BravoSolution Customer Conference – Case Studies Prove A Big Hit

So you may well have already seen my colleague Jason Busch's excellent missives from the BravoSolution conference at Wotton House near Dorking, England. He's much better than me at blogging in real-time, clearly. But let's give you my perspective after day one of the two-day customer event.

There are around 200 people here -- quite a few Bravo staffers of course but the vast majority real live customers, from many different parts of the world. The firm does not use integration partners in the way certain other large software firms do, so it really is staff and customers plus a few hangers on and speakers like Mr. Busch and me.

It's well and professionally staged, without much sign of a conference agency or the like; you really get the feeling that BravoSolution like to guarantee the quality by doing things themselves, particularly when customers are involved  (maybe implementation is similar thinking)? Seeing really quite senior people organising us getting onto coaches to the evening function suggests this is not a firm full of over-inflated egos!

On to the actual working part of the day. Jim Wetekamp, the CEO,  gave a strong keynote to open the event. He talked very much about the future of procurement and related that towards the end of his session to where the Bravo product is going, rather than majoring on the product itself. We are getting more of that today however, with the firm looking to establish themselves as leaders in the true "source to pay" space (as Jason described here).

I'm somewhat cynical about "futurists" and the like but I really enjoyed Mike Walsh's (picture above) session and found it stimulating. There were several moments when I thought "yes, he's right, I hadn't thought of it like that" which is all you can ask of this type of presentation. For instance,  "Apple's earpods aren't earphones, they are implantable devices. Kids are never going to take them out" he says. We will have more on his session in a future article.

Both Jason and I spoke yesterday, Jason filling in for a late drop-out with his mind-blowing run-though the Blockchain story, but we will pass on our contribution for now. My music quiz was a big hit though. But the two case studies in the afternoon were in some ways the highlight of the day - very interesting, even if they came from totally different organisations.

bravo-4Christoph Bregulla from LafargeHolcim spoke about implementing BravoSolution, primarily the sourcing capability,  done very rapidly and successfully. And Kevin Bates from NHS England talked about using Bravo analytics (and some other capability) to drive better spend visibility, procurement performance and reporting in a very large UK public sector organistaion. More to follow on those sessions.

Both of their presentations got far more questions than anything else during the day - the audience was really engaged and wanted to get into both high level thinking and the detail on how successful implementations had been achieved. It supported our theory that good case studies can be the real heart of a successful customer event - assuming you can find them and good speakers to explain the work.

bravo-2Last night we went off to Denbies Wine Estate, close to the venue, for a very good dinner and the chance to taste some English wines. I'm not convinced our fellow delegates from France, Italy and other major wine-producing countries were that impressed - but we thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience!

More to come soon on the event, and indeed we will continue to catch up on other recent conferences in coming days.

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