Services procurement: the corporate state of mind

The trends, technology, role and future of services procurement in large corporate organisations

Episode highlights

Addressing the issues of services procurement
Internal and external factors affecting the maturity of services procurement
The use of best of breed tech in services procurement

Posted by: ZivioReading time: 89 minutes

With Pardeep Johal, Global Category Director and founder of Procurement Diligence

00:00:00 - From end-to-end procurement to category leadership
00:06:00 - 'rightsourcing', legislation, and other big challenges in services procurement
00:16:00 - Functional alignment, redefining categories and supplier collaboration
00:24:20 - Triage enabling procurement to buy services in a straight line
00:33:30 - Internal and external factors affecting the maturity of services procurement
00:42:00 - Supporting agility, simplicity and speed through technology integration
00:55:30 - Procurement's strategy role
01:04:20 - Blending visibility, control with stakeholder guided buying


Jonny Dunning:   
0:00     Excellent stuff. Cool. Well, I’m delighted to welcome Pardeep Johal to the podcast today. Thank you very much for joining me Pardeep. How you doing?

Pardeep Johal:     0:07     I’m doing really well. Thanks, Johnny, thank you for having me. How are you?

Jonny Dunning:   0:11     Really good. Thanks very much. And so we’ve got some really interesting topics to discuss today. And it’s a slightly different angle, where we’re taking an exploration of the corporate state of mind when it comes to services procurement. I know you’ve got some great points on this. And there’s some really interesting areas that we’re looking to cover. And but before we get into that, just to get to go through a little bit of your own background, I know you’ve got, a very strong sort of corporate heritage when it comes to indirect procurement. But can you just take me through a little bit of your journey in the industry and where you started where you are now what the future is likely to hold?

Pardeep Johal:     0:48     Yeah, sure. So, I actually set off probably 16, 17 years ago, out to be a lawyer. But like most folks at university still very unsure. Because of some of that, and I guess me being unsure, I did a placement year. And I did a placement year with Axure, when I was at university. And I remember going to the placement officer, looked through the list. And there was Axure on there with a procurement placement. And that was my first introduction and exposure to procurement. It was a 12-month placement. I actually learned so much about myself and of course about procurement. The team was fantastic. The CPO at the time, those Hoover years was just so nurturing for a newbie like me coming out of university or midway through university. So that was my first exposure in procurement was meant to last 12 months actually lasted four and a bit years. And that was the point for me that I decided actually, I didn’t want to be a lawyer. So I stuck with procurement was very enjoyable, I loved working with suppliers, I loved the value that we were adding internally within the business. And then the next 15 years was me doing multiple procurement roles within large corporates across oil and gas, financial services and FMCG. And if I kind of look at both ends of my career, the first half I was doing, what I’d like to say is probably end to end procurement. So everything from writing the category plans to execution. So leading the RFPs, going through the negotiations working on the back end contracts as well, to then my second half of the career, which was, I guess, more around [unclear 2:39] leadership. And the focus here was taking, a few steps back, taking a three or five-year view on what should this category really look like? What are the developments that are in the market, and then really using transformation, everything that we’re seeing within the market in terms of innovation, bring that back into your organization to then try and help solve some of the business problems that they’re facing? So that’s a little bit about my career. And on a personal note, parents are from North India, a place called Punjab. I grew up in London, and I’m currently living with my wife in Volk.

Jonny Dunning:   3:17     Excellent stuff. Thanks very much for that, buddy. That’s a really good background there just out of interest with regards to your procurement career as it started almost by fortuitous opportunity. How’s that been split over that time in terms of like direct versus indirect kind of goods, materials, services?

Pardeep Johal:     3:37     Yes. So all of it has been indirect procurement. And I think it’s fair to say it’s all been non-IT with more of a lean towards professional services and talent acquisition type buying or labor orientated.

Jonny Dunning:   3:56     Yeah, which is a particularly interesting area at the moment really is and I’m sure we’ll come on to talking about it. And maybe it’s a completely separate discussion, but just the way that workforces use the way that requirements are resourced. It’s, you know, with COVID. And some of the other changes at the moment is there seems to be a lot going on in that kind of indirect service based procurement area.

Pardeep Johal:     4:17     Yeah, absolutely. And of course, a big part of the reason why you and I are talking today, but the demand and the focus and how organized organizations are buying talent today is a huge focus here. I mean, in any industry, where I speak to friends and colleagues, everyone is talking about this space. And I think rightfully so.

Jonny Dunning:   4:40     So if we look at if we look at services, procurement in particular, obviously, an area I’m particularly passionate about, and particularly in looking at it on a specific basis, because I believe it has specific characteristics which needs to be addressed. Well, certainly from a technology point of view but also from a procurement management, category management point of view. And if we look at the way that corporates tend to view services, procurement, which in some cases it’s kind of viewed as a great thing, because it delivers stuff to the business, but the businesses are often a bit confused about what they’re getting in, it’s a bit of a problem to manage, because it’s not simple, it’s complex. But if you look at the problems that corporates are specifically trying to address in this area, how would you break down the kind of key areas that the organizations are trying to look at?

Pardeep Johal:     5:34     Yeah, sure. So there are a number of different problem statements that that organizations are facing today across all sectors in all geographies, and the world continuously is throwing new problems. But when I look at this space, specifically, and I think about talent, and I think about services procurement, there’s a few that jumped to my mind. And I think about the first big one, which is all about the global skills, shortage. There are so many companies today that are all fighting for the same digital talent. And I think when we look at the last 18 months, and we look at everything that we’ve all been through in terms of COVID, that’s just accelerated that demand. You know, corporates have to revisit it, their resourcing models and their resourcing strategies, they have to do that. And you touched on Jonny, the kind of difference between indirect procurement and buying talent and labor. And maybe that was a secondary priority once upon a time. And many organizations were focusing on direct procurement and their core services if you like. But actually, what organizations are starting to learn quite quickly is this notion of talent, and labor, and the capability in order for them to do what they’re good at, which might be their core business, whether it’s manufacturing, whether it’s something else, has to have a strong, relevant strategy to give them that competitive advantage. So the first piece is definitely around the skill switch. The second piece is around cost pressures. And CFOs are still and will continue to look at procurement for turnaround solutions. And how can procurement support the business in strengthening the bottom line? And how do procurement and other parts of the business leverage technologies to drive different efficiencies. And again, bringing it back to this base, we start looking at right sourcing and classification, two big parts that are going to impact the bottom line for sure. 

Jonny Dunning:   7:34     When you say right, sourcing, what do you mean by that? 

Pardeep Johal:     7:37     So, right sourcing for me is around the buying channels that the organization is using. So if you’re trying to buy a contingent worker, and you’re putting that contingent worker through a traditional system integrator that is the wrong buying channel to be using for that service. So when I talk about right sourcing and wrong sourcing, it’s going the right way to get the type of goods or service that you’re trying to buy.

