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A great SIG experience: Releasing ’50 to Know/Watch’ and ‘Future 5’ lists at the 2021 Global Executive Summit

10/20/2021 By

After arriving back in Chicago from a wonderful business trip to California, I had to jot down my thoughts about the 2021 Sourcing Industry Group (SIG) Global Executive Summit. I was lucky enough to travel there last week with three of my colleagues from Spend Matters.

For most of us at the Carlsbad event, it felt so immensely good to be back in person with colleagues and other procurement and sourcing professionals. After 18+ months of Zoom meetings and remote connections, we had high hopes for the SIG Summit. And let me say —  it did not disappoint!

As this was my very first in-person event with SIG — which is hard to believe, given that this was its 61st summit and my tenure at Spend Matters has been almost two years! — I proudly displayed the phoenix sticker for newcomers on my name badge. I finally got to meet (face to face) several of the great SIG representatives we work with on a weekly basis, including CEO Dawn Tiura. The entire event was high class and well-organized. Dawn and her team truly left no box unchecked when coordinating the Summit.

I even got to take advantage of the color-coordinated SIG pashminas offered throughout the day; despite being from Chicago, the chillier nights in Southern California while we were there had me grabbing for one thankfully!

A big theme at the entire event was digital transformation within your organization, and more specifically, in procurement. In addition to that, we saw a great deal of focus on sustainability, ESG and people, profit, planet.

For example, my colleague Nick Heinzmann hosted a breakout session on “Beyond the Triple Bottom Line.” It included a recorded interview with Manjula Lee, CEO of World Wide Generation (you may remember Manjula and her organization from previous posts, including our “Women in Procurement Wednesday” interview).

Heinzmann, Spend Matters’ analyst team lead, focused on findings from our recent series of articles about ESG issues and technology.

“After more than a year spent in relative isolation, it was invigorating to see just how much progress organizations have made during this remote time,” Heinzmann said. “Just as exciting was to see the increased focus on infusing ESG with procurement practices. Counting our own session, SIG featured six breakout sessions on ESG matters, including a keynote speech. This reflects exactly what we’ve been seeing in our research — that ESG and sustainability are increasingly becoming part of the core procurement value proposition, and that the organizations leading this shift are examining their technology stacks to ensure they have the tools to get the job done.”

We heard even more about procurement being on the front lines of digital transformation from Shashank Saxena, co-Founder and CEO at VNDLY, during his fascinating lunch keynote session.

In another session, Donna Wilczek, SVP of Product Strategy & Innovation at Coupa, spoke with Dawn Tiura on the importance of ESG in business for the community of customers and partners, although many organizations are not always sure how to get started.

In addition, I was able to attend another breakout with Roger Blumberg of Jaggaer, Stephany Lapierre of Tealbook and Jose Gabriel Espinoza of California Water. They spoke on innovation, data and starting a corporate ESG program. It was a great way to wrap up the speaking sessions prior to our last celebratory dinner. SIG is working to make the recorded sessions available on-demand.

Beyond the insightful keynotes and breakout sessions, my mission was to hand-deliver the “50 Procurement Providers to Know” and “50 Procurement Providers to Watch” plaques to those on the lists who were at the Summit. For me, it was so amazing to meet various reps from some of the providers on the lists. I’ve been emailing with many of them for almost two years and learning more each day about their solutions, but to finally put a face to a name felt exhilarating.

In case you missed it on social media (but how could you?!), we got to meet and take pictures with a number of the listed providers, including Zip, one of the providers on our 2021 Future 5 list of noted start-ups. Zip’s booth next to us in the Innovation Hall, where it was a great opportunity for our team to catch up with providers and also to speak to practitioners about their needs. We even got to share a bit more with them about how companies can find solutions for their specific tech needs and get a shortlist of vendors using Spend Matters TechMatchSM.

My colleague John French was able to talk to many of the procurement professionals at the Summit.

“SIG did a great job of luring procurement executives out of work-from-home hibernation to have live face-to-face discussions on what the future looks like for their team and organizations as they create the new normal,” said French, who works on our Client Services team.

From all the great sessions and keynotes, to the fantastic meals, snack breaks and plenty of afternoon coffee to keep us going, I truly enjoyed my experience at the SIG Global Executive Summit. I’m already looking forward to the next opportunity for us all to get together.

If you missed out on the full release of the 50 to Know, 50 to Watch and Future 5 lists, catch up on a recap of them here. You can also take a deep dive into the Future 5 providers and the DPW DEMO2021 winners. Plus, don’t forget to check out the Spend Matters Almanac all year long for information and insights on more than 500 procurement technology providers.