eWorld on Wednesday – Free Lunch and Strong Speakers

Wednesday is the eWorld event in Westminster, with a range of exhibitors largely for the procurement software world and a strong conference programme. But the really big news this time is not only do delegates get a really excellent bacon (or egg for veggies) sandwich on arrival but also a FREE LUNCH!!  It is not too late to sign up; entry is free to practitioners.

The lack of a lunch has been a bone of contention for some of us at what has become a really good event over recent years – and probably encouraged delegates to disappear off to the nearest Pret or the Westminster Arms, which was not good news for sponsors and exhibitors! No excuse now for not staying around and doing some useful networking.

We featured the keynote speaker Caspar Berry here, but there are many other highlights. Jim Hemmington of the BBC is the afternoon keynote, and he is well worth listening to. Not at all a “look at me, I’m great” sort of CPO, he is understated but one of those people that the more you hear what he has to say, the more you will respect his vision and his practical ability to make a difference in a really challenging environment (how do you fancy telling Oscar or Bafta winners what they can or can’t buy or do?)

Then we have Sam de Silva, pretty much the only lawyer to be fully accepted as part of the procurement “club”, he has been a CIPS trustee and Council member. He is talking about Brexit – but not just from the perspective of public sector procurement, but also the implications it could have for all and any organisation that is involved in international contracting. We suspect that is something not many procurement people have thought about but it will become a bigger issue over coming months, we’re sure.

There are also sessions led by knowledgeable folk from firms like Proactis, Xoomworks, Tradeshift and Basware. Have a good look at the agenda before you arrive; there are often three or four parallel sessions, so it is worth deciding on your key areas of interest before you arrive.

Finally, our own Peter Smith is going to be talking about procurement collaboration- that is the use of shared services, collaborative buying organisations and so on rather than collaboration with suppliers. He’s got some controversial suggestions about what should be happening in the UK public sector, we understand … and Jason Busch, founder of Spend Matters in the US back in the days of Abraham Lincoln, is also going to be around – not presenting but participating and happy to say hello if you want to meet him.

And our final piece of eWorld advice is this. Do spend some of the day talking to the firms who are exhibitors. They won’t bite, they won’t tie you down and force you to sign a £ million contract. Ask them what their competitive advantage is; ask them how they think their product can really help an organisation like yours; ask them why they are better than their closest competitor. You might get some interesting answers, and you will almost certainly learn something.

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