Jonny Dunning:   8:04     And so that kind of ties back to a lot of conversations that I’ve had with end clients and intermediaries that are providing services and management consultancies around understanding what it is the organization needs to do, first, and then working out how to resource that rather than trying to do it a different way round rather than rather than kind of getting the cart before the horse as it were. So with regards to right sourcing, I guess that kind of plays into that in the sense that if you need a contingent worker, buy it through this channel, using this piece of technology, using these set of rules, these contracts, these parameters, this budget flow, rather than going off on a tangent, if you need to buy something under a statement of work go through this channel. Is that effectively what you’re referring to?

Pardeep Johal:     8:51     I think that is absolutely and this this piece for me was specifically around the cost pressures the business is facing. But as you rightly say, Jonny I agree with all of those comments, because actually, the end of it is when you do it the wrong way It costs the company money. And then thirdly, we’ve got to talk about the, I guess, the need for data, and the reporting obligations continue to increase. Day by day, we know about Ir35 and the obligations that are being put on to big corporates. But you can also look around the globe. And you can see how more smaller remote countries are actually increasing and upgrading their labor laws to more international standards. So the need for reporting will continue. And at the moment, organizations seem to have a good handle on their permanent headcount, how many folks do we have? Where are they based? What’s it costing us? How long have they been there? Then you go to your contingent workers, and you think actually, most organizations have probably been doing this for a while. But when you ask the question about all non-payroll employees, that’s the place where organizations start to really struggle. But actually the obligation is increasing day by day. So organizations need to get better at that. And that, for me is another big business problem that organizations are looking at, which brings statement of work and how to buy services procurement in a better way brings it to the to the forefront.

Jonny Dunning:   10:23   Yeah, it’s certainly that type of legislation, which is not just coming up in this country, it’s going up in other countries as well. And we’re constantly seeing on requirements where organizations have to make sure that there aren’t, for example, named individuals in certain countries. And if the way SoW is created properly, my point of view because our system only deals with services procured under a SoW, you can push people down a logical track, which means it’s done correctly from start to finish. But yeah, it’s the fact that the regulatory side of it is putting the pressure on it, to avoid these kind of gray areas or avoid botching it, I think has been a massive accelerator of the acceptance or understanding of this way of working this way of getting work done. And also the urgency within companies to actually have this as an effective channel to deliver resource. Did you see that the DWP got fined like 87 million quid by HMRC? 

Pardeep Johal:     11:27   I didn’t. 

Jonny Dunning:   11:28   Yeah, IR35 noncompliance. I saw an article come out yesterday on that, and they’re effectively using the CEST Tool, I believe. But obviously, some of the determinations were deemed to be incorrect afterwards. So, it’s a real, it really is a big issue for organizations in the public and private sector to have to address.

Pardeep Johal:     11:50   Yeah, and I’m certainly no expert in IR35 Jonny, but one of the things that the more informed as I speak to them, we talk a lot about the fact that actually, there’s not that much case law here, everyone is kind of airing on the side of caution. But when, the example that you just shared from yesterday, well actually the more and more of those come out, the more case law will start to be defined because there’s still a question mark, folks are asking if HMRC actually going to allocate the resources to audit this. But actually, what we’re seeing is it is happening, and the penalties are so severe.

Jonny Dunning:   12:26   Yeah, exactly. And it’s interesting what you were saying about the war for talent as well, because where people are being super cautious around things like IR35. In the UK, you can have situations where big organizations, whether they’re in finance, or pharmaceutical industry that are very risk averse, that kind of can end up kind of scattering themselves slightly when it comes to the war for talent. Because if they’re too rigid, and they’re not willing to take risk, and try and do contingent workforce properly, and they say, “We don’t want to work with PSCs, full stop, because we’re not willing to take the risk.” That is really limiting their access to talent. And I think this is, again, where different operating models of how you buy services, the type of suppliers that you’re getting to do the work for you, whether it’s on some sort of time and materials basis, or whether it’s on a specific outcome basis, is really something that organizations are having to think about very clearly. And certain parts of organizations that maybe didn’t really deal with outcome based work delivery, for example, more than kind of HR and talent type of functions are having to what will rapidly have to learn from the services, procurement, professional services, consulting category, leaders within the procurement industry who have to deal with this sort of stuff all the time. And so I think there’s potentially a real cross pollination of knowledge there. But it’ll be interesting to see whether the control of that type of work delivery channel ends up sitting, bearing in mind the way the different categories are structured.

Pardeep Johal:     13:51   And I think you’re right, Jonny, and I look at it in almost say that this is a period of transition. And there’s many folks and organizations in the world looking to say which way is this going to go? Do we do we sit in the camp where we are overly cautious because of some of the penalties because of the impacts to our brand if we get this wrong, etc.? Or actually do we want to go on the other side, which is actually if we lower some of these barriers, it means that it’s going to be easier for us to access talent. Because if you put you and you have to put yourself in the shoes of the resource to say, “What might he or she want to do?” Because the world is changing so much, right? Having a really strong brand is no longer enough to attract the best talent, especially if you’re in a profession that’s highly sought after. So you think about digital skills, for example. People can work wherever they want. They can probably demand the rates that they want. And because there’s so many people that are going after its organizations really have to think carefully about that. So I think this is a point of transition, where you’ve got big corporates that are certainly on the side of caution and what they will be watching for at the moment is to say, “Can we still be cautious and still attract the best talent? Or fast forward 12 months, and we realized we’ve had X number of roles out there, we don’t have the right talent, we’re not paying the right amount, our brands not enough to attract them. But what are we doing wrong?” And so I think this transition period is going to be really, really interesting. And I don’t think anybody has the answers. Because we’re talking about a macro level phenomenon to be which way will this actually go? So, it’s going to be really interesting. And the comments I think that you make about outcome based services, and how do you write those? And how do you approach those, I think, is also going to be really interesting, because for me, that comes down to more of a behavioral shift. Our organization’s focusing in the right way to educate users to write Statements of Work in the right way. And what are they really doing about it? And it’s probably another topic in itself. 

Jonny Dunning:   16:03   Yeah, I think you’re probably right. I mean, when you look at, it’s just another way of getting work done. And it’s just another way of accessing talent effectively at the end of the day, because you’re outsourcing the problem to a supplier, and it’s their problem to make sure they’ve got the talent. So if there’s a scarcity in cybersecurity talent, you may be able to access a very specialist supplier who’s got the best cybersecurity people to do the work through them, where those people are very happy working on the type of projects that they like doing high end stuff very specific. And they like working to an outcome where they can get satisfaction from working something through. Whereas maybe there’s people that wouldn’t want to sit in a permanent job. Because a they might earn less money and there might be less opportunity for them to take things through to fruition and completion. And but another point that you made, I find really interesting, which is when you’re talking about the contingent workforce, because the level of maturity and the contingent workforce, I think, in general is pretty high. I mean, would you agree with that, generally, for most large organizations?

