Jim Wetekamp at BravoConnect – The Demands on Procurement

Wetekamp has been CEO at BravoSolution for around three years now and has led the firm to an increasingly global footprint and continuing profitable growth. At the BravoConnect 2017 event in Madrid last week, he started his keynote with his thoughts on what customers are asking for, “what procurement needs” and how procurement can enable digital transformation. And, he said, Bravo is always looking for feedback from customers on the firm's trajectory.

He then outlined five key “demands” facing procurement functions.

The first is all about strategic capabilities. Wetekamp gets frustrated with cries of “when will procurement get a seat at the table”?  We need to move past that topic, he says, and make sure we have the tools to operate at that strategic level. We can generate cross-functional value, but different stakeholders all want different things. So technology needs to help integrate all those different voices, from long-range planning to operational execution.

Key demand two is the need for procurement to continue driving sustainable value. That means not just price but reducing complexity, improving supplier capabilities, managing risk and quality. Value beyond price reduction is key and procurement must balance the many different factors.

Number three is intelligent applications. Those tools can help use procurement capability better, spread knowledge and intelligence across the entire organisation. The basic element of this is to automate repetitive tasks, then the second phase puts knowledge where it is most needed and can be accessed. The third phase applies scenario modelling and sees procurement in a more forward looking role.

Fourth are holistic solutions and end-to-end integrated processes. Procurement needs to break down silos within the organisation, and align best practices – while respecting the specific needs of each industry or category. The BravoAdvantage17 platform is a huge step forward for the firm, including integrated purchase to pay capabilities, with supplier value management at the core.

Finally, we have empowered users, which Wetekamp thinks is perhaps the most important of the demands. That starts with user experience and ease of use for technology products. But customer care does not stop at “go-live”. That means support, training and user adoption, as well as effective operations; all critical for solution providers to offer to clients (and for procurement to offer its stakeholders and organisations).

So what is BravoSolution doing to help procurement on that journey to be transformation agents? The firm’s objectives apply to four key areas;

  • Develop market leading solutions
  • Focus on customer success
  • Empower employees
  • Maximise investment impact

Wetekamp talked about the positive Gartner quadrant results for the BravoSolution product, and about the next steps the firm is taking in terms of product enhancements. BravoAdvantage18 will include predictive analytics, guided buying, and more capabilities in the contract lifecycle management area such as clause management; there is also asset and inventory management functionality to enhance the P2P offering.

In terms of results, the firm has seen 120 new customers in the last 12 months and particularly impressive growth in the US (over 25%); with double-digit overall global growth.  91% of the customers are now “suite” (or multi-module); up from 73% last year.

“We are focusing on building a partnering ecosystem – we’ll be the partner we need to be, and that you need us to be”.

They were Wetekamp’s closing words, and there is no doubt that BravoSolution is determined to hold its position in that top tier of procurement technology firms. While competition is only getting stronger, the firm is in good shape to do just that.

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