“The Robots Are Coming” Pub Debate – The Line-Up Is Complete!

We can now disclose the final line-up for your forthcoming pub debate on July 13th, 6pm prompt start, at The Clarence pub – a very pleasant location in a private room overlooking London’s famous Whitehall.

Our partner in the event is SAP Ariba, and we are very grateful for their support (and their food and drink on the evening)!  The motion for debate is this.

“This House Believes that Robots will Run (and Rule) Procurement by 2020”.

We will have four engaging speakers, two supporting the proposition and two against. Each speaks for just 8 minutes, no slides, a bit of rubbishing the opposition, some persuasive arguments, a bit of passion … then we have Q & A from the audience, and a vote to decide whether the motion is carried.

So, I am delighted to announce that the debate will be chaired by none other than founder of Spend Matters and procurement guru extraordinaire, Mr Jason Busch. We suspect that he won’t be the quietest chairperson we’ve ever seen, as we know he has some pretty strong views about this issue and the future of tech in procurement generally. He will no doubt manage to get some of his ideas across in the guise of being an independent chair!

Proposing the motion is James Marland VP, Network Growth for SAP Ariba. As we said in our last article, he understands the procurement technology space inside out, and is always thought-provoking and challenging, lightened with a somewhat leftfield sense of humour.




Then, as previously announced, Lance Younger will be opposing. Lance has been a CPO as well as a CFO and is now Partner responsible for the Deloitte sourcing and procurement practice in the UK.


I can now confirm that supporting James will be … me. Yes, I am going in to bat on behalf of the robots. Why? Well, when they take over the world I can say “look, I was arguing your case back in 2017”, then maybe they won’t vaporise me.

And finally, supporting Lance and closing the debate, I am truly delighted to introduce Sarah Freeman. Sarah worked in procurement roles in the hospitality industry, becoming a global leader in the Intercontinental Hotels (IHG) Group Procurement Function from 2013-16.

She is now spreading best practice in that industry with EP Business in Hospitality, who work with a wide range of hotels and similar organisations. But despite her talent, of course she stands no chance of winning this debate against James and me …

Anyway, we look forward to a stimulating, enlightening and fun debate, all packed into an hour or so from 6 – 7pm, with a good chance for networking after that too if you want to hang around for a while.   And you can now register here – the venue is constrained on numbers so please don’t delay. Hope to see you next month.


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