‘Smith Matters’ Descends on BravoConnect 2016

Peter Smith quite enjoying the 'conferencial' festivities.

I landed in London yesterday to attend and participate in BravoSolution’s 2016 customer conference, BravoConnect. The event is being held south of London, in Dorking, and is probably the most diverse midsize (roughly 200 attendees) procurement event I’ve been too – people are here from all across Europe, the U.S. and the Middle East, including my esteemed colleague and Spend Matters UK Editor Peter Smith. I’ll be reporting live from the event today and tomorrow, adjusting for the time lag with our U.S. editorial team having a chance to do a once-over on my posts first.

BravoSolution Goes P2P

There are a number of topics I’m looking forward to exploring, not least of which is Bravo’s early integration and plans with Puridiom, which the firm acquired earlier this year (see also: BravoSolution & Puridiom Acquisition First Take: SWOT Analysis, Customer, Partner & Competitive Considerations).

But more than just becoming a source-to-pay suite vendor with the addition of e-procurement and limited e-invoicing, there’s another side of BravoSolution that is almost more curious to explore. And that’s whether the provider will be the first provider of the current generation of solutions — Bravo recently finished re-platforming its old stack on BravoAdvantage — to break out and carve out a growth and share leadership position from the exceptionally fragmented source-to-contract market.

A Leaderless Market – Will BravoSolution Change That?

This is no clear leader by share in this segment (source-to-contract) of the procurement sector, and one in which the ERPs (including Ariba) have all but abandoned from an innovation perspective. Within the sourcing sector, outside of Ariba/SAP (and Oracle), BravoSolution competes globally against other sophisticated, European-based firms such as ScanMarket and Ivalua, and US start-ups like Scout.

It also faces sourcing competition from providers such as Zycus, GEP, SciQuest and others, including optimization-centric providers like Trade Extensions and upstart Keelvar. Not to mention dozens of other providers on a global basis.

None of these vendors has a dominant growth or share position. And that’s just within the sourcing sector. Spend/supply analytics, supplier management and contract management are just as fragmented.

With BravoAdvantage and an increased emphasis on global sales and marketing, BravoSolution is one of the few providers in a position to pull away from the crowd for a variety of reasons in the source-to-contract area (which I’ll explore in in the next few days) if it can execute successfully on a commercial basis.

Hot Air From Spend Matters

Beyond exploring the latest on BravoSolution, my colleague Peter Smith and I are presenting separately on various topics here. Peter is headlining the procurement keynote portion of the event this morning with a talk titled “Putting the Supplier at the Core of Procurement.” I’m speaking today on my favorite topic of late, Blockchain, and tomorrow, I’ve got a longer session titled “Digital Disruption in Procurement.” And we’re both participating in a panel discussion as well.

So stay tuned. It should be a fun two days from Dorking, U.K. (come on, you know precisely where it is without looking at a map, admit it!)

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