Down the Procurement Pub with NHS SBS, Xchanging, Southwest One, State of Flux and Family Rain

Daughter and partner flew off this week to New Zealand for a combination of work (science reporting), pleasure and Christmas with his parents, so we had a sort of Xmas celebration this week. It featured a bottle of 1990 (daughter’s year of birth) Chateau Chauvin that has been in the cellar for many years. It proved to be a very enjoyable St Emilion, still remarkably fresh with decent fruit as well as the expected depth and body. Yum.

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NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS), who provide business support services provider to a large number of NHS bodies, has more than halved the time taken to pay NHS suppliers. According to their press release, “as a direct result of moving to cloud-based business platform, Tradeshift, just over a year ago, suppliers who use this platform are now paid in an average of 24 days instead of 42 – a 43% improvement in their payment time”. When we last spoke to SBS the adoption of eInvoicing was increasing amongst their user base but very slowly – we’ll catch up with them in the New Year I think and see how that is progressing.

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Just as Christmas seems to come around faster every year (yes, I know it’s a sign of our age), so too does the appearance of the State of Flux Annual SRM report. Titled “The Business of Supplier Relationships”, this year’s publication is very different from past versions (you can request a copy here). It is much thinner, and more focused on c-suite readers and helping procurement leaders enlist the support of their senior colleagues. “This year’s SRM research has found there is a direct correlation between companies that are leading in supplier relationship management and strong senior backing. 46% of leading companies say that SRM has the support of their top executives. It is therefore written with the c-suite readers in mind. We hope this will help procurement gain executive support and engagement, which is critical to SRM achieving its full potential for businesses”.

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The long-running and sad saga of the IBM Southwest One contract in Somerset hit another milestone this week. On Wednesday, the council issued a press release following a council meeting. “Somerset County Council has today decided to pursue an early exit from the Southwest One contract. The contract is due to expire in November 2017 but, following today’s decision by its Cabinet, the Council will be coming out of the contract early and bringing all services back in-house within the next 12 months. The returning services include ICT, Customer Contact and a range of other back office services”. More on this next week.

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Also more to come on the continuing sag of Xchanging's takeover offers. It now looks like US IT software and services giant CSC have won the day, with a formal offer of 190p per share, comfortably beating Capita's 160p. I'm pleased I didn't sell to Capita at that price, as 10% of the shareholders did, but Capita themselves are now sitting on a nice profit even if they don't win the battle for the acquisition!

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The Family Rain are probably a bit fed up when they see the huge success of Catfish and the Bottlemen. Arguably a “better”, somewhat more sophisticated, more musical indie / blues / rock band with a not totally dissimilar sound, they have not kicked on to major stardom this year in the way Catfish have. So will the resolutely unseasonal and rifftastic “What Are You Afraid Of” help them break through to the next level? Dunno, but we hope so, and we like it .

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