Pardeep Johal:     17:06   Yeah, I think most large organizations are going through their second or third iteration of maturity for their contingent worker programs, for sure.

Jonny Dunning:   17:16   So you’ve got your permanent headcount, your permanent talent is always going to be a struggle because of the war for talent. But it’s a known quantity. And I think, as you say, organization’s brands are very important, their values, their permanent headcount is extremely important as an intrinsic part of that and how they attract people is very important. And but there’s a clear path to how they do that. It’s obviously being iterated all the time, as the demands of new people coming into the market change. And the contingent workforce is, again, I feel like a solved problem, some great technology in that area, the vendor management systems, the way that’s set up within recruitment and staffing MSP programs, for example, with a managed service provider, wrapping a service around it. And I do feel like services procurement is the biggest area of opportunity when you look at, okay, am I going to use permanent resource? Am I going to use contingent workforce? Or am I going to outsource it under a Statement of Work? That’s the area that’s much more of a greenfield opportunity for tech providers like us, staffing providers, who are adding that to their portfolio of services within an MSP and being asked to buy their own clients, and also for large organizations do just address it as a resource channel. And but I think, yeah, contingent workforce is a solved problem to a large extent, whereas it’s just much more all over the place currently. So it’s, it’s a harder problem for companies to address it. They’ve got to overcome a hurdle of saying, “This is going to be tricky, but we’ve got to do it. It’s complex but we have to do it.” And I feel like COVID has added a massive amount of impetus to companies finally saying, “We’ve got to sort this out.” Firstly, because they need to understand what they’re already spending on services, which can be massive, generally, four times the size of contingent workforce spend, but also where it might need to be a future or more important avenue for more general delivery of work, that maybe it has been in the past what’s you’ve been your experiences in kind of looking at how companies are trying to address that?

Pardeep Johal:     19:20   So I think I’m sorry, I agree with everything you’ve said. And during when I look at, you know, some of the potential solutions out there, I think there’s a few that I think of there is a huge one that I talk about for functional alignment. And I think HR and procurement need to get on the same page. And I think there’s a huge opportunity there for more alignment in there. And I think this notion of who’s managing perm recruitment who is managing contingent worker’s procurement, then managing everything outside of that for Statement of Work. I think there’s a huge opportunity there for better funds. alignment. And I think for me that sits at the heart of this. And when you really start thinking about, you know, you talked about this being four times the size, it is huge, it’s humongous, and organizations that are on that journey, I definitely seeing the functional alignment as a key driver. That’s gonna allow anyone to fix this problem. So for me, that’s a really big one. And I think about, what role does procurement play in this? And I think, as a part of the solution, procurement has an opportunity to redefine its category verticals. And I think those category verticals served many organizations really well over the last 10 years. But I think this is a perfect point of reflection to say, “Do our category structures in our operating models reflect what my stakeholder is buying? And is it reflective of the market?” And the way the market is now laid out? And we can often talk about the convergence of different suppliers, what suppliers are doing: A, to survive in this world, B, to diversify their portfolios, but also to stay relevant. So procurement redefining its category verticals, I think it’s a big part of the solution for this. I think the triage and labor classification is another area, which is a potential solution and huge wind, being able to really clearly say this is the entry point for a requester. These are all the different labor classifications, and really help educate the user because I’m a really firm believer that everyone wakes up in the morning with positive intent. Of course, you’re going to have some stakeholders out there that are trying to swerve the system if you’d like. But I think there’s a lot of complexity in this, that organizations over the years have just missed. Some of it is because there’s conflicting policies out there some because just the processes aren’t clear, some of it’s that the category verticals that I talked about, it’s actually quite difficult for a stakeholder to navigate through that. So huge opportunity to fix that. Then I think about the supply side of things. And I think, what organizations should be doing is looking at their supply base, really being mindful and respectful about how much expertise sits there? Work with your suppliers to collaborate, work with your suppliers to innovate, and build solutions that work for your organization. And I think finally, on the supply piece, it’s probably worth talking about when we’re talking about solutions, is ensure that you’ve got multiple supply channels. Think about how the world has developed and move away from just traditional supply. Think about how neurodiversity should play a role in your supply strategies. Think about crowdsourcing, think about all of the different platforms, and Jonny you touched on the fact that you know, COVID accelerated, I think COVID accelerated all of the points that I’ve just mentioned about potential solutions. And I think there is a huge appetite now for organizations to align themselves with whether it’s procurement 4.0, industry 4.0. But this notion of the digital transformation era, now is the perfect time to get on it. And I find there’s so many opportunities, but just hugely excited about how much organizations can do in this space. So for me, I would say functional alignment between HR and procurement, category verticals, be really clear on triage, labor classifications, work with your suppliers, to build those solutions, where they might not exist. And really think about your supplier strategy, and how you are going to bring talent into the business and move away from traditional supply, think about what else the world is doing.

Jonny Dunning:   24:05   Yeah, great point. So I think, when you look at things like digital transformation, it’s a huge opportunity for companies. But otherwise, if you look at the speed of change is such a competitive marketplace, organizations are moving forward so rapidly, the expectations of what change looks like and what transformation looks like and what efficiency looks like, if you look at the way that technology is leading, that is the change is happening so much quicker than that kind of organizational change that’s happened within organizations. But then you look at these really highly developed, leading edge companies. stuff’s changing so quickly that other companies just going to completely get left behind if they don’t get on top of this now. So I think it is definitely an opportunity. But I’d say that if you just look at the technology, adoption increases that we’ve had because of COVID, remote work and technology being a classic example. That is just completely changed the game. And the way that people work, the way that work’s delivered, it has changed very rapidly. So I think that’s a critical factor that companies are going to their success is going to be defined by how effectively they can keep pace, and transform to fit into the way that the market is changing. And you also mentioned triage. So with regards to triage, it partly always comes down to like definitions and coming back to it in a minute, but that one, I’m really interested in around the category verticals that you were describing. But if we look at triage for a minute, can you just define what you mean by triage? And can you also just kind of take me through how, where that process starts and finishes?

