Category Archives: Big Ideas Summit

Big Ideas 2015 Flashback: Investing in People

We’re looking back at some of the most popular ideas from Big Ideas 2015. Dapo Ajayi talks about the benefits of investing in people’s capabilities.

Dapo Ajayi, Chief Procurement Officer at AstraZeneca, a delegate in 2015, and returning again as a panel speaker in 2016, discusses her idea that procurement organisations need to invest in the capabilities of its people.

According to Dapo, procurement has the expectation of delivering exceptional results, but without investing in people, then the profession cannot be successful, either now or in the future.

The starting point for this is creating a different mindset in the procurement profession. This will help people see they can be the leaders the profession needs. However, this needs to start with the current crop of leaders.

 

 

Dapo also believes that platforms such as Procurious help this investment, as it provides connections in procurement on a global scale. By opening the minds of procurement professionals to what is happening across the broader business environment, in other industries and sectors, there are huge opportunities for development.

See more Big Ideas from our 40 influencers from the Big Ideas Summit 2015 on Procurious.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the Big Ideas Summit 2016, visit www.bigideassummit.com. You can also join our Procurious group, and Tweet your thoughts and Big Ideas to us using #BigIdeas2016.

Don’t miss out on this truly excellent event and the chance to participate in discussions that will shape the future of the procurement profession. Get Involved, register today.

Why Predictive Analytics is Changing Procurement’s Future

The opportunity for predictive analytics and Big Data in procurement goes well beyond spend.

Predictive Analytics in Procurement

Hackett’s 2016 Procurement Key Issues Study shows that increasing agility is a critical development area for organisations. It also shows that predictive analytics and forecasting tools are identified as having the greatest transformational impact on procurement in the future.

A confluence of high volatility, technology-led innovation, and hyper-competitive market conditions, has accelerated the rate of change in business to unprecedented levels. Agility is the key to success in this environment. In a procurement context this has four attributes:

  • Proactive Decision Making: Leveraging information and predictive analytics to improve the quality and timeliness of decision-making.
  • Value Chain: Industry leadership in digitising their value chain, including supply and demand chains, as well as internal operations.
  • Planning: Customer-centric planning processes and day-to-day business decisions.
  • Operational responsiveness: Permitting swift response to changes in the supply chain, customer preferences, the competitive landscape, and business strategy.

Overcoming Obstacles

However, accessing this data, information and market intelligence is a significant obstacle that must be overcome.

Becoming information-driven should be a primary focus area for procurement. The function must develop the tools and skills that will allow staff to apply market data and intelligence to decisions on spending and sourcing strategies. Creating deep, consultative working relationships with business leaders, demands that procurement bring this valuable expertise to the table.

This level of insight requires high-quality, real-time market intelligence. However, over half of the Key Issues Study respondents lack a formal market intelligence program or are in the very earliest stages of adoption. At the same time, establishing data governance and building a continuous improvement culture for data management and quality, are also tactics increasingly adopted by organisations.

Access to market intelligence, and ensuring that sourcing and supplier relationship management teams are using high-quality category and supplier intelligence, are prerequisites for agility.

Transformative Impact of Predictive Analytics

As procurement’s role matures from transactional facilitator to trusted business advisor, proficiency with the next generation of analytics – a.k.a. “big data” – will be a key enabler. Big data has been a game changer when it comes to customer analytics, offering an unprecedented ability to quickly model massive volumes of structured and unstructured data from multiple sources.

Good examples from the digital world include Google’s insight into customer behaviours and preferences, and Amazon’s ability to anticipate orders and ensure on hand stock to meet demand.

Source: The Hackett Group Key Issues Study 2016
Source: The Hackett Group Key Issues Study 2016

Predictive analytics refers to the use of statistical and mathematical techniques to predict the probability of future events occurring.

The predictive analytics and forecasting use case for procurement can be an increased focus on business outcomes, through greatly enhanced forward looking decision support capability; and automated and real-time information and analysis availability. Both of these are underpinned by greatly improved data quality.

Combining predictive analytics with cognitive tools will allow, for example, upgraded end-user buying experiences and automated sourcing actions to anticipate supplier and market events. It will also allow for forecasting of and acting to mitigate the impact of supply chain disruptions, and reduction of the severity of supplier risk events.

