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After Basware, Justin Sadler-Smith joins Jaggaer to lead Northern European sales, talks innovation with Spend Matters

04/27/2021 By

Jaggaer has made a lot of headlines lately with new organizational announcements and moves. It recently announced the launch of a new digitally-minded strategy and the introduction of the Jaggaer Adopt, Assist and Advise solutions. It also made news with its latest hire: Justin Sadler-Smith as the Vice President of Sales for Northern Europe.

Sadler-Smith is a procurement technology veteran. With nearly 25 years of experience under his belt, he has made his name with the likes of Emptoris, IBM and SAP Ariba. Most recently, Sadler-Smith was the General Manager of UK and Ireland for the AP Automation specialist Basware.

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Now at Jaggaer, Sadler-Smith is combining his experiences leading sales teams to focus on establishing value at the customer level for Jaggaer users. Part of driving that value comes from Jaggaer’s newest edition to its solution. The latest strategy brings artificial intelligence and other smart technologies like robotic process automation to the Jaggaer platform.

“The innovation to me is probably the thing that excites me most about working at Jaggaer,” Sadler-Smith told Spend Matters in a recent interview. “When you see the plans we have … around AI and RPA, and the move to autonomous procurement. That’s what we have been talking about in the industry for some time. That’s really exciting.”

While Sadler-Smith can look forward to his new position, it’s his years of experience that will pave his trajectory in the new role. He met with Spend Matters over Zoom to discuss his vision for Jaggaer and how he’ll bring his experience to the table to find success for Jaggaer customers.

Q&A with Justin Sadler-Smith

Spend Matters: What initially attracted you to working at Jaggaer?

Justin Sadler-Smith: Going back into source-to-pay was something which was attractive to me. That’s the area I know very well. That’s where my experience is. That’s where my network is. That’s why I think I can do a good job with a full source-to-pay platform provider.

So you talked about your experience in S2P. Can you tell me a little bit about that?

Well, I’ve been in this procurement and supply chain space for 25 years now. So I know what works and what doesn’t work, which means I can advise customers with a little more practical experience. What are common pitfalls? Where do they start? Where don’t they start? What are the common attributes to what is best in class? I think bringing all that experience together will help me have conversations with the Jaggaer customer base and prospects to help them drive real value from their investments.

It’s not just a technology discussion. Of course, it’s much broader than that. It’s about the challenges around Security of Supply and Sustainability and what they’re trying to achieve there, as well as brand reputation and brand enhancement. Those are the sort of conversations I want to have with customers.

What areas of growth will you focus on in this new role for Jaggaer?

When you look at the customer base, it’s a really impressive list. Jaggaer builds on the firm foundation of what was previously known as BravoSolution. So job No. 1 is to establish more value within the customer base as it is and really reinvigorating our relentless focus on customer success.

And then of course, looking at other industries that Jaggaer hasn’t really focused on in the past. Particularly looking at direct spend. That’s an area that I think is pretty underutilized right now. There are a few solutions out there on the marketplace. But I don’t think anyone really owns it at this point. And what I can say from what I’ve seen here already, the direct materials procurement solution is very good. That should start and initiate some interesting conversation with customers and indeed system integrators.

How will you draw on your past experiences specifically leading other procurement organizations and bringing it to Jaggaer?

The most important thing is asking the right questions of the customers in terms of what their challenges are. Many companies are on a digitization journey right now, but it’s a really confusing technology marketplace because you’ve got so many new vendors and increasing acquisition/consolidation.

So, it’s a challenging landscape for CPOs and CFOs and CTOs. To be able to advise on a much broader level is where there will be quite a lot of interest. Give direction on what is a bit more visionary as opposed to reality.

And then I’m certainly going to be focused on attracting more talent, augmenting the great team we already have and driving the one-team mantra. Everyone pulling in the right direction.

This means we’re not confusing the customer, it’s all about simplification in my mind. When you’re talking to a customer, you have to really listen. Just understand what they’re trying to achieve and the challenges they have, particularly now. And then be able to sort of sit back and think, right, “How can I help this customer based on what I know works and what doesn’t?” I would hope I can offer a more holistic perspective as a consequence.

Working with customers a lot, you may have a different perspective. Has the Covid pandemic changed how customers are searching for value, particularly with procurement technology?

People have to move quickly. The need for speed is critical if you want to react effectively. Organizations have to move at a pace to be able to make decisions quickly based on information and data. So there’s been a real drive to look at what technology is out there, to be able to deliver that level of information across all categories. This is the real goal, which then allows you to be make a decision that’s going to impact the business strategically.

That means getting transparency and visibility of all your spend across every category. It means being able to analyze and interrogate that data and then be able to come out with actions that are really going to make a difference very quickly. You will see a push on AI, you will see a push on RPA. This is not a pie in the sky anymore. This is actually happening.

It’s very clear now, that there’s no way that procurement can continue this level of transformation at pace without having the technology supporting it. It’s impossible. And that’s why the boards are pushing down upon the CFOs, and now the CPOs, and saying, “What are you digging up? Are you doing something with AI now? Are you doing something with RPA? Have you got a complete view of your spend now? How are you protecting our brand? How are you mitigating risk in the supply chain?”

So the procurement function has finally become a strategic function, but it won’t be able to stay there unless it has the data and tools to be able to drive those outcomes.

What do you view as the next phase of procurement, specifically within spend management, which is Jaggaer’s specialty?

The procurement function is going to be much more technically knowledgeable and demanding, rightly so. This will be driven by a powerful view of what they want to get out of their roles. What is my purpose? What am I actually delivering and what impact is it making?

I always tell this story, when my son said to me, “What is it that you do?” I thought about this and replied, “Well I actually help companies buy more ethically and sustainably, which helps create a better world.” That’s what we do. That alignment into the procurement function, how they’re reskilling, how they’re attracting new, diverse talent. It’s a really nice combination. It’s a very exciting space to be in right now.

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