Tejari Real World Sourcing in the UAE – contract management session breaks records!

Last week I was in the United Arab Emirates to present two of our Real World Sourcing briefing sessions in Dubai (Transforming Procurement - Myth or Reality?) and Abu Dhabi (Contract Management). The sessions are supported by Tejari (the BravoSolution joint venture in the region) and CIPS MENA - thanks to them for their effort and enthusiasm.

I admit, I find Dubai a fascinating but deeply strange place - admirable in many ways, but I struggle with the pace of development and just the heat! But I love the sessions themselves - no criticism of our UK Real World Souring audiences, but the UAE crowd is more diverse, and covers a different sort of industry demographic compared to what we tend to see in the UK.

I suspect there is also a greater spread of capability and competence (at individual and organisational level) in the room in Dubai or Abu Dhabi than we get in London. Some organisations are clearly at a very early stage of procurement development, then you have a chat with someone at the break and realise at the other extreme are organisations and people who are easily as smart and advanced as anything we see in Europe.

The Dubai session was on Procurement Transformation - first question, what on earth does that mean? Is it a myth? Well no, clearly some organisations have succeeded in transforming procurement, but there are a number of caveats. It takes time, it depends what you mean by "transformation" and how will you actually measure your achievement assuming you do succeed? They are some of the questions we discussed in Dubai anyway, and we can't mention this topic without plugging the series of articles we've been featuring from Dr Ian George on the subject, which contain a lot of real wisdom - the latest was here if you've missed it.

Then in Abu Dhabi, we discussed Contract Management, one of my favourite topics. This turned out to be a really exceptional session, so thanks to a brilliant audience - a record number for Real World Sourcing in the UAE, over 60 delegates, and really engaged - we cut the Q and A session as we'd promised to finish by 7pm, but it felt like we could have gone on for some time.

Good questions too - several around the whole issue of the role of procurement and the business in managing contracts and how responsibilities can be best divided. Skills and training was another hot topic, and the CIPS representative at the event there was also besieged by folk wanting to talk about membership. There is undoubtedly a real appetite in the region for procurement professionalisation.

Thanks again to everyone who came, Soraya Sackey and the Tejari team for their organisational prowess and hospitality, the hotels for some lovely food, and hope to be in the region again next year. And to anyone reading this in the UAE - the next Real World Sourcing events will be in November, with my friend and colleague in this venture, Guy Allen, talking about Procurement Skills and Careers - the next 10 years in Dubai on November 11th and Maximising success from e-Auctions in Abu Dhabi on November 12th. You can register here.

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