Are you a progressive thinker? Do you possess humility and a thick skin? Find out why this is important as we put Basware’s Eric Wilson on the spot with a round of quick-fire questions.
Register now as a digital delegate for The Big Ideas Summit Chicago!
With less than a week to go until we launch The Big Ideas Summit in Chicago, we thought we’d have a quick catch up with some of our keynote speakers to discover what makes them tick, where they see the procurement function heading in the near future and how they would reflect on their successful careers.
Today we catch up with Eric Wilson, Vice President Purchase-to-Pay, Basware. At the Summit he’ll be asserting the criticality of tech systems being able to capture data.
But today, we want to know what he believes are the key issues facing the procurement industry and the biggest mistakes procurement pros make.
What do you think is the biggest mistake procurement pros make?
A mistake procurement professionals often make is that, while they have a strong desire and ability to become strategic in the organisation, they trap themselves in the world of the tactical.
This manifests itself in various ways, including in the approach to technology. If procurement pros don’t take the time to understand overall technology trends, they may make technology decisions that are focused too much on meeting tactical functional requirements of today while missing the big picture of getting to true strategic value for the organisation tomorrow.
What skills and talents contribute to an all-round, great team?
Great teams in work, like teams in sports, must be comprised of complimentary actors with a unified goal. That sounds obvious, but many organisations seem to fail to remember these basic tenants of great teams:
2. Unified goal
When organisations truly align goals across sales, field ops, back office functions, etc, and then rally the entire company around those big picture goals, they can accomplish amazing things.
When instead, goals are not quite aligned, or, even worse actually, contradictory, we see things like empire-building, in-fighting and politics. In the end, both the company and their customers suffer as a result.
What 3 attributes make a great leader?
Understanding that the leader serves the team, not the other way around.
What are the three biggest issues facing the procurement industry?
Attracting and retaining high quality talent to the procurement profession
Breaking the perception of procurement as tactical “savings-getters”
Bridging the traditional silos existing in the full financial supply chain – getting out of the procurement box
What should procurement pros be looking for in high potential recruits?
Tech-savvy, not just with procurement technologies, but across the spectrum of technology trends in both the business and consumer worlds.
Relationship orientation, but with very thick skin
Want to hear more from Eric Wilson? On 28th September, Procurious is bringing The Big Ideas Summit to Chicago. Register now (It’s FREE!) as a digital delegate to gain access to all of the day’s action and LIVE video from our speakers and attendees.
Whoa! I’ve just heard about the cracking line-up at The Big Ideas Summit Chicago and I want in!
Register now as a digital delegate for The Big Ideas Summit Chicago!
You won’t believe the stellar line up we’ve got in store for The Big Ideas Summit Chicago! Our speakers include a Blockchain expert, an ex Navy Seal, ISM’s CEO and a former BBC Broadcaster.
And the best news? This year we’re making it even easier for you to join us from the comfort of your own desk (or sofa!)
Live From…The Big Ideas Summit!
On 28th September, Procurious members can keep up with all of the day’s action as we release live video footage of our speakers and delegates during the event.
Simply register here (it’s free!) as a digital delegate to take part.
Already a Procurious member? Simply join the group here.
We’ll be frequently updating the group throughout the day with the latest videos, interviews blog articles and discussion points. You won’t want to miss it!
Here’s an introduction to some of our fabulous speakers:
Nik Gowing, BBC Broadcaster & Visiting Professor at King’s College
Are you equipped to deal with ‘unthinkable’ events? Nik Gowing will challenge delegates to think about how we create leaders who can spots trends and disruptions, and build resilience. Nik will encourage organisations to address “unthinkables” and question how their organisations are preparing for the future.
Justin Crump, Sibylline CEO
Justin Crump, CEO at Sibylline thinks that every procurement leader needs somebody to tell them the world forecast so they can figure out when they’re going to need an umbrella! Given the rate at which technology is evolving and how global events are impacting the world, it is increasingly difficult for companies to keep-up without considering risk in real-time. Intelligence about the world we live in drives business operations and the better informed we are the easier it is to drive progress. Justin will expand on the disruptive forces headed your way in 2018, so you can gain a clear view of the world to measure against.
