eWorld — Agility and Connectivity, Some New Friends and Raspberry Blowing

Last week we were at eWorld Procurement and Supply, at the QEII Centre, London. eWorld takes place twice a year and is a really good opportunity to meet technology experts, solution and service providers, and to meet with senior procurement people (and it’s free to attend). It was packed solid with presentations, workshops and interactive sessions from some very well known industry experts, and there was plenty to take in and to discuss, like common issues faced by the procurement leader, the future of procurement, the digital world, collaboration, managing risk – the list goes on. But we found that the most common themes to come up throughout the day were Agility and 'Connectedness,' which we will elaborate on when we cover individual speeches.

Peter Smith (our UK MD) has been attending eWorld since (well! we won’t say when) but this was my first time – and alone. From the impression I was given from most of the delegates I spoke to, the event has grown in size and reputation quite substantially over the past couple of years, with a marked difference this year in vendor numbers. Almost every solution provider we know was there – and it was a very friendly affair – every stand made a big effort to be welcoming and the atmosphere was buzzing yet in a relaxed way – busy but enjoyable.

We (Spend Matters, aka ‘me’) couldn’t possibly get to all the sessions, the layout across several floors being one prohibitor, and the closeness of sessions, that is, it was a bit of a rush getting from one session to another given there was no space (not even a few minutes) to get from one to the other without being late. This ruled out being able to have a quick chat with a speaker after a presentation – which was a shame. But that was my only criticism.

In the next few days (for those of you who didn’t attend) we’ll have some drill-down coverage of the presentations we did see, but today, here is a quick rundown of what we managed to get only a taste of, what we missed but would like to have seen/heard, and a few other little gems.

A few highlights:

We didn’t catch the opening keynote from Martine Wright, Paralympian and 7/7 survivor – but by all accounts it was a truly inspiring start to the day, with a speech about change and how to get the most out of it in a volatile world.

Procurious (@procurious_) – the social network people for the next generation of procurement and supply chain pros -- was at the exhibition with its social media clinic. If you needed a little assistance with your procurement social media headache – the doctors were there to help (see picture above). I gather they got through a lot of patients on the day. They also had a storyboard artist there to ‘draw’ together all the thoughts, themes and topics that cropped up throughout the day from delegate input. Very interesting.

We missed Tania Seary’s presentation (Get Connected. Get Ahead) unfortunately, on demystifying networking, but again, feedback said it was a “rewarding and useful half an hour.” It was a practical presentation explaining why top performers have to connect constantly with new people to cultivate relationships and “shamelessly leverage their network!”

Proactis (did we mention they were the headline sponsors) had created a ‘Jargon Buster’ – a glossary of spend control and eProcurement terminology. They were giving them away at the stand – it doesn’t contain every term, it’s more of a supplement to standard glossaries and probably aimed at the procurement newbie in the department – however, it’s useful little thing to have on your shelf. An electronic copy should be available soon on their website.

The Lucy Brownsdon, Centre for Facilitation, workshop on Achieving Collaboration and Engagement in Projects was a well received two-part, interactive session, which by all accounts was “popular” – it delved into what practical steps can be taken to capture the hearts and minds of all stakeholders.

We did attend an interactive and rather upbeat workshop from Christopher Barrat of Greystone Partnership. He is an expert in commercial communication skills and ran a two-part session on Social Intelligence – The Leadership Skill of The Future. Social Intelligence, or SQ, he tells us, is what comes after IQ and EQ and makes you a great boss. Where I = Intelligence, E = Emotional, S = Social, and Q being the Quantity you have of each.

As a leader, IQ is your core knowledge of facts, business acumen, technical, financial; EQ is your understanding of the key players, yourself and the people around you; SQ is the effective deployment of both. Everyone found the session funny and enjoyable, it was especially good to see our friend Rob Knott of Procure4Health and now Virtualstock being dragged up to demonstrate a bit of 'people poking,' 'raspberry-blowing' and 'hopping-up-and-down' skills, which we then emulated. (This certainly did the job of making people feel more comfortable together, whether it's a social skill, I'm not so sure, but it was about having the ability to get along well with others by mimicking their tones and characteristics, to get them to cooperate with you.) So, everyone learnt a new skill (or at least, learned about a new skill).

Invu (the document management solution provider) – again whose speech we didn’t manage to attend -- had a media alert which gave a snapshot of its recent research results into SMEs’ supplier payments. A few stats stood out, like, 57% of businesses with a turnover of £50 million+ often make duplicate payments, and only 17% of finance officers are happy that their POP and AP systems can deal with fraud. The full report will be out by the end of the month. We’ll be talking more about the results then.

And finally, we discovered some new people at eWorld (which is what it’s all about) so you will probably hear more about them from us in the near future. Invenio is a fairly young, but already widely geographically spread, SAP solutions provider. It basically helps SAP users dramatically (it claims) reduce expenditure on procurement. We did attend their presentation so we’ll report further on this piece of software – the concept of which could be applied elsewhere. Causeway Technologies, who we did meet briefly last year but haven’t followed up with, has a cloud-based, eInvoicing system (Tradex) which witnesses 35,000 firms trading £5 billion a year via 15,000 transactions a day. So we will be having a closer look at them too - look out for that shortly.

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Voices (2)

  1. Nicholas Martin:

    Great write up Nancy.

    I attended eWorld as an exhibitor and thoroughly enjoyed the day. As I didn’t get much opportunity to look round, its useful hear some of the highlights.

    I thought the storyboard artwork was a great idea and a clever way to capture the ideas that were discussed.

    1. Nancy Clinton:

      Sorry not to have visited your stand – it was a busy day!
      I will catch up with you at the next one.

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