How do we respond?

As procurement leaders this situation poses challenging questions:

  1. What are the business outcomes and specific use cases for predictive analytics?
  2. How can we accelerate the organisation towards a single view of data and segmentation?
  3. Do we need to access new sources of meta and domain data?
  4. What is the value from faster, more frequent and higher quality information and insight?

Taking advantage of advanced analytical tools and methods requires appropriate staff with the skills to use them, as well as new technology roles, aligning business agendas, and elevating the overall level of technology knowledge. Future talent management plans should reflect the importance of training and hiring staff to handle the sophisticated analytical tools and methods, to deliver the full potential of Big Data.

Analytical projects are not without challenges. Procurement leaders who have not already started down this path should use the high-stakes competitive environment of 2016 as a burning platform.

About Hackett’s Procurement Key Issues Study

The results of this annual study are gathered from executives from over 180 large and global companies operating in the US, Europe and rest of the world, with annual revenue of $1 billion or greater. Find out more at the Hackett Group website.

Chris Sawchuk will discuss why procurement needs to be more agile during his keynote address at the Big Ideas Summit on April 21st.

If you’re interested in finding out more, visit www.bigideassummit.com, join our Procurious group, and Tweet your thoughts and Big Ideas to us using #BigIdeas2016.

Don’t miss out on this truly excellent event and the chance to participate in discussions that will shape the future of the procurement profession. Get Involved, register today.

Showcasing Your Big Ideas – Addressing Supplier Compliance

Ahead of the Big Ideas Summit 2016 on April 21st, we’re on the hunt for your Big Ideas. Market Dojo discuss why they think 2016 will see an increased focus on supplier compliance.

At the Big Ideas Summit 2016, which takes place on 21st April,  we will be asking our speakers and attendees to record their ‘Big Ideas’ live on camera for the whole of our Procurious community to see.

But we also believe that every single procurement and supply chain professional has a unique vantage point in the industries, communities and businesses they work in. You have been submitting your Big Ideas to us, and so far, we think they have been great!

Market Dojo, e-Sourcing Software Provider

Market Dojo believe that in 2016, organisations will be required to have an increased focus on supplier compliance, throughout their supply chains.

With new regulations and policies coming into force, particularly around Modern Slavery in the supply chain, organisations will need to get to grips with their supply chains, and understand how their supplier operate. This will not be limited to Tier 1 suppliers, but throughout the supply chain.

Companies will need to take steps to increase supplier compliance. This can be helped by having simpler, and more user-friendly, supplier engagement systems.

How to Submit Your Big Idea

We don’t mind if you film your submission on your phone, tablet, laptop or PC. However, to help you out we’ve compiled a list of some of our recommended methods for reaching out.

Once you’ve completed your film, you can reach us by email (Procurious@Procurious.com); on Twitter (@procurious_) or via Google Drive or Dropbox (using Procurious@Procurious.com).

You can find all the information you need on recording and submitting your Big Idea here.

Want to know more about Big Ideas 2016? Then visit www.bigideassummit.com, join our Procurious group, and Tweet your thoughts and Big Ideas to us using #BigIdeas2016.

Don’t miss out on this truly excellent event and the chance to participate in discussions that will shape the future of the procurement profession. Get Involved, register today.

Big Ideas in Big Companies

Making significant changes in a business can be challenging and is often especially difficult in big companies where it’s hard to get your voice heard, and break through protocol and resistance at the top.

Big Ideas Big Companies

Here at Procurious, we’ve been asking for you to submit your Big Ideas ahead of our Big Ideas Summit 2016.

We firmly believe that every procurement professional has a unique vantage point in the industries, communities and businesses they work in. Your Big Idea, inspired by some of the amazing experiences and insights you have, could be the one to change the face of the procurement profession.

Red-Tape and Resistance

However, getting your ideas heard and implemented is often easier said than done. Change can be implemented more readily in smaller businesses or start-ups, where there are fewer employees and greater flexibility, and roles are more diverse or interchangeable.

In big companies there is more red-tape and resistance to change. It can be difficult to make your voice heard by the right people when there is a fixed hierarchy and more stakeholders to consider. If you want to be a game-changer in a big company, having communication skills and the confidence to assert your innovative ideas is key.