Tom Derry, ISM CEO
The rapid transformation of procurement and supply management has meant that the role of the CPO itself has had to dramatically evolve in order to keep pace. ISM’s CEO Tom Derry will discuss the five traits required to be a truly modern, digital CPO. Adaptable and hyper-connected, this new breed of leader must be a forward-thinking innovation scout who recognises the power of data and can attract top millennial talent to the profession.
Jack Shaw, American Blockchain Council Executive Director,
Richard Branson has invested millions in it. The Economist magazine says that Blockchain technology is the biggest advance in record keeping since the invention of double-entry bookkeeping over 500 years ago. So, what do these experts know that you don’t?
Blockchain will affect every organisation in every industry in the world – just as the internet has. People, businesses, and other entities – even those that have never before done business or even met – will be able to have completely reliable interactions with one another without requiring trusted third parties. Payments without banks. Sales of cars, or even homes, without governmental agencies. Executive Director of the American Blockchain Council, Jack Shaw, will prepare you for a challenging and exciting future on the new Internet of Trust.
Naseem Malik, MRA Global Sourcing Managing Partner
Chicago local, Naseem Malik, has gone from sourcing goods to sourcing talent. After gaining 15 years’ experience as a procurement practitioner, Naseem turned his full attention to something he enjoys most – leveraging his network, connecting the dots and finding the best talent in the profession.
Nina Vaca, Pinnacle Group Chairman & CEO
The Chairman and CEO of Pinnacle Group has experienced a roller-coaster of ups and downs in her 20-year journey from a niche IT business, that was started on her living room floor, to the workforce solutions powerhouse it is today. Nina will explain wht procurement needs to give entrepreneurs every chance.
Want to hear more from any of our speakers or submit your questions for them? On 28th September, Procurious is bringing The Big Ideas Summit to Chicago. Register now (It’s FREE!) as a digital delegate to gain access to all of the day’s action and LIVE video from our speakers and attendees.
Why is it that some organisations consistently attract the best and brightest talent in the profession, while others miss out? ISM CEO Tom Derry tells Procurious that it’s not just about salaries…
In the sports world, there’s a tradition known as coaching trees. This occurs in teams where an inspirational coach is known for developing others who have gone on to be successful coaches in their own right, and in turn pass on the knowledge, skills and philosophy of that lineage.
From his vantage point as CEO of ISM, Tom Derry has seen evidence of coaching trees in the procurement and supply management profession. “Sometimes it’s companies, sometimes it’s individuals”, he says. “Certain CPOs have gained a reputation for coaching and developing people who have subsequently left, and gone on to make their mark.” Their organisations benefit by being seen as an employer of choice for top procurement talent, and the CPOs themselves benefit from the dynamism and vitality of a team made up of the brightest the profession has to offer. Like the legendary NFL coach Vince Lombardi (pictured), CPOs are elevated by the success of the talent they’ve managed to attract.
But where do you start if you want to become a talent magnet in procurement and supply management?
Build a reputation
“It’s important to create a reputation for yourself as an organisation that coaches and develops great talent”, says Derry. “To do this, you need to commit to the development of your team members. The secret to retaining talent isn’t about paying them more, or promoting them before they’re ready – it’s about investing in their skills and providing the opportunity for them to do more and give more.
“Stop worrying about losing people. Focus instead on developing talent, and you’ll build a tremendous reputation”
Shift your style
For some of the old-school CPOs who are accustomed to leading through command and control, it’s time to shift to a more collaborative approach, particularly if you’re interested in attracting millennial and Gen Z talent. “You need to become more comfortable with being vulnerable”, says Derry. “Team members are more aware of where you are and what you’re doing, so be prepared to receive feedback from all directions, in real-time. It’s about being receptive to this feedback, but also being adroit and knowing when to wrap up the conversation and move on.”
Derry says that cultural inclusiveness is no longer an idea but an expectation. “Your team needs to be diverse – in fact, you’ll look impoverished if you don’t have that. The benefits include being able to tap into a diversity of experience and opinion to solve challenges. This creates a truly attractive environment for top talent.”
