May 27, 2020

Source-to-Pay - more of a community than you might think

by Digitalization, Source-to-Pay

I’m one of the more regular blog contributors here at OpusCapita and I rarely struggle to find topics to focus on. Today, as I sat at the desk in my office (bedroom) I realised nothing was immediately coming to mind. I scanned the internet briefly for some 'latest research' to guide my thinking but Covid-19 has really taken over the conversation and I’ve already written and read multiple blogs on how the coronavirus is changing and challenging e-procurement and source-to-pay processes. I was thinking about hyping the upcoming source-to-pay sofa summit this June 15-17 - but we’ve also done that in almost every possible way already. And it was in that moment that I figured out what was both interesting to me and possibly important to you - which brings me to the blog for today.

source-to-pay sofa summit


6-8 weeks ago we realised that all our physical events were being cancelled due to the coronavirus and those cancellations were directly impacting our ability to market ourselves, meet prospective customers and in all ways build our brand recognition - this was going to have a major, negative impact on our KPIs and eventually, our revenues. Like other organisations, we realised we needed to go virtual and of course, that kicked off all kinds of conversation, new challenges, ideas, options, cost conversations, timings, etc. In the end, we challenged ourselves to create an event that worked to find a middle ground between our events and third party events. We came up with the Source-to-Pay Sofa summit - 12 speakers from 8 companies - dynamically crammed into 2 hour sessions over a 3 day period. I’m a little stressed about pulling it off tbh. Well, the blog isn’t about the event, it's about the partners and what I’ve seen as I’ve interacted with them over the past few weeks.

So, who are we talking about? I won’t name everyone but to name a few, on the agenda we have Per Finnhammar, the CEO for EFFSO in Sweden. We have Henrik Balslev, Senior VP of Operations at ScanMarket based out of Denmark and Sammeli Sammalkorpi, CEO of Sievo from here in Finland. Add in our own Robert Saenger, Head of Source-to-Pay at OpusCapita in Germany and you have 4 complementary industry players, all supporting organisations improving the results of their source-to-pay processes in one way or the other. EFFSO comes at it from an advisory perspective, ScanMarket is focused more on the source-to-contract elements of both direct and indirect spend, OpusCapita is great at supporting operational procurement and Sievo comes in with procurement analytics. It would not be impossible for an organisation to be buying services from all four of these vendors. But the focus of the blog is how I have seen these vendors come to represent a community and why I feel that way.

To create the event, we first came up with a theme, then tried to game out the theme with each of the above companies placed into a tentative ‘red thread’. After feeling like we had what sounded like a solid 3 days of interesting content for an audience, I then reached out to each of the guys named above. Starting with Per from EFFSO, I made my pitch (hey Per, we are putting on an event, would you like to be part of it, here’s what we were thinking could be EFFSO’s contribution) - Right off the bat, Per told me that I had it wrong and that based on the conversations he was having right now with his customers, there was an immediate need to do triage rather than strategy. I’m avoiding details so that I don’t steal Per’s thunder during the event, but the point is, he is out there everyday, working with organisations, helping them to manage this challenging time. But after the call, Per was in.

I then spoke next to Henrik from ScanMarket. Henrik knows exactly how to help his customers get through 2020. Similarly to Per, Henrik took my red thread, said it was okay, and then offered a better red thread. I immediately realised that what Henrik was talking about (namely agility within sourcing, vendor onboarding and the resilience of the source-to-contract process) was exactly right. ScanMarket does all kinds of things but right now, this was what he wanted to help his customers leverage within the broad capability in their solution.

Getting a hold of Sievo was slightly more challenging because my main contact there was on paternity leave but I persevered and (thanks to LinkedIn) reached out to someone I had only barely met. Eventually, we determined that Sammeli, their CEO would walk the audience through the ways Sievo is able to analyse risk elements in your supply chain through their Covid-19 analytics dashboard. So, we’ve got EFFSO working to ensure organisations are thinking the right way, ScanMarket ensuring they are agile enough to reduce supply chain risk through sedentary processes and Sievo offering hard data analytics of weaknesses in your supply chain and procurement process. You can tie it all together by adding in Robert Saenger who feels strongly that operational procurement is where the rubber hits the road. His mission is to ensure your process works for the people who rely on a highly complex process to be represented in an ergonomic way.

It may be hard to represent in so short a form as the blog but what I encountered with each partner was a strong desire to really help. We can’t solve all the world’s problems and we can’t make Covid-19 go away but in our own way, each of us, EFFSO, ScanMarket, Sievo and OpusCapita are all working really hard to help reduce the negative impacts, minimise the various risk elements and ensure our customers, collectively, get through this. I realised when talking to these individuals that the desire to be part of the solution was absolutely sincere and in a small way, my faith in humanity was restored a little. I appreciate the small wins when I get them and I hope you feel the same.

Thanks for hearing me out. If you haven’t already registered for the event, I really think it’s going to be great. Too many good speakers - and the red thread we ended up with is awesome.

See you there,
Rowan

 

Rowan Lemley

Rowan Lemley

Rowan has more than 10 years of experience in the purchase-to-pay arena. During this time, he has managed the go-to-market for a diverse set of portfolios including Accounts Payable Automation, B2B Networks, Financing Services, eProcurement and Product Information Management.

Read more blog posts about Source-to-Pay