Process and Best Practice Content

CPOs share tips, tough lessons at SIG roundtable event: ‘I manage IT teams and they see me as a roadblock’

CPO tips

More than 70 procurement professionals helped kick off SIG’s three-day Procurement Technology Summit by joining an online CPO roundtable discussion that yielded insights from pros in the trenches:

  • “I manage IT teams and they see me as a roadblock — until the regulators come and then they need my insights.”
  • “Don’t advertise how fast your procurement team can turn around contracts. They’re all different.”
  • “Some suppliers in the pandemic were shams.”
  • “It’s a Rubik’s Cube on deciding what decisions to make.”

Read more to find out what else the CPOs said and to see Coupa's nine tips on supply chain resiliency.

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One surefire way to derail your procurement digital transformation

WNS Denali

Alpar Kamber, head of Procurement Services at WNS, gives two very good reasons why procurement digital transformation planning and implementation fail. "Too often, we are required to spend time upfront unraveling past failed attempts before we can dig in and offer workable digital solutions for our clients," he explains.

Many firms are convinced that the key to their success is to find the right tool with the right functionality. They therefore change their digital toolset frequently, trying out the leading digital tools in the industry. When one doesn't work, they immediately scrap it for the next solution, often resulting in the same unsatisfactory outcomes.

Why the constant change? Because they started on their digital transformation journey without a long-term strategy. The problem isn't the digital solutions, it's their operating model, processes and programmatic approach.

The Sourcing Industry Group’s Procurement Technology Summit discusses diversity, sustainability and technology disruption in procurement

Last week, the Sourcing Industry Group (SIG) hosted one of its Procurement Technology Summit virtual conferences that brings thousands of procurement practitioners together to share the latest ideas and understand the latest developments in the industry.

The three-day event featured keynote speakers addressing diversity and inclusion, more than 30 discussions, and many sessions with procurement practitioners and technology vendors covering topics like sustainability, contracting and technology disruption.

The summit marked the 60th event for SIG since its inception in 1991. Over 1,300 attendees joined from more than 60 countries, showcasing the global nature of procurement in today’s day and age. The summit focused on procurement technology transformation through the lens of a post-pandemic world.

One common theme was a call to action: “The time is now.” This can mean anything from deploying new technologies to implementing a new diversification strategy.

Amid the Covid disruption, procurement is having a moment in the spotlight, and practitioners were eager to find out more about the concepts and technology shaping the industry.

Here are some of the highlights of the SIG summit.

Women in Procurement Wednesday: Rosalyn Curato on the important role others play in your career

To advance in any career, people need a mix of hard work, guts, intuition and a bit of teamwork to get the job done. Rosalyn Curato, the new Executive Vice President at the B2B accounting technology provider Lockstep, knows how important it is to advocate for yourself in the workplace. She says everyone needs to be able to “carve their own path.” Yet, Curato also acknowledges the importance of lifting up everyone around you to achieve true success.

She sat down with Spend Matters for the women in procurement series to discuss her path through finance and procurement, and the powerful role of women banding together.

Procurement in Practice: American Red Cross CPO tells how he crafts a ‘shared vision’ with his team, stakeholders (part 2)

American Red Cross CPO

In part two of a very candid and informative interview, Tom Nash, CPO of The American Red Cross — a nonprofit humanitarian organization, America’s largest blood provider and an organization with the size and scope of a Fortune 500 company — talks openly to Spend Matters about lessons from his experiences.

Having been a Chief Procurement Officer and Chief Supply Chain Officer for large corporations and nonprofits in four different industries, he is a firm believer in sharing what he has learned with others, like the need for stakeholder communication. “It’s something I didn’t learn about at the beginning of my career. It was one of those holes that you fall into before you learn to do things better."

Read more about how Nash approaches his first few months in the role to get everyone on the same page.