Pardeep Johal:     25:55   Yeah, sure. So when I talk about triage Jonny it’s essentially a series of options that the stakeholder has based on a series of rules. So, if a stakeholder is saying, “Hey, I need to buy a resource or some capability to help me deliver this project in this way. And here’s what the scope looks like.” And a triage process will have some form of decision tree, whether that is technology enabled, or whether it’s an individual either on the end of a phone that is working through the different options. Ultimately, the triage will help and direct the stakeholder to a really clear process that has been set up in such a way that will allow them to be able to buy their service, ideally, in a straight line. When I talk about the category verticals, what’s happened in many organizations over the years is that entry point has been less clear for a stakeholder. So, an example of this would be a stakeholder says, “That they want to buy some capability” and sounds like a contractor, it goes this way to the contingent workforce team, they start to process it. And all of a sudden, they realize that it sounds a little bit more like a service, or the supplier is a traditional consulting firm, it then gets thrown over to the category team of professional services, for example, they look at it and then start processing it again. In the meantime, you’ve got a very patient stakeholder that’s waiting and saying, “We’ve been down this road before.” And then the category team within professional services will say, “Okay, this is good, we’re going through it” and then they get to a point and it might say, software there. And all of a sudden they say, “I’ve got to stop now guys software isn’t in my remit, we’ve now got to throw it over to the IT team.” So you kind of can see how I’m building this narrative that in the meantime, there is a stakeholder that’s out there that is trying to do all the right things and deliver for the business and impact the bottom line. In the meantime, they’ve got stuck within a procurement process, which is probably a little bit outdated. And it served many organizations really well. And I think, Johnny, for me, this comes to the point that you were just making, which is the digital transformation error is happening so quickly. And historically, organizations just haven’t been used to working at that pace. So almost at the drop of a hat, these large organizations multi matrix, in many geographies are having to react so quickly to the market to start moving things forward. And I think this is where the notion of agility comes in, where organizations are not only having to unlearn the way they did things before, but learn new behaviors, new practices, and work with suppliers that can that have the appetite to work that quickly, too. So there is so much change there. And it’s very uncomfortable for big organizations that traditionally have been quite slow.

Jonny Dunning:   28:57   Yeah, and I guess when it comes down to definitions, again, even if you’re just defining a category, the devil’s in the detail, I mean, it’s like, you know, even if you talk to people about direct versus indirect, and what actually fits into those different buckets, sometimes you’ll get slightly different answers. If you talk about what professional services entails. Sometimes you’ll get slightly different answers. Some people will have professional services as one big category, some people will split out other areas that fit within professional services. So it seems to change organization to organization. I think from our point of view, when we’re addressing services, procurement as a kind of work delivery channel or a way of buying resource or getting work done. For us it’s just very simple in the sense that it’s any service procured under a Statement of Work, you’re not going to buy a contingent worker under a Statement of Work, that’s going to be a contract scenario, opponent employee, you’re going to hire them. If you’re outsourcing a piece of work, you’re going to be procuring those services under Statement of Work, if you’re buying goods, you’re gonna be buying goods through a catalogue of very kind of specific process and so going back to that kind of underpinning structure of it being around the purchasing, and delivery of services under a Statement of Work that covers such a broad area covers so many different categories. could be IT, could be professional services will be consulting will be all sorts of different things, facilities, marketing, legal, depends how it splits up. So, I mean, what’s your view on, how widely the or how uniform the kind of categorization of procurement verticals is, across different organizations? Or do you think it’s down to the individual organization to just work out what works best for them bearing in mind their industry, etc.? 

Pardeep Johal:     30:45   I think there’s some common threads, right Jonny and a lot of those common threads are either going to be dictated by regulation and law. And therefore, that becomes the common thread. And everyone looks at a contractor because it ticks all these boxes, in terms of treatment of labor, etc. And so there’s definitely going to be some common threads. My view, however, it probably aligns to your Jonny in the sense that simplicity will be success. So, if you give this to somebody who is an expert in this area, and they try and write a policy, or triage or definitions or classifications with tons of ‘buts’, which is. “Yeah, but it’s got to have this, it’s got to have this.” The moment you put it in front of a stakeholder, you start to lose them. So you’ve got to start talking the language, because if you want this policy or the process to actually work, simplicity is absolutely key. And I think this goes to an another question that you had Jonny, you were talking about, you know, kind of the almost the entry points around triage, there’s got to be consistency there. And over the years, most organizations have not had that. So there’s either been a separate form of triage, because of the category verticals, in fact, but actually, my view is that the opportunity is pulling all of the labor and talent that’s being bought under its own category. And it almost becomes a super category for buying labor and talent. And I think that’s where some organizations that are embracing that view will really see a huge amount of success. And a lot of it is going to be because of that entry point. That entry point that, that stakeholder comes in, will have the different options underneath that. But actually, they’ve got either the same individual or the same piece of software that’s describing the same definitions. Right, to your point around or it depends who picks up the phone, they’ll give you a slightly different version of what professional services might be. So I think that’s really key getting the entry point, right? Making sure it’s really key and clear for the stakeholders, I think is going to be a big part of the success here. Just keep it simple.

Jonny Dunning:   32:58   Yeah, I totally agree. It’s actually critical. So when we look at that, if we look at that, that kind of entry point, the triage scenario, how what’s the best way to get the work done. One of the things that I’ve noticed in the market is that this is an area that staffing MSPs are taking on, they’re really starting to get stuck into this area where they’re developing services, and already providing services around this triage type of scenario. My own personal view is, it’s still quite embryonic in the market generally, whether people are doing it directly whether people are using an MSP, but it’s interesting that that springing from suppliers that would be traditionally associated with primarily contingent workforce. But I guess when you look at it, there’s the similar problem solving skills involved in defining work and defining how it gets done and making sure that it’s compliant with the relevant regulations that could apply to how you buy services under a Statement of Work. But when you look within organizations, the area that deals with buying services from consultancy, for example, in procurement, to your point earlier, needs to get closer to the parts of procurement that are used to buying time and materials labor. And I think you could end up with, say kind of super categories or, or new roles that define the opportunity based around the work, not the worker. So what is it that needs to be done? What’s the most effective route to market? Which channels do we have? Is that a gig marketplace? Is it a permanent headcount? Is it a contractor? Is it an outsourced project delivered under a Statement of Work, and being able to plug in these different options? That’s the kind of ultimate panacea of strategic workforce planning or work design type concepts, but I do feel like at the moment, as far as that sits within procurement, it’s not very well aligned generally.

