The Fabulous Five Go To The Crown Marketplace Supplier Day

The Fabulous Five were having a lovely day out in London. Jeffrey led, as usual, guide book in hand, while Dan was almost knocked over by a taxi in Oxford Street when he was distracted by the girls going in and out of Topshop. Debs was rather scared, as girls often are, but she tried to be brave, and good old Jack just sneered at foreigners as she always did.  Tommy the dog had unfortunately been left at the station, as Southern Trains were operating their new “no dogs on a Tuesday” policy.

Suddenly the most tremendous thunderstorm blew up. The four friends had no coats or umbrellas, so  they rushed for shelter in a large building they saw with an open door. But a man in a uniform stopped them before they could go right inside.

“Are you here for the event”?

Jeff thought quickly. “Yes”, he said.

“So which firm are you from”?

Jeff thought quickly again, and said the first thing that came into his head.


The man looked at a long list and nodded. “Yes, that’s fine. Top of the stairs, turn right”.

The friends followed his instruction, and entered a large room with about 50 other people, with lovely free tea and coffee available. Having helped themselves to a cup, they wondered what to do next. But then a lady came over and gave them a piece of printed paper. “You might find this useful” she said.

The four crowded round and looked at the paper, which was headed “list of attendees” and had around forty names on it, each with a company next to it.

The big consulting firms were there  - McKinsey, PwC, EY, KPMG, Deloitte and some smaller ones like 4C Associates. Then there were lots of procurement technology firms – Basware, BravoSolution, Tradeshift, Elcom, Science Warehouse, SAP Ariba, Oracle, IBM, Virtualstock, Mercato, Proactis ...

George spotted another theme - big BPO firms like Sopra Steria, Atos, BT, Agilisys, and Cognizant.

“Then we’ve got payment specialists like Taulia, Tungsten, Mastercard, RBS, and Invapay. And some of the biggest technology-related firms in the world! Amazon, ebay, Salesforce …. What would make them all get together here I wonder”?

“I’ve got it”! Jack looked pleased with herself. “This must be the Crown Commercial Service supplier day for the Crown Marketplace Solution!  This is the all-singing, all-dancing technology solution that is going to provide everything a customer of CCS could possibly want - a catalogue, ordering, payment … CCS are finally starting the competitive procurement process and today is the day the suppliers can come and hear all about it”.

“But who are Cloudpipes, Inzenka, OE Cam LLP, and Reading Room”? Debs looked puzzled.

“Goodness knows”, said Jeff.

“I know”, whispered Dan. “They’re spies”!

“Don’t be silly”, said Jack sternly. “They’re probably professional services firms who support innovation, or help start-ups, or have some clever bit of technology  …”

”But if this is for a huge national marketplace, why have all these funny little firms come along? They can’t possibly win the competition”?

“No, but they think they might form part of a bidding consortium – Debs, do you know what a consortium is”? Jeff asked.

“Yes of course I do, I’m a top international commercial lawyer, you twit”, Debs jokingly replied. “Or they might also think they can win some advisory work with the bigger firms bidding, or they might just think it is an interesting couple of hours”.

Dan frowned again. “But why are Apple and Virgin here”?

“Perhaps they’re just sheltering from the rain too”!

“So who are those tall good looking chaps”, quizzed Jack?

“That’s John Manzoni, Malcolm Harrison and Matt Denham. I think they‘re going to tell us more about it now … “

(Tune in shortly for part 2 of the Fabulous Five and the Crown Marketplace!)

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