The Prodigal Returns – Justin Sadler-Smith Comes Back to Procurement with SAP Ariba

We heard yesterday that Justin Sadler-Smith is taking up a new role at SAP Ariba next week, as Head of the SAP Ariba UK business. (The previous job-holder, Dean Pathak, was recently promoted within the firm.)

Sadler-Smith is well known to many in the procurement world, on both the practitioner and solution provider side of the table, because of his many years with firms such as Manugistics, Emptoris and then IBM post the Emptoris acquisition. He ran the government sector for Emptoris with considerable success  from 2006-10 then held senior sales and general management roles at Emptoris, moving into IBM after the 2012 deal.

He moved out of our sector in 2016 to Duetto, an interesting software business in the travel industry, where he was EMEA sales VP, but the prospect of mixing with all of us great people in procurement again was clearly just too attractive for him to resist!

That’s not quite how he described the logic behind his move to us though. In his own words, “With the strategic partnership between IBM and SAP I’m excited by the opportunity to see realisation of the cognitive procurement vision IBM have talked about for some time. With the sponsorship of people like Bob Murphy (the IBM CPO – see our interview here) plus the investment going into that capability from SAP Ariba now, it feels like a great time to be back in this area”.

He also commented on the firm’s greater focus on direct materials, and what appears to be a more customer-focused attitude from the SAP Ariba top management generally, two points we also picked up on after our trip to the SAP Ariba event in Prague back in June (see our report here).

This looks like a smart move both for him and for the firm, in our opinion. Sadler-Smith is well known and respected in the UK procurement industry, and will provide a very credible and experienced focal point for driving the business here.

“I’ve been on a plane for most of the last 15 months, so that’s another positive” was his comment when we asked about that relatively narrow geographical focus compared to his current role.  I suspect one way or another he will be getting out and about more widely anyway; SAP Ariba has many global clients of course so he is unlikely to lack for those opportunities to travel!

We wish him success and good luck in the role, and look forward to hearing more from him in coming months.

(In late news, we also hear that recruitment firm Edbury Daley, whose market reports we have regularly featured here, may have played a role in the move ...)


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