Down the Procurement Pub with Ian George, Tejari, SAP, good government, and Miley Cyrus

I passed the week in Camberley, barely been out of the house, but did have a bottle of very good Whittington's Winter's Tail, a fairly strong, dark, hoppy ale, suitable for a wintery, wet, miserable Thursday. However, my US colleagues got to live it up in Las Vegas at the ISM conference.  Ha! Sounds like a big event, and very successful too according to the posts coming through from colleagues. Read Jason’s first impressions here, and why he thinks there should be more focus on contract management here.

My life gets more exciting soon though, as I head off to Dubai and Abu Dhabi with our Real World Sourcing briefing sessions, supported by Tejari and CIPS MENA. For anyone in the region, you can book here for “Evaluating Bids and Tenders” in Dubai on May 20th, and “Benchmarking the Procurement Function” in Abu Dhabi on the 21st.

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We hope you’re reading the series on procurement transformation from Dr Ian George. This week’s instalment was very powerful, as it looked at procurement’s positioning in the organisation. He really gets to the heart of the debate around the future of the “profession”, as he asks - is procurement a “function” at all, or a set of key business processes?

“Implementation of such a vision would suggest that ‘Procurement’ as a function becomes procurement as a set of processes that interact across the end-to-end enterprise. This not only requires procurement maturity, it also requires organisational maturity”.

We will pick up on this further but do read his piece here if you haven’t already.

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One of the top guys at SAP, Vishal Sikka, resigned unexpectedly this month, and there are stories of some drama behind the scenes in terms of possible US / German tension in the firm. From a procurement perspective, software category managers might be more interested in SAP’s aim to increase margins. (They recently pushed back their target to increase operating margin to 35%). I always think when a firm announces this desire to investors, a good buyer makes a note that they should ensure their organisation is not one of the sources of that increased margin!

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Kudos to the Cabinet Office, although the headlines show that when you’re the government, you can’t win. The Guardian reported this story as a big blow for a government programme (the Better Care Fund) to get health and social care services working together better, with the aim ultimately of improving public health and cutting costs. But we read it as a ‘well done’ to the Cabinet Office Major Projects Group, who presumably were behind the report that pointed out this programme had no clear deliverables, no benefits tracking, and needed a ‘lot more work done’.  So a success, we would say, to stop politicians’ pet project that wasn’t founded in good management disciplines or indeed basic feasibility. Congratulations and please stop more projects!

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I expect many of you were at the Miley Cyrus concert at the London O2 this week. No? Really?  Of course not, she’s an untalented sex-crazy, manufactured starlet, isn’t she? Well.. apparently she did a live version of this, not what you might have expected at all. One of my very favourite songs, from Blood on the Tracks, my favourite Bob Dylan album. And this is rather excellent.  Whatever you think about her recent videos, the girl has talent.

 

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