Procurement Industry Events Need to Change with the Times

Having just completed a busy procurement conference season this Autumn, we were intrigued by this guest article from Bastiaan van Drempt of Coact Consulting. Coact Consulting Group is a Business Transformation consultancy focused on enabling strategic partnerships. Bastiaan held an executive director position at Goldman Sachs for 16+ years within its Derivatives business. We met Bastiaan at the recent eWorld conference and talked about the structure and effectiveness of customer conferences.  He said:

Businesses are increasingly taking a zero-based budgeting approach towards their growth strategy. It is understood that repeating the same formula is not a recipe for future success. Organisers of industry forums need to adjust their approach.”

Which prompted the following article from him:

The future of the profession requires us all to expand our skill set, mindset and network.  There is a need for continuous data, content and information sharing to be focused on quality rather than quantity. The reality often falls short.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is relevant to all industries with technological capabilities ranging from Advanced Analytics, Internet of Things or Cloud Technology to Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity and Smart Contracts. This new and exciting progressive era welcomes a shared opportunity for people, as well as companies, to procure innovative solutions to future-proof their commercial value proposition. And event management companies are ideally positioned to facilitate this through collaboration, innovation and transformation by providing a platform for information exchanges, network expansion and creation of new ideas.

However, to achieve the ‘Gold Standard’ of summit, forum or workshop, adopting an ‘Outside In’ approach could be highly beneficial. This would involve the participants taking centre stage to drive the agenda, rather than the agenda being developed and the participants moulding around it. Putting the customer first – in effect. Adopting this approach to event organisation attracts a thriving ecosystem of participants across the spectrum to encapsulate the blueprint for organisational change cross industry.

To complement this, encouraging strategic partnerships between event management companies and a network of universities, membership associations, charities and consultancy firms will ensure that event participants are exposed to as diverse a range as possible of capabilities, insights and experiences.

Following the same formula over and over again, without investing in new approaches, is not the right recipe for future success. Organisers of industry forums need to adjust their method to maintain a participant-centric agenda. Taking the following steps into account could help:

  • Survey: Engage with organisational representatives such as CPOs to ‘Know Your Client’ both offline as well as online. Technology does not replace physical connections. Action: Identify the deep-rooted problems businesses are looking to solve.
  • Agenda: Formulate a cutting-edge event agenda to align with industry demand.
    Action: Lead rather than follow with event theme, agenda and content.
  • Facilitators: Keynote speakers attract crowds but also engage specialists within their fields to facilitate two-way Q&A seminars with an emphasis on continuous learning.
    Conduct in-depth research to identify, select and entice facilitators who ‘have been there, seen it and done it’.
  • Training: Management consultancies co-develop training programmes with firms to complement core initiatives.
    Incorporate strategic topics into the programme
  • Insight: Maintain contact with event participants to create profiles, pen portraits and attendee segments for analysis purposes.
    Action: Track event participation, measure attribution value and follow up to assess the impact (and ROI) from a visitor perspective.
  • Newsletter: Create a repository of news stories, facts and figures to move towards continuous customer interaction. Connect at an intellectual, enterprise and more personal level.
    Action: Leverage new technologies to discover, mine and disseminate ground-breaking sources of information to stimulate idea generation.

Industry events should be a personalised experience for participants, with event content, agendas and timings fully synchronised with their dynamic budget cycles. They should enable delegates to upgrade their market knowledge, seek strategic advice, exchange perspectives, raise their brand awareness, foster relationships and spot commercial opportunities. So effective access to both horizontal as well as vertical pools of knowledge will really allow them to see the network effect ‘in action’ and reap mutually-beneficial value.

Survival in the Fourth Industrial Revolution relies on successful business transformation, and that means procuring the right products, services and know-how which is vital for companies to thrive. Innovation does not happen just by chance; it is difficult to predict when ‘Eureka’ moments will happen, but there is more chance when  budget, resources and time are spent wisely. So event management companies need to Operate, Think and Act like a concierge service with information tailored to connect ideas with strategy and network to help achieve this.

Let’s make sure 'knowledge sharing' changes with the times.



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