Live From The Big Ideas Summit
On 28th September, Procurious is bringing The Big Ideas Summit to Chicago. Register now (it’s free!) as a digital delegate to gain access to all of the day’s action.
What makes for an exciting workplace, how do you identify the great leaders and what skills are crucial for procurement? We put IBM’s Graham Wright to the test in a round of quick-fire questions.
Register now as a digital delegate for The Big Ideas Summit Chicago!
With less than two weeks to go until we launch The Big Ideas Summit in Chicago, we thought we’d have a quick catch up with some of our keynote speakers to discover what makes them tick, where they see the procurement function heading in the near future and how they would reflect on their successful careers.
First in the hot seat is Graham Wright, IBM Vice President, Global Procurement and Cogntivie Procurement services. He’ll be enlightening our Big Ideas audience on Procurement’s Radical Transformation and the impact of cognitive technology.
But today, we want to know what makes him excited about his work, what he wishes he’d known at 20 years old, and the key skills he’s looking for in a killer team.
How do you stay relevant in a world of fast-paced innovation?
Firstly, client interaction. This gives you exposure to a huge variety of approaches by industry, country and company to innovation. You have to remain selective.
Secondly, you cannot read everything. Instead, take the time to focus on the few key areas you want to learn about.
Thirdly, make time to network and engage through all types of media and professional and industry associations to get the information and bounce ideas to ensure you have learnt and can develop your points of view.
Finally, take the time to think !
What makes you excited to go to work on a Monday morning?
Desire to win.
Clients, my team and the engagements.
Excitement of driving an agenda through IBM that can truly change the world through data, the next natural resource.
What skills and talents contribute to an all-round, great team?
Self motivated, client focused individuals with an operating environment allowing learning from mistakes.
Soft skills, but I’d call them consultative!
An enquiring, questioning mind with the ability to apply innovative, design thinking.
Passion and drive for the business, profession and self.
What 3 attributes make a great leader?
Confidence to lead and use multiple styles.
Being a good listener and a coach.
Communicator with the strength to give “Straight Talk”
What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you were 20?
Time goes very quickly. Have a plan and follow your dreams. Experience as much as you can.
All those successful Internet Stocks !
The benefit of exercise and healthy balance.
Want to hear more from Graham? On 28th September, Procurious is bringing The Big Ideas Summit to Chicago. Register now (It’s FREE!) as a digital delegate to gain access to all of the day’s action and LIVE video from our speakers and attendees.
Economic woes, political uncertainty and digital disruption might trouble your CEO, but it should delight the CPO. After all, procurement can perform best on a burning platform.
There has never been a better time for procurement. A combination of the economic cycle, global politics, and digital disruption has brought ambiguity to the marketplace. If, as a CEO, you are uncertain about your top line, wrapping your arms around the things you can control – costs – is the pragmatic approach to profitability. Costs incurred with suppliers represent the majority of for the average large corporate, overshadowing even labor expenses. How will uncertainty impact each shift.
We have been experiencing slow economic growth for a while now. Financial crashes are typically succeeded by over ten years of slow growth, which means a new downward cycle may be imminent. In the context of record Dow Jones levels and the FTSE not far off its high, it might seem strange to be pessimistic. But when Warren Buffett holds over $100bn of cash, it seems to be an anecdotal indicator that we are nearing the top of a cycle. Being agile with your supply chain is now more important than ever, as you don’t want to get caught with high priced goods and services, or the wrong inventory altogether as your market evolves.
Politics shape and reshape the global economy. More so now than ever, economic policies of the Democrats and Republicans, and Labour and Conservative represent a vast divide. Whether it is Trump or Brexit, coalition politics and political decisions are having a big impact on both the polity and the economic prospects. Questions about trade, tariff barriers, regulation and corporate tax are now subject to divergent positions and disagreement. The answers could go in multiple directions, and so politics and electoral results are back to having a bearing on business certainties. Resolutions to these questions can take many different shapes and will bring some turbulent swings in the stock market and broader business marketplace. Since these issues are central to the way business is conducted, long-term cost discipline strategies aimed to give cover for the political uncertainty are warranted.
