Interviews

Interviews

SIG Speaks to Nikesh Parekh, CEO and Co-Founder of Suplari

Nikesh Parekh will present at the SIG Procurement Technology Summit

What is your role and what are your day-to-day responsibilities?

As the CEO and Co-Founder of Suplari, my goal is to hire great people, provide some direction, and then enable my team to build great products and services for our customers. 

What is something that you wish more people knew about sourcing and procurement?

I am passionate about enabling people and companies to buy smarter and more strategically. There is a perception that procurement teams are process-only and hard to work with, but I have met wonderful people on procurement teams around the world who are true strategic advisors driving change across the company and in their industries. Sourcing and procurement teams know how to let their hair down too and are some of the most fun out there.

In your opinion, what are 3 skills that sourcing and procurement professionals of tomorrow must have?

  • Data analysis
  • Communication/negotiation
  • Collaboration

What does the future of sourcing and procurement look like to you?

Procurement must enable the business to be more efficient and serve as a trusted strategic advisor. It must also enable the rest of the business to buy smarter while focusing on the most important sourcing events for the company. Procurement and sourcing will become a true strategic executive function at every company. 


Explore more interviews with expert practitioners and executives on our blog.  

Nikesh Parekh, CEO and Co-Founder of Suplari

SIG Speaks to Sarah Scudder, President, Real Sourcing Network

Sarah Scudder will present at the SIG Procurement Technology Summit

What is your role and what are your day-to-day responsibilities?

As president of Real Sourcing Network (RSN), I oversee our growth, strategy and marketing. I strive to provide useful content and actionable tips to help companies better manage their print and marketing spend.

What is something that you wish more people knew about sourcing and procurement?

Procurement is invaluable. The COVID-19 crisis has shown the world that healthy supply chains are essential. Procurement is no longer a profession where people just cut costs and write POs. It now plays a strategic, visionary and creative role that is an essential part of a company’s (and our country's) success.

Procurement does not yet have a seat at the executive table in many organizations, but with the right leadership in place, it has the potential to become a more valued and revenue-generating function. Accomplishing this is a challenge and is a great reason for ambitious people to choose procurement over other more well-known careers. I have a bias toward marketing services procurement. I think it’s super challenging, fun and has the most potential for making an impact!

>>Read more: Sarah Scudder covers marketing services procurement on Future of Sourcing<<

Sarah Scudder, President, Real Sourcing Network

SIG Speaks to Jon Kesman, Head of Procurement Solutions, Allegis Global Solutions

Jon Kesman presents at the SIG Procurement Technology Summit

What is your role and what are your day-to-day responsibilities? 

I am the Head of Procurement Solutions, Product and Strategy at Allegis Global Solutions. What that means is that I’m responsible for evolving our service offering and capabilities to ensure they are delivering optimal value to our customers. Day to day I spend time with our customers and internal teams to take in thoughts, perspectives and challenges, and in turn work to align those to what and how we’re delivering, all with a continuous eye on innovation.

What is something that you wish more people knew about sourcing and procurement? 

It’s so much more than just cost savings. Procurement has the potential to drive such strategic value – specifically in indirect/services spend, if organizations are willing to think differently about their approach. And to go a step further, it is possible as skills and technology have evolved to enable this.

In your opinion, what are 3 skills that sourcing and procurement professionals of tomorrow must have?

The first is an ability to understand and analyze data; the second is influencing skills; and the third is creativity.

What does the future of sourcing and procurement look like to you? 

Hopefully different from what it’s historically been. Far too many organizations still rely on antiquated processes and technologies that are not fit for purpose. In the future that I envision, there is an increased receptivity to challenge the way procurement has always been done and the role that procurement professionals play. Lots of organizations have already gone this route, but across the board I believe there is a high degree of immaturity toward the management of the total spend portfolio.

Jon Kesman, Head of Procurement Solutions, Allegis Global Solutions

SIG Speaks to Carlos Burgos, Director, Indirect Procurement, College Board

Carlos Burgos will present at the SIG Procurement Technology Summit

What is your role and what are your day-to-day responsibilities?

