ProcureCon for Corporate Sourcing: Atlanta Dispatch

The WBR conference in Atlanta kicked off on Tuesday morning this week and wraps up today. I was scheduled to arrive early Tuesday, a day that may have logged the most canceled flights since 9/11. I landed 12.5 hrs late from PHL and was delighted to see a full house of attendees and vendors who must have wisely arrived the previous evening. Following on the week's weather, let's begin with clouds -- cloud spend management computing, to be exact.

Rob Bernshteyn, CEO of Coupa, spoke yesterday about how many of the most forward thinking companies are, unsurprisingly, the same organizations that are embracing and realizing significant savings from cloud procurement computing platforms. To an attentive audience of practitioners, Rob touted how saved $18 million last year and explained how the flexibility of the cloud platform facilitates full capture and even promotes local sourcing across the organization. He cited window washing, printing, and legal as service examples that can be far more cost efficient to source locally by stakeholders on their own turf. But Rob's most compelling argument -- and his shameless plug for Coupa -- focused upon how promoting user autonomy actually increases organizational control, especially when the solution is so user friendly that it can be implemented without training. A very bold claim, but let's move forward.

In a far more conservative presentation this moring, Andrew Bartels, VP & Principal Analyst at Forrester Research teamed up with Jagadish Turimella (JT), COO and co-founder of Global eProcure to discuss Cloud Computing and Its Impact On Procurement. Andy opened by saying (paraphrased) that when a concept reaches the attention of cartoonists, it is probably worth paying attention to. He then delineated more precisely why: "On demand, web accessible, share resources, location independent, rapidly released, minimal IT management, scalable and a measures service."

And while this is all true, I'm still having difficulty distinguishing between SaaS and having my head in the clouds -- not to mention the 5,000 pound gorilla, aka data security. I'll be posting additional takeaways from the conference in the coming days.

- William Busch

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