While not everything is going to be digitized or robotized (I hope a robot isn’t my next barber), the digital age has descended upon us. Some industries are further down the maturity curve than others – both retail and finance, for example, have substantial legacy infrastructures which impact the incumbent ability to compete cost-effectively, and with agility. All industries, however, need to optimize digitally; managing processes, metrics, and data to inform short-term and long-term strategies to stay competitive and manage costs. With the emergence of cutting-edge technologies and the disruption of traditional business models, every company will require a hard look at their strategy to ensure they are embracing both the challenges and opportunities that come with advancing supplier provided technologies and their effect on procurement. Companies need to consider how the rapid rate of innovation will disrupt how their organizations work and line up their suppliers to respond. What a moment in time! Add a dash of currency devaluation leading to imported inflation, sprinkle in digital technology, and we could not ask for more ambiguity from the circumstances around us. Setting clear, agile strategy to control costs is the shrewd response to deal with the uncertainty of our times. Go procurement.
Learn how to drive procurement change programmes like a Disney Executive.
Founder Tania Seary and the Procurious team are at Walt Disney World Florida for ISM2017. Today, she shares some timely advice on what Procurement can learn from the famous Disney Formula.
Here’s a little-known fact – I used to work for the Walt Disney Company. Over twenty-five years ago I was a Marketing Co-ordinator in Disney’s International TV Department based in Soho Square, London.
The rest of the team (not me, unfortunately) used to travel to Cannes for the TV Festival each year to support our roll-out of Disney Clubs. It was all very glamorous (for some) and very educational for me.
In one way (at least), I was a perfect fit for a job with Disney. If you’ve ever caught one of my podcasts here on Procurious or elsewhere, you may have heard my voice.
Let’s just say it’s “unfortunate” – quite high in pitch, scratchy…not pleasant! Some of my friends at the time claimed that my role with Disney was actually as the voice-over for Minnie Mouse. Cruel, but understandable!
I learned so much during my time there, but today I want to focus on what I picked up by experiencing the Disney marketing machine first-hand. I am sure many of you have heard about “the Disney formula”, which involves a core asset (the story) being rolled out and leveraged in its many formats.
My short-hand way of summarising this phenomenally successful technique is to categorise the formula into “the book, the movie, the merchandise, the ride – and the tweet”.
Drive Procurement Change Programmes like a Disney Executive
CPOs today are paid to drive global change – but are the programmes we put in place really that effective? Deft change management is what separates the good from the great.
I want to encourage you all to take a very professional, systematic approach to driving change with this Disney-inspired formula.
At the heart of every Disney project lies the book, or the original script. For CPOs, our “book” is the business case for the change program. This proposal, or argument for action, is the foundation of your change programme that must win the endorsement of your senior leadership team. Without the business case, your campaign has no foundation and will always be on shaky ground.
My advice is to treat your “book” the same way that the world’s best authors approach their craft – write, re-write, and re-write again until you’re 100 per cent confident that you’ve created a rock-solid, engaging business case that meets your organisation’s requirements.
Think about some of the lengthy classics that Disney has converted into film. Whether it’s The Jungle Book, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame or Treasure Island, the editors have managed to bring the story down to an average of 1.5 hours. Your “movie” is the public, dramatic expression of your story.
Not everyone will have the time, nor the interest, to read the business case for your change programme, so it’s important to condense it into a version that’s palatable for all. In the corporate world, this is often referred to as “the deck” – or even just a snappy executive summary.
Disney has always done an amazing job of licensing their characters to consumer goods companies. Procurement, on the other hand, is notoriously poor at marketing themselves internally.
I’m not suggesting that you order in a range of paperweights or mousepads to promote your change management programme, but it’s worth considering an effective logo or even a slogan that will encapsulate and amplify your message.
Why not reach out to your colleagues in marketing for their creative input?
When I worked at Disney all those years ago, the most profitable part of the business was their theme parks. As part of their marketing formula, amusement rides were based on Disney’s most popular movies and TV shows. But how can this be applied to your change management programme?
Well, I once heard that if you want to get a message across to employees, you need to communicate it eleven times before it’s absorbed. Why eleven, I have no idea! This is where the ride comes in.
Once you’ve converted your “book” into a “movie”, hop on “the ride” which will repeat the same message over and over again until your program has been accepted.