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CPO Masters of Agility (Part 1) — Actionable Answers to Complexity

2021 CPO Survey

It’s nearly impossible to overstate the impact of COVID-19 on our personal and professional lives over the last year. Friends and colleagues in India are currently experiencing unprecedented hardship with the pandemic, and although we’re all connected globally, we can only succeed with leadership, empathy and determination. Businesses like Deloitte are playing a role here, and luckily, we have a secret weapon called the supply chain that can help, especially with Procurement leaders who can harness the power of their employees and their suppliers to rise to the massive complexity facing us right now. But we need to move faster to meet the moment and prepare for a different future than we envisioned a year ago.

Even when the pandemic subsides, complexity is here to stay, and this is why we chose “agility” as the theme for our just-released 10th annual Global Chief Procurement Officer Survey titled “Agility: The Antidote to Complexity.”

Technology targets a problem in asset-intensive industries: ‘Contractor spend’ becomes unwieldy as use of extended workforce rises

Contractor spend

When people think about the external workforce, they often refer to contingent staff and purchased services, an area typically covered by legacy technology solutions like MSPs and VMS. But those don’t address a growing problem now: how to handle management duties as more outside workers are being brought into asset-intensive industries to maintain and upgrade plants or build new facilities.

A specialized technology is needed for an area that does not receive a lot of attention — the external workforce in the maintenance and construction fields, commonly known as contractor labor or contractor management. Driven by cost optimization, labor shortage and demand for workforce flexibility, more and more companies in asset-intensive industries are outsourcing jobs to contractors.

What is striking here that within this industry the spend for contractor labor surpasses the indirect spend — however, the level of attention and management is minimal.

Procurement in Practice: American Red Cross CPO has key request for each stakeholder — ‘Come to me directly with any problems’ (part 1)

The American Red Cross

In a very candid and informative interview, Tom Nash, CPO of The American Red Cross — a nonprofit humanitarian organization and America’s largest blood provider and an organization with the size and scope of a Fortune 500 company — talks openly to Spend Matters about lessons from his experiences.

Having been a Chief Procurement Officer and Chief Supply Chain Officer for both the Global Fortune 500 and large nonprofits, in four different industries, he is a firm believer in sharing what he has learned with others. “Especially for new CPOs,” he says, “so they don’t have to step in the same holes I’ve already stepped in.” Read how Nash approaches his first few days on the job.

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

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 the UK and 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.

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.”

Deloitte unveils its 2021 Global CPO Survey, finding that agility is needed to manage today’s risks — and rewards


Deloitte has released its latest Global Chief Procurement Officer Survey, titled “Agility: The Antidote to Complexity.” The survey comes out every two years to gauge the priorities, performance, capabilities, perceptions, plans and perspectives of roughly 400 CPOs around the world.

The 2019 edition of the study focused on complexity as the major headwind to procurement performance, and the 2021 edition focuses on agility as the critical emerging competency to addressing this complexity/risk. Agility isn’t a new idea, but the study describes it holistically; read on for some examples, an analysis of the findings and an interesting new twist to the 2021 edition.

Digitally upgrading procurement: How to build a business case for the transformation

digital business case

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Joël Collin-Demers, Consulting Principal at Pure Procurement.

There are a multitude of good reasons to modernize and digitize your company’s procurement function. However, the most important factor to ensure success is that your reasons resonate with the rest of your organization. Otherwise, you may very well find yourself in the company of a majority of organizations who have implemented modern procurement technologies but are not satisfied with the results.

Enter the business case.

Spend Matters releases SolutionMap Spring 2021 rankings of 75 procurement technology solutions

Spend Matters has updated its free SolutionMap rankings for the Spring 2021 release, with more than half of vendors updating their customer reference data. SolutionMap now compares 75 procurement technology solutions across 13 categories, like Sourcing, AP Automation, Spend Analytics and Supplier Relationship Management & Risk.

SolutionMap is notable because of its depth of analyst assessments, quantity of real-life customer inputs and frequency of release (twice a year) to accurately reflect vendor updates at the speed of the market.

For this update, we’ve refreshed the customer scores as needed, but we paused the update to our analyst scores because we’re reworking our vast RFI.