Down the Procurement Barn with SAP, YPO and Jack Johnson


We were in Suffolk last week for the wedding ceremony of my daughter and the young man who is now my son-in-law.

It was held at and in the Alpheton Hall Barns, which may be the oldest timber-framed barns in the UK, being at least 800 years old and possibly having originated from before 1066! The owner, a bit of an eccentric genius, was also incredibly helpful himself, and has installed catering kitchens and lovely loos while keeping the character of the place intact. We cannot recommend it highly enough as a beautiful and practical "DIY" wedding venue (you sort out the catering, drinks, decoration, etc yourself). The picture shows the main barn (there is also a smaller "ceremony barn"), set up for the dinner and dancing... A wonderful day and I'm still struggling to get back to reality somewhat!


SAP announced second quarter and half-year results recently and they were pretty impressive. " Cloud Revenue Growth Accelerates, Up 30% (IFRS) and Up 40% (Non-IFRS at Constant Currencies), Outpacing Competition" says the firm (I guess it depends which competition you consider).

And "Double-Digit Operating Profit Growth Continues, Up 13% (IFRS) and Up 12% (Non-IFRS at Constant Currencies)".  Although the numbers seemed pretty impressive, the share price dripped slightly – probably general market driven really – but looking over the last few years, it is clear that SAP has made the transition to “cloud” better than some other major software firms such as IBM. And the SAP solutions in “our” sector, principally Ariba, Concur, and Fieldglass, appear to be a significant part of that success.


The highlight of my speech at the wedding was when I asked if anyone knew what "procurement" was. (I had a joke about meeting specifications which maybe I won't repeat here...) To my surprise and delight, there were at least half a dozen cries of "yes" from the (almost entirely 25-40 year old) audience. Later, I had a very interesting chat with a lady who works in clinical trials outsourcing for a major pharma firm, and then talked to a chap who is an engineer in the highways sector but is getting into sub-contractor management and was wondering whether he was becoming a procurement person! Anyway, good to see procurement being recognised ...


So what exactly have they put in the water in Wakefield? After the recent tie-up with Amazon, YPO (the Organisation Formally Known As the Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation, as we will continue to call them) has now announced  “the first chatbot built to help public sector buyers.  The chatbot, Procurement Information Provider, or PIP for short, is an alternative and effective way for users to navigate their way through YPO’s services and discover the frameworks on offer. The chatbot demonstrates YPO’s commitment to lead the way in digital transformation in public sector procurement and forms part of an ongoing strategy to continue to improve customer online experience.

Paul Smith, Executive Director at YPO, said: “We’re excited to be leading the way with our digital transformation of procurement services for the public sector. Digital integration has been heavily promoted across the public sector in recent months and YPO is pleased to be at the forefront of this movement. We’re excited for the opportunities to improve many of our services with additions such as PIP.”   Try YPO’s Procurement Information Provider at


No hymns at the humanist-type wedding but the guests did attempt communal signing of two modern classics, including this, which is a lovely but deceptively difficult song to sing!

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  1. Paul Smith:

    Congratulations on the wedding Peter. Looks like a great venue.

    Watch this space… We have even bigger news from YPO to announce in the coming weeks. We’re only just getting started!

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