I am Director, Indirect Procurement, and my role is to manage indirect categories of spend. Those categories include office supplies, office equipment, maintenance and repairs, office services, HR and our contingent workforce program, among others. 

In my role I strive to reduce dependencies on sole-sourced vendors, automate processes by migrating where possible to a digital delivery, manage down our expenses and leverage our suppliers to come up with solutions that challenge our business operations. At the end of the day, I’m tasked with transforming our operating model to deliver an improved stakeholder experience with greater flexibility and at a lower cost.

What is something that you wish more people knew about sourcing and procurement?

I wish people knew how rewarding this profession is. We get to work on a variety of different projects that are challenging and unique. We get to work with all departments and divisions within our organizations, as well as work with all levels of employees from the CEO to entry-level colleagues. We play an integral part in putting solutions in place that affect our business operations, supply chain and ultimately our viability as a company.

In your opinion, what are 3 skills that sourcing and procurement professionals of tomorrow must have?

The 3 skills that sourcing and procurement professionals of tomorrow must have:

Carlos Burgos, Director, Indirect Procurement, College Board

SIG Speaks to Sheena Smith, Managing Director of North America, Spend Matters

What is your role and what are your day-to-day responsibilities? 

I just transitioned into a new role as Managing Director of North America. We purposefully chose a nebulous title because every day looks different for me and my role is pretty much a catch-all! Some days I'm head-down on internal company strategy (I still lead our client and commercial teams from behind the scenes), other days I work directly with our clients on anything from technology selection projects to jointly running global CPO surveys.

What is something that you wish more people knew about sourcing and procurement? 

 That it touches EVERYTHING. When I started with Spend Matters 10 years ago, I had no idea that procurement was “a thing.” I wish people thought about how their everyday items from socks to cell phones are made, built, assembled and sourced. I also wish people understood how sophisticated the sourcing and procurement process has the potential to be. It’s so far beyond steak dinners with “key” suppliers and fiddling about with spreadsheets. There's some amazing stuff happening out there with technology and process, and people are thinking bigger to drive it.

In your opinion, what are 3 skills that sourcing and procurement professionals of tomorrow must have? 

 1) Sales – Hear me out. Procurement is a sales team for a lot of reasons: negotiations internally and externally, selling new internal processes, understanding pain points of teams and suppliers...the list is endless. Being able to “sell” an agenda, a tool, a process or an initiative is key.

Sheena Smith, Managing Director of North America, Spend Matters

SIG Speaks to Pierre Mitchell, Chief Research Officer, Spend Matters

Pierre Mitchell will present at the SIG Procurement Technology Summit

What is your role and what are your day-to-day responsibilities?

I wear a lot of hats! I advise practitioner advisory clients on their digital procurement (and broader transformation) initiatives. I particularly like working with Center of Excellence leads! We also serve technology providers and consultants, and I help out with thought leadership (e.g., webinars) and strategy. I lead a team of analysts, but also personally help cover the Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) space and broader areas in supply chain, risk management, etc.

We’re evangelizing a concept called “Commercial Value Management” that is basically “CLM on steroids.” Finally, I’m responsible for our “Solution Map” provider intelligence benchmark and other market intelligence and product development efforts, and have been spending a lot of time videoconferencing like everyone else!

What is something that you wish more people knew about sourcing and procurement?

It’s so, so much more than cost cutting and doing deals, but rather, about intelligently externalizing the business to safely tap the power of (increasingly digital) supply markets to maximize enterprise value.  Yeah, there’s a lot of words in that statement, but it’s true! It’s the ultimate cross-functional and cross-discipline function. 

In your opinion, what are 3 skills that sourcing and procurement professionals of tomorrow must have?

The skills that are still required today: business domain knowledge, stakeholder/relationship management, supply management (strategic cost management, negotiations, SRM, SCM, risk management, etc.), market intelligence and change management.

Pierre Mitchell, Chief Research Officer, Spend Matters

SIG Speaks to Alpar Kamber, Corporate Executive Vice President & Head Procurement Services, Denali-WNS

Alpar Kamber is the Head of Procurement Services at WNS

What is your role and your day-to-day responsibilities?

