The Procurement Analysts’ Reel Episode 4 – An Interview with Jenny Draper

As we explained in our post recently, we are running a series of podcasts we have named The Procurement Analysts' Reel – in them we speak to each of our analysts about their areas of expertise, their thoughts on current market trends within their procurement domains, and find out a little bit more about them generally.

We thought it was about time our readers got to know our analysts better to understand who is behind our vendor and tech research and analysis and contributes to the famous SolutionMap vendor and platform benchmark rankings. The analysts have a deep understanding of the procurement market which can help procurement practitioners and leaders with their business challenges.

Here's Jenny:

In a nutshell:

Jenny Draper is Spend Matters’ general manager for Europe.

Jenny’s background and current role at Spend Matters

Jenny studied French, German and Russian at St. Andrew’s University in Scotland, and she still enjoys putting her linguistic skills to use today at Spend Matters. Out of school, she worked as a supply chain manager at insulation manufacturer Owens Corning in Brussels, where she “earned her procurement stripes.” Jenny then transitioned to working in procurement technology at FreeMarkets (Ariba), where she met Jason Busch, who later co-founded Azul Partners and Spend Matters. After relocating to Asia, she decided to start a procurement technology consultancy organisation, e-Three, which became a global partner of Oracle and was one of the first organisations to configure and host Oracle technology in the cloud. Following a merger with a larger American corporation, the business sold in 2016.

Through her association with Jason at FreeMarkets, Jenny went on to become the general manager of Spend Matters Europe. In this role she oversees commercial agreements, nurtures relationships with local technology vendors and procurement practitioners, speaks at events and hosts webinars. Jenny loves the fact that in this role she can get to know the tech vendors, no longer as the competitors she once knew in previous roles, but as individual solution providers and how they stack up against each other in the market. She enjoys finding out exactly what it is they’ve got ‘under the bonnet.’ “Frankly, for me it’s the best job in the world!” she says.

What makes Jenny passionate about the procurement industry?

As with most people in procurement, Jenny found her way into the profession “by accident,” but she has been working in the industry now for more than 20 years. She is passionate about procurement because she believes it is the foundation of any organisation, and points out that procurement traditionally accounts for at least 60% of a firm’s spend. She believes procurement does not receive nearly enough of the recognition it deserves for its role in contributing to the bottom line.

In what ways does Jenny believe technology will impact the procurement industry in the future? 

Looking forwards, Jenny believes procurement technology is a “hotbed of innovation.” She has fondly observed the evolution of open sourcing, seeing organisations communicating more and more about their spend and selecting suppliers that are “brilliant in their market.” She believes developing procurement technology has helped advance organisations in terms of corporate social responsibility and is thrilled to see continuing progress.

What does Jenny think people do not know about Spend Matters but should?

Jenny believes Spend Matters has historically served a different function in Europe than it has within the United States. Spend Matters Europe has traditionally reported on more general news within the procurement realm, and many of the readers still think of Spend Matters as a blog. She believes that some of these readers don’t know that “we are the Source-to-Pay experts; no one knows the whole S2P technology landscape the way that we do. We are the experts behind the experts, whether that means consultants guiding an organisation through a technology switch or investors looking for S2P technology providers.

What trends and developments specific to Europe has Jenny observed? 

Given Jenny’s background as a technology vendor which originally struggled for recognition, she now loves to look at the entire Source-to-Pay landscape and see how much opportunity boutique and niche providers have in competing alongside larger and more well-known brands within Europe. She sees a real place for many of these smaller providers from regions like Scandinavia, Germany, France and the UK. Jenny has observed how larger and smaller providers have started to play to each others’ strengths for the greater good of the customer and is pleased to see these emerging vendors are “creating competition for a healthy ecosystem of Source-to-Pay providers of all shapes and sizes.”

 

Listen to the full podcast to get to know Jenny better.

Tune in next week for our interview with more of our analysts!

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