Pardeep Johal:     34:56   Yeah, I think you’re right Jonny. And that for me, is probably really a big reason as to why it’s taken as long as it has, because actually everything that you and I are talking through Jonny, there are some elements, which might be new to folk. But actually, there’s a lot in there where you will have your audience kind of nodding and smiling, saying, “Actually, I’ve seen that. And I’ve seen that happening for 10 years.” And if we ask ourselves a question, or why is it actually taking so long to fix some of these areas? I think you’re right. And for me, I think about the stuff inside. So what are some of the internal factors that are really stopped this from progressing, and only really allowed the contingent workforce programs to progress? What about everything else? And then I think there’s a series of external factors. Also, that hasn’t allowed for services procurement to mature in the way we would like to see it today. And when we look at the external side, we are talking about low market maturity for services procurement. And you know, you’ve, you’ve talked about that you’ve talked about the MSPs. Now getting into this space, which I think is, is a great idea, because I think they bring with them a huge amount of experience and knowledge in this space, to now say, “Okay, we’ve done contingent worker programs really well.” There are a lot of similarities in managing Statement of work. Of course, there’s differences too. But how do we reapply some of that knowledge with our scale to help some of our clients, so if we go back a few years, the market maturity was not there. You will have some folks that argue, actually, maybe it’s still not there. There’s a few folks that are doing it. But actually, the world is changing. And I think some of the solution, today will come from smaller point solutions, right, some of the great work that you guys are doing as well Jonny, I think, is going to help with that. And then on the other side of the external market, we start thinking about market convergence, right, all of the different suppliers, and how their businesses have changed. And I talked about it earlier on as well about, you know, how much of it was purely due to survival, maybe some of it was due to growth opportunities, maybe some of it is due to diversification, but it’s happening and those market convergences have been happening for a while. And then of course, you’ve got new entrants, that are creating some incredibly exciting disruption, which will somebody like me on the buy side of the table, have been waiting for that for years. But it’s one of those reasons why the market has been quite slow. And this is still a business problem that many organizations are trying to fix. So that’s some of the external stuff. And then we’ve talked about the stuff on the inside, which is, what are some of the internal factors? We’ve talked about corporate policies. When these policies are being written within large organization, they have a very focused goal. And hindsight is great, right? It’s grateful for anybody to sit here and look back and say, “What actually, the indirect consequence of that, of that policy around headcount is you have driven spend going the wrong way.” And actually, if you work that through the impact that said, on your bottom line is probably quite significant. So policies have always been something which I think have really slowed down the fix here. We talked about the functional alignment as being another area, and as probably slow down the progress in this space, and all of those things are driving buying behaviors. So it’s often really easy for a procurement guy to be like, “Yeah, but the stakeholders doing this. And actually, we should self-reflect. “And we should say, how much of the processes or policies or governance that we’ve set up have been in our control, are probably driving some of those behaviors.

Jonny Dunning:   38:47   Yeah. Sorry, I was just gonna say it just kind of really struck a chord with me there, because what you’re talking about is hurdles being put in the way for people and people going around those hurdles and procurement looking at and going, “These guys going off script, why is that?” And I think that, technology is partly to blame for that as well. Whereas if you look at the maturity of technology, within services, procurement, it’s nowhere near the level of maturity you’ve got and contingent workforce. And there’s a massive difference between the maturity where you’re buying goods versus services. But that’s because services are really complex, if you are buying goods can be catalog can be quite binary, it’s very easy to compare suppliers, obviously, there’s massive complexity in terms of the way you look at the supply chain, the actual supply chain setup, but the actual, the goods and materials, you’re buying themselves, it’s quite easy to know whether you’ve got what you wanted and what it is you’re buying. And measuring it. You can’t measure services on weight and volume and size and number of units anywhere near as easily. So it’s just a harder problem to solve. And so the existing technology is done a very good job of solving the overarching procurement process, and making the purchasing and management of goods, procurement of goods and materials very effective. And equally, you’ve got specialist technology that manages contingent workforce very effectively, that ties into the bigger procurement systems. I think the same is gonna happen in with services procurement, but it needs a different view on the world, because it’s a different set up and you’re measuring different things. And there are different parameters in it. And so I think that’s, that’s definitely going to be a bit of the culprit as well as well as the processes that the organizations have put in place that maybe are really out of date, or, as you say, are driving unintended behaviors. But it feels like those sort of processes have been in place for a long time most organizations.

Pardeep Johal:     40:50   Yeah, I completely agree, Jonny, I mean, you’re right in saying, we’ve been very guilty of almost forcing indirect services and services procurement into tools that have potentially been built for buying goods. And that has impacted the experience for the stakeholder. And I’ve talked a lot about that today. And one of the reasons for it is because most reports, you pick up that talk about priorities for the CPO in 2021, will have some notion of improving the operational performance, efficiency, cost to serve. But a lot of that is going to be about improving the customer experience. When we talk about customers, we’re talking about other stakeholders who are now of course, living in a different day and age where the products they use at home. When we talk about consumer grade, they’re in a very, very different level to what we’re seeing within the corporate world. The processes are really clunky. So it goes back to a new, you know, you can feed a theme through this conversation, which is about agility, about consumer grade, it’s about making the experience better for the customer. Because actually, that’s where procurement wants to be seen. I think it’s probably stretching it to say gone are the days where procurement is only focusing on cost, they’ll still be cost will still play a big driver in the function and a target from the CFO. But actually, it’s a number of different elements. And the procurement process is going to play a big part of that. Right. And I think going forward, I think a lot of the goal, and the success is going to come from integration on all of the different tools and the ways people buy that you talked about Jonny, I think it’s all about integration is getting all those different platforms that are out there that may, might already be quite established and doing a fantastic job for a specific service line. How do they integrate with something that’s coming new into the business? How does a supplier or a technology firm? Give that to the client very quickly? And how quickly can a client almost absorb that and get that stood up? So speed is going to be of the essence here. And you made a really good point earlier on where you were talking about, if corporates don’t do this quickly enough, they’ll just get left behind.

Jonny Dunning:   43:06   Yeah, and as a tech supplier, going into large corporates, you have to make it simple. You can’t make it too big a hurdle to get over, organizations are motivated to solve these problems now. But if you’re going in with a solution, like ourselves, or just looking at services, procurement, you can package up what you need to do and the clever bits that you provide into a very neat solution where you’re just the problem comes into your system, and the system does all the right things, and gives you the great results. But you still got to consider two other major factors. One is, how does that interface with existing systems, whether it be I’m not going to rebar or Cooper or something like that, or even document signature, reporting packages, finance packages, things like that, you have to have the ability to integrate, I totally agree with you. And but actually, you also need to keep that simple. And there might be a phase one, phase two, phase three, where you’re adding in a layer of complexity. But when you look at how most people are managing services, there are absolutely base levels of maturity, even very large organizations, very well-known organizations, very early levels of maturity. So actually, there’s a huge amount that can be gained just by getting that process working properly in the first place. And I think, from our point of view, as a tech provider, we look at some of the stuff that we’re doing is really innovative around things like supply performance management, where you’re getting clear, and comparative measurements on suppliers, who providing services, which is hugely complex, we’re doing some cool stuff with AI around that. That’s the kind of icing on the cake, the Holy Grail, the panacea and the future of being able to understand who your best suppliers by category, understand before you’re going into competitive bidding situations and shortlisting suppliers and stuff like that, but the only way you can get there is to capture the process effectively. You have to capture that process and that data effectively first and that’s the less glitzy stuff, and really practical stuff. But as you say, you know, if you with new technology providers, for people like us, we have to approach it from a point of view of saying the interface needs to be as good as whatever people are using in their personal life, because that’s what people expect. I guess, maybe historically, there was pressure on enterprise technology companies to make it feel like enterprise technology by being giant, super clunky and strict. So it looks like an enterprise technology piece of kit. But that’s no longer the case. And so, it’s making it easy for people, but also, you need to be able to configure it because even when you’re looking at integrations, if someone’s got a rebar, they might be using it in a completely different way to somebody else who’s got a rebar, they might have configured it, they might have their own internal processes, nuances and cost codes and cost centers and all this sort of thing. And my opinion is, if you’re a technology provider, nail, the core process, get that absolutely right, be a specialist. And then you have to have flexibility to make that work for different clients and different scenarios in different industries. But if you can get that working, then you have a solution that you can actually put in quite quickly, and get operating quickly. And I think the thing that I find really exciting, and I think that procurement professionals should be excited about is, automation is great, because it can take away all this, it can automate out the stuff that people ..., people shouldn’t be spending 80% of their time manually managing Statements of Work, that doesn’t make any sense. They’re not using all the skills and intelligence and ability that these procurement people have got, if that’s the setup, so that’s one side of it. But for me, the really exciting bit is if procurement is controlling all this data, if they can really centralize the data around Procurement Services, which is somewhere between one and 20 trillion spend annually, then that puts procurement in a really powerful position to be able to feed into the C-suite and help drive the strategy of that organization because they’re getting all the external information or the internal information. But at the moment, I don’t feel like people working across services categories have really generally got that information.

