Odesma Wins First Contracts, Recruits From Xchanging

We caught up recently with Ed Cross (pictured here), one of the founders of Odesma, the new procurement solutions firm we first reported on a while back. Cross, with Steve Trainor and Nick Ford now form a highly experienced senior management team – all worked until last year for Xchanging, after previous successful careers in firms including PWC and NatWest.

The good news for the firm is that they are starting to win business, having created the business in early 2015. You may remember from our earlier report that they are putting forward a model that is a variant on the usual procurement consulting and outsourcing model. Odesma proposes using interim staff to give a very flexible and lower cost model compared to traditional approaches – they use the term “virtual procurement”. As they put it, they help clients create performance improvement through:

“Deploying our Virtual Procurement Service (VPS) using the Procurement People Cloud and a network of technology partners. A tailored solution that delivers the benefits expected from a high calibre procurement operation at a significantly reduced cost”.

However, the biggest of their initial wins is really more traditional consulting, rather than outsourcing - they are working with a large and international firm looking at cost reduction as a priority. Cross says that Odesma won against competition from much larger and more established firms, and there is a real irony in the situation too. In order to resource the project, Odesma have recruited a number of category experts – and one source of people has been Xchanging itself!

With the recent changes there in the procurement outsourcing business, Xchanging announced that there would be some reduction in staff, and Odesma are picking up people from that source. Was there an element of schadenfreude there for the team, I asked Cross?

“Not at all, we still have many friends in Xchanging, we’d like to see them do well. But of course it has been helpful that some good people are available now as we grow” he says.

The two other contracts are with smaller clients who don’t have a procurement function currently, and want help to work out how to improve procurement performance; so that means consulting initially but it could turn into service provision in time. And as Cross says “we’re bringing technology too”, through the various partners Odesma is working with such as Hubwoo, Market Dojo and AnyData Solutions.

It’s still early days for Odesma, and it is still not clear whether they are going to be a competitor to the outsourcers (Proxima, Optimum, Accenture, Xchanging itself) or the procurement consultants (4C Associates, Efficio, Future Purchasing etc) – or indeed both. My take is that it’s easier to establish a position as a consultant than an outsourcer, but we’ll see. It is a promising start for them anyway.

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First Voice

  1. Anya@MarketDojo:

    We’re really excited to be part of the Odesma plan.
    The team are all really great to work with and we can’t wait to see what else they have up their sleeve.

    Market Dojo

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