Down the Procurement Pub with Ivalua, Apttus, Crossrail, Awards and Stereo Honey

Raj Sharma, founder of Public Spend Forum was in town yesterday, from Washington DC, and we had a very interesting session with Ian Makgill of Open Opps (we wrote about what they’re up to here). The work was continued over lunch (also including my colleague Nancy Clinton) at Tozi, Venetian-style tapas in a restaurant attached to the Park Plaza Hotel at Victoria, but much better than you might expect from that description. Following a very positive review from Jay Rayner this week, it was pretty busy but both service and food was great, and it is not ridiculously pricy either.

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Ivalua, one of the leading procurement suite software providers, announced “Release 160” which  introduces new innovation across the source-to-pay process with an emphasis on direct materials sourcing and procurement, contract management and procure-to-pay. There are advances in guided buying capabilities and direct materials transactions as well as cross-catalogue search for products and services, multi-tax capability at invoice line level as well as eInvoicing compliance for post audit countries … all sorts of goodies added to what is already (according to our US colleagues SolutionMap analysis) one of the very best products around. Read more here about the release.

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So Crossrail is going to be delayed for a year or so. The Guardian reported that “London transport bosses will meet Treasury officials on Thursday to discuss extra funding for the £15.4bn Crossrail project, after a delay to its opening was announced last week. The overrun on the central section could approach a year, it has emerged, with the revised target for the opening of the new Elizabeth line now the end of autumn 2019 instead of December this year”.

That’s despite the people in all of these quasi-public sector rail bodies earning huge salaries compared to civil servants, doctors, teachers and other public servants. HS2 is clearly going to be a bordering-on-the-infinite money-pit, and we just get the feeling that anyone with any rail expertise is going to milk the taxpayer for everything we’ve got over the next few years.

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Apttus, whose contract management software is aimed more at the sales side of contracting (“quote to cash”) than procurement really, but does cross over, announced that Thoma Bravo, a leading private equity investment firm, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire a majority interest. Apttus is also part of the broader Salesforce ecosystem. “Apttus’ platform is the commercial backbone for many of the largest companies in the world and we look forward to taking incremental strides in delivering the best possible customer experience” said Holden Spaht (great name) from Thoma Bravo.

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I hadn’t realised the event had come round again until yesterday when I was asked whether I was attending the CIPS Awards next week. Back when I was relevant and important, I used to get invited ... Oh well (wipes small tear from corner of eye) … anyway, it was always an expensive night even if I wasn’t paying for the ticket, what with the hotel, the overpriced drinks after dinner etc. But very good luck to all the short-listed organisations and individuals – have a great evening!

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Continuing our highlights of some lesser known but promising bands form Reading Festival, this is Stereo Honey on the BBC Introducing Stage. Very much an early period Wild Beasts vibe and none the worse for that.

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