Down the Procurement Pub with Food, SAP Ariba, Johns and Soccer Mommy

Here is a scene from the SAP Ariba Live “analysts and influencers” dinner this week. I have to say; the male members of that exclusive club form a particularly fine bunch of dapper gentlemen – eat your heart out Clooney!  But I missed the big evening social event the following night as I had to leave on Tuesday evening – if anyone has any compromising pictures of top-level CPOs, analysts or software leaders then do let me know!

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Talking of food but on a happier note, this sounds like fun - buyer teams from leading hospitality and catering businesses will take part in an “The Innovation Den” (a bit like Dragons’ Den) during the H&C EXPO event on July 17/18.  As Hospitality and Catering News says,  “The teams will be led by experienced procurement professionals with budget to spend and contracts to award on both days of H&C EXPO.  The winners will be the artisan food and drink suppliers that present the best opportunities to work with the Buyer Teams”. Those teams include colleagues from marketing, sales and operations to help procurement evaluate the innovative products that will be presented to them and make sure innovation is the key rather than cost! And let’s hope the winning products are reasonably healthy too…

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Other snippets from SAP Ariba Live … it was great to meet Geraint John again, arguably still the best editor Supply Management ever had, now working for Gartner. That “analysts and influencers” dinner was fun, even if it was in the noisiest restaurant in the world … good chips though. Back in the hotel bar for a quick nightcap, I generously offered to buy the drinks. So, Geraint, Michael Lamoureux and I chose a beer each (6 euros) – and the young lady from SAP Ariba who was with us chose the Champagne Cocktail (15.5 Euros!)  You can’t really say no, can you?

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Back to the business side of the event, one of the demos in the huge exhibition hall was of a voice activated Alexa tool that would enable you to say “Alexa, approve this purchase order ...” and so on. Unfortunately, it wasn’t working as I passed through – perhaps because it was in that somewhat noisy hall. But voice activated tech is something that will be growing I’m sure. I don’t think it will be ubiquitous in every procurement activity, but you can see how it could be useful for certain processes and activities.

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I didn’t mind missing the final of University Challenge on UK TV (being in Amsterdam) because the tension of watching my old college perform in the final for the first time EVER might have been too much for me. And we won! So, congratulations to the St Johns College team, particularly the star of the show, Rosie McKeown – who incidentally went to a state college for her A levels, not St Pauls or Eton. Our captain was also state educated at a comprehensive in Ealing. An old Johnian is also the current Mastermind champion, and we are Head of the River in both the Lent and May bumps (rowing) races. My pride is overflowing … just don’t mention Sunderland football club.

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Soccer Mommy is actually Sophie Allison, a 20 year old from Nashville, the latest US quirky indie-girl to emerge and very good she is too. Her debut album is out, we haven’t listened to it properly yet but this is the very good “Cool”.

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