Top IT Execs Move to “the Toon” as Bloom Extends Tech Capability

We recently reported that Bloom Procurement Services who operate the NEPO procurement services framework for the public sector has recruited its first Chief Technology Officer, Amabel Grant.

David Shields, recently joined Chief Executive Officer, knows Amabel from his days in government procurement – she was an architect of the first government marketplace, Zanzibar, for those with good memories!

Shields has also tempted Fiona Carpenter into the Bloom fold as Head of Business Intelligence. She worked for him in government and we remember her excellent work on spend analytics from the OGC buying solutions days.  It is clear that Shields sees technology investment and capability in areas such as data analysis and e-commerce as key to Bloom’s future, and the firm is developing its Pro-Vide platform, which connects customers and suppliers across a broad range of services from standard consultancy to more specialist areas of social care and construction.

Anyway, we had a chance for a brief chat with Grant and Carpenter. We started by asking what attracted them to Bloom? Grant mentioned “the unique and innovative approach to services procurement, the passion and commitment of the people and the opportunity to be part of a business which is growing rapidly and has tremendous potential”.

Carpenter talked about the “great group of people who really understand eCommerce, Procurement and Public Sector and who share a passion to utilise technology to the full extent to provide best value for money for the customers”. She believes that is “not being done particularly well elsewhere” (I wonder what she means by that…), and sees “an opportunity we have to develop something innovative for our customers and suppliers”.

So, what do they offer Bloom personally? Grant first again.

“I have many years experience in procurement technology and operations particularly in the public sector. I have scaled a procurement technology business before and understand both the challenges and where the opportunities are. Building great teams and ensuring that the focus is always on the customer is fundamental, while retaining the ability to be agile and responsive as the business grows”.

Carpenter also has much relevant experience to offer. “Given the work I led for the Government Procurement Service (GPS) implementing spend analysis and eSourcing, and having just managed the implementation of eSourcing for Cathay Pacific, I have lots of lessons learned – both positives and things we know we must avoid”!

And what’s the most exciting “tech” opportunity for Bloom, given what you have seen so far?

“Supporting our customers and the business with the right technology at the right time is, in my view, the cornerstone to our success. I’ve been working in procurement tech for nearly 20 years now and in my view, we have now crossed the chasm in terms of digitalisation of the procurement process. Its an exciting future”.

That is Grant again – Carpenter is more specific.

“We’ve just implemented Alteryx software, which allows to extract and transform data without the need for a traditional data warehouse.  This is already showing ROI as we develop new reports and dashboards with a quicker turn around and easier access to all our data. This increased visibility will allow us to provide more transparency to customers and suppliers as we move forwards.

I believe that good communication with the understanding and sharing of information is key to building solid and successful relationships with the markets we operate within, and in turn allows us to ensure best value for money.  It’s an area where we have lots of opportunity to improve and we already have a long list of interesting ideas to develop further over the next few months”.

Finally, how do they feel about being based in Newcastle, given that they must be disappointed it is not  Sunderland* … well, Grant has moved to North Yorkshire, where she can indulge her love of the outdoors (remember her professional horse-related background?) and fly-fishing no less. She didn’t know Newcastle well - “I have only ever whizzed through on the train to Scotland”! But she says it’s got “some fantastic architecture and masses going on culturally. And the people are so friendly and open”.

Carpenter is a northerner, so her reply was to the point. “Having spent the last 4 years in Hong Kong, it is great to be back in the UK and even better to be back up north in Newcastle”.  Bloom, working with NEPO, has done much to support regional businesses, and having two more senior execs based in the north-east is another vote of confidence. So more from Bloom soon, I suspect, and good luck to their impressive new recruits.

* ancient football rivalry joke …

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