What David Shields (ex Government Procurement Service) did next – the answer is Apsiz

David Shields was Managing Director of the UK Government Procurement Service from 2010-2013. He left this year under circumstances that still aren’t totally clear – and he won’t talk about that. However, what is clear now is what he’s up to and his plans for the future. So I caught up with him for a chat recently and asked him to explain what he’s doing.

“The new company is called Apsiz, and we’re looking to help organisations improve their procurement performance through better use of technology”.

What’s immediately impressive is how strongly Shields is committing himself to this. This isn’t just him doing a bit of independent consulting – there is a vision here of building a substantial business.

There are three directors of the business at the moment. As well as Shields, there is Fiona Carpenter who was the “eEnablement Controller” at GPS and is very strong on the technology side; and joining in the near future is David Harrower who was also at GPS but worked for many years in procurement consulting before that.  (Yes, that is a bit of a GPS exodus...) Peter Cavell is also on board as an associate director.  And they're recruiting, I note from their website - ambitious stuff for a start-up firm.

So, in terms of their business, the website strap line says:  “Through the implementation of eCommerce solutions Apsiz Services Ltd provides support to organisations looking to maximise their commercial efficiency and increase their return on investment”.

The idea is that Apsiz will support the implementation and adoption of any eCommerce solution, working both through eCommerce solutions providers (large and small) and also directly for the client procurement organisations.  Their aim is to translate these tools - analytics, data standards, eSourcing and so on - into execution and business benefits. "Transformational change" if you like. Making this happen in the real world and really delivering benefits is a challenge for many organisations, so if Apsiz can live up to their goals, they will win plenty of customers. As Shields says,

"Some organisations have implemented eCommerce and eProcurement very well, but many still don't have much at all, and others have bought solutions but aren't making full use of them - we can help in different cases".

Apsiz have also already developed “partnerships” (I use the word cautiously) with six firms – tried and tested solution providers (as they put it), who Apsiz will in effect recommend where a client doesn’t have their own defined preference.  That’s an interesting business model, and the firm will have to be careful to get the balance between independence and supporting the partnerships. The six include some we’re very familiar with and a couple I’d never heard of.

Here is the list with some brief comments from Shields.

amee – "economic and environmental reporting tools, a fast growing area of interest for many organisations”.

BravoSolution - “we worked with them at GPS and enjoyed the experience – strong in sourcing, contract management and analytics, very responsive and good to work with”

D & B – “everyone knows them, business information which can be built into wider solutions"

NQC – "supplier information management and performance data"

The Smart Cube - "procurement research services from offshored highly knowledgeable resource"

Validis  - "automated accounts review and identification of errors, for instance, in invoices"

 I would certainly not bet against Shields achieving his goals – he is highly focused, experienced  in both public and private sector, capable and dynamic. And I think he’s identified a very interesting niche. The big consulting firms will of course help clients with procurement technology, but they’re not always right up with the latest thinking (as technology moves so fast) and of course they bring a certain cost.

And many of the tech firms in our space don’t have resource themselves to help clients with the strategy, implementation and change management that you need to really get the benefits from the technology itself.  So I predict a decent future for Apsiz – and I could see them growing pretty rapidly. We’ll also come back at some point and take a look at those firms we mentioned above that we’re not familiar with.

Voices (3)

  1. John O'Neill:

    David will succeed no problem

  2. Martin Chown:

    Top team backed by great system partners

  3. Christine Morton:

    Fantastic! Nice to see David Harrower involved – what a gent! Good luck to all!

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