As for the people at the top of these organisations, it’s their task to ensure they are inspiring intrapreneurship and considering the potential for great ideas to come from anyone, and anywhere, whether it be a graduate or a supplier.

Communication

People at the top need new ideas and new perspectives, so the chances are they will appreciate an employee taking the initiative to pitch an original idea. If you are fortunate enough to have this opportunity, don’t be complacent. Prepare, rehearse and ask for feedback from colleagues and friends.

It is crucial to deliver a slick and compelling pitch, which captures the attention of those listening. How you sell your idea, and convey your passion for it, will make all the difference.

Your audience needs to know what is so great about your idea, how it stands out, and if it will be worthwhile. You should consider how this change can be implemented within your organisation, and how you can measure its success.

What problems does this idea solve for your business? If you can’t articulate these points in a concise and convincing way, your voice won’t be heard and your ideas will be discarded, no matter how fantastic they are.

Commitment to Your Big Idea

Excellent communication, despite its importance, might not be quite enough to seal the deal with your Big Idea. It often takes greater persistence than just one great pitch.

Big companies, and those at the top of those big companies, can be averse to change and reluctant to take risks particularly if the change proposed is a big one. Chris Lynch, CFO at Rio Tinto, believes that, in larger companies, “the bigger the idea, the greater the resistance.” A flawless business plan might not be enough to relieve any hesitancy your employers have.

Your confidence, passion and perseverance are key. If you give up at the first hurdle, your idea can’t have been worth fighting for, and colleagues or employers will doubt you ever had the courage of your convictions.

Additionally, you can demonstrate your drive and commitment by doing your homework. Don’t get caught out by not being up to speed and seeming unprepared. Make sure you’ve done the background reading, made contingency plans and considered every eventuality. Again, your audience will be impressed by your motivation.

It can take years for an idea to come to fruition within big companies, and you might face a series of hurdles along the way. Don’t give up on yourself or your ideas. Keep dreaming big.

Inspiring Intrapreneurship

It is not solely the responsibility of the employee to push for change in large organisations. Senior decision makers and those at the top can help by being encouraging and harvesting intrapreneurship.

Even if one particular idea doesn’t tickle your fancy, the person pitching it is someone to be encouraged and supported as a future innovator and game changer.  These are the people on the inside who can think outside existing limits, the ones with the creative skills to reinvent companies and drive change.

As far as procurement goes, there is always room for the intrapreneurs who will become leaders, influencing entire organisations and developing breakthrough solutions for a variety of organisational issues.

A Big Idea Can Come from Anyone

It doesn’t matter if someone is experienced or inexperienced, a recent graduate or a long-term employee, they can still contribute a great idea to a large company. The best ideas could come from someone or somewhere you least expect.

As procurement professionals it is important to listen to our suppliers as much as our employees. No enterprise is an island, and collaborative change can be the most rewarding of all. Our partners on the outside can see what we on the inside can’t, which is why it’s important to heed the advice and suggestions suppliers make. It is a valuable approach to perceive suppliers not simply as an expenditure but as value-adding co-workers.

As the pace of change increases in business and procurement, and new trends and technologies are developed all the time, organisations cannot afford to be close minded when it comes to new ideas. You never know what you are going to hear if you open your door and create a culture of innovation in your company.

If you’re interested in finding out more, visit www.bigideassummit.com, join our Procurious group, and Tweet your thoughts and Big Ideas to us using #BigIdeas2016.

Don’t miss out on this truly excellent event and the chance to participate in discussions that will shape the future of the procurement profession. Get Involved, register today.

The Next Big Idea: Eliminating Supplier Enablement

What’s the next big idea in procurement? Getting rid of the need for supplier enablement and moving to real time supplier activation instead.

Supplier Enablement

It may sound tactical, but really it’s the key to success with all the other big strategic ideas we’ve been talking about for a long time: Increasing supplier innovation, optimising total spend, and getting a seat at the table with top leadership.

Back when EDI , cXML, and other proprietary technologies were the only way for suppliers to electronically transmit data directly into buyers’ back-end systems, supplier enablement was a necessity. These are not the easiest integrations, so buyers had to run enablement campaigns to get suppliers on board.

