87 episodes

Digital procurement technology, or "Procuretech", is a game changer. A key enabler and driver of rapid change in the profession. Want to find out how to significantly improve your operational efficiency and enable more to be done with fewer resources?

This show is for Procurement, Purchasing, Supply Chain and Finance professionals, as well as C-Suite executives. We showcase all the best new software and bring you interviews with thought leaders and practitioners, to show you how technology can drive a competitive advantage.

Show notes and further info available at:
https://procurementsoftware.site/podcast
Follow us on LinkedIn
https://www.linkedin.com/company/37782359
Connect with me at:
https://linkedin.com/in/james-meads/

The Procuretech Podcast: Digital Procurement, Unwrapped James Meads

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 8 Ratings

Digital procurement technology, or "Procuretech", is a game changer. A key enabler and driver of rapid change in the profession. Want to find out how to significantly improve your operational efficiency and enable more to be done with fewer resources?

This show is for Procurement, Purchasing, Supply Chain and Finance professionals, as well as C-Suite executives. We showcase all the best new software and bring you interviews with thought leaders and practitioners, to show you how technology can drive a competitive advantage.

Show notes and further info available at:
https://procurementsoftware.site/podcast
Follow us on LinkedIn
https://www.linkedin.com/company/37782359
Connect with me at:
https://linkedin.com/in/james-meads/

    Procurement and Finance: Natural Allies? – Chris Argent from GenerationCFO

    Procurement and Finance: Natural Allies? – Chris Argent from GenerationCFO

    Welcome back to series 3 of the Procuretech Podcast!

    We bring you the hottest startups, thought leadership and conversation from visionary industry experts, and definitely no stiff corporate content.

    We’re switching things up a bit for the new series.

    We’ll now be releasing episodes twice weekly, and expanding our scope on guests. In the past we’d typically speak to startup founders, CEOs or CMOs of procurement tech companies. But we're now going to be talking to industry leaders and influencers in this space too. We’ll bring you their thoughts, opinions and projections around digital transformation of procurement.

    So without any more delay, let’s jump into this episode’s conversation with a guest from the finance community: Chris Argent, of GenerationCFO.


    Procurement and Finance: Natural Allies? – Chris Argent from GenerationCFO
    Finance and procurement are often sparring partners, but it doesn’t need to be that way. Chris and I recently met a P2P transformation conference in London, where the message was that procurement and finance are really natural allies.


    Chris’s 20+ year journey in finance
    Chris’s journey began as a financial controller and finance director in small to medium sized organisations. There was a key moment when he stumbled across a fraud that had been committed due to poor systems and poor technology. This inspired Chris to enter the finance transformation arena.

    There, he was lucky enough to work with some big players including John Lewis, Amazon and Vodafone. This opened his eyes to shared services and procurement technology. Chris became more tech savvy, and saw the future of what we now know as digital procurement on the horizon. But this was maybe 15 or 20 years ago, and the people around him didn’t understand all this new technology.

    This need to educate people was the birth of GenerationCFO. It all began as a LinkedIn group. And now, some 19 years later, GenerationCFO has a reach of about 100,000 people who all gather regularly to talk about these transformation issues.

    This community is predominantly UK-focused, but there are members all over the world - from Europe to the US and Asia.

    An experienced perspective on finance transformation
    Chris shares some observations from his long-standing career in this space. What have the main trends been over his time in the industry? And where do procurement tech and FinTech crossover?

    There’s always been an acknowledgement that technology could be used for the better. In a way, this sprang the shared service environment. Back then, you’d get conversations about the cost of labour: “We can save 20% if we move everything to India”, and so on. But that’s not the case any more. The savings in that area are negligible. What we need to do now is to understand technology and optimise on that.

    Technology is important, especially with things like ESG now coming down the track, and the need for increased responsibility and transparency. A siloed approach doesn’t work any more. Procurement teams are thinking about solving business problems, CFO’s feel responsible for managing ESG risks. There’s loads of crossover there - procurement can’t ignore finance and finance can’t ignore procurement.

    What are the challenges in communication between procurement and finance?
    Procurement professionals often struggle to get finance to recognise their wider value. There will always be ‘invisible’ work being done by procurement, below the surface of the value iceberg. And hopefully technology can lead us to a more centralised, collaborative form of project management, where everyone’s contributions can be factored in.