It doesn’t necessarily need to follow the same track – best-practice communication involves delivering your message via multiple platforms (newsletters, emails, the company intranet, posters and social media) to keep the message fresh and engaging.
A Modern-Day Addition: The Tweet
When I was at Walt Disney, there was no social media. I’ve just checked the #Disney hashtag on Twitter and it’s incredible to see how many accounts they’re running concurrently: @Disney, @DisneyPixar, @WaltDisneyWorld, @Disney Channel, @DisneyMusic. This doesn’t even cover the individual hashtags dedicated to each new movie, along with a legion of unofficial, fan-based accounts.
Disney understands that social media is essential for getting their message to where their audience spends its time. CPOs need to take the same approach. Social media, used intelligently, is an irreplaceable tool in their global change management kit.
Yammer, Procurious and LinkedIn are just some of the many platforms that can be used to engage and influence your team to help them understand the why – and the how – of your change program.
I’ve looked to Disney for my inspiration due to having first-hand experience with their marketing techniques all those years ago in Soho. However, they certainly aren’t the only organisation with a magic formula.
If you’re considering a change management programme, save yourself some time and energy by finding your own inspirational company who demonstrate best-practice, steal their formula, and get to work!
Tania will be delivering her top tips at ISM2017 on how to Network Your Way To The Top on Tuesday May 23rd, 3.45pm. Visit Procurious in the exhibit hall at booth 439!
Heading to ISM2017? Digital-savvy delegates know that alongside the audible buzz of conversation heard at the event, there’s another rich dialogue taking place –on social media.
With an estimated 2,500 supply chain and procurement professionals en-route to ISM2017, there’s a lot to look forward to. From 21st to 24th May, delegates will share knowledge, learn and network with peers and industry leaders at the stunning Disney Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Florida.
But, before you print your tickets and hop on that plane, take a few moments to ensure you’re social-media ready. If you’re not keeping up with what’s happening online, you could be missing out on key information or opportunities!
First up, Procurious has an ISM group, which will keep you updated on all things ISM, including related articles and updates from the event itself.
Twitter has already seen a buzz of activity around the official event hashtag, #ISM2017. If you’d like to keep up to date with all of the online chatter but are struggling to know where to begin, this handy guide will get you off to a flying start.
And remember, even if you’re unable to attend the event in person, these social media channels are a fantastically convenient way for you to engage with and learn from some of the event’s key discussions.
Here are our top recommendations of people to follow on Twitter for ISM2017:
Institute of Supply Management
Let’s start with the obvious. There’s a number of key ISM Twitter accounts to follow via:
You can bet that our representatives from team Procurious will be out in full force throughout the conference.
Procurious Founder and CEO Tania Seary will be delivering her top tips on how to Network Your Way To The Top on Tuesday May 23rd, 3.45pm. And Hugo Britt, Procurious’ Content Director will be blogging and tweeting from some of the top sessions so both those in attendance and the wider procurement community can stay informed.
When we’re not blogging, you’ll be able to find us in the exhibit hall at booth 439; we’d love for you to come and meet us!
Spend Matters will be releasing the ‘50 Providers to Watch’ and ‘50 Providers to Know’ lists for 2017 at ISM2017. Besides highlighting some of the best in class procurement providers, they will also place a spotlight on relative (and promising) newcomers in the space.
Instantly recognisable in their bright yellow jackets, the team at Manufacturing Talk Radio are the voice of manufacturing globally. Their live radio show broadcasts online to listeners all over the world in all manufacturing industries.
They’ll be conducting interviews with some of the best and brightest minds in procurement and supply chain to hear their thoughts on the current state of affairs and where the industry is going to go from here.
6. Brendan O’Connell, Director Design, SEO & Social, ThomasNet
Brendan will be at Booth 526 with the ThomasNet team supplying Supplier Risk and Evaluation Reports. He’s very active on Twitter and sure to keep you up to date on everything that’s happening in the exhibit hall!
When your supply chain is in daily danger of being rocked by disruptive events, it takes grit, determination and resilience to remain proactive.
