Down the Procurement Pub with Synertrade, Basware, BCG and Bon Iver

Another busy week, with my colleague Jason Busch, founder of Spend Matters, over from the US. As well as spending Tuesday at eWorld, we had meetings, including with Robert Saenger of Synertrade. He's an interesting guy who is VP of Product Innovation for the eProcurement firm, and has some very forward-thinking ideas about where he wants to take the product suite - which also indicates some wider directions for procurement. More on that to come, but here he is with Jason enjoying a cup of tea ... OK, we don't visit the pub with everyone we meet, you know!

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There was a shock announcement on Monday, when the Board of Basware announced that CEO Esa Tihilä was stepping down and retiring immediately.   "Basware, the leading provider of networked purchase-to-pay solutions, e-invoicing and innovative financing services, announces that Esa Tihilä has stepped down as CEO and will be succeeded by Vesa Tykkyläinen ...(who) was previously Senior Vice President of the Network business area and a member of the Executive Team at Basware, having joined the company in January 2016. Prior to joining Basware, Vesa Tykkyläinen was Vice President of the Liquid Core Business Line at Nokia Networks and he has over 25 years of leadership experience in the technology industry".

We've already had quite a few people asking us "what happened" and the truth is we don't know. It did seem very sudden though, and given that Esa has been in place for 5 years during which time the Basware share price has more than doubled, it is a bit of a mystery. More next week on this too.

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Next week sees the  Procurex Wales Live event in Cardiff on the 6th, and the Welsh Procurement Awards in Cardiff also on that Thursday evening. There has been a real focus on collaboration across the Welsh public sector in recent years as well as innovative work in areas such as standard pre-qualification processes and incorporating social value into procurement. I'll be participating in a panel discussion on that last topic as well; it's titled Policy through procurement – Good Practice and Measurement Challenges.

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The Boston Consulting Group has acquired Germany-based Inverto, adding  130 management consultants to add to BCG’s capabilities and capacity.  Inverto was founded in Cologne, Germany, in 2000. The firm provides supply chain optimisation and procurement services to companies across Europe, including multinational corporations, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as large private-equity firms; the firm is keeping its own identify within BCG. I did some work with BCG a few years' back and really liked the culture of the firm - but they have not historically been very strong in procurement (in Europe at least), so this move may see them feature more prominently in our sector.

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We're very much looking forward to Bon Iver's new album - For Emma, Forever Ago, his debut, is one of my all time favourite albums. In the meantime, here he is with Francis and the Lights on Friends. I wasn't sure about it as first but it's a real grower.

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