Pardeep Johal:     47:05   Yeah, I think you’re spot on, Jonny, you made so many good points there. And there’s two that I wrote down because I thought they were quite profound. And we’ve not talked about it. But this notion of corporates being now motivated. Sounds really simple. But you can imagine, no matter how good your technology is, or how great the solution might be, that you’re offering, if the customer is not ready for it, they don’t have a desire for it, or they’re not motivated for it. It’s gonna sit on a shelf somewhere. And I think it’s a really profound point to say that level of motivation over the last 18 months has gone from here to here, huge point that I think, is again, a simple one. But it’s one worth just kind of just talking about for a second, a really big one for me there. The second one that I wrote down, Jonny was about a partnership, and I see partnership as being so important to fix so many of the world’s problems today, right, whether we think about collaboration and co-venturing between two competitors, whatever it might be, but I find that point around partnership is really the key to success going forward. And to bring that to this conversation. It’s your point around integration, because that is another form of partnership. How do we get all of these points solutions that are doing what they’re doing so well, to partner with another provider to give the client, the tech stack that it needs? And for me, it’s that piece there is we use the language of integration. But really, it’s all about partnerships. And I think the success in this space is going to come from those partnerships moving away from that competitive type landscape that has been there for so many years. Because really, what that’s done is it’s slowed down innovation. So, I think this notion of partnerships that you talked about, I think is hugely critical. And as a buyer, I welcome it from all sides of the table.

Jonny Dunning:   49:14   Yeah, absolutely. I think you’re spot on. I mean, when you talk about partnership, we have situations where we’ll be talking to an end customer. And they’ll say, “Well, we’ve got certain things we want to address around how our current process which might be a manual process works, and how we want to make that fit into how we can use your tool or all sorts of different things, whether it’s rate card, sign off processes, all these different things.” Now, the way we always try and work with an end customer is to say, let’s collaborate on this. Let’s work in partnership, because there may be certain things in your process that it makes absolute sense to look at “Okay, how can we configure the system most effectively to work with the process you’re already working with” but also we can provide information on best practice and our product is guided by what the market wants generally, and what is the most effective kind of finds the most effective route by the pressure of what people are asking for. So in some cases you can, you can work with a customer and collaborate with them, and then end up saying, actually, the only reason we’re doing all these complicated processes because it’s manual. And because we’ve got these disparate systems, if we can shortcut some of that, then we can do it much more effectively. And that is, for me, that’s partnership, because that’s both sides, just effectively looking at a problem and saying, “With the resources that we bring, and what you need, how do we most effectively solve this problem?” And I absolutely love that approach. And I think it also applies to the way that organizations can engage with suppliers as well, particularly if technology can facilitate it. Because suppliers can help co-author requirements, we talked about writing Statements of Work is a whole separate topic. If you’re a stakeholder and you’re outsourcing a piece of work to a cybersecurity specialist provider, they’re probably going to know way more about it than you do in when it comes to the nitty gritty detail. And if you’re putting a requirement in front of five different suppliers, they might actually have different ways of suggesting at different milestones, different time spans, etc. and that’s where choosing the right suppliers, I’m sure you’ve got huge experience of procurement helping facilitate this. That can be a very valuable part of the partnership process as well.

Pardeep Johal:     51:22   Yeah, I think you’re right. I agree with all of that. And Jonny it’s such exciting times. When I hear people talk about that desire to collaborate, and partner, for me, if you think about it from a procurement perspective, we’re not used to hearing suppliers talking that way. Because over the years, it’s all been about how do I keep a competitive advantage. And the more I talk openly, I lose some of that. And for me, it’s just, it’s such a buzz living, and working in the profession right now. Because actually, we’re hearing so many talented people, suppliers talk in a more open way, because actually, they’re trying to find that right solution to be able to offer to the market and it’s fantastic.

Jonny Dunning:   52:09   Yeah, it is great. Yeah, it is exciting. And as you spoke about earlier, with regards to clear motivation, if you’re trying to educate the market, if you’re a provider, and you’re trying to educate the market, on your solution, or what the problem is that you’re trying to solve, you’re kind of on a hiding to nothing, unless you’re some, you know, billion dollar mega funded startup, that’s just putting all the noise out there with a new concept. But for example, with services procurement, it’s been around for a long time. And there’s been there have been issues with it for a long time. But I totally agree with what you’re saying about over the last 18-months kind of jumping from here to here. We’ve absolutely seen that. And its kind of various factors that have played into it. global factors around things like COVID, where you can’t have there can’t be any allowances for ..., it straight to the point when it comes to, “What are we getting for our money? What value is this driving?” And as we kind of spoke about briefly earlier, cost versus value, rather than a CEO or a CFO just saying, “How much do we spend on services last year, chop it down by 20%? We need to save some money, because we’ve got these pressures.” Really, organizations have an opportunity to say, “What is this spend driving? And okay, that isn’t a small problem to solve.” And for a lot of organizations, they’re at the beginning of the maturity curve to solve that problem. But when you look at the level of spend involved, it absolutely makes sense for organizations to make the effort to do that. But there’s a clear motivation. It’s driven by economic global factors like COVID. It’s driven by local regulatory factors like IR35 in the UK, similar legislation starting to come in in places like Germany, us. And it’s also driven by other factors, like for example, Brexit, where it’s talent pressures, for various reasons are things changing in particular skills, being in demand and technology changing so quickly. So it is a great time to be working in this space. And there is clear motivation. And I think the status of procurement, in some ways has been elevated throughout the last 18 months. If you look at some of the amazing work procurement teams have done in very challenging circumstances. I think businesses are recognizing, these teams are problem solvers, and procurement, if you look at the range of skills that procurement people have to have to be effective at what they do. They are diverse thinkers with who can use initiative to solve problems, and they have to manage relationships and do all these different things. So really, if procurement people can be away from the administrative side more towards the strategic side, that’s what companies ultimately want. And I think that’s what procurement people ultimately, want. And I think this whole situation over the last 18 months, the fact that we’re seeing this motivation is evidence that has really come to the fore.

