Basware Conference in October – Futurists and the Future of Procurement (Plus Table Tennis)

We mentioned the Basware conference in London on October 17th the other day but it's time to tell you a little more about the agenda. It’s very much aimed at Finance and Procurement, but Basware don’t go in for the hard sell at their events - rather, there is a strong more general business focus, so as a procurement person you won’t get lots of specialist and deep Finance sessions to sit through. However, you can if you want benefit from various workshops and demonstrations around their product.

One highlight will be a keynote from Rohit Talwar, who is a futurist and “award-winning keynote speaker, author, strategic advisor to global corporations and governments, and the CEO of Fast Future”. That futurist description can cover a multitude of things these days, but having watched a bit of him on YouTube, I think he is going to be good. He’s not too far into the “science fiction” type futurist space, he’s pretty grounded but challenging too when he talks about technology and the impact its going to have.

Then I’m running a workshop on the Future of Procurement which will also look to the future but more specifically around procurement. Building on our series of articles we’ve been running through the summer, we will be looking at how technology is going to change the nature of the procurement role.

The real question for me is this – once so much of what we currently do is automated, what is left for “procurement”? What will be the activities that might still keep us all busy in a few years’ time? Bear in mind that technology won’t just automate, it will change the balance between activities carried out by the procurement function and those carried out by budget holders and other stakeholders.

I’ll talk for around half the session, then we will have (I hope) a genuine workshop discussion with contributions from delegates. Where do you see this all heading?

Then, in a subsequent workshop, our friend Andrew Daley from recruitment firm Edbury Daley will be taking the debate forward from my session in a logical fashion, asking questions around what this future means in terms of individual’s skills, development and careers. What skills and experience should you be gaining now to position yourself well for this future and make sure that Andrew head-hunts you for that top job in 2020 or 2025? Will career paths look very different in a post-digitised procurement world?

Again, Andrew will use a mix of presentation and workshop discussion, and we hope that the two sessions will work together well, stimulate thinking and give you some ideas that might help you both in developing your organisational procurement strategies and in your own personal life.

There are other speakers too of course, including Chris Bell, Commercial Director for the City of London Corporation and author Mark O’Connell – we’ll tell you more about them at a later date. And the event is being held at CodeNode, near Finsbury Circus in the City of London.  I don’t know the venue personally (but my colleagues who attended last year do - read about it here alongside an overview of the event) -- it sounds achingly hip, and has table-tennis tables apparently, so as the runner-up in the Houghton Secondary School championship (circa 19**) I will also be taking on all comers on the tables.

Managing Editor, Spend Matters After graduating from Cambridge University, Peter started his procurement career at Mars Confectionery, then was Procurement Director for Dun & Bradstreet Europe, the Department of Social Security, and the NatWest Group. He is a Fellow and was 2003 President of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply, and has served as a non-executive director of two large public sector organisations and a growing private firm.  His second book, “A Procurement Compendium” was published in 2019, and Penguin Business is publishing his latest book in autumn 2020. From 2010-18 he was Managing Editor of the Spend Matters Europe website, read by thousands of procurement professionals every day. ​