Meeting New Tech Vendors, Consultancies and Consortia at eWorld this Autumn

The eWorld Procurement and Supply conference this year seems to have only just passed, but here it comes round again for its second showing on September 24th at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms, just off Covent Garden, London. As we’ve said many times, eWorld is a great opportunity for all procurement practitioners to attend presentations, discussions and workshops, but mostly it’s a networking extravaganza, a chance to meet new vendors and start-ups, or to interrogate the market ‘dominants’ about their latest innovations.

We always meet someone new at eWorld, firms in the procurement space we haven’t come across before who have a genuinely interesting and employable solution. For example, in March we came across sourceit, a low-cost ($2 per RFQ), pay-as-you-go, easy-to-use piece of RFQ software, developed to provide a simple yet focused approach to creating and managing RFQs.

We had a quick demo of this software at the event from the two east-coast Australians who developed it several years ago and launched it one year ago – and it does seem to do what it says on the tin. It is targeted at buyers managing fairly large numbers of RFQs, anything between 10 and 40 a week. And we see from the hundreds that had already signed up earlier this year, that it is very well used by the education sector. The premise, we think, being that faculties, usually with smaller teams, tend to operate separately from each other; this software means they can work independently and flexibly but in a managed, compliant way. But, its cloud-based access does make it attractive for almost anyone, anywhere.

For suppliers, this isn’t a marketplace, it’s free to access, with no permissions needed and no fee – and very quick for them to use. It’s quite established, we understand, in the US, Canada and Brazil, and of course in Australia, but it is starting to hit the European market too, so we hope to catch up with them again to see how it has progressed. You can give it a free try here. (And read more in-depth analysis here of the software’s other modules, sourceit market, a source-to-pay application for marketing services, and sourceit catalogue, a procure-to-pay application for inventory and on-demand services.) And don’t forget Spend Matters SolutionMap lets you compare various vendors in a particular tech sphere.

We also came across LIGHTest, a consortium of 14 partners from 9 European countries which plan to build a global community based on international standards and open source software. It was initially funded by the European Commission to build a global infrastructure for public authorities, which can use it to publish lists of qualified services, for example in health, law enforcement or justice. It can be used by the private sector too to establish trust in inter-banking, international trade, shipping, business reputation and credit rating. Companies, administrations, and citizens can also use LIGHTest to query information.

Its goal is to create a transparent trust infrastructure that makes it easy for verifiers to evaluate electronic transactions, reducing risk in extended supply chains and exposure to fraud. This autumn it intends to launch an open source toolbox for transparency of declared policies and procedures between counterparties with automatic trust verification. The system will monitor login policies and authorised delegation to help reduce risk (to be used with other systems or standalone). So we would be keen to meet up with them again to see how that is progressing. You can join/read about that community here.

We then came across ERA (Expense Reduction Analysts). They are a team of 14 associates with expert knowledge of public sector requirements, and have been going in the UK and Ireland since 1992. Together they have a network of about 135 procurement specialists with detailed knowledge spanning 100 expenditure categories from both sectors; some of them have had long-term senior-level roles in their areas of expertise. They advise businesses on how to get the best from suppliers, to help boost business performance. As a Crown Commercial Service management consultancy provider it has capabilities to assess tenders as they become available via the CCS e-sourcing portal, and help share best practice with public sector clients. From some of their market intelligence literature we’ve read, they do seem to be highly experienced, and it seems they are looking for consultants to join them too, using a franchise to profit from your career experience. Read more about them here.

So an interesting bunch of new finds at eWorld last spring. For a chance to come across other new vendors, or tech, you might like to register for eWorld in September, and you can do that here.

 

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