A selection of interesting and useful apps for your everyday use.
Buoyed by Procurious member Georgia Brandi’s discussion topic on productivity tools, we’ve come up with a few ideas of our own. Every day numerous apps are released into app stores the world over, but how do you know which ones are really worth your while?
My Destination iPhone and iPad (from free)
While My Destination isn’t the newest name on the block (owing to an already successful iPad iteration) – the iPhone version has just been released into the wild.
My Destination offers tips and insights from over 300 local experts around the globe. 100+ destination travel guides, an interactive map, and travel planner all number among its features. It will also save you from racking-up extortionate roaming charges because the premium version works offline too. The developer tells us that an Android version is coming soon.
It’s like having your own personal travel guide in your pocket…
Word Lens iOS and Android (from free)
You may have seen Word Lens in the news recently – owing to its makers, Quest Visual, being acquired by Google.
Word Lens comes to the aid of the tongue-tied traveller, knocking down language barriers with ease, and providing you with a greater understanding of the locale at large.
The app works by translating printing words using your device’s in-built camera. Plus with in-app purchases you translate anything from Russian to Portuguese.
You’ll soon be talking like a local!
Swarm iOS and Android (free)
The arrival of Swarm follows Foursquare’s decision to unbundle its services into two separate apps.
Swarm bills itself as ‘the fastest way to keep up and meet up with your friends’ – it takes Foursquare’s location-aware kahunas and uses it to notify you if anyone is nearby. Perfect if you’re attending a conference in a strange city and want to find like-minded individuals. It’s also a doddle to share a status, and let everybody know what you’re up to.
It’s currently available on both iOS and Android devices, but Windows Phone users will have to wait a little while yet…
TechSmith Fuse iOS (free)
If you’ve ever struggled to get photos or videos off your Apple device, then TechSmith Fuse might just be your saviour…
Gone are the days of clumsily emailing those holiday photos to yourself, Fuse utilizes QR barcodes to pair your PC/Mac with your favourite iThing. Thus enabling an easy import into apps like Snagit and Camtasia. All this is done via the wonders of WiFi, so your data allowance won’t take a hit – happy days!
The app requires iOS 7.0 to be running on your iPhone/iPad.
OmniFocus 2 Mac ($39.99)
OmniFocus 2 understands the pressures of the astute business professional… We’ve all got stuff to do, and balancing a healthy work life with home and play often takes a laser-like focus.
This app has been specially designed for the Mac user, and turns all those yellow post-it notes into one seriously organised workflow. It’s got a whole heap of features that can break your tasks/goals down into manageable actions and projects.
At $39.99 it’s not cheap, but what price can you really put on productivity?
Meeting with a competitor for coffee might not sound like something the boss would approve of. But perhaps you should think again.
Traditional competitors are putting aside professional differences to meet and share ideas in a new way of thinking that is gaining traction in workplaces around the world.
This approach is increasingly being referred to as ‘co-opetition’, which is a cross between competition and collaboration. And it’s enabling organisations to drive greater synergy and innovation in the workplace.
Co-opetition arrangements refer to organisations that would normally compete against each other understanding that they can gain greater synergies and competitive advantage by collaborating.
According to the executive education facilitator and program director at the Melbourne Business School, Dr Judy Kent, companies that draw a tight protective circle around themselves can fail to learn and grow. But those that subscribe to the ‘abundance’ theory are more likely to be open to new ideas.
According to a paper she wrote about co-opetition, it is sometimes referred to by analysts as ‘sleeping with the enemy’.
The paper explains that it can be hard to define competitive advantage these days with the blurring of boundaries through outsourcing and through alliances between customers and suppliers.
She writes: “These days, especially in the IT industry, there are whole cohorts of technicians outsourced to other companies. They are physically located in their customers’ premises and largely indistinguishable from that company’s employees.
Sometimes they don’t step foot in the company which pays them from one year to the next. Whose culture do they subscribe to? Which company do they feel part of? Where do they get their identity, loyalty and authority from?”
She continues by explaining that the boundaries are blurred even more as companies seek to partner with other companies that have traditionally been seen as the competition, now often referred to as co-opetition.
The paper explains that the word was coined by Roy Noordan, founder of Novell, and popularised by Adam Brandenburger from Harvard and Barry Nalebuff from Yale (1997). The pair designed a business simulation around the term which they describe as ‘a revolutionary new mindset that combines cooperation and competition, the game theory strategy that’s changing the game of business.
Dr Kent says: “Collaboration and establishing a strong network is critical for success in today’s commercial world. Competing procurement managers should come together and discuss their operations because more often than not, one and one makes three, and both companies can benefit from the synergies to be gained by looking at things through a different lens.”
