Afternoon Coffee: Basware Appoints Eric Wilson to Lead North America Operations, Upwork Captures Momentum with Enterprises


Source-to-pay provider Basware announced last week it had appointed Eric Wilson to lead the company’s operations in North America, as well as join the global Basware executive team, according to a press release. The move indicates Basware is looking to double down on investments outside of its traditional core markets.

"The North American market is a key driver for our global growth strategy and we are extremely pleased to have Eric at the helm," said Vesa Tykkyläinen, CEO of Basware. "Eric is a true industry visionary and an excellent addition to our global executive team. I would like to thank Tehseen Dahya for his significant contribution to Basware and appreciate his continued focus on our customers as he continues to support Basware as an executive advisor."

Wilson’s name may ring a bell to Spend Matters readers, as we sat down with the Basware executive in September to discuss the convergence of big data and artificial intelligence in procurement technology. In a two-part interview, Wilson shared his perspective on how data is the “alpha and the omega” of getting AI right, and, once an organizations wrap their heads around that concept, how to actually use it.

Upwork’s Momentum

Global freelancer platform Upwork announced Tuesday that cumulatively more than $4 billion of spend has been transacted through the platform, according to a press release. While small business purchasing was for many years the lion's share of that spend, large enterprise spend has been increasing, as more businesses turn to online freelancers as a way to deal with talent needs.

According to the company, 28% of Fortune 500 companies posted jobs on Upwork in 2017 and a broader range of large, well-known enterprise businesses — like Airbnb, Dropbox, GE and Samsung — posted more than 30,000 projects over that same time frame.

"These numbers seem to confirm our observations that enterprise use of online freelancers is increasing and may be accelerating,” said Andrew Karpie, Spend Matters research director, services and labor procurement. “Just several years ago, online freelancing marketplaces were ignored or dismissed by contingent workforce procurement in large enterprise organizations. That's definitely changing.”

Port Expansion

The Georgia Port Authority wants to double container capacity at its Savannah and Brunswick ports by 2028, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The $2.3 billion plan would allow the harbors to accommodate 10 million twenty-foot equivalents of cargo (TEUs).

Services Sector 

And finally, an economic update: U.S services sector activity hit a 10-year high in January, the Wall Street Journal reports, as the ISM non-manufacturing index rose to 59.9 from 56 in December.

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