What is your role and what are your day-to-day responsibilities?
I am responsible for marketing the Seal technology used by many Global 2000 companies to gain insight into both their buy-side and sell-side contracts. This means having a good understanding of the needs of our customers, being attuned to the areas in which our technology can help them and deliver the assets that they can use to evaluate whether Seal is right for them. This can be in terms of white papers, web copy, webinars and so on.
What is something that you wish more people knew about sourcing and procurement?
Clearly, I am motivated to see more and more organizations experience the value they can gain by having a deeper understanding of their contracts, identifying obligations they have, opportunities for revenue recovery or simply understanding whether they are tight with regulations like GDPR. All of these are about gaining insight to aid decision-making. Contract analytics is being adopted by forward-thinking procurement functions across financial institutions, energy companies, telcos, process and discrete manufacturers, indeed, across nearly every industry. My role is to help more companies understand the power of contract analytics.
In today’s current pandemic, companies are looking to their contracts to see if there is language which might give them a respite out of trying to meet their obligations to their customers across the supply chain – this is usually referenced in the force majeure clauses but also needs to take into account business continuity provisions and termination rights. This is one area where the power of contract analytics can be engaged.
In your opinion, what are 3 skills that sourcing and procurement professionals of tomorrow must have?
They will need to be technically literate and have an appreciation of technologies that are in the vanguard – IOT, blockchain, AI, machine learning. A solid understanding of the fundamentals of these will have the sourcing and procurement professional of tomorrow understand how to harness them to drive success.
These professionals will need to have a very broad mindset. Procurement has long been a supporting function in organizations, seen as the folks who buy things for the company, negotiate the best deals, ensure the supply chain is functioning correctly with the right materials available at the right time for the manufacture or the creation of a company’s output. Today these capabilities are being cast into sharp relief with supply chains under pressure, spend targets being rigorously enforced and companies realizing quite how volatile but essential their supply chains are for the very existence of the company. We talk about moving from the backroom to the boardroom for procurement professionals – the function is becoming more critical to the overall success of the business and just like the way the CIO has shifted in skill set in the last 30 years from being technical first, businessman second to the other way around, so will the CPO, and their staff.
On a similar theme, digital transformation is a term that is banded about remorselessly in terms of corporate development. Unsurprisingly, it is a journey and not a destination, and most companies have only just put their feet on the bottom few rungs of the ladder, but not many are advanced in taking everything digital across their organizations. The procurement professional needs to understand digitization and what it truly means to automate as many aspects of their business as possible.
What does the future of sourcing and procurement look like to you?
To my mind, it will be technology-centric. Without a doubt, Distributed Ledger Technology (Blockchain) will have many applications within procurement and sourcing, in shipping and logistics and across the whole supply chain. AI and machine learning will change the face of how customers and supplier relationships work. Adaptability and adroitness will become capabilities prized by procurement functions – being able to turn on a dime in an uncertain world, and that will be fueled by technology – bringing insight and answers to aid decision-making.
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David joined Seal in February 2017 after 25 years of experience in hi-tech sales and marketing. His most recent position was as CMO of TeamViewer GmbH, the remote access and control software specialist. Prior to that role he was the VP Marketing for EMEA for major tech brands EMC, Adobe and NetApp over a ten-year period. Gingell was also an early employee of Documentum which was later acquired by EMC. He was a key player in the formation of the Enterprise Content Management market, and helped Documentum reach the number 1 vendor position prior to its acquisition. Early in his career, he held technical and sales roles at Ingres and Oracle. He holds an honors degree from the University of Wales and an MBA from Henley Business School, UK.