    And it’s not just technology - Chris suggests that there are three key factors when it comes to transforming collaboration and project management.

    The first is technology, which definitely shines a light on all the invisible work that gets done.

    The second is people: People need to...

    • 24 min
    Why Data is the Bedrock of Digital – Susan Walsh is The Classification Guru

    Why Data is the Bedrock of Digital – Susan Walsh is The Classification Guru

    Welcome back to the Procuretech podcast!

    We're continuing our third series of interviews with industry experts and thought leaders.

    Today we're talking to someone with a unique niche perspective, to hear their thoughts on all things digital procurement.


    Why Data is the Bedrock of Digital - Susan Walsh is The Classification Guru
    My guest needs absolutely no introduction to most of you: Susan Walls, the classification, Guru herself.

    Susan was one of our first guests in series one, all the way back in April 2020. A lot has changed in the world since then, but before we dive into that, let's get a quick reminder of Susan's background.


    Susan Walsh – A brief background on the Classification Guru
    Susan has been running The Classification Guru for just over five years now. She started working for a spend analytics company, before deciding to go it alone.

    Susan thought there must be companies out there who just want their data classified and normalised, without the analytics part. And she was right.

    Spend analytics is being increasingly brought in-house – most departments have some kind of analyst now. But people still struggle with classification.

    That's where Susan comes in, bringing a human touch and years of experience to classification.

    The Classification Guru can help with things like supplier cleansing for PT implementations and CRM systems. Susan is also currently working on an exciting project outside of the procurement space for retail category management.

    Basically, if you've got a data problem, Susan can help with it.

    Because Susan's service isn't a tech solution, it's not the sort of thing we'd usually cover here on procurementsoftware.site. But Susan's niche is a really interesting perspective from which to view procurement.

    So how has her business been impacted by the rise of procurement technology over the last few years?


    The impact of procurement and technology
    Susan thinks that the expansion of procurement tech has helped her business.

    There are so many solutions saying “buy our software, it'll fix your data”. But the reality is, you have to clean that data before a tool can do anything with it.

    People are realising the importance of data, but at the same time they don't have the know how to manage it. They don't fully understand the tools they're using. There's an assumption that this process will be 100% automated, but that's often not the case.

    It's so important to get it right, and clean the data before you automate it.

    There are hybrid solutions out there. These either offer consultancy alongside automation, but are usually more focused on enterprise level complex material master data more than vendor master data.

    There are also solutions that use AI to scrape, clean and sort the data - Tealbook and Scoutbee for example. But they're not classifying data, they're essentially just supplier discovery platforms that can help to categorise data as part of that offering.

    But where's that data coming from? How do you know it's valid? Is there a human behind it?

    You should always have someone who knows the industry double check data. Verify whatever you're buying in with what you know, just to make sure it's right.

    Automation can be successful and accurate when you focus on a specific area. But if you're buying a tool that tries to cover every single industry in the world, it's not going to hit the mark as well, because it's trying to be everything to everyone.


    Bigger data, bigger problem
    Generally, the bigger the organisation, the bigger the dirty data problem.

    Because they've grown through acquisition, big companies often have multiple ERP systems. That can very easily lead to a real tangle of complicated data.

    But mid market businesses also have an issue here. Their data is not going to be as dirty as an enterprise company that's grown through acquisition over the years, but a smaller company might not...

    • 21 min
    Procurement Media through the Years – Jon Hansen from Procurement Insights

    Procurement Media through the Years – Jon Hansen from Procurement Insights

    Welcome to another episode of The Procuretech Podcast!

    We're continuing our third series of conversations with industry leaders, which now releases twice a week.
    Procurement Media through the Years - Jon Hansen from Procurement Insights


    This episode, we've got a guest who's been talking about procurement for decades. With a long-standing blog and a podcast that goes all the way back to 2009, it's Jon Hansen of Procurement Insights – the original procurement podcaster.

    We're going to talk about everything that's changed in the world of procurement over the course of Jon's long-standing career.


    Jon's career as a long-standing procurement commentator
    Jon's been in the tech industry for more than 40 years, and procurement for almost as long. This has given him experience both as a practitioner and provider.

    One of his first business ventures was to start a company with funding from the government. It leveraged algorithms that allowed the Department of National Defence to procure indirect materials for their entire nationwide military installation base. He later moved to doing the same thing for the New York City Transit Authority.

