This blog was written just before our Summit last month in Amelia Island: Right now I feel a bit like Santa. It is the week before Christmas (read: Summit) and the elves are hard at work and the reindeer are being exercised and the turbo sleigh just had a tune up but still, so many things can go wrong. What if the doll legs or logo’d wine glasses don’t come in? Why did the price of memory skyrocket at the last minute for the robot brain or in our case flash drives? Who is on the naughty list (still don’t have their final presentations) and who is now on the good list (confirmed for executive roundtables)? What if it rains on Summit Eve? What if someone is unhappy with their toys or their room? How do I keep the elves motivated to put in 80-hour weeks right now and then still smile and execute flawlessly? And is there enough time to make sure I can still fit in my red suit? Seriously though, this is a time of great anticipation at SIG. While occasionally you can see that someone is stressed, everyone pitches in to make sure that all the work gets done successfully. We have now worked extensively with every presentation, sent some of them back and forth with feedback four times. The Resource Guide is at the printer, the signage has all been designed and the app has launched. We have met with every general session speaker and know they are on track to be awesome. We have procured our 60 pounds of registration desk chocolate, and picked up the wine and beer for my team during the final days of prep. We are now having sticker parties (putting labels on luggage tags), pen parties (marrying pens to padfolios because the factory forgot to do so), tipping our UPS and FedEx men due to the cases and cases of items they have to carry up to the office (we are on the second story of a historic building, sans elevator).
Big Data is a major topic right now. Let me give a little analogy here. Have you been to a chain store lately and used the same credit card you have used before at pretty much the same store? Have you noticed that the coupons that spit out with your receipt are becoming more and more relevant to your actual purchases? They assigned you a tracking ID, tracked your purchases, looked at other things relevant to you at that moment...like seasons, your wedding registry, your recent home renovations...and connected the dots to try and sell you wedding favors and landscaping lights and a hat for the upcoming Spring.
That's Big Data. The corporation you buy from has started tracking your regular purchases and figured out how to predict your spend. The same thing is happening in Sourcing as well, actually it has already been happening. As we automate more and more of the sourcing processes and procurement operations and we track consumables from the supply chain to the shelf to the consumers pocket, we learn a lot more about habits, trends, and purchasing power. We can therefore more easily address risk (inventory levels, supply interruptions), leverage pricing (issue discounts, take rebates) and innovate and collaborate. Of course, Big Data requires infrastructure, which is why companies are moving towards the cloud. Imagine all of those transactions being tracked that data warehouse just gets bigger and bigger and more and more traffic comes in as we've got to figure out how to mitigate that risk and have someone else carry the burden of addressing the risk and costs of it.
Mary Zampino, Senior Director of Global Sourcing Intelligence, SIG
A few months before every SIG Summit, I start to think about the presentations and wonder what this Summit's hot topics will be. Is talent management still top of mind? Have thoughts on governance changed? I look forward to getting a sneak peek at the shifts in the industry, but get even more jazzed to hear from new speakers. A great speaker can make even the most mundane topic interesting, and by contrast, a poor speaker can wreak havoc on a hot topic. Have you ever sat in a session and thought about how quickly you can make a graceful exodus without people noticing? A steady stream of people exiting stage left is a telltale sign that the speaker is not capturing the audience. So as you prepare for the SIG Summit, or any other presentation, keep this "top 10" list in mind: