Happy New Year – and the Final Procurement News of 2018

A very Happy New Year from Nancy, Jenny, Peter, Jason and the whole Spend Matters team.  (We'll be back on January 2nd).

But just before you disappear for your very sober and quiet New Year’s Eve celebrations, a couple of news items from recent days that you may have missed.

1. The possible acquisition of Basware by Tradeshift moved a step closer as Arrowgrass Capital Partners LLP, the investment firm that owns around 25% of Basware equity, promised to accept an offer (if it comes) from Tradeshift, with certain conditions, including that the offer must come before January 14th and must be over €46.50 per share. That’s an important step for Tradeshift, and increases the probability of this transaction closing, although it still doesn’t guarantee that an offer will arrive. Tradeshift obviously has to have the cash available (comfortably over €500 million, not a negligible sum), and given the recent stock market gyrations and general downward trend since the first expression of interest, that may still be a challenge. But if it does go ahead, 2019 will see a major step in the re-alignment of the procurement software market.

2.  The Times reported (behind the paywall) on research around Blockchain projects that tried to get behind the PR headlines to see what the real benefits have been. But “…a review of dozens of blockchain projects by John Burg and Jean Paul Pétraud, of the US Agency for International Development, and the community health specialist Christine Murphy, found no evidence of the technology’s effectiveness”.

They studied 43 cases where claims had been made, but writing on the Merl Tech website, they said that despite a “proliferation of press releases, white papers and articles”, they found no evidence of the results blockchain were purported to have achieved. “We also did not find lessons learned or practical insights, as are available for other technologies in development.”  They contacted blockchain companies directly yet still failed to find real data on results and benefits. Now it may be that firms are just protecting their own IP; or perhaps blockchain is (in the main at least) more hype and hot air than reality? We’ll find out one way or another, we suspect, in 2019.

3. The Forces Network website reports that the UK’s Ministry of Defence is losing hundreds of millions of pounds a year in procurement costs because of changes in the value of the pound since the Brexit referendum. The devaluation of the pound has cost the armed forces more than £1.7 billion over the last two years, suggest findings by the People's Vote campaign, which calls for a second referendum. That is based on comparing the value of sterling recently against previous average rates. This is certainly indicative of one unfortunate fact - whatever happens next in terms of Brexit, half the population of the UK are going to blame the other half for every economic woe over the coming years. That applies whether we go or stay (after another vote) and is perhaps the most depressing thought about the whole issue.

On that note, Happy New Year anyway, and stay tuned to Spend Matters through 2019 as we keep you up to date on how technology, economics and politics affects our wonderful world of procurement …

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First Voice

  1. Secret Squirrel:

    Would that be the Blockchain story from El Reg I noted in the comments on the puff (It wasn’t an article, jUST marketing guff) you published in early December? Keep up please! http://spendmatters.com/uk/how-blockchain-might-revolutionise-the-procurement-process/

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