Procurious asked straight-talking Zimmer Biomet VP of Global Sourcing & Instruments, Howard Levy, for his thoughts on the top three attributes required by the CPO of the future. His answer? Resilience, results-orientation and flexibility.
Remain calm and set an example
“Being a CPO isn’t for everybody. Sometimes, people spend time in a sourcing leadership role and decide it simply isn’t worth the stress. Resilience can be the factor that separates the people who really want to be a leader from the rest.” Levy points to the increasing “churn” of CPOs in a number of major global companies as evidence of the pressures of the role.
How do CPOs cope when things go wrong? “Resilience is the key. There are always going to be challenges and supply chain issues coming up. CPOs need to be very confident in their ability to manage risks globally, and put in place proactive strategies that will reduce the overall risk, such as compliance and single source risk reduction initiatives.”
“Dealing with tsunami-type issues on a day-to-day basis requires a high-level ability to remain calm and at the same time urgently drive progress. It is like running a marathon, but not knowing what is around the next corner. So the leadership team must have the right expertise, customer service orientation and set the right tone by demonstrating results orientation, flexibility and resilience.”
Levy comments that the procurement team has an opportunity to set the example of remaining calm and moving forward, even when unpredictable events come up across your global supply chain. “It is challenging to stay proactive and productive. Ask yourself if you and your team have the right level of grit and the right systematic tools to do so.”
Levy notes that today, everyone expects things immediately. That’s true on an individual level where people expect instant responses to phone calls and emails, but always for large organisations that need supply chain agility to be successful. “Companies are requiring a level of flexibility and responsiveness that would have been unthinkable 10 years ago”, he says.
“Companies need someone who has flexibility in their mindset and can work strategically across their supply chain and business partners to discover what’s best for the business – not just what’s best for strategic sourcing. Flexibility is critical, given the dynamics of globalisation and the imperative to more effectively engage our suppliers in meeting the business units’ strategic needs.”
Deliver the bacon
“The days of symbolic figureheads who spend their time on the golf course are over”, says Levy. “We’ve all met some who is ‘all talk’, but talk will only take you so far. If you don’t deliver the bacon, ultimately they’ll find a new CPO who actually has the capability to deliver results.”
What’s the bacon? “Anything that enables the business to grow – adding value, generating innovation from suppliers or reducing costs. The CPO’s contribution will be a critical element of any business of the future.”
Howard Levy is a member of the ISM2017 Conference Leadership Committee, where he is responsible for the “Outside” learning track. He recommends delegates catch the following sessions:
Procurement must learn to think the unthinkable, predict the world weather forecast and look further than the end of it’s own nose when it comes to technology in order to remain relevant!
The Procurious London Roundtable was sponsored by Basware.
Procurement 4.0, Cognitive Procurement and Thinking the Unthinkable were among the hot topics canvassed at last week’s inaugural meeting of the Procurious London Roundtable.
Packed with leading-edge speakers, a ready supply of valuable expertise, peer-led market intelligence, and networking, CPOs were unanimous that a reimagined Procurement must be the business’ source of market intelligence on these issues – if it is to secure and maintain a “seat at the table”.
Speakers addressed everything from global politics to AI and making it ito the C-Suite. If you’re intrigued to hear what they had to say, look no further; we’ve managed to pack the finer points into one, handy article!
Learning To Talk Across The Lily-Pads
Nik Gowing, BBC Broadcaster, Visiting Professor at King’s College and Big Ideas Summit 2016 Speaker, joined the roundtable to provide an update on Thinking The Unthinkable. Unthinkables are critical events that are not being considered or prepared for by organisations or by our governments around the world.
From Brexit to the election of President Trump; from Putin’s invasion of Crimea to upcoming European elections, unthinkables have been occurring frequently over the last few years and they’re not letting up! In fact, if anything, unthinkable events are happening more rapidly than ever before.
Nik firmly believes that, in a world of social-media, time-scales for unthinkables which were once 20 years could now be 20 months, 20 days or as little as 20 minutes!
Nic’s advice for preparing for the future? Instead of destroying mavericks within our organisations, we need to turn them into visionaries and harness a culture where they can thrive. Nic has likened the current situation to frogs on lily pads – everyone is sitting in the same pond but not talking to one another – we need to find a way to come together and talk.
