perennial trap of describing long-term trends as the next big thing, we’d like to offer a more realistic alternative. To start off the year, we suggest reaffirming some hard truths about procurement that can help decision-making in the months to come. To that end, Peter Smith, procurement veteran and outgoing editor of Spend Matters UK/Europe, decided to leave readers in December with a list of six enduring truths about the function. While this advice surely won’t be the last readers hear from Smith, he offers these points as “most of my critical IP” as he steps out of the spotlight.

Tradeshift Buys Babelway: A ‘First Take’ Analysis [PRO]

Earlier today, Tradeshift announced it had acquired Babelway — a technology provider that straddles the line between a cloud integration broker/hub and electronic data interchange (EDI) enablement. It will provide integration services to Tradeshift customers.

This Spend Matters PRO “First Take” analysis offers additional insight on what we know about Babelway and what it does (in plain English), insight into the acquisition/rationale, and a cursory analysis of what it means to Tradeshift customers, partners and competitors.

Category management survey offers benchmarking in exchange for your time, insight

The category management experts at Future Purchasing have a request and an offer as they prepare their global 2018 benchmarking survey. People in procurement can give feedback to help take the pulse of the industry, and they’ll get a copy of the survey and benchmarking feedback for their company. The survey drills deep into current category management usage and patterns, and it gives CPOs and category managers concrete evidence of what works — and what doesn’t. Now, there are just four weeks left before access to the survey closes, and 10 minutes of your time is needed to give your input.

Commodities Roundup: Steel Prices Stay Down, Precious Metals Prices Stay Up, Brexit Stays Confusing

The Raw Steels Monthly Metals Index (MMI) fell again this month, dropping to 83 points. Platinum reversed its uptrend from last month, landing lower at $806 per ounce. This widens the platinum-palladium spread even further, forcing many analysts to wonder what will happen in 2019. And our MetalMiner colleague in the UK shares his thoughts on living through the confusing times of Brexit and what to expect.

Understand the Risk Big Picture — A Webinar Looking at 2019 Risks

supply risk

Spend Matters UK/Europe’s final webinar of 2018 will be held Thursday with an eye toward risks for 2019. The event, “Understand the Risk Big Picture,” also is the final webinar for Peter Smith as the site’s managing director. Folks in North America can join at 8 a.m. Central, which is 2 p.m. in the UK.

It is being run with riskmethods — which provides a cloud-based supply chain risk management platform/solution, and founder Heiko Schwarz will be participating in the webinar with Smith. They’ll focus on different types of risk: cyber, reputational, political, natural and supplier financial risks.

Join them Thursday as they look at what procurement can do to improve risk planning and management. Please register here for the webinar — and even if you can’t make that time, registering will mean you get immediate access after the event to listen at your leisure.

Efficio Panel Debate: Good Banter, Robot Jokes and 3 Points About the Future of Procurement

Last week in London I participated in one of the livelier and more spirited panel debates on the future of procurement (skills, technology and more) in recent memory. The event, held at Efficio’s offices Thursday to mark the release of its latest report, “Procurement 2025: Is Digital Transformation Driving More Effective Procurement,” included not only a handful of esteemed panelists and facilitators from the procurement/CPO, consulting and academic ranks, but also a robot — which led to many robotic process automation jokes throughout the discourse. If Efficio does something like this again, ask them for an invitation — you won’t be disappointed!

Here are three points that stuck in my mind from the different panel discussions and chats that I had.

Interview with Malcolm Harrison, CIPS New CEO (Part 3 — Will artificial intelligence wipe out procurement?)

CIPS’ leader Malcolm Harrison says the professional organization is concerned for the future of procurement workers as “more work is ‘outsourced’ to technology.” Harrison, speaking in an interview with Spend Matters UK’s veteran procurement expert Peter Smith, was asked if artificial intelligence (AI) will wipe out procurement. “My view is there will always be events that happen that haven’t happened before — we will still need people to make those judgements based on new facts and situations,” Harrison says in this third and final installment. “But one of my concerns is this: How do we ensure we develop judgement skills in the profession?”

Join the Coupa Webinar Tomorrow to Learn About Community Intelligence

Spend Matters UK’s procurement veteran Peter Smith on Tuesday will join Coupa’s John Callan for a webinar in the UK about developments in community intelligence, the idea of driving benefits through a community of organizations that are each buying separately but look to collaborate in some way.

Leading procurement/spend management firm Coupa is hosting tomorrow’s event, “Community Intelligence — A Procurement Revolution.” The time of the webinar was changed to accommodate the North American audience, so sign up here and join the 45-minute session at 9 a.m. Central time (3 p.m. UK time), and bring your questions about community intelligence.

“Advances in technology, driven by firms like Coupa, are increasing the potential for benefits from it, making it a significant tool for procurement and one which we believe procurement leaders need to understand,” Smith says in a preview of the event.

Interview with Malcolm Harrison, CIPS New CEO (Part 2 — Growth, Change and the U.S.)

Spend Matters UK's interview with new CIPS leader Malcolm Harrison continues with a focus on the professional organization's short-term and long-term plans.

"We must remain relevant to the UK," Harrison says, "but many organizations who employ our members are very interested in what CIPS can do outside the UK — we were invited into the U.S., for example."

Harrison also digs into the institute's strategy to serve its core membership in the UK while also making tough decisions about leadership that can help it expand in other countries. For example, the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply recently decided to not appoint a new president when the previous term expired. 

"As we get more international and diverse, it is hard to see that one person can fulfill all the needs," Harrison says.

Procurement veteran Peter Smith, of Spend Matters UK, recently sat down with Harrison to catch up on his first 100 days or so in office.

In Part 1, the interview looked at CIPS' commercial focus. This installment of the three-part series focuses on the future.

"You know the saying 'a tree is either growing or dying' — there is no steady state," Harrison says. "I feel that way about CIPS, we have to move forward and change."