We all know how that has played out. The only suppliers who participate are those with the resources and the sales volume to justify the effort. As a result, most buyers can only transact electronically with 10-20 per cent of their suppliers.

There was a time when getting the top 20 per cent of your suppliers electronically enabled was a big step forward. Today, twenty percent enablement is a dismal result that’s holding the profession back.

Proprietary supplier networks were supposed to alleviate this problem by providing buyers access to ‘pre-enabled’ suppliers. This too was a step forward at one time. But even the largest proprietary networks today only boast between one and two million suppliers. When you consider that there are close to 200 million suppliers in the world, this too is a dismal result.

Supplier Exclusion

The need for supplier enablement is excluding the vast majority of the world’s suppliers from participating electronically. For buyers, that not only means inefficient processing, it means lost data. And in today’s data driven world, that increasingly means lost opportunity to analyse, optimise and innovate.

We can do better than that now. We have the technology. In our daily lives, we no longer enable anything. We activate and go. We are already pre-enabled to connect and share data through the Internet using our computers and phones. There are 7.4 billion people on the planet. There are 8.6 billion phones. We have never been more connected, and in real time.

Over 100 billion apps have been downloaded from the Apple store since 2008. Uber fulfils a million rides daily. Over two million people have set up shop on Amazon’s marketplace. There are two million Airbnb listings.

These are all networks powered by the meta network—the Internet. The Internet is the enabling thing. If you have a valid driver’s licence, arts and crafts to sell, or property to share, all you need is a data connection, an email address, and a pulse to join and start tapping into the value of any of these networks. Their reach is already enormous, and growth is not limited by enablement hurdles.

A Phone and a Blackberry

In contrast, your typical supplier enablement exercise requires unnatural acts to get to the value. It reminds me of these people I see in the subway in New York City, who have an iPhone and a Blackberry, or two different phones—one for work and one for business.

What if you had to use a separate phone to download an app from the Apple store, hail an Uber or shop on Amazon? These networks would certainly not have achieved such widespread adoption under those circumstances. Yet that is essentially what supplier enablement as we know it asks suppliers to do—step outside of their normal systems and business processes, and do something different and unique in order to transact with the buyer.

These closed networks have been created through years of collective enablement campaigns but the whole world is moving toward open networks that require no enablement and instead leverage the ways in which we are already connected.

B2B commerce is a one trillion dollar market by some estimates. Open networks are its future. They are the key to connecting electronically to the 80 to 90 per cent of your suppliers that make up the long tail.

When you unlock the tail, the odds of finding the innovation and value that procurement is looking for go up exponentially. Those are the hungry suppliers, the scrappy suppliers, the startups, the ones that aren’t getting the same opportunity that big companies are, but who might be moving faster and doing more inventive things. This is where the next big ideas are.

The tail is not a tactical part of spend. It’s actually the strategic part, and no company can afford to write it off. The 80/20 rule of supplier enablement is no longer good enough. We have to get as close to 100 percent participation as we can, by democratising the network using technology. We’ve got to be able to say, “If you can connect to the Internet, we can collaborate.”

Coupa are one of the sponsors of the Big Ideas Summit, to be held in London on April 21st. 

If you’re interested in finding out more, visit www.bigideassummit.com, join our Procurious group, and Tweet your thoughts and Big Ideas to us using #BigIdeas2016.

Don’t miss out on this truly excellent event and the chance to participate in discussions that will shape the future of the procurement profession. Get Involved, register today.

Calling for Your Questions at Big Ideas 2016

Procurious needs your questions to pose to our speakers at the Big Ideas Summit 2016 and put them to the test.

Your Questions

 

It’s not long to go until 2016’s Big Ideas Summit on 21st April but there’s still enough time to have your voice heard. Procurious are calling for your questions now.

The Big Ideas Summit is open to all of our Procurious members. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, we want you to help shape the agenda. You can start by registering your attendance in our Procurious Big Ideas 2016 Group.

From new technologies in manufacturing and the true cost of supply chains, to how social media is enabling new conversations and why procurement needs to be more agile, we’ll be discussing it all with help from 50 of the world’s most influential procurement and supply chain leaders and thinkers.

