Previewing Coupa Inspire: Procurement Game Changers and the New Supplier Engagement (Part 2)

I’ve been busy readying and practicing the main stage presentation that I’ll be delivering at Coupa Inspire this week. While I tend to speak at least every other week on a webinar or at some event or other, I must admit to being a bit nervous about this week, given the importance of the event. Aside from Ariba LIVE, it’s without question the biggest procurement technology event in the market. It’s also the fastest growing one, aside from niche conferences such as ProcureCon Marketing.

The topic of my 45-minute talk is this: Procurement Game Changers. During the core of my presentation, I’ll be covering the following game changers (as I see them):

  • Follow the Money: Cash Matters
  • The New Supplier Engagement
  • Empowered Users

Yesterday I shared some of what I will talk about when covering the first bullet point. In regards to the new supplier engagement, one of the themes that I’ll be discussing is an increasing imbalance of information between procurement, stakeholders, and suppliers. This is not necessarily a bad thing, mind you. Transparency may work best in measuring ultimate results, but it’s not necessarily the right approach in all types of supplier engagement.

For example a, lack of collective insight into data – be it commodity prices, margins, fixed/variable costs, capacity, inventory carrying costs, etc. – can lead to opportunities when a procurement organization can exploit a particular quote from a supplier based on a better understanding of non-unit cost factors.

It's my recommendation that procurement organizations begin to think more like modern militaries and Wall Street traders – rather than directly taking on opponents, focus on accessing information, and controlling the “intelligence battlefield," which includes potentially knowing more than suppliers as a core strategy. My term for this is sourcing and supplier engagement asymmetry and it’s a key theme I’ll be exploring at Coupa Inspire.

Spend Matters readers can register here for the event and get a discount for attending by using the code INSPIRESM.

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