Pardeep Johal:     55:06   And it’s great to hear you say that Jonny, you are a great spokesman for procurement, for sure.

Jonny Dunning:   55:13   Well, I think even in the last 18 months, I’ve seen narratives around the procurement seat at the C-suite table. But like I say, when you come back to the data, you can’t argue with that. Data is so critically important. And if procurement is controlling that data, and if they have effective data, they can make massive inferences and put forward backed up reasoning to drive decision making within the board. And I think it’s interesting when you look at like the kind of top level professional services and consulting area, where we’re typically you have organizations that have got very strong C-suite relationships. And this will always continue to a certain level, because relationships are extremely important. But where procurement have kind of been missed out, when it comes to those top level strategic consulting relationships. And there’s maybe not that much analysis on what are we actually getting for our money? Is that acceptable anymore? I don’t know, I wouldn’t have said it was acceptable in the first place. But it’s certainly an accepted practice within many organizations. So when you start seeing procurement as being the people that that data is flowing through, then it’s potentially going to give an opportunity for procurement to say, “Yeah, these guys are great. And they’re a big solid provider, they can go global capacity. But for this project, we’ve got a really innovative supplier over here, they’re smaller, but they’re amazing, actually, that can really help drive savings or revenue growth, or whatever it might be new product lines coming out.” So I think if procurement can get on top of the data and get access to that effectively, I do think that’s quite a powerful position.

Pardeep Johal:     56:53   Yeah, I think you’re right. And the profile of procurement in many organizations has been changing over the years. And I think where we are today is procurement, focusing on the right priorities that are aligned with the business objectives for that specific business, but also demonstrating how it can do more and changing that dialogue and that conversation to go more around value. And as a part of that discussion, ensuring it’s giving the business, the right things. And that means, fixing the procurement process and the experience, and using really good technology that will give it data, to give the function data so we can start having these really informed high value conversations with the likes of the CFO and others. But I think the profile for sure is changing. And it’s great that you’re seeing that as well.

Jonny Dunning:   57:48   But definitely seeing it and the demand within organizations to get stuff done. Combined with kind of when you face that, with that’s never been higher, get stuff done, get it done quickly, get it done efficiently, get it done, well, is critical, our competitors are racing off, and we’ve got to catch up with them or the market’s pressure, a huge pressure there. But on the other side of it, bigger talent shortages than ever before, regulatory changes, which are happening globally that are putting a squeeze on maybe things that haven’t been done properly, previously, like some of the contingent workforce concerns that are in US, Europe, etc. And that’s a kind of a sandwich situation, that’s quite a difficult one, you kind of between a rock and a hard place with that. And so I think the stakeholder they want to be helped. They want to get the things done. And but they know they’ve got to do it in the right way. So I think all of these things kind of line up to say that procurement should be allowed to do their jobs properly, rather than being hindered or rather than being just seen as the people who say, ‘No’, or some sort of blockers in the process, because there are issues facing the stakeholders who want to get this stuff done. And I don’t know whether you’ve seen a change in attitude from business stakeholders with regards to how procurement can help them with that sort of things, or whether that’s maybe a slower side of the change? 

Pardeep Johal:     59:14   Yeah, it’s an interesting question, because I think both sides of that coin, both procurement and the business, are starting to see the world in a different way because of everything that they’ve faced and procurement have got a conversation to have with itself to say, “What do I want to be known for? Do I want to be known for a function that allows is an enabler to the business so they can do what they’re trying to do? Do I want to be known as a function that is just stripping cost out of stuff? Do I want to be known as a function that provide high value expertise, like what do we really want to be known for?” And I think that’s a really important positioning play that procurement has to focus on, based on its conversation with the business. And then I think from a business perspective, I’m certainly seeing the business being more open. But it still comes down to, “What do I want to know? What do I want to go to procurement for?”  So you would have heard the many people talk about when something doesn’t come through procurement is it because you’re an individual is trying to avoid a process? Is it because they don’t want them to negotiate cost out? Or is it generally a lack of education, they don’t know what the process is. The answer to that is going to be very interesting. And so I’ve not seen anything specific happened at a macro level that I think the business is changing its view of procurement, or going in a different direction, some of it will come down to mandate, I’m still a believer of a lot of these pressures that the business are facing, there will be more mandates that are coming out where stakeholders are having to do something in a very set way. I think, conversely, to that journey, I think there’s also, this is a bit of a conflict. But conversely, there are some organizations out there that are giving or empowering the business more. So they’re setting up budgets in a different way, the delegations of authority are changing, because there is an acceptance, that actually I can’t put more fences around you, because it’s slowing down what you’re trying to achieve. In fact, I’m going to break some of those barriers down. And that’s a challenge for procurement. Because procurement has been a function over the years, which is very used to having fences put up, and then potentially go into the business with a stick saying, “Hey, you broke this or you breach this rule.” Procurement are having to change the way it works with the business and give the business the right reason for using them. So whether that’s you can get me something really quickly and really efficiently. But it’s got to be easier to deal with. So as I’ve been kind of talking to you, Jonny, I have thought about probably two aspects of it. One is the mandate side. And there’ll be certain sectors and geographies that push the mandate, you have to use procurement. And some procurement folk will say that actually, I don’t want to be on that side of the fence, I want a stakeholder to use me for a different reason, or pick up the phone and have a conversation with me for a different reason, then you will have organizations that are saying, “I want to break down all of those barriers, we want to set less rules in place, and we want to empower the business to go out there and make their own decisions and maybe do some of their own buying.” And in that challenge, procurement have to decide, how much do they push self-serve? So, is it now a different conversation, for those guys on that side of the fence that say Actually, it’s not about me touching every order that comes through. Now, it’s about me setting thresholds at a strategic level to say, “I’m going to set the infrastructure for the business to be able to go out there and do all of their buying for this type of service, under this threshold, whatever those rules might be that are appropriate for that business.” But in those scenarios became what we’ll have to think about that.

