Down the Procurement Pub with Ivalua, the NHS, Coupa, Taylor Swift and White

The Ivalua conference this week had a cinema theme, and there were a number of look-alikes patrolling the venue, including this rather lovely Marilyn Monroe – picture courtesy of our colleague, Gert van der Heijden of Spend Matters Netherlands!


A cap of agency fees in the UK health service is being introduced. We’ll have more on this, but the maximum fee will be set at some 55% above the rate for permanent staff (to reflect the additional costs of being an interim). The announcement, as always, talks about “unscrupulous companies” and blames “the agencies” for the growth in costs – not mentioning of course that 85% plus of the fee paid by the hospital goes to the doctor or nurse. But it’s good politics to blame the agencies, not “greedy healthcare workers”.


Regular readers know of our love of music, so we particularly enjoyed a guest article here on our US sister site from Vengat Narayanasamy of GEP. He looks at the negotiation tactics used by Taylor Swift when she responded to Apple’s attempts to stream music on their new platform without paying the artists for 3 months. It’s not a perfect analogy with most business situations, but he points out how Swift got a number of things absolutely right in how she presented her arguments. Well worth checking out.


As you will have seen, we were in Paris this week for the Ivalua event, and we’re back again next week for Coupa Inspire! The agenda shows breakout sessions in the afternoon for both current customers, focused very much on getting more out of the product, as well as more general workshops. Plenary sessions include Rob Bernshteyn, the CEO, giving the keynote. We hope we might see some of our friends and readers there; do come and say hello if you are attending on Thursday 22nd at the Westin Vendome Hotel, next door to the Louvre.


White (not a good name for Googling) are a fairly new Scotish art-pop band, although the members have been around for some time in other groups. Their sound is influenced by mid period Bowie, the Associates, 80’s glam-pop, and more contemporary rock / dance acts such as Wild Beasts and LCD Soundsystem, and they are “hotly tipped”. Remember, you heard about them first on Spend Matters! This is really good anyway.


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