But we need your input too!

Where Do I Come In?

We want the Procurious community to put our speakers to the test by asking them the toughest questions. In the Big Ideas Group, the conversation has already begun – participants are asking questions, vetting their big ideas, and reading exclusive, advance insights from the presenters.

Your contributions needn’t stop ahead of the event, either. On the day we would love your contributions to discussions on the event’s key themes and topics, and further questions based on what you’ve been hearing. We’ll be monitoring and updating the group and our twitter account throughout the day to see what’s being said.

Through this virtual, think-tank event, Procurious’ 13,000+ members will have the chance to interact with our speakers, senior executives, thought leaders and CPOs and with the wider Procurious community, gaining insights into the future of procurement.

Who Will Answer My Questions?

We’ve managed to secure a high calibre list of thought leaders and keynote speakers, including:

  • Dapo Ajayi, CPO, AstraZeneca
  • Christopher Browne, CPO, The World Bank
  • Elizabeth Linder, Politics & Government Specialist, Facebook
  • Gabe Perez, Vice President of Strategy & Market Development, Coupa
  • Tom Derry, CEO, The Institute for Supply Management (ISM)
  • Chris Sawchuk, Principle & Global Procurement Advisory Practice Leader, The Hackett Group

You can find out more about our speakers here.

It’s not only those present at the Big Ideas Summit who will be engaging in debates and answering questions. The entire Procurious community will also be answering questions, and responding to your thoughts and ideas via the group or on twitter, providing ample opportunities to solve procurement problems and drive change.

How Can I Submit My Questions?

Submit your questions and start discussions via our Big Ideas Summit Group.

If you’d prefer to use Twitter you can tweet us your questions via @procurious_ using the hashtag: #BigIdeas2016

You can also stay up to date, and get involved in real time via LinkedIn or Facebook, also using the hashtag #BigIdeas2016.

Don’t forget to visit our bespoke site: www.bigideassummit.com ahead of the event.

The True Cost…Of Everything

Do you know what the true cost of your supply chain is? In an age of ethics and transparency, ignorance and apathy are no longer acceptable, says Lucy Siegle.

Lucy Siegle - True Cost

When it was first released, viewers of the True Cost movie, the award-winning feature length documentary, were shocked and appalled as they learned the true cost of fast fashion.

The human rights and sustainability issues were all there for us to see.

The true cost of most of our supply chains are not fully known and this is a quest for most procurement pros. That’s why we’ve invited Lucy Siegle, broadcaster, writer, journalist, and trail blazer in sustainability and ethical living, to inspire and instruct us on how to be better.

Lucy is at the forefront of the fight for a sustainable approach to supply chains, that protects the planet and its people.

At the Big Ideas Summit 2016, Lucy Siegle will challenge CPOs and experts on how they view their supply chains. She’ll be asking what can be done differently to prioritise sustainability. She says:

I love big ideas – who doesn’t?! But I also like small ideas, incremental steps and ideas that are yet to be fully formed. So what I’m always interested in hearing and alert to is how we can get ideas of all shapes and sizes implemented. And how we can build momentum behind change.

It’s no secret that we face a number of big issues in supply chains from resource scarcity and contraction to degraded human rights (and in some cases slavery) in supply chains. What are the mechanisms for shifting the dial on these issues, and putting these big ideas into motion?

What got you involved/interested in sustainability in the first place?

I guess the idea that you can change negative outcomes. I first heard about women like Vandana Shiva in the 1970s – the original tree huggers if you like. These women protected old growth forests in Northern India, not just by placing themselves between the tree and the logger, but by strategically educating and empowering local people to take a stand.

I was also lucky as a kid that a curriculum experiment in the 1980s meant that I got to take Environmental Science as a subject from the age of 12. I was hooked! Sustainability is the science of resource use, ecology and environmental science mixed with psychology and creative marketing. That’s a heady combination to me!

You spoke recently about the ‘forgotten people’ in the fashion supply chain. Why do you think consumers have lost sight of the origins of their clothing?

Because very simply fashion has become a vehicle for turbo-charged capitalism and globalisation. The problem probably began as soon as the Spinning Jenny (invented in the UK) gave us a fast way of spinning cotton. But the real speed has picked up in the last 10-15 year as fashion’s become the ultimate free market poster industry.