Jonny Dunning:   1:02:59     That is something we’re seeing a lot, and the challenges you just mentioned, for procurement to effectively remove the hurdles. And the mandate versus non-mandate, obviously, for the mandated point of view, it does, to a certain extent, depend on company culture, some companies are just like the culture would be like, there’s no way you can mandate stuff, because it’s just not how the organization operates, some of them will change and some of them for some people, some organizations in highly regulated industries, etc., mandates pretty standard, that’s what they would expect. And other organizations are just going to say, what I don’t care, we’ve just got to make sure we’re compliant. And we’ve got to make sure we’re efficient. So we’re going to mandate it, whether you like it or not, is happening. And but the getting the hurdles out of the way is an issue for procurement technology. You know, certainly private providers like ourselves as well, you have to almost get out of the way, as a tech provider. And this is where we’re seeing a really interesting trend, where organizations are blending procurement control with self-service, because you can still offer self-service, you can offer self-service, but you can still have visibility. So I guess you’ve got these two things you’ve got control, where you’re saying this has to go through procurement have to make a decision or have some sort of input. But then on the other stuff, where it doesn’t make sense to do that. If procurement can still see it, and they can still report on it, and they still got access an overview to what’s happening, then they can start to look at trends, improve the process, identify problems, start forecasting more effectively, look back retrospectively and see what’s gone wrong, what’s gone well, whether things need changing or mandating, but give people freedom. But if they can see it, that’s half the problem. Whereas at the moment, within services, procurement, there’s just generally very little visibility. And when it comes to self-service, in a lot of organizations that just mean people doing their own thing and going around the process. So I agree and I think there was a blend in the middle where organizations thresholds again, it’s about procurement, applying their expertise to the things that, it’s most effective to apply them to. So below a certain spend threshold, maybe you should be letting people get on with it. But you should be able to monitor it and understand what it is that they’re buying, how they’re buying it, what suppliers are doing. But let technology take care of that. Whereas, and then you can apply the strategic information from understanding how all the buying are working and what’s being delivered out of it, you can use that reporting and that data to give informed strategic decisions, whilst then focusing the negotiation, the relationship management around the biggest stuff there is over a certain threshold, then people aren’t just, being forced into massive amounts of administration. So yeah, I totally agree. And I think that’s something that’s a bit of a pleasant surprise for organizations when they start to address this, because they’ll go into it with this concern, the knot in their stomach of thinking, “Oh, God, we’re gonna have to mandate a broken, we’re gonna have to see everything to say yes to everything.” And we’re doing that at the moment. And it’s all manual but it’s a nightmare. Maybe if you just got a simple system, and a simple process that allows buyers and suppliers to interact. But you can see it all. You can layer on the control as appropriate. And it may be that you have zero control to start with, you don’t impose any controls over it. And you just get it running because you’re going from a situation where there were zero controls, and you can’t see anything. So maybe having like very low levels of control. And complete visibility suddenly is a big improvement. If you then need to layer on controls as you build more with your program that can be done quite easily when you’ve got direct evidence and data to back it up. But yeah, I think that, that mix of self-service and procurement oversight with procurement control and right error, I think that’s a great thing. Great way to approach it.

Pardeep Johal:     1:06:43     Yeah. And I think it does one thing that many organizations are trying to do when it comes to operational efficiencies is reducing your functional cost to serve. So how much does it cost a procurement organization to serve its customers and the business and actually, I believe that the role for the category manager going forward, a lot of that is going to be their strategies should look at creating a controlled environment, all of the stuff that you talked about Jonny, which is how you can put some boundaries up, that allow you to still be a good category manager, you’ve still got all of the data that you need to take informed decisions about the space that you own. But actually, you’re also allowing the user to get what they need. So they can do all of the right things for the business, which is what they’re employed to do, right without having all of these barriers. But creating that controlled environment means that you are creating some freedom. Because you’ve done all of the hard work upfront, which is..., it might be just about supply base for a specific geography, right, if that’s where your expertise is, and you’re allowing some options for a stakeholder to work through without being bounced from two or three different category folks in procurement to have that conversation. So I think that’s the role it’s going to be about channel management. And it’s about increasing that customer experience with less procurement interventions, but doing it in a controlled way. So whether it’s going to be by geography, whether it’s by category or subcategory, or whether it’s by spend, whatever the rules are, but creating some freedom there. And because that’s where we see organizations going, organizations are giving that freedom now, and that empowerment to the business. And I think procurement needs to support that too. And they are in many cases.

Jonny Dunning:   1:08:36     Yeah, it’s so exciting. And I think, going back to the point that you highlighted earlier, without the genuine motivation within organizations, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. 

Pardeep Johal:     1:08:47     Yeah. 

Jonny Dunning:   1:08:48     This wouldn’t be you know, such a current, an important topic that people are genuinely addressing now. And I love it, because I just love problem solving. And from our point of view, we our product was kind of born out of solving problems for customers and, and building up in what the market wants. And what the market wants is rapidly developing and coming out. But some central themes that have come through certainly, that the we see already are staying true. And it’s just you got people at the front of the curve, and you got people that are catching up with it, but the motivation is there to do it. And people are addressing these problems. And coming up with solutions and technology providers are entering the arena and coming up with trying to help those solutions move faster. So it’s a hugely exciting time to be involved in it. And yeah, just I think an area of great opportunity. And when you look at the size of the spend, it’s generally problems that have got large price tags associated with them get solved. They become quite high on the priority list but only when you’ve got the right drivers in place because there’s always something important to do for organized but yeah, it’s been a crazy time over the last 18 months, two years. And I remember when the pandemic first kicked in, and it was kind of like Boris Johnson saying, “We reckon three months.” And I was chatting to a guy who was doing some advisory work with us at the time. And he was also doing some advisory work for the government. AI kind of specialist. And I remember him saying to me, at the time, minimum, 12 months, Jonny, minimum 12 months, the way this is you’ll have, you’ll have these basically peaks and troughs, peaks and troughs, peaks and troughs, dying off that he was pretty much spot on. But I’d like to think hopefully, when it comes, as far as the pandemic goes, I’d like to think that the whole world could start to move out of it relatively soon, but it’s just so hard to predict, isn’t it? 

Pardeep Johal:     1:10:51     You and I both Jonny. Yeah, you and I both for sure. 

Jonny Dunning:   1:10:55     Well, I really appreciate your time Pardeep, fantastic areas really, really interesting. I’ve really enjoyed our conversation and I really appreciate your point of view. And so thanks very much for taking the time to join me and share your opinions. And yeah, exciting times ahead. And good luck with everything and hopefully you and I can catch up again soon.

Pardeep Johal:     1:11:15     Thanks so much, Shawn. It was it was great to catch up. Really enjoyed the conversation as always. 

Jonny Dunning:   1:11:20     Brilliant. Alright, speak to you soon. 

Pardeep Johal:     1:11:22     Bye, bye.


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