First thoughts on eWorld Purchasing & Supply technology conference

Westminster tubeYesterday saw eWorld return to the QE2 Conference Centre in Westminster. Here are some first impressions – we’ll have some more detailed features from some of the key presentations to follow over the next couple of weeks.

  • The attendance was very good, well up on this time last year I would say – “over 300” I was told and there were certainly over 200 delegates in the keynote at 9.30am, which was pretty impressive. When parallel sessions were held, most got around 30-40 people, but SAP had around 100 (see below).
  • Sponsors included many big names (SAP, Xchanging), UK leaders (Proactis, Wax Digital), firms looking to build on success elsewhere and make their mark in the UK (Gatewit, Scanmarket) and some very new names to me – SourceDogg making quite an impact with their very cute freebie cuddly toys (dogs). They’re a young Irish firm - we’ll cover them further soon.
  • Most of the vendors I spoke to were reasonably happy with the footfall and seemed to have picked up some decent leads – “not CPOs generally”, but “more genuinely interested prospects than previous years” were comments I got.  But of course delegates do spend much of their time in the presentation sessions. Talking of which...
  • Remko van Hoek's keynote was very enjoyable and interesting. He looked at how procurement functions should and could change their focus away from a purely savings focus and align themselves with business needs. Yes, I know we’ve heard that before, but he had some very good thinking and approaches I haven’t seen before. Definitely more on that to follow, but well done to him for engaging a large group first thing in the morning!
  • SAP / Ariba presented a view of their forward product strategy that was essential viewing for their  clients.  SAP products will be offered on premise , Ariba on demand is the very short summary, but there’s a bit more to it than that, so more to come on that topic certainly.
  • A good friend of mine came out of one firm's presentation (not one mentioned in this article I should stress). “That was the worst f*****g presentation I’ve ever heard. If I’d done that 10 years ago, it would still have been out of date”.  Why do firms spend a 5-figure sum to cover sponsorship fees, travel, staff time, and then get one of their team who isn’t a good speaker to present dull, boring, or out of date material?
  • So advice to sponsors - get a good speaker, even if it costs you a bit, or (even better), rope in a client to perform!  Iasta did just that and the case study from a senior Hitachi procurement executive was genuinely engaging and had the great benefit of being real.
  • It is such a weird venue – up and down in the lift between 2nd and 5th floors. I don’t like it, but the location is good and all in all, I think this has become pretty much a “must attend” event if you’re interested in catching up with a lot of solutions providers quickly and finding out what is going on in the industry. A worthwhile day even if I had to come home and write this rather than going on for drinks.. apologies to those who offered!

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  1. Trevor Black:

    I couldn’t agree more. I think I was also at the “worst presentation ever heard” but the amazing thing is that it finished in less than 10 minutes and had most people wondering why they had bothered. The growth in procurement software organisations offering varied options brought it home that purchasers need to carefully consider their business needs before going out to the market. Overall a very worthwhile event.

    1. Planbee:

      Only 10 minutes? Yes that was the one.

      Best thing about it was the mercy that it only lasted 10 minutes.

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