Grab An Umbrella And Face The Future
Justin Crump, CEO Sibylline, shared Nic’s concerns for the future and expressed his desire for organisations to address the current void of awareness about, and study of, the corporate security intelligence environment.
An intelligence-led approach to managing risk and predicting disruptions to your business is absolutely the way to go. It allows you to work out when you might be forced to take risks and when it’s worth taking them!
But how do you go about doing this? It all starts with reading your morning paper with purpose! Justin suggests you ask yourself why you’re reading it and how and why it’s relevant or interesting to you. Consider where your clients work and where your supply-chain is based. If missiles started flying over a particular country, would it be critically damaging to your business?
It’s possible, and preferable, to turn reading the news into a data-collection process by collating information and highlighting the important areas to disseminate to people within your organisation.
If in doubt, implement the ADAM model:
ASSESS – Understand your business and your world and what these interactions mean to you
DECIDE – Derive actions to help mitigate risks and refine into an achievable plan
ACT – Implement planned actions
MONITOR – Use ongoing world risk register outputs to understand what is changing in your world. This will help you predict the world weather forecast and figure out when you’ll be needing an umbrella!
Looking Further Than The End of Your Nose
Eric Wilson, head of Basware‘s Purchase-to-Pay business for the Americas and APAC, discussed the critical actions CPOs can take today in order to safeguard against technology obsolescence. When 90 per cent of technology is about to become irrelevant can procurement implement a watertight process that evolves with industry trends?
Eric asked our roundtable attendees to consider the following scenario:
A new CPO comes into an organisation and instantly sees that there is a problem with procure-to-pay and maverick spend. They know they can save a whole load of money for the business. They challenge their employees to develop a business case, which a cross functional team evaluates and a score-card of criteria is developed. Whilst this might sound like a totally reasonable approach there is a one major problem. Eric explained that the challenge with this process is that it focuses five inches in front of the CPO’s face; they’ve seen a problem and they’ve fixed it.
Remember Siebel? Not so long ago it was the best CRM system you could possibly use and was responsible for shifting the entire workplace environment into customer relationship management. Anyone who hadn’t bought Siebel already was about to and huge investments were made.
But, almost overnight, it became completely obsolete thanks to arrival of the Cloud. Siebel went bust, many a CMO lost their job and money was wasted, all because no-body looked further ahead.
Eric explained that the next wave of procurement technology is not just about the traditional goals of visibility, control and savings. Harnessing the value of the transactional data running through the system will be key.
Given the way tech is trending, particularly AI, within three years 90 per cent of procurement tech will be obsolete. People will not raise requisitions – robots will! And procurement must prepare for that.
What’s Holding Up Cognitive?
Pascal d’Arc, former GM of Cognitive Scale, talked us through the journey to cognitive and what some of the practical applications are in today’s world. Is cognitive really all the fuss it’s hyped up to be?
Judging by some of the fascinating examples Pascal gave us, absolutely! One such example was a cognitive system that had been given the ability to experiment with building a drone. The resulting machine had a frame shape which was modelled on the pelvis of a flying squirrel, representing something very close to nature.
But why is the progress of advancing and using cognitive tech so slow, what’s holding us back in procurement? According to Pascal it comes down to a number of things:
The technology so far has been very experimental. There has been a sense of frustration towards IBM but they are still experimenting
Expectations are huge. We are often missing the low hanging fruit when it comes to deciding what to tackle
Procurement isn’t a key investment area…yet! Fintech and healthcare are the current priorities
Aiming For The C-Suite
Damian Walsh, Partner at Heidrick & Struggles, gave our CPOs some top tips on what it takes to get to the very top. How do you successfully move on to a bigger CPO role, step up to CEO or take on a non-executive role.
Whatever it is you want to do, tailor your approach accordingly
Be clear about what you want and position yourself for it
Be clear about what you have to offer – think in terms of business solutions. There is no such thing as a “transport”company any more
Get your CV in order and make sure it’s accurate- so many people don’t!
Manage the search firms – be selective and understanding and clear about what you’re looking for
Work on your personal brand- thought leadership, speaking engagements etc.