The Melbourne Business School’s Procurement Executive Program has found that procurement managers from competing industries can learn a lot from each other to take back to their own organisations, but they know where to draw the line on sharing strategic information that should be kept in-house, she says.
Meeting with a competitor doesn’t imply that you have to share sensitive information with your competitors.
“You can have a relationship with them and discuss universal issues of people and process management without giving the game away,” Dr Kent says.
Interestingly, the Harvard Business Review Blog Network wrote about co-opetition recently. Author Marquis Cabrera wrote that sharing information is a good way to build trust with competitors in the lead-up to a co-opetition arrangement.
Cabrera says that these partnerships have also worked well for businesses that create new technologies given the high costs associated with research and development.
Susannah Thelander admits she had a sneaky peak in the dictionary on her first day of work in the procurement industry eight years ago. Because she wasn’t particularly sure what it meant.
She had landed a role with the tenders and contracts department of Victoria Police as part of the Victorian Graduate Scheme, where participants rotate through three government departments over a 12 month period.
Since then, Susannah has worked in private sector, public sector, consulting and now on a major infrastructure project at the Port of Melbourne Corporation.
She’s never been one to shy away from hard work. With a Bachelor of Arts (politics and philosophy) and a Bachelor of Science (maths and environmental science) under her belt when starting out, she’s since completed a Juris Doctor Masters of Law (with distinction) part-time, while holding down a full-time job.
She has her sights set on being a CEO or a senior executive in operations, perhaps, where she could broaden her knowledge of business and organisational challenges.
“I love the exposure procurement gives you to interesting activities across a business, and the opportunity to support these.”
However, the continual misconception that procurement folk simply follow process without considering whether their structures support the business frustrates her.
“Though in all fairness, that’s probably still true in some places. Procurement can often help with some of these pressures, but how well it’s implemented often comes down to the individual. If you’re passionate and engaged, you can find ways to be creative and show the value procurement can offer, even if you operate in the most constrained environment.”
Outside of work, Susannah likes snowboarding, bike riding, cooking and reading. She’s also about to start a group for young business women who want to learn to play golf.
And while she claims she’s not a great cyclist, she made the 210km ride to raise more than $3000 for the Smith Family to support children from disadvantaged backgrounds with their school expenses last year. Monumental, in anyone’s books.
“I’m passionate about the work of the Smith Family, and am looking for ways to be more involved with them this year, as long as it doesn’t involve me riding my bike a really, really long way again!”
Welcome to the first of our Procurious community updates – a place to fill you in on all of the news, developments, and announcements from Procurious HQ.
Procurious is currently in ‘beta’ – you’re helping us to make it better and iron out the bugs (hopefully there aren’t too many!) If you spot anything untoward or have an idea for a new feature, just drop us a line or comment below.
Hello to our 400+ members!
At the time of writing Procurious is only a couple of weeks young and we’re buoyed by your support so far. Here’s some quick facts:
On each visit the average user has spent 10 minutes on Procurious.
Procurious is proving popular in Australia, but we’re also attracting users from the UK and US too.
We’ve amassed over 26k page views to-date.
In February 2004 Mark Zuckerberg spoke out about a little-known social network. Something that was known simply back then as thefacebook.com…
Zuckerberg mused: “The nature of the site is that each user’s experience improves if they can get their friends to join it.”
Here at Procurious we believe the same thing is true, that’s why we’re keen to shine a little light on the inner-workings of the network.
Get others to join your network
To really get the most from the network you’ll need some buddies to share the experience with you. Fortunately we’ve made this easy: just click on the green ‘Invite contacts’ button to add connections from your LinkedIn account.
Once you’ve given Procurious permission to access to your LinkedIn account, select contacts to invite by clicking the tick box next to their name.
You’ll also be able to add a customised message to your invites before you send them. When done just hit ‘Send invitations’ and await their confirmation.
(Note: there’s a limit of 10 invites per day).
New feature: ‘User list’
As Procurious grows we’ll be building-in new functionality and adding cool new features. The first of which is the ‘User list’. Here you can see a list of every registered Procurious user, and choose who you want to add to your network.
The User list can be found in the drop-down menu, under your profile name.
We’re also working on implementing an ‘invite by email’ feature – we’ll share more news on this soon.
Flesh out your profile
So you’ve successfully signed up to Procurious – congratulations! But what next?
An empty profile is no fun for anyone. If you’ve already connected your LinkedIn account, you’re at least halfway to a richer personal page. Procurious imports most of your LinkedIn details, but you’ll need to update your dates of employment, and remember to save these changes before finishing.
If you haven’t added a profile photo, now would also be a good time to do it. People like to see who they’re talking to, and put a face to a name.
Have you checked out our learning videos yet?