I am head of WNS’ Procurement Services Business Unit. We support procurement organizations globally across all industries. In my organization, there are over 3,000 procurement professionals in 53 locations across the globe. We touch over $85 billion in spend globally and provide a wide range of services. Clients partner with us to operationalize their procurement function and improve financial performance and efficiency.

My responsibilities are broad, I spend most of my time running our business, engaging my team, focusing on building a stronger organization, meeting with clients and industry leaders, and solutioning. But I am always happy to roll up my sleeves and jump into any project. I am passionate about expanding procurement’s influence and helping our clients boost their performance.

Twelve years ago, I started Denali Sourcing. As a procurement professional myself, I know what our clients face daily. I’ve been asked to deliver on similar mandates and create value for the business that goes beyond cost savings. I founded and grew Denali Sourcing Services into a leading global procurement services organization and then joined WNS as part of our acquisition in 2017. In my current role, I work with a larger and more global client base. The evolution of the last decade has proven to me the significance of the value that procurement adds to the business, regardless of industry. I’ve always known that procurement was a huge value-driver, but I needed time to prove it.

Now, I am helping procurement organizations think about ways to transform operating models and enhance the procurement ecosystems across our entire client base. This includes helping companies with any of the following:

Stacy Mendoza, Senior Marketing Manager

SIG Speaks to Canda Rozier, Procurement Evangelist

Canda Rozier is the Owner/President at Collabra Consulting

What is your role and your day-to-day responsibilities?

I have been CPO at several global companies, where I had responsibility for all procurement, sourcing, P2P automation, as well as global real estate and facilities. I’m currently the President of Collabra Consulting, providing support to clients for procurement, sourcing, cost reduction initiatives, vendor risk management, advisory projects and interim leadership.

What is something that you wish more people knew about sourcing and procurement?

It’s exciting! Sourcing and procurement are mission-critical business activities and done well, they can provide significant bottom-line impact, strategic support, and risk and governance controls to a company.

Canda Rozier, Owner/President, Collabra Consulting

SIG Speaks to Shashank Saxena, CEO and Co-Founder of VNDLY

Shashank Saxena is a presenter at the SIG Procurement Technology Summit

What is your role and your day-to-day responsibilities? 

As CEO of a software SaaS company, I spend time with my leadership team focusing on the product and obsessing over the problems we're trying to solve for our customers. I focus on making sure all of our teams – internal product management, sales, engineering and customer support – are functioning at optimal levels. I also enjoy spending time with our customers, hearing about their pain points and how they're actually using the software we've built. 

What is something that you wish more people knew about sourcing and procurement? 

Sourcing isn't just about finding the right vendor or supplier, it's about understanding the problems business stakeholders are trying to solve. Very often I see teams obsess over the solution, its features and price, rather than focusing on the problem the stakeholder is experiencing. The best sourcing and procurement teams I've worked with are strategic in their approach and never lose sight of the pain points stakeholders have throughout the sourcing process. 

Shashank Saxena, CEO and Co-Founder, VNDLY

SIG Speaks to David Bittner, Pre-Sales Director, Icertis

David Bittner will present at the SIG Procurement Technology Summit

What is your role and what are your day-to-day responsibilities?

As a Pre-Sales Director at Icertis, I am a solution consultant. I work collaboratively with companies to understand their unique business challenges and uncover the specific value Icertis solutions will provide. Often, I explain and demonstrate the “art of the possible.” Many folks think of contract software solutions in terms of a module or repository with authoring tools, and I help them see the bigger picture of the true value an enterprise-level contract management system can provide.

What is something that you wish more people knew about sourcing and procurement?

For folks outside of sourcing and procurement organizations, I wish more people knew how critical the sourcing and procurement functions are to a business. The contracts that sourcing and procurement professionals deal with every day govern every dollar spent and are essential to optimizing the business and accelerating commerce. But it’s not only about the dollars, cents and saving money. It’s also about reducing risk by working with the right suppliers with mutually beneficial terms and ensuring that everything is captured and tracked in contracts. I see sourcing and procurement as a longer-term, strategic function, not just tactical.

David Bittner, Pre-Sales Director, Icertis

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