Fast fashion (as we call the phenomenon of high volume, low cost, outsourced production) isn’t just a fashion option, it’s a domineering, all conquering, pervasive model. It wipes out all other production methods (goodbye mid-market, slow fashion), ensures that consumers become addicted to buying cheap and in bulk, forsaking all other previous standards (such as quality, wearability, longevity) and dictates trend, price and lifespan.

The consumer becomes overwhelmed and brainwashed by price, speed and brand. Nothing else matters, least of all the ethics of who made the piece and in what circumstances. Fashion is now made and marketed by big brands as if it’s disposable, and who bothers to invest in the backstory of disposable products?

The True Cost movie highlighted some truly shocking practices in fashion supply chains. What can we, as procurement professionals, do to change this?

Well there’s a lot that can be done. Firstly there’s the reputational lever. The True Cost as a movie exists because the Rana Plaza complex in Bangladesh collapsed, killing over a thousand garment workers.

The director of that movie, Andrew Morgan, was so moved to see TV footage of two small boys searching in the rubble for their garment worker mother that he investigated how this could possibly happen. He had no interest in fashion. So highlighting these supply chain truths is very important.

The risk of reputational damage can really lead to a lot of change. Increasingly we’re also seeing anti-slavery legislation (from Dodd Frank to our own UK anti-slavery bill). There’s a perception that this just means corporations will employ a load of lawyers to get around these rules and regulations. Perhaps the short sighted corporations will, but excellent supply chain professionals have the opportunity to show how these regulations should be used to effect positive change and link compliance to improvement.

I also think there’s huge scope to ally the human with the environmental. We shouldn’t just ever think green, but think holistically ethical – environmental and social justice. That’s the only way to plan for the longterm.

I’m also big into collaborations. I’ve seen some really strange collaborations – including between Greenpeace and fishermen, which I would never have seen coming. In fact they used to be sworn enemies. But these collaborations have ended up being hugely successful in ethical terms. Some of those should be with lawyers.

It’s also worth looking at legal remedies too. We’ve noticed (or rather our lawyers have noticed!) that ironically some of the speed and devil-may-care approach to production in ‘host’ low wage economies are in direct violation of WTO rules.

Have you come across any good examples of good procurement/supply chain practices in the fashion supply chain that we can learn from?

Lots of individual supply chains have great merit. So there are some on leather (an incredibly intensive, impactful commodity – and no, it’s not a harmless byproduct!) that I’ve investigated where climate scientists have worked directly with rancheros in the Amazon and then designers in Italy to create zero deforestation accessories for Gucci.

Or I’ve also investigated a progressive jeans company that’s one of few fashion companies to pay its sewers a living wage. I’ve also worked a lot on brands like Patagonia that explores aggressive transparency and some pretty counter intuitive advertising to get the message across.

And what about the surf-wear brand I came across that spent years working with a  farmer to breed a particular type of endangered sheep?! I’ve come across many examples, from the seriously certified trail-blazers to the certifiable! But what’s difficult is of course scale and outreach.

Lucy Siegle will cover these topics, and more, during her keynote address at the Big Ideas Summit on April 21st.

If you’re interested in finding out more, visit www.bigideassummit.com, join our Procurious group, and Tweet your thoughts and Big Ideas to us using #BigIdeas2016.

Don’t miss out on this truly excellent event and the chance to participate in discussions that will shape the future of the procurement profession. Get Involved, register today.

Procurement Will Be ‘Cognitive’

It’s time to redesign the function to be ‘Cognitive’. Procurement once again faces revolution, and this time it is beyond ‘only’ a transformation. The function we know today will cease to be.

Cognitive Technology

The first turning point saw the profession move to an industrialised model, including centralisation and strategic sourcing. Later on, transformation reached another key step, enabling Category Management, and increasing focus on automation for higher efficiency, better compliance, and outstanding cost savings.

Taking the function to the next level, CPOs then focused on supplier innovation and risk mitigation, to provide more value to their stakeholders on top of day-to-day savings.

