So what exactly is thought leadership?  One point of view comes from Daniel Rasmus of HiveMind.  In his article The Golden Rules For Creating Thoughtful Thought Leadership, Dan writes that it’s powerful to see Thought Leadership as an “entry point to a relationship.” It should intrigue, challenge, and inspire both people and businesses that are either starting new relationships or enhancing existing ones.

I love this.

In mid April, I attended Coupa’s Inspire User Conference and Dan’s assertion echoed my experience. It brought me closer to other thought leaders in the procure-to-pay space who in turn motivated me to drink from the well as much as possible. Here’s a countdown of my top 3 takeaways from Inspire.

It’s all about the UEx – Coupa and similar modern systems demonstrate expansive growth from systems of the 90’s and early 00’s. They are wildly successfully but powered by today’s limitless technology options it becomes all about the user experience. We all profit when procure-to-pay (P2P) systems leverage technology to enhance UEx. Now, we have the opportunity to directly solve business problems and spend more time on the broader procurement, finance, and supply chain.

Keynotes & Thought Leaders – I’ve seen many presentations over the life of my career, but Raja Hammoud, Coupa’s VP of Product Management, and Jason Busch of Spend Matters, remind me that procurement attracts big talent. Raja laid out a high-level product direction and planned enhancements for Coupa’s P2P environment. Like the UEx reference above, she’s transforming what I believe sourcing experts can achieve. She’s helping me understand how to expand the positive reach of procurement.

On another note, Jason flips the value proposition of procurement on its head.  He aims to drive procurement out of the shadows of the back office by illustrating how to do more than optimize our businesses through traditional outcomes like savings and risk management.  In his keynote, he helps us imagine how procurement can also be a force in value creation.  One highlight of his presentation relates to trade financing.  A deeper look into this topic can be read from his article Cross Flow Payments: Trade Financing and How Free EDI/Invoice Connectivity Are Rocketing Up.  Check it out!

 

Look to the future – Procurement does not have to rely on best practices of the past. Procurement pro’s are in a new era of providing value to the business.  We are actively seek cutting edge approaches that challenge the way we look at our roles and responsibilities

 

In closing, there’s never been a better time to be a Sourcing pro. THANK YOU INSPIRE’14.

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