    Jon sold that company in 2000, and that's when he began to shift towards blogging.

    He'd already had a lot of media experience from interviews in his role as a company founder. When someone in the media world said “why don't you start a blog?”, his first thought was “what's a blog?”.

    This was around 2007. By 2009, Block Talk Radio was launched in New York City. With guests from the world of business and procurement, it broadcast a deeper understanding of procurement to an entirely new audience, through an entirely new medium.

    Jon jokes that he's always had a face for radio, but he clearly had the talent to match: Some 900 episodes later, the monthly listener base was up to 15,000 a month.

    And that eventually dovetailed into where Jon is today with Procurement Insights.


    Was digital transformation a hot topic back then compared to what it is today?
    While it wasn't called transformation back then, it's interesting that a lot of the same issues were still being talked about 20 or 30 years ago.

    One of the biggest challenges in the procurement world was that the earlier platforms were ERP based. Procurement personnel and professionals weren't involved in the selection process of that technology. That was a Finance decision.

    So there was a great deal of frustration with the majority of ERP implementations. Not that ERP doesn't have a vital role to play. But back then the majority of e-procurement initiatives would fail miserably, costing 10s of millions of dollars.

    The emergence of the on demand or SaaS software was exciting. Because that started a shift away from a centralised, monolithic approach to automation, to one that was strategically effective and geared towards the procurement people.

    The interesting point, as we track this story over the last 10 or 20 years, is the value of human experience. In 2019, a Deloitte CPOE global survey indicated that the majority of CEOs were dissatisfied with the results of their initiative.

    Of course, their ERP technology was cumbersome. But ultimately it was the mindset and approach that was at fault. It was how to leverage that technology and implement it.

    That inspired the move from Procurement being a function of Finance, to being a key strategic player within the enterprise.

    And now we've learned that from the pandemic more so than ever before. It's caused organisations and people to look at the technology through a much different lens.

    In other words, you don't throw technology at something and expect it to fix everything. You have to have the right people in place. You have to decide on the right technology and understand how to utilise it effectively. You have to adapt the technology to your processes.

    Technology doesn't improve process. Process has to be improved using...

    • 28 min
    Tech and Remote Workforce Management – Lilia Stoyanov from Transformify

    Tech and Remote Workforce Management – Lilia Stoyanov from Transformify

    Welcome to another episode of The Procuretech Podcast!

    We're continuing our third series of conversations with industry leaders, which now releases twice a week.
    Tech and Remote Workforce Management – Lilia Stoyanov from Transformify
    Today's guest is Lilia Stoyanov, someone who truly wears many hats.

    She's a professor at Ziggurat Business School. She's an independent contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine. And most importantly, she's the CEO of Transformify - a vendor management and payroll management system.

    Our conversation opens with a brief catch-up on Lilia's background.
    Lilia Stoyanov's early career
    Lilia started off in the shared service space, working for Coca Cola where she helped to build a shared service centre. Her role, as either CFO, or – as at Coca Cola – director of procure to pay, involved structuring shared service centres.

    The big challenge was that Coca Cola, like so many large enterprises, had a variety of subsidiaries and a confusing tangle of legacy tech. Lilia's job was to decide how to bring all that together, and which PTP system or STP system to implement.

    This meant factoring in time, and of course cost. Which at the enterprise level could be huge.

    It's not only the cost of the system. With those types of traditional procure to pay suites, you often need an army of consultants to implement it as well.

    Then there's training people how to navigate new systems that are very complex. And they shouldn't be.

    In the past, it seemed like suites needed to look complex in order to impress buyers with all their functionality.

    Now it's the opposite.

    Users are demanding simplicity and accessibility. Whether this is the influence of Gen Z entering the workforce, or just users losing patience with outmoded tech, the message is the same: Software needs to be user friendly.
    Leaving enterprise to become an entrepreneur
    This eye for simplicity and user-friendliness was an inspiration for Lilia.

    The same could be said for her unique vantage point: Working inside growing companies that are breaching into the enterprise level gave Lilia insights into the process of building a business.

    It was only a matter of time before she wanted to do it for herself.

    Having seen how enterprises function, she could see what the common problems are before she even began. And it's important to know the pitfalls, and also what the market is demanding. Otherwise, you can't bring a product to the market that everyone else needs and is ready to buy.