Today, equipped with the right technology, CPOs have the opportunity of accessing, and acting upon, huge volumes of relevant data in order to truly impact supplier innovation and mitigate risk, two major mandates in today’s procurement environment. Deriving insight from this data provides the modern CPO with an incredible opportunity to execute procurement strategy on an entirely new level.

New, Data-Driven Era

As the buying function continues to automate, CPOs can plan and prepare for a new data-driven, ‘Cognitive’ era.

Let’s firstly clarify what cognitive technology is, before we explore its implications. Cognitive technologies are products of the field of artificial intelligence. They are able to ingest data and continuously learn as humans would, but with data on an enormous scale. They can perform tasks that only humans could, thereby allowing the workforce to concentrate on more innovative work streams.

Cognitive technology now brings the capability to ingest all (even unstructured) data, and can understand its meaning, reason and context to generate hypotheses, arguments and recommendations from which procurement professionals can make more informed decisions.

How is This Relevant to Procurement?

It means that we can now apply technology to automate and execute tasks that were initially performed manually. Many companies have now implemented catalogues, and automated PO creation, invoicing and reporting, all being ‘operational’ or administrative tasks.

What Procurement cognitive technologies bring to the table is the ability to take over strategic sourcing tasks, such as RFx creation, analysis and even scoring, including a level of complexity and data analysis that can’t be handled by ‘human’ on the same scale.

Even market research or negotiation can be improved, to reach a point when the technology will perform these tasks in a better, more efficient and secure manner.

What Does That Mean for our Procurement Function?

It means that the opportunity for Procurement is huge. However, the function needs to be ready and start considering how technology will indeed transform their very role and skill-set in their organisations.

1. Changing CPO Focus: Today, focus is placed on the front end of the procurement lifecycle, mostly on steps until the contract signature with suppliers. Introducing Cognitive technology to this part of the process will allow procurement to concentrate more on the post-contract signature activities. Vendor management will become critical, improving supplier collaboration, innovation and value-add.

2. Organisational Structure: Is the relevance of organisation by spend category diminishing? The model was relevant to procurement objectives which were to industrialise operations, consolidate, standardise and leverage volumes to generate savings. But today we know that we are reaching the limits of this model, and we are changing our success factors towards outcomes and values, so organisational changes to reflect this will pave the way to a function that is successful and efficient.

3. Measuring Procurement Success: One of our key measures is savings, but because KPIs such as revenue growth, value add, innovations, customer satisfaction, and risk management are also becoming increasingly important, we need to be able to implement a reliable calculation model to quantify progress.

4. Technology Assessment: Are CPOs equipped with the right tools to fully enable this collaborative approach with stakeholders and suppliers, as well as being well to manage risk and protect their brand?

5. Skills and Training: CPOs will need to define what new skills their team will need to develop to be successful in a new strategic model of cognitive procurement. Key competencies such as a collaborative ability to manage complex vendor and stakeholder relationships, leveraging technology, influential communication skills, problem solving, and changing agent attitude, will become even more critical.

In fact, failing to acknowledge the need to evolve will put the procurement function in a position of road blocker rather than a growth enabler, threatening competitive advantage. Embracing a cognitive approach encapsulating procurement data represents a key stepping stone for procurement organisations to remain relevant to the business and successfully differentiate themselves.

With the right strategy, structure, skill-set and cognitive technology, the procurement function is best placed to thrive and evidence its value to the organisation.

IBM are one of the sponsors of the Big Ideas Summit, being held in London on April 21st. 

If you’re interested in finding out more, visit www.bigideassummit.com, join our Procurious group, and Tweet your thoughts and Big Ideas to us using #BigIdeas2016.

Don’t miss out on this truly excellent event and the chance to participate in discussions that will shape the future of the procurement profession. Get Involved, register today.

Showcasing Your Big Ideas – Supplier Enabled Innovation

Ahead of the Big Ideas Summit 2016 on April 21st, we’re on the hunt for your Big Ideas. Keith Bird talks about how procurement can “crack the code” on supplier enabled innovation.

At the Big Ideas Summit 2016, which takes place on 21st April,  we will be asking our speakers and attendees to record their ‘Big Ideas’ live on camera for the whole of our Procurious community to see.

But we also believe that every single procurement and supply chain professional has a unique vantage point in the industries, communities and businesses they work in. You have been submitting your Big Ideas to us, and so far, we think they have been great!

