SIG Summit

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SIG Procurement Technology Summit Wrap-up

The inaugural SIG Procurement Technology Summit was unlike any other industry event. As COVID-19 swept across the globe, my team and I had to pull off something we’ve never done before: turn our in-person Summit into a completely virtual event.

While the circumstances were less than ideal, it was a humbling experience and a good reminder that to stay relevant, you must be flexible and agile when disruption strikes. Admittedly, a global pandemic was not in our risk scenario playbook, but you can bet that it will be going forward.

New Concerns for Procurement

In order to provide SIG members with the most up-to-date and relevant content, we ask for your feedback to find out what’s top of mind for you, your colleagues and your organization. For the first time in six years, the economy is a top business issue. This is markedly different than what you told us was a top concern just six months ago. Now, most people are concerned with how the crisis will impact:

  • Income and business opportunities
  • Negotiations in a virtual world
  • Business resiliency and continuity
  • Resiliency of their organization and the talent they support
  • Addressing risk – in the supply chain, in supplier negotiations, in online business operations and transactions

Many of our Summit presentations pivoted to reflect these new realities, and our upcoming events will feature practitioners and thought leaders sharing how their organizations responded to the disruption with flexible, proactive measures. The common thread in all of this is advanced technology and strong leadership.

Dawn Tiura, President and CEO, SIG

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

Procurement Takes Center Stage

Chris Haydon is the President of SAP Procurement Solutions

We live in a dynamic world where billions of people make billions of choices daily. The sheer multitude of choice makes it increasingly difficult to have shared experiences – those kind of global watershed moments that push change and innovation forward at an accelerated pace. Covid-19, in its own terrifying way, stopped us all and immediately narrowed our choices. But it also gave us one unified experience and one unified goal: Fight the virus, stop the spread. 

A true global watershed moment had arrived. Suddenly, the whole world understood the importance of the supply chain. Procurement had been thrust onto center stage, and the spotlight was both harsh and illuminating.

Spotlight on Procurement

There’s no way to plan for every outcome. There just isn’t. No risk plan can predict the future with 100% accuracy. There’s no judgement to be laid at anyone’s doorstep. The impact of COVID-19 wasn’t something supply chain professionals could have easily seen coming. So, as the whole world watched the demand for certain products like N-95 masks, PPEs, disinfectant and toilet paper soar, they also saw the dramatic consequences of supply chains that weren’t built for pandemic-driven demand.

The links between the supply chain and business continuity, between business continuity and employment, between employment and economies, those links were now on stark display for everyone to see. Interdependencies that were once just the language of procurement professionals had become the common language of the world.

Chris Haydon, President, SAP Procurement Solutions

Innovation Hall: Spotlight on Procurement Technology Providers

Procurement providers at the SIG Procurement Technology Summit

At the SIG Procurement Technology Summit, attendees will experience the latest procurement technology in a virtual Innovation Hall. These companies are using artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotic process automation to elevate the role of procurement, ignite innovation and impact the world.  

Featured here are company overview, solution overview, and company approach and process to help you learn more about the following virtual Innovation Hall technology providers:

Stacy Mendoza, Senior Marketing Manager

Procurement's Role in Digital and Agile Transformations

Procurement digital and agile transformation

There’s no question that companies are turning to technology to manage many facets of their operations, and procurement is no different. Adopting a technology platform to manage one business unit can result in positive changes, reducing costs and increasing efficiencies. But what happens when a company decides to go through a complete agile and digital transformation?

Our client, College Board, decided to undertake such a sweeping change, and while they’re still on their journey, they are seeing positive outcomes across the organization. About five years ago, College Board saw successive changes in leadership with a new CIO coming in, followed by a new CPO. When they joined the team, College Board had disjointed technology – no department could communicate with another. So, the decision was made to jump into the deep end and take on a complete agile and digital transformation.

Building a Movement

The agile transformation, which would ultimately lead to the digital transformation, required a culture change at College Board. They knew behaviors had to change, both individually and companywide. There was a serious need for collaboration and cross-functional teams to remove the silos each department was in, which could be fostered by new technologies.

And College Board’s 1,800 employees and 250 contractors had to be on board. So, it all started with leadership. The organization’s forward-thinking CIO and CPO laid out clearly defined goals and strategies. Setting the example that this would be successful went a long way in encouraging employee buy-in.

Shashank Saxena, VNDLY CEO and Co-Founder

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

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