Those of you following Spend Matters and Spend Matters EU will have noticed Nancy’s and Jason’s posts on the recent Trade Extensions events in London and Chicago on Managing Complexity. In these posts they made a number of interesting observations (which the doctor can verify as he was at the UK EVENT) about the event and how it was different from many other customer-focussed vendor events.
Major differences included:
- Focus of the talks
Speeches focused on real, live issues and scenarios that listeners could learn from and apply to their procurement functions and their companies’ wider strategic visions. (Optimising Your Game) There wasn’t a single demo or even a detailed description of the next major release (which will be their biggest release since 2009), coming next year.
- Make up of the crowd
Users tend to be forward-thinking and technology-savvy people, given this is leading-edge software, and there were more people in their 20s (“bright young things”) than is usual at events of this nature. It was the leaders of today and tomorrow, not the leaders of yesteryear counting the days to their retirement. (A Rewarding Day)
- Value to the crowd.
Nancy noted that one person said that coming to the event had taught him more in one day than he could have learned from going on a £30K procurement course.(A Rewarding Day) The focus was on real-world value, not vendor messaging.
- Key takeaways.
There’s more to an optimization-based sourcing system than just product sourcing. One company noted that having changed from their existing sourcing system to something more advanced 12 months ago, has proved invaluable in two key areas: logistics activities (not surprisingly) and supplier data capture. Optimization is about total costs, goods and transportation, and in order to analyze and select the best total cost scenario, a lot of data needs to be captured. As a result, such a tool must be great at data capture. And, as a result, the tool can be used in more diverse ways and in more applications than you would expect. (A Rewarding Day)
- Individual Thought
Jason noted how many thoughts of the attendees center on areas around the technology rather than the core solution itself. Taken together, I believe the thoughts below point to the future of where sourcing technology is headed, which centers as much on people as systems. (Brainstorming) Trade Extensions is encouraging ideas and feedback, hoping to harvest the best for future development.
These were all major differences, but the biggest difference is the one that is going unsaid by Nancy, Peter, and Jason and Trade extensions. What is the biggest difference? What is left unsaid. What was left unsaid? We’ll tackle that in our next post …
after we give you a day to think on it.