As many readers will know or have guessed by now, I find public sector procurement fascinating. Having worked extensively in both public and private sectors, as a CPO and consultant, I have a healthy respect for people in public organisations who have to navigate the specific regulatory issues there, as well as all the usual procurement challenges around stakeholders, markets, suppliers and so on.
So the prospect of a (long) day at a Public Procurement conference fills me with – well, maybe excitement is too strong a word, but certainly anticipation. How can you fail to be motivated by presentations such as “The Impact of Mandatory Public e-Procurement on CPBs: the Italian Experiences and Perspectives”?
I’ll be in Lisbon on May 27th for just such a day at the 2nd European Conference on e-Public Procurement, chaired by Professor Luís Valadares Tavares of OPET and University of Lisbon, IST Lisbon Tech. Two hundred or so delegates will be discussing matters of interest around the use of technology in public procurement, and I’ll be contributing a very short presentation of my own around the future of procurement technology and what it might mean for the sector.
As well as about 3 hours of free time for a quick stroll around a city I’ve never visited before, I’m also looking forward to visiting Vortal during my brief sojourn in Lisbon. They are a firm we’ll be featuring more here shortly, and one who are beginning to leverage their very strong market-leading position in their home market of Portugal into international expansion.
They have operations in Spain and Prague, which supports a major contract they hold with the Czech government. Last year they also won a major contract with the government of Columbia, to provide e-tendering solutions to public bodies across the country. This is contributing to growth of around 20% a year – as a private firm, they don’t release full numbers but they have around 150 staff, so they’re a reasonable size as well.
Vortal provide a “software as a service” based, ‘source to pay’ range of eSourcing and related products, such as contract management but including (more unusually for firms in that market perhaps) a strong supplier marketplace capability as well. Their customer base is heavily public sector, and certainly one impressive point about them is the depth of useful material they provide on their website – some of the most detailed analysis and guidance I’ve seen on the new EU procurement directives, for instance. (Have a look at that here).
More to come both from the conference and from Vortal – and if anyone reading this is attending the Lisbon event, please come and say hello!