Work your business and personal networks
The Procurious London Roundtable was sponsored by Basware.
If you’d like to secure your seat for our second London Roundtable on 11th October 2017, please register your interest with Olga via [email protected].
Procurious caught up with Naseem Malik, Managing Partner at the Chicago-based supply management executive search firm MRA Global Sourcing, to find out what attributes recruiters are looking for in the next generation of top CPOs.
Naseem Malik has gone from sourcing goods to sourcing talent. After gaining 15 years’ experience as a procurement practitioner, Naseem turned his full attention to something he enjoys most – leveraging his network, connecting the dots and finding the best talent in the profession. Naseem is also a member of the ISM2017 Conference Leadership Committee, and has some excellent tips for getting the most out of ISM’s biggest event of the year. But first, Procurious asked Naseem for his views on what makes a candidate ideal for a CPO-level role.
Naseem, as a specialist in supply management executive search, what are the top attributes you look for in aspiring CPOs?
Based on the trends we’re seeing and what our clients have typically asked for, there are four stand-out attributes that we look for in a CPO-level candidate.
First, and foremost, they need to have a broad perspective. Companies are asking specifically for candidates from different industries to their own, as this brings about fresh, disruptive and innovate thinking.
Secondly, the candidate should be someone who can earn themselves a seat at the table with the CFO and CEO. They can do this by talking confidently about what they can bring to the business in terms of supply and market intelligence, data analytics, and leverage their own broad perspective. They should focus on the things that matter most to the C-Level – risk, compliance, and technological trends.
Operational know-how is also important, particularly change-management skills. Does the candidate have the emotional intelligence (EQ) to truly collaborate? Are they able to engage, influence, persuade and lead people in a global environment, including those that don’t report to them?
I’d like to add a fourth attribute here that ties the other three together, and that’s humility. Yes, you need to be able to talk confidently about your accomplishments, but this has to be balanced with humility and an awareness of your place in the corporate pecking-order. Humility will lead to credibility, which will pay off down the road.
You mentioned that you got into executive search because of your love of networking. Can you share any tips for effective networking?
Everyone now needs to have a social presence, and continually build upon that presence online. However, without some sort of face-to-face follow-up, your online connections can be specious. To truly leverage the power of your online network, you need to meet people face-to-face at conferences, make phone calls and gather referrals. Face-to-face networking will help you grow you online network, and vice-versa.
Another piece of advice is to embrace the concept of “pay it forward”. Always see if there’s something you can do to help people in your network – for example, see if there’s someone who you can connect them with to help solve a challenge they may be facing. Again, it will pay off in the long-term.
What are you most excited about seeing at ISM2017?
As a member of the Conference Leadership Committee, I’m really excited about ISM2017 because every year we’re seeing the conference gaining incrementally in attraction. There are more people attending than ever, and I don’t think that’s only due to the prospect of meeting Mickey Mouse at Disney World – it’s about the quality of the speakers, the excellent content and the companies attending (Apple, Google, Salesforce and others). The keynotes, including David Cameron and Colin Powell, are also fantastic. Personally, I’ve been involved in helping ISM find good speakers, great topics and promoting the event.
What are your top 3 tips for getting the most out of a procurement conference?
Network – take every opportunity you can to build your network at the event. After the event, follow up with all the people you’ve met, and also be sure to connect with the speakers or presenters you were most impressed by. Consider writing a blog article to share your thoughts and to keep the momentum going.
Have a plan before you go to the conference. There are a lot of learning tracks, lots of great presentations, but there’s only a finite number of sessions you can attend. It pays to have an attack plan before you go. You can target a specific learning track, or mix and match.
ISM’s Learning Tracks are designed to help guide delegates through the maze of options available. As a committee member, I have joint responsibility for the “Outside” track. Outside sessions are all about learning new and effective ways of improving your skills and establishing your relevance, including career-building, building your professional presence, honing your networking skills and building high-value relationships.
There’s still time to register for ISM2017, taking place in Orlando, Florida from May 21-24.
Planning to attend ISM2017? Don’t miss out on Procurious Founder and CEO Tania Seary’s top tips on how to Network Your Way To The Top on Tuesday May 23rd, 3.45pm.