A High-Definition Event from Ivalua in Paris!

The Ivalua On Air event yesterday in Paris was an impressive demonstration of the ambition as well as the capability of the firm, which markets a broad software suite covering a wide range of spend management, procurement and supply chain activities.

That ambition includes an objective to reach 100 million Euro revenue by 2019, from around 24 million Euro this year, which assumes growth of some 40% a year. That is in line with past rates, so is achievable but challenging, and will require considerable growth for the firm in relatively new regions such as South America and Asia. But early signs there are very promising, apparently.

Ivalua 2The event certainly felt like this was a 100 million Euro firm. Although the founders, who I met for the first time, show an appealing blend of humility and confidence, the event held in the UGC Cinema and the Lido venue next door on the Champs Elysees was a glitzy, but high-quality and professional day with lots of film clips, fancy production values, and lookalikes available for photos. Marilyn Monroe asked me to warm her hands (only her hands, I should emphasize ...)

The founders met at high school 30 years ago in Paris by the way, then got back together again when they were 30years old to start the firm in 2000, and five of them still hold senior positions in the firm  - it's a great story and explains the obviously strong cohesion and culture of the firm!

There were 600 people registered, and we suspect more like 400 turned up (still very impressive) for a combination of product development announcements, customer presentations, discussions and demonstrations. CPOs from Crédit Agricole, Bouygues and many other firms spoke, and it was quite a French event – I managed to find a cup of tea eventually but cold milk was a step too far! Small cups of very black coffee was the preferred beverage. It's also the first time I've experienced simultaneous translation – it worked fine but it is quite tiring (some sessions were in French, some in English).

Coming back to the content, the product announcements were pretty extensive. Some are what you might expect in continuous improvement, such as UI developments, others are clearly about catching up with the leading competitors, such as clever invoice handling tools, but others are truly innovative and leading-edge. The Add-On store concept, a library of templates, connectors and apps that capture best practice particularly caught our interest and we will come back to a number of those developments in another article.

There were a range of customer testimonials, and one highlight was a discussion with two major product users, one being Blaine Hurley from Whirlpool. He is the the newly crowned Spend Matters "coolest man in procurement,
" with a voice that could make him a fortune in the voice-over business. But coolness aside, he is implementing Ivalua at Whirlpool, a huge global programme, which includes much of the suite plus some innovative new uses for the platform. More on this to come too.

Product demonstrations were made interesting by a mix of film and live sketches, illustrating different features of the product. We particularly liked James Bond and Q, with Q showing Bond how to order using the new catalogue facility - order guns, grenades, helicopters, and of course champagne! Very clever - “punchout Bollinger” anyone?

A firm with a sense of humour as well as very strong technology and a positive culture - that's a good combination. And more to come soon on the event.

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