Procurious isn’t just a place to network – you can delve into our learning resources and teach yourself a thing or two in the process.
All of the videos you’ll find on Procurious are available to view free of charge (we won’t ask you for credit card numbers or anything scary…)
Head on over to the ‘Learning’ page and check out the videos on offer. Each video offers a bite-size preview, so you can decide beforehand if you think you’ll enjoy the content within. Like what you see? Then it’s simply a case of clicking the ‘Add this class to cart’ button – remember, you won’t be charged a dollar/penny.
We’ve posted up a choice selection of photos from The Faculty’s recent FLiP 2014 event. Set against the glorious backdrop of Sydney harbour the event offered procurement’s brightest stars a valuable learning experience that was both engaging and interactive.
Our man Jack Slade talked to the assembled throng about all-things Procurious – talking through its inception, encouraging sign-ups and providing a guided tour.
Stay glued to Procurious.com if you want to be among the first to hear about forthcoming activities.
Spotted yourself? Share photos with your network by hitting the share button.
The World Procurement Congress 14 as told by Twitter.
Over 19-20 May London played host to the World Procurement Congress. Now in its second year the event brought together CPOs and thinkers in procurement and supply chain management from all over the world.
Here is what attendees have been saying about it on Twitter:
@AlanGleeson Standing room only for Bernd Huber & David Natoff from Google #WPC Prioritisation a key challenge.NB of category knowledge & responsiveness
@XchProcurement Where do #TailEndSpend savings come from? – Spend reclassification, compliance, demand management and automated processes, says Olivier
Procurement professionals need plenty of key attributes to be a real superstar.
We’ve called out five skills that are vital for anyone working in procurement. If you feel any of these skills are still an area for development, then it’s about time to skill up…
1 The ability to innovate
An innovator is someone that’s extremely creative, highly motivated and a leader able to visualise the big picture. They also understand that the key to a growth strategy is to develop and implement disruptive ideas.
Often also known as a pioneer, these people are often inventing new ways to do things and know how to solve problems by coming up with new ways to do things.
And in today’s hyper-competitive global marketplace, there’s a pressing need for procurement professionals to consistently remain ahead of the growth curve.
2 A serial strategist
Strategists are the ones in the workplace that understand that there are ways to work smarter, and set about finding ways to make that happen. They also believe in hard work.
Having a strategy in place rather than racing headlong into a major project is a major part of the job in procurement. Above all else, you need the ability to create a strategy and communicate it to the team.
3 A major influencer
Sure, you may be the boss, but a title isn’t enough to get people to do what you ask. Your ability to command others may be further diluted when you work in a team or across boundaries, which is why personal influence is such an important leadership skill.
Influence is the power and ability to affect others’ action, decisions, opinion or thinking. And it’s a vital part of the job for those in procurement.
4 A natural leader
Being out front and leading a team isn’t a skill that comes naturally to everyone. Good leaders can delegate, are good communicators, they’re confident and committed to their role. They are the role models in an organisation that others look to for professional inspiration, and are worthy of respect. Above all else, they’re knowledgeable in their field.
5 True commercial nous
This is something that all companies want their employers to have, but it can often be difficult to pin down exactly what commercial nous actually means.
Put simply, it refers to a person being commercially minded and able to translate their performance into tangible and demonstrable outcomes. It also means they’re aware of the issues and current affairs influencing their industry.
When making business decisions, those with commercial nous usually go one step further by providing actual figures or metrics that demonstrate how well they can monetise their actions.
We want to hear from you. Can you add to the list? What other attributes to procurement professionals need?
When your company motto reads “we don’t do group hugs” – you know you’re in for something a little different…
Unsuspecting delegates at the 7th Asia-Pacific CPO Forum took part in an emotional team-building exercise under the Sydney sunshine. Their task (should they choose to accept it) to assemble a brand new bicycle, but under the assumption someone from within the team will race the box-fresh bike. Little did they know what lay in store!
The teams built the bikes as normal using the supplied tools, parts, instruction manuals, pumps and other bits. However, before these grown-ups were let loose on their new wheels the big reveal was made and the new owners of the bikes were revealed…
Pinnacle Team Events works with schools and organisations that look after underprivileged children, and it is these children that are the recipients of the day’s bikes.
Belinda Toohey (Program Manager Training & Events) from The Faculty Management Consultants spoke to Procurious before the event proper. She explained:
“All along I had hoped to find an activity that wasn’t just about the delegates but would be community minded. The Faculty has a strong Social Procurement philosophy and we encourage good corporate social responsibility so I thought this activity would be a great fit, provide a touching moment for everyone involved and also give delegates the opportunity to network and work together to achieve an outcome.”
You can discover more about Pinnacle Team Events – the masterminds that made the magic happen, on their official website.