Keith Bird, GM at The Faculty Management Consultants

Keith believes that, as the procurement environment changes, organisations need to make sure that they are seeking out new, innovative solutions, or risk falling behind their competitors. A key way of doing this is to work closely with suppliers, and leverage the benefits of supplier enabled innovation.

According to Keith, procurement is uniquely positioned to make supplier enabled innovation a reality. The profession sits in a position to communicate with stakeholders, but also has the ability to focus on new ideas while still focusing on cost consciousness.

Keith also argues that successful SRM is a critical element of supplier enabled innovation, and that leaders should be investing in their teams’ soft skills to aid this.

Connect with Keith at The Faculty website, and follow the company on Twitter: @TheFacultyHQ

How to Submit Your Big Idea

We don’t mind if you film your submission on your phone, tablet, laptop or PC. However, to help you out we’ve compiled a list of some of our recommended methods for reaching out.

Once you’ve completed your film, you can reach us by email (Procurious@Procurious.com); on Twitter (@procurious_) or via Google Drive or Dropbox (using Procurious@Procurious.com).

You can find all the information you need on recording and submitting your Big Idea here.

Want to know more about Big Ideas 2016? Then visit www.bigideassummit.com, join our Procurious group, and Tweet your thoughts and Big Ideas to us using #BigIdeas2016.

Don’t miss out on this truly excellent event and the chance to participate in discussions that will shape the future of the procurement profession. Get Involved, register today.

Big Ideas 2016 – Meet Our Speakers: Peter Holbrook

The Big Ideas Summit is just a couple of weeks away! We caught up with Peter Holbrook, CEO of Social Enterprise UK, to discuss the rising prominence of the social enterprise agenda.

Peter Holbrook

Peter Holbrook is the Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK, the UK’s national trade body for social enterprise. The organisation works with its members to raise awareness of social enterprise, generates political engagement for social enterprises, and works with private sector organisations to explore and connect with social enterprises, helping them integrate these businesses into their supply chains.

Peter is passionate about the potential of communities and non-profit organisations to be much more enterprising and involved in business, and is helping to drive the social enterprise agenda across all sectors and industries.

Peter was awarded a CBE in 2015 for his service to social enterprise.

At the Big Ideas Summit, Peter will join a high-profile panel to discuss social and sustainable procurement and ethics, their impact on the procurement profession, and what procurement leaders could and should be doing to embed these practices. Peter says:

Meeting pioneers and enlightened leaders is always a privilege. Procurement has huge impact, potential and possibility – I’m looking forward to meeting kindred spirits, and agreeing further progress.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a practitioner, networker and advocate for social business – the growth and innovation in this sector is astounding. I’ve been happy to be a part of it for over 20 years.

What are the main challenges that face social enterprises in the UK?

Public awareness of social enterprise still requires a great leap forwards, and many social enterprises still require greater scale.

What’s the biggest success story in the Social Enterprise industry you have come across?

There are plenty of examples but my current favourite is the FairPhone – a crowdfunded social enterprise that has brought to a much needed market the world’s first fair trade smart phone.

Fairphone is the world’s first modular smart phone. It has been designed to be easily repairable by users, to last years longer than other smart phones, and is free from any conflict materials or minerals in its supply chain.

You can find out all you need to know about the Fairphone here.

Many procurement professionals think that buying social or sustainable goods is more expensive – in your experience, is this true?

Our evidence shows that in over 50 per cent of cases social businesses are more competitively priced than their private sector competitors. It’s about creating added value not necessarily added costs.

What should procurement leaders be doing to help drive the social and sustainable procurement agenda?

Become champions for social procurement! Procurement can ensure your brand and company values are reflected within your supply chain. Be bold!

Peter Holbrook talk about these topics in more detail during a panel discussion on turning social enterprises into your ‘ideas suppliers’ at the Big Ideas Summit on April 21st.

If you’re interested in finding out more, visit www.bigideassummit.com, join our Procurious group, and Tweet your thoughts and Big Ideas to us using #BigIdeas2016.

Don’t miss out on this truly excellent event and the chance to participate in discussions that will shape the future of the procurement profession. Get Involved, register today.