eWorld Procurement and Supply – An Overview of the Day

Last Wednesday, a Spend Matters UK and US contingent hit the latest eWorld Procurement and Supply conference and exhibition at the QE2 Centre London. We will have more detailed reporting on a number of the presentations including very good keynotes from risk expert and ex power player Casper Barry and Jim Hemmington, procurement director at the BBC. There were also more technical and useful presentations from people such as Nick Bacon (representing Basware) and Simon Dadswell from Proactis -  and we will cover those in more detail too in the coming days.

But for today, a few general observations about the event. We suspect there were 300+ registrations and close to 200 in the opening keynote session, so a good attendance level. Our perception is that the event is also attracting a somewhat more senior audience than it did a few years ago, with a good number of “Head of …” and “Director of …” noted on badges through the day.

The day is also popular amongst the community of senior procurement interim / small consulting firm market - which is not a bad thing from the sponsor and solution provider perspective. It is often those sort of people who are advising larger organisations on technology strategy or indeed working on implementation.

It was also illuminating to meet two delegates from a financial services company who were carrying out market research as they want to purchase a contract and supplier management system. We tend to think that everybody knows the big players in our tech market pretty well but after a few minutes' discussion, it was clear that is not the case.  We gave them our view of course on who they should be talking to, and sent them off with a list of stands to visit!

It was also interesting to note the presence of many of the largest tech firms in our industry. Not all have been regular attendees at eWorld, but this time we saw Basware, Zycus, Coupa and SAP Ariba as well as regulars like Wax Digital, Scanmarket, Proactis and Market Dojo. We spoke to a number of the sponsors who generally seemed pretty happy about the amount of interest they had from delegates.

In terms of the presentations, other than those already mentioned, it was a mixed bag as usual. As we said earlier there were definite highlights. But in a couple of cases, my colleagues (Nancy Clinton and Jason Bush) and I felt that solution providers fell into one of the classic traps. That is either doing too much of a sales pitch - frankly people just don't respond to that. Or they try to cover too much ground in a limited time.

“Here is everything you need to know about purchase to pay in 25 minutes”.  That doesn’t work. It is better in our opinion to focus more tightly and get into more depth in a particular area. The other strong recommendation we would make is on timing. Delegates like the opportunity to ask questions and have some debate so do leave at least five minutes for this at the end of your presentation. Too many sessions ran right up to the limit or even ran over time.

Having said that, the conference programme was generally strong and well-attended, with good feedback particularly on the keynotes and some of the practitioner lead sessions. Given that this event is free to practitioner delegates, it really is something that organisations should consider attending in our opinion.  It’s a good chance to meet up with current or prospective vendors, and contribute towards your (or your team’s) continuous professional development, all within a concentrated day’s work.

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