Repositioning Procurement in the Midst of Radical Digital Change – ProcureCon EU

The ProcureCon series of events has been running for some 15-20 years now; given that it includes ProcureCon EU, Indirect, IT Sourcing, Marketing, Pharma, and Talent & HR Services, in Europe alone, that’s a lot of events, and Spend Matters has attended and reported on most of them.

Leading service providers and vendors use ProcureCon because of its size and breadth of subject matter, and because it attracts hundreds of CPOs and senior procurement professionals who are the budget holders from Europe’s top spending accounts. A bit of a captive pool you might say, but that doesn’t deter from the array of independent advisory presentations, roundtable discussions and networking opportunities; i.e. it’s not just vendor-heavy. While vendors choose to exhibit and run networking events, there’s always a good range of speakers from the buy side too. So attendees get a good amount of knowledge sharing on past learnings and brainstorming on upcoming procurement-related trends.

For Spend Matters, the year kicked off with ProcureCon Indirect in Copenhagen. Here’s our overview of how it went and the key topics discussed. Next on our agenda is ProcureCon EU this October, less category spend specific with more of an all-round direct and indirect spend focus. ProcureCon say their agenda topics are heavily researched with procurement professionals to reflect the latest issues they are facing. So this year’s theme is ‘Repositioning procurement as a true value-creator in a time of radical digital transformation.’

It will focus on positioning the function, and the role, as a valuable business partner in the midst of change, being seen to create optimum value, through business insight and innovative ideas, and showing how your team measure up against the world’s top spenders.

Speakers sharing their thoughts on this include: Rahul Vijay, Head of Global Connectivity Sourcing at Uber, Mark Zafra, Head of Global Strategic Sourcing at Twitter, Sanjay Mehta, VP Global Procurement at Nokia, Jan Fokke Van Den Bosch, CPO at HSBC, Roger Gonourie, Head of Global Sourcing at Swiss Re, Robert Huter, VP Procurement at Bosch and Natasa Vidmar, Global CPO at Teva Pharmaceuticals – to name a few. You can read what they will be talking about in the agenda free to download here.

ProcureCon organisers WBR have produced a benchmarking report which complements the event, titled Driving Procurement Transformation. They surveyed 100 Chief Procurement Officers from across Europe to find out about the challenges they are facing in order to add value to their businesses through innovative strategic planning. The results are presented with commentary from the ProcureCon community and include contributions from the Head of Product Marketing at Opus Capita, the Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer at Icertis and the Head of Procurement at ERDINGER Weißbräu.

The report gives the results of key questions asked of the CPOs, the first being about the main criteria when selecting procurement solutions. Interestingly, the number one criteria is ’easy integration,’ followed by ‘ease of adoption by business users,’ not cost or breadth of functionality, which come much further down the list. Rowan Lemley from Opus Capita puts this down to:

“… the underlying goal is to see the solution up and running as soon as possible and that organisations fear large and long roll-outs. I think many of these responses point to a desire to see a low TCO. Functionality (in general), appears less important than TCO and ease of use. Vertical / industry specific functionality also ties into low TCO with more immediate value and less effort from the customer.”

In terms of what CPOs regard as being the biggest benefits of implementing digital procurement technology, the number-one answer was, not surprisingly, ‘increased efficiency.’ Again, this fares higher than ‘cost reduction.’ As well as questions about selecting and implementing procurement technology, the report also looks at managing suppliers and changes in regulation. If you’d like to read that prior to the event, it can be downloaded here.

ProcureCon EU takes place 15-17 October, 2019 at the Hesperia Barcelona Tower, Barcelona. See the website for more information and if you wish to register, you can do that here with 15% off for Spend Matters readers, just use code SPENDM19 when you book.


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