What a reception! Spend Matters UK / Europe hits the streets (and the pub)

Last night,  I joined Peter and what we thought would be a handful of our friends and supporters in the basement of a London pub to formally celebrate the launch of Spend Matters UK/Europe. It turned out that over twenty five people showed up for the launch party, including a number of old friends and acquaintances that I’ve known since the early days of Spend Matters (and some even from before). The energy and spirit behind our new little venture across the pond is quickly gathering momentum.

At the event, I had the opportunity to raise a couple of warm pints to our collective effort and say a few words with Peter about what the site would (i.e., inform, entertain and hopefully influence) and would not (i.e., lose objectivity or focus) do. But there was also some time for specific conversation on the state of the UK public sector spending as well, with some of our attendees who were present and past senior folks in government procurement.

Personally, I’ve found the public sector exposure fascinating over here, especially given the relative limited penetration of certain technologies and processes across government. Despite the historical British proclivities for public sector centralization – and some might say duplication of effort, especially during imperialism – the level of visibility that the centre of Government has towards overall spending feels to be even less than what is reported by the various Federal agencies and departments in the States. As evidence of this, I caught up with a former government executive who earlier in the day at a previous event had commented about the incredibly low visibility the centralized office (OGC) had into what the different branches of Government were buying.

This echoed the comments I heard from a current senior procurement official whose office oversees one billion in government spending, yet with a relatively low staff size. This individual had made the bold investment in a spend analysis system in recent years, something he noted that many of his colleagues in similar positions elsewhere in government lacked (and which he noted paid dividends relative to what it cost).

In any event, I can sense that the need for getting all the key people on the same page over here from a technology perspective is definitely in order.  I think our usual coverage of more advanced sourcing, spend analysis, supply risk, purchase-to-pay and related areas on the US/global site might be useful for the most sophisticated public and private sector leaders here, but for some readers, it feels like a sound education looking at the core principles of how to apply certain technologies, especially those centered on both spending and process visibility, will be helpful. In the coming weeks on Spend Matters UK/Europe, I’ll begin to examine the fundamentals of these technology areas as well as providers that both public and private sector organizations should consider.

Going forward on Spend Matters UK/Europe, my plan is to contribute two posts per week on the site - one technology and vendor focused and one having a bit more fun, looking and commenting on social differences (and similarities, in certain cases) between the US and UK (and European) procurement and supply chain cultures. As Mark Twain once noted, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” And to this list of “things” I might consider adding better spending as well.

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  1. William Busch:

    Click on “Comments” to link to the balance of Jason’s post until the minor link glitch is fixed….Cheers & Welcome!

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