Down the Procurement Pub with BravoSolution, Exari, Cameron’s Negotiation and Anais Mitchell

Not much socialising this week to be honest, half-term and trip to see parents, so here is a pic from a couple of weeks ago when Raj Sharma from Public Spend Forum in the USA was over and we had a quick early dinner with Sarah Clarke of BravoSolution at Canteen near Waterloo. You will notice Sarah isn’t even drinking … not all our social occasions are drunken affairs, you know! And a final reminder – I think there are two tickets left for the first BravoSolution Real World Procurement session of 2016, next Wednesday 24th at 11am in London, when I will be talking about “Putting Suppliers at the Heart of the Organisation”. This might just make you re-consider your whole approach to procurement …

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On the BravoSolution note – the firm now has a new “knowledge partnership” with the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply. That means all sorts of useful resource is now available from the CIPS website. For instance, you can get the webinar Sigi Osagie and I did recently, indeed you don’t even need to register and leave your details to listen to our golden words of wisdom … and there are many other webinars, papers, case studies and all sorts of good stuff there.

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So will the UK leave the European Union? Who knows. But following the events of the last 24 hours, with an agreement still some way off, it is interesting to consider David's Cameron's negotiating position and performance in the light of best practice thinking. And one thing is clear - by making it so clear that he personally wants the UK to remain, he hugely weakened his position. It is a bit like telling your supplier as you go into the negotiation that "we really, really want to continue to be business with you, we really don't want to change providers" - then expecting to get that supplier to slash their prices. And in terms of many of the other countries; what exactly is their BATNA? Do they care whether we stay or go?

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Exari, provider of cloud-based contract management lifecycle management solutions, announced this week the acquisition of CMA Contiki, a Norwegian-founded provider of enterprise contract management software. Both firms are particularly strong in “regulated and project-intensive industries” as the press release says; certainly Contiki was very much centred in the oil and gas industries. Both are private firms so we don’t know the terms of the agreement; might the current turmoil in the energy, commodities (and indeed banking) industries have made the firms decide that difficult times mean scale is beneficial? Anyway, you can read more about the deal on our US Spend Matters site here.

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And back to the political theme – late last night, driving back from visiting parents in Durham, I listened again to the superb 2010 Hadestown album by Anais Mitchell. It really is a work of near-genius, a folk/rock/blues “opera” drawing parallels between the Orpheus and Eurydice myth and a depression era fable about a walled community. But one song suddenly struck me as prophetic given what is happening now in Europe and what Donald Trump wants to do in the US. Here is a live performance of “Why We Build the Wall”. The album version is even better, I would argue, as it makes use of the amazing bass growl of Greg Brown. (In either case, do listen to the words).

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