Conferences & Events Content

Highlights from Across the Pond at Coupa Inspire 2017: A Fraud Detection Acquisition, Open Buy Launch and R19

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Coupa has acquired an AI fraud detection company and begun its official rollout of Open Buy with Amazon Business, our colleagues at Spend Matters UK/Europe reported from Coupa Inspire last week. The two announcements highlight Coupa’s recent push to integrate more advanced functionality into its spend management platform, from bringing sourcing optimization to a wider audience to enabling the elusive “guided buying” experience.

Zycus Horizon 2017 Dispatch: Exploring Zycus’ Products and Modules Across Source-to-Pay

Earlier in the week on the mainstage at Zycus Horizon, Aatish Dedhia, Zycus’ founder and CEO, provided an overview of his firm’s current and emerging product footprint. The suite is “comprehensive,” to use a word Dedhia favors in describing it. To his credit, Zycus arguably offers one of the broadest suites available today, albeit with varying degrees of depth and comparative functionality. While our definition of what falls into a particular module or another may differ from how various providers define it, here’s how Zycus explains its footprint today.

Zycus Horizon 2017 Dispatch: Blockchain, Robotic Process Automation and the Cloud

At Zycus Horizon, I participated in two panel discussions, one as a “pinch hitter” and the other with some up-front planning. One centered on the impact of robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence on the future of procurement technology and the procurement function, while also tying in cloud, blockchain, the internet of things (IoT) and other disruptive technology areas. The other panel touched on these topics but emphasized the future of the user experience in procurement technology.

Zycus Horizon 2017 Dispatch: 5 Impressions From The Event So Far

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Xavier Olivera and I have spent the past 24 hours at Zycus Horizon. We’ve been in and out of sessions, had conversations with customers and partners, and spent significant time talking to Zycus management. While we did not spend too much time in New Orleans digging into Zycus’ latest product releases, we’ve spent a dozen or so hours in the past quarter reviewing Zycus’ core procure-to-pay (P2P) and strategic procurement technology modules. Factoring these sessions into account and what we’ve learned at Horizon, we thought we’d do a “shoot from the hip” list of impressions from the event this year.

Zycus Horizon 2017 Dispatch: By the Numbers and Hinting at the Future

Xavier Olivera and I are on the ground in New Orleans (post “supply risk weather incident”) to attend the Zycus Horizon 2017 customer conference. Early in the afternoon, after a late start because of the hurricane — the storm, not the drink! — Aatish Dedhia, founder and CEO of Zycus, took the stage to provide an update and outlook on Zycus.

Upwork’s Work Without Limits Executive Summit: A Retrospective

Before the unofficial end of summer, I had the opportunity to attend Upwork’s first Work Without Limits Executive Summit in San Francisco. Upwork, the largest global online freelancer marketplace in terms of gross payment volume (effectively, spend), has earned a place on Spend Matters 50 to Watch list two years in a row, so many eyes are on the company. The focus of the summit was actually Upwork Enterprise, Upwork’s online freelancer sourcing and services solution for enterprise-scale organizations (from midsize to Fortune 500 firms).

Upwork Launches Talent Services Division to Enable Enterprise Use of Online Freelance Workforce

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Upwork announced Wednesday that it is launching a new functional organization it calls Talent Services. The company issued a press release titled “Upwork​ ​Creates​ ​World’s​ ​Largest​ ​On-Demand​ ​Talent​ ​Agency” at its Work Without Limits executive summit in San Francisco (read our kick-off coverage here). The new division combines consultative services with Upwork’s technology platform and online marketplace, enabling quick access for enterprise companies to the specific freelance talent they need, when they need it, according to the press release.

Upwork’s Work Without Limits Executive Summit: A Preview

Taulia Connect Cedric Bru

Online freelancing platform Upwork is kicking off its first executive summit Tuesday, and Spend Matters is on hand to cover the event. Upwork has described the Work Without Limits Summit as an “event [that] will bring together an intimate group of HR visionaries, the Fortune 500 C-suite and policy experts to understand how progressive organizations are embracing the new world of work will help forward-thinking executives prepare for the changing world of work.”

ISM 2017: Talent, Procurement Zen and a CPO’s Warning About Technology

I attended a Q&A session with a handful of the “30 under 30” winners in supply management at ISM 2017, and all I can say is that these young professionals from firms like GE, Johnson & Johnson and Coach are indeed impressive (see some of our interviews in the links below). The competition for the designation is increasing, and the winners are increasingly interested in supply management from the get-go. In the first year of the program, only 17% of the winners came into the industry proactively with a supply (chain) management degree, but 40% of winners this year (the third year) were supply management graduates and practitioners.

ISM 2017: The Spend Slayer

At a big procurement conference, how do you get a procurement manager into your booth? The answer is simple (and somewhat sexist, I might add). Find an attractive female — maybe we’ll see a guy one of these years — and a gimmick. In the past, AECSoft, a former vendor in the space, was one that was successful in driving traffic by bringing a model — I think she was Miss Lebanon — to the conference and having her circulate around the floor and hang out at the booth. This year, Jaggaer continued this tradition with the “Spend Slayer,” an archer — or ”archerette,” if you will — who circulated around the exhibit hall with a bow.

ISM 2017: Technology Crosses the Curiosity Chasm

Aside from the provider/solutions expo, technology has always been something of an afterthought for attendees at ISM’s annual conference, at least as I’ve seen it. While a handful of sessions have addressed technology, it’s safe to say that for many of the delegates and ISM members over the years, it has been on the lower end of the priority spectrum, at least from what they plan to get out of the show. But this year something changed.

David Cameron at ISM: Heartfelt, Candid and Relevant

Earlier Tuesday, former U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron gave the keynote address at ISM. I tried to live tweet some of his more memorable statements (see the highlights below or the full summary @jasondbusch). Cameron’s was a heartfelt, candid and relevant talk — his first since leaving office to such a crowd, apparently — by a still young politician with a deft rhetorical touch.