machine learning

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

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

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 Gingell, CMO, Seal Software

David Gingell will present at the SIG Procurement Technology Summit

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.

David Gingell, CMO, Seal Software

RegTech and the Role of Third-Party Risk Management

As risk and compliance management professionals look to RegTech companies to assist with their legal, regulatory and compliance mandate, it’s important to have a solid third-party risk management program in place to make risk-informed decisions for the extended enterprise.

In highly regulated industries, there are seemingly endless regulatory and compliance requirements and activities, and they often are inseparable from the underlying risk management activities themselves, including those for third parties.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, the U.S. has arguably become the most complex and costly jurisdiction for regulatory compliance. An article published by World Economic Forum on enterprise risk management points out that banks are “less experienced with non-traditional threats such as cyber risk, strategic risk, operational risk, regulatory risk and legal risk. Making matters trickier, these risks aren’t easily quantified.” The authors also note that “the growth in such risks is virtually unprecedented in the history of banking. This puts a premium on firms’ abilities to make connections and to recognize the complex whole is far greater than the sum of its parts.”

The financial services sector leads the pack in terms of the amount of regulation it is subject to, including the compliance challenges, regulations and laws in near and far-flung jurisdictions, as well as the cost and complexity of compliance, risk management and governance practices. This sector is not alone is the endless struggle to balance costs and compliance. Healthcare, oil and gas, and the tech sector are also struggling with the cost and complexity to managing sector-specific risks and compliance.

>>More from Linda Tuck Chapman -- Third Party Risk Management: An Opportunity for Procurement<<

Linda Tuck Chapman, President, Ontala Performance & Education Solutions

Drive an Effective Governance Program with Technology

Artificial intelligence and machine learning technology can help organizations foster a culture of innovation with their third parties.

Jai Chinnakonda, co-founder of a provider technology start-up, enrolled in SIG University's Certified Third Party Risk Management Professional (C3PRMP) program to learn how he can better serve his clients by gaining a more thorough understanding of third-party risk management best practices.

In the C3PRMP program, students focus on best and emerging practices to identify, assess, manage and control third-party risk throughout the lifecycle of relationships, and learn how to align risk fundamentals and frameworks with risk culture to develop the essential tools and controls for effective governance.


The digital age is seeing an increased dependence on third-party service providers of varying sizes – including start-ups – to meet the challenges of technological innovation, cost, demand for service excellence and heightened competition. 

Organizations are often locked in a love-hate relationship with their vendors as they struggle to meet expectations, sometimes both ways. In today’s digital journey, no organization can thrive on its own. To create true value for your organization and help meet business objectives, your organization will need to build a lasting relationship with your third parties. Organizations will need to adopt the art and science of engagement.

The business ecosystem is experiencing a fundamental shift. Organizations are moving away from purely cost-savings partnerships to value-generating risk-sharing partnership models. As the third-party ecosystem grows, the ability to manage and govern third parties is becoming more critical to success.

Jai Chinnakonda, Co-Founder, ENGAIZ

3 Document Automation Trends Reshaping the Outsourcing Industry

Document automation trends in outsourcing

Three major trends are reshaping the industry: a major rethinking of outsourcing vs. moving in-house, advanced handwriting recognition becoming mainstream and the increased need and reliance upon data science. This article explores these trends, as well as what they mean to enterprises and their service providers.

Rethinking the Benefits of Outsourcing

Just recently, HFS research published an article on the acceleration of insourcing operations that service providers currently provide. Why is this? One of the primary reasons is the renewed interest in automation. Also, it is the perspective that with automation, reliance upon manual labor is reduced, the outsourced version of which is still the primary business model of many service providers both large and small.

Historically, if an organization wanted to rid itself of low-value, but necessary tasks or processes, the best option was always to outsource these functions to a service provider that could provide the same capability at less cost through economies of scale. With automation, there is the promise of handing over the work to “bots” that can be deployed anywhere and whose costs are not sensitive to typical wage arbitration. A bot costs the same whether it is deployed onshore or in low-cost regions. HFS calls this “going straight to digital.”

Greg Council, Vice President of Marketing and Product Management

SIG Speaks to Bruce Morton, Global Head of Strategy, Allegis Global Solutions

An image of the Denver, Colorado, skyline.

Bruce is a distinguished thought leader and global innovator, with over three decades’ experience within the human capital and workforce management industry. In his current role, Bruce is involved in new services and product idea generation, sales presentations, internal and external evangelism, digital and social media strategies, and lead generation. He gives us an inside look into his role, how he acts as a key partner to the business and his outlook on the future of work.

Your CPO keynote presentation at the Denver CPO Meet and Eat is about leveraging spend management within services categories--why is this an important topic?

There is a lot of talk about spend analytics, data and how that is the future of success. Our position is that spend analytics is a wonderful tool and capability but we’ve yet to see the capability evolve beyond goods-level detail.  As procurement teams are continuing to try to find ways to better address services spend and deliver value to their organizations, we feel that there is tremendous opportunity by thinking differently about this space.

Can you share a little more about your day-to-day role and responsibilities as the Global Head of Strategy for Allegis Global Solutions (AGS)?

Stacy Mendoza, Digital Marketing Specialist

Interview with Data Scientist Alexander Beck, PhD

Image of an interactive web of dots.

Alexander Beck, PhD, is a data scientist with a demonstrated history of utilizing machine learning and data science in the financial sector, especially asset management. Alexander has a 10-year track record in business applicable artificial intelligence research, including in the fields of financial markets and customer analytics.

Data scientists analyze and interpret mountains of complex digital data to inform decision-making and strategic processes. When it comes to digital procurement and supply chains, data scientists can automate workflows and employ predictive analytics to more accurately forecast demand or disruption.

IBM predicts that demand for data scientists will increase by 28 percent by 2020, with Finance and Insurance, Professional Services and IT generating the most demand. This role often requires an advanced degree, such as a master’s or PhD. For those who are looking to add data scientists to their teams or want to learn how to best work with data scientists, Alexander shares insight into his function, how he assists the business to make informed decisions and automate workflows, and highlights some common misconceptions about data scientists.

Stacy Mendoza, Digital Marketing Specialist

Information Needs Drive Cognitive RPA

A computer-generated image of documents and files.

Industry Challenges

When it comes to Robotic Process Automation (RPA) within a digital transformation project, the clear objective is to move all processes into a controllable, fully-automated workflow. This is achievable when processes need to use structured data. However, the most expensive and business-critical processes involve human workflows using complex, document-based information. Achieving the same levels of automation realized from structured RPA-enabled processes becomes much more challenging because the needed information isn’t always easy for a system to locate—much less successfully extract—from a document. Without a precise solution for getting access to document-based data, automation is adversely affected.

Finding the Right Solution

The answer is to approach cognitive RPA projects by understanding the level of “maturity” required with respect to the level of document automation your project requires and compare that with your peer’s experience within your industry.

This includes getting a solid foundation in what are current best practices regarding automation and understanding the various options for injecting document automation into RPA projects. Not all vendors approach a solution in the same way and not all capabilities are equal.

Greg Council, Vice President of Marketing and Product Management

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