    Lilia would absolutely recommend this to budding entrepreneurs.

    If you're considering such a journey, first of all, how do others do it? How are successful businesses structured? What's the hierarchy? How do you manage teams? How do you respond to change? How do we respond to fast paced growth?

    And after that, you'll be ready to do it yourself.

    How did Lilia's experiences in corporate influence Transformify?
    There are two big problems that pretty much every procurement team faces.

    One is finding talent in the right places at the right costs.

    The other is managing one time vendors, or occasional vendors, and dealing with the bureaucracy and human error that goes into maintaining vendor master data.

    What Lilia's doing now at Transformify tackles both.

    But what lessons from the world of corporate inspired the creation of Transformify?

    Vendor management is a big one.

    Be it regular or one-off vendors, using a traditional approach is very time consuming. It takes a long time to get a vendor into your vendor master data, then a long time again if you need to change their invoice details, etc.

    Transformify shifts that responsibility on to vendors themselves.

    They have a portal where they can do things like update bank account information. And once it's done, it's done for everyone on all sides.

    After that, Transformify also consolidates payments. It aggregates all payments to thousands of vendors into one....

    • 25 min
    Content and Community for Procurement – Daniel Barnes from Gatekeeper

    Content and Community for Procurement – Daniel Barnes from Gatekeeper

    Welcome back to The Procuretech Podcast!



    We're continuing with our mini series where we ask influencers and industry experts for their thoughts and nuggets of advice on everything that's happening in the digital procurement world.


    Content and Community for Procurement - Daniel Barnes from Gatekeeper
    Today we've got a returning guest who was on the first series of the podcast way back in 2020.

    He's a man who needs no introduction. But we're going to give him one anyway.It’s procurement influencer Daniel Barnes, of World of Procurement and lately Gatekeeper.


    A quick catch up on the last few years
    It was the very start of the COVID pandemic when we last spoke. So we kick off the podcast by asking Dan what he's been up to since then.

    A lot changed very quickly for Dan when the pandemic hit. He was working as a consultant in the defence space at the time, and COVID really impacted the pipeline of work in that space.

    From there, he pivoted to a FinTech firm where he worked for around 18 months. During that time he started looking into procurement tech and contract tech.

    In that role, he sourced and implemented a contract management product called Gatekeeper, then decided he wanted to join that company.

    Dan's got a legal background, including an undergraduate degree in commercial law. So the contract side of procurement comes naturally to him. He finds it fascinating, being able to hold his own against properly trained legal people like solicitors.

    He also felt like he could make a bigger impact at Gatekeeper - by showing off this kind of tech and educating people on the benefits of digital transformation.

    He's been in the role of Community Manager over at Gatekeeper since June. His job now involves shooting content on topics like contract and risk management, and also working with Gatekeeper to help better position the business.

    So that's lots of change in the last 6 months, let alone the last two years!


    Dan's experience working in FinTech
    When he joined the FinTech, Dan was the very last person to join the team. Everyone else was more focused on the supplier management side of things

    They had a CLM but it was basically just a repository that allows you to store metadata, and it didn't really do anything else. It was really painful to work with. It was probably just an Excel worksheet by the CMS, and then a user interface was slapped on top of it.

    Going into a FinTech space in a scale up environment was terrifying. Everything happens so fast. Dan realised that with all the admin workload, there was barely any time to any work that adds value.

    And the work was boring, too. It was just the most mundane stuff - stuff that you could have a virtual assistant do for pennies, anywhere else in the world.

    He felt like a very well paid admin assistant a lot of the time. And that's bizarre, especially for a tech business.


    Implementing Gatekeeper
    Thankfully, the company Dan was working for did get it. He managed to secure some investment to go out and find a solution that could change things.

    They looked at maybe 10 different suppliers, in CLM, and the wider procurement space. Then eventually chose gatekeeper as the best solution.

    It automated everything that might usually fall to a junior admin assistant – literally every single part of what that job spec would have looked like.

    Dan can remember the early days when he could spend all day working in an Excel spreadsheet. These days, Excel gives Dan anxiety.

    Spending all day in a spreadsheet isn't doing procurement. It's busy work.

    People might shut down at any mention of AI, but it really moves things along when it comes to processes and workflows. Whether it's extracting data, creating records or reaching out to people, it reduces the time spent on jobs that don't add value.

    This is what Dan finds so empowering about technology.

    There are also really exciting social and...

    • 30 min
    Democratising Supply Chain Training – Dr. Muddassir Ahmed from SCMDOJO

    Democratising Supply Chain Training – Dr. Muddassir Ahmed from SCMDOJO

    Welcome back to The Procuretech Podcast!

    We're continuing our series of interviews with industry experts and thought leaders to get their take on digital procurement. In this episode, we're going to extend that a little bit and talk about supply chain.
    Democratising Supply Chain Training - Dr. Muddassir Ahmed from SCMDOJO
    Today's guest is a big personality in the supply chain space: Dr. Muddassir Ahmed, CEO of SCMDOJO.

    He's got a YouTube channel with almost 10,000 subscribers and a complete resource platform for online courses.

    But before we talk about that, let's get some background on how he got there.


    Dr. Muddassir Ahmed's background – From corporate to SCM thought leadership
    Muddassir studied abroad in Sweden, where he earned a masters in production and supply chain. He then moved to the UK for a PhD scholarship. Settling in Birmingham, he began work for the manufacturing company Eaton.

    Muddassir started work as a demand planner, but got to experience a wide range of roles at Eaton. He gained experience in supply chain across different departments; electrical, automotive, aerospace, hydraulics. So he's hardcore supply chain guy, through and through.

    When he finished his PhD in 2015, he realised that most content in the supply chain space was pretty archaic in nature. FinTech content at the time was a lot more attractive: Punchy articles, simple “How To...” guides, easy to read lists.

    He thought he'd try to bring this bite-sized content to the world of supply chain, and it worked!

    What started out as a personal blog quickly grew into a brand in its own right, taking on the name SCMDOJO in July 2018.

    SCMDOJO now gets 50,000 visitors every month, and the YouTube channel is growing too.

    Dojo is a Japanese word which means place to stay and meditate. And that's exactly what SCMDOJO does. It gives the supply chain community knowledge, tools and best practices, to help them survive and thrive.

    Last year, Muddassir took his biggest risk yet, when he left his job to focus on SCM Dojo.

    What impacts has Muddassir seen from disruptive procurement technology?
    Muddassir thinks we have a lot of catching up to do, in procurement. We're easily a decade behind FinTech when it comes to digitisation.

    He often gets criticised by the big ERP providers for saying this, but he thinks they're really slowing us down. If the same four ERP providers didn't have a stranglehold on 80% of the market, things would change more quickly.

    There has been a move to adopting digital tools lately, but the downside from Muddassir's perspective is that they're rarely made by supply chain people.

    Every supply chain is very vertical driven, and needs to be customised to the user's business model. This takes consultation and a lot of time. As a result, transformation in supply chain has been slow.

    It might be 10 years late, but better late than never.

    The flurry of startups in recent years presents some problems. Everyone wants to go the SaaS route, but there's no clear guide on which software to use, how to use it, or how best to customise it.

    Or, you go the enterprise route and it ends up costing millions of dollars and 20 consultants. Which, of course, not everyone has the budget for.

    Even if companies do want to embark on supply chain transformation, they often don't know where to start.
    Lessons in digital transformation
    Muddassir offers courses to help businesses take that first step, and he thinks there are two big things companies need to learn.

    First, there's a difference between digitization and digital transformation.

    You can digitise a paper process easily enough – for example, sending emails through DocuSign. But that's not the same as using technology to transform the way you do business at a structural level.

    People often jump on a new technology without thinking about the bigger picture of change management. Sure, you can rush to buy into AI, or deploy cloud,

    • 31 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
8 Ratings

8 Ratings

A.Zarro ,

Procurement enhancement

James explores very well with subject matter experts how procurement enhancement can be obtained using technology and he is doing this while keeping all interviews light and fresh

Brit In Germany ,

Great insights into different digital solutions in the space

This is for any procurement professional or finance leader who is struggling to understand all of the different digital solutions out there to provide more transparency of, and automation for the procurement function. If you need some background on the different vendors and solutions, as well as pros and cons to various different approaches, this podcast is a plain-English, easily digestible way to achieve this.

Barnesy_ ,

Awesome information and a great host

James has made a special podcast here full of informative content around procurement tech and procurement best practice.

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