3rd World Contract Management Summit: Interview With Our Sponsor, Brooklyn Vendor Assurance
We were fortunate to connect with our Platinum Sponsor, Brooklyn Vendor Assurance, before our 3rd World Contract Management Summit. Jesse Lee, Co-Founder and CEO, shares his insights about the state of the industry:
Could you tell us more about your professional background and your area of interest in vendor management and VendorOps?
- Yes certainly. I am an engineer and software developer by training and early career, turned SaaS entrepreneur with some twists and turns along the way. My prior venture was called Apptio, which did and still does provide cost transparency for the CIO/CFO. Well, the main driver for buying it was always, where can I as the budget holder find some insight to help me recover my costs. After working hard on that challenge for many years, I saw hundreds of times that the biggest field of opportunity was in the supply chain. That is where the spend was most opaque, least controlled, and most opportunities missed – to say nothing of risks unmanaged (or worse, unknown).
- So for me and the core team, the goal for Brooklyn was to close down on those gaps and root causes of financial waste and unmitigated risk, by drawing on the experts across SRM / Vendor Management, and by building the first and best purpose-built solution for managing vendors end to end, in partnership and over the long term.
Tell us more about Brooklyn Vendor Assurance - what is the mission of the company and their vision for the future?
- Brooklyn Vendor Assurance’s (BVA) mission is to promote the Procurement organization and its leadership to be a recognised and valuable strategic partner to the business. We will accomplish this by bringing supply chain resilience, sustainability, and value for money to the enterprise. That is a holistic discipline that we call VendorOps.
- We want VendorOps to be a household name in this industry. We want BVA to be the work desk for vendor management across the board. It must be almost preposterous to consider working in this job without the assistance of such a thing, and we want to be the best among them all.
- I want to hold a thick book of customer and partner stories of transformation, resilience, sustainability, value and results -- powered by Brooklyn. In the end, we want the best community, practices and technology to create a powerful flywheel!
- To achieve that, we need to have a history of thrilled customers that are willing to tell the world about their journey. As long as we do our end of it, that will help us build a better community and continue learning from those customers to build best practices, and in turn, the best product that embeds those.
What are the benefits of using emerging intelligent technology for VendorOps solutions compared to the old traditional way of doing things?
- Well, the big benefits are, one, your people and your money go much further. Witness Danske Bank at this very Conference, achieving regulatory compliance and digital fitness for audit whilst extending the productivity by every contract manager an average of 200% on Brooklyn. Two, capturing and driving innovation in smarter ways. Three, driving sustainable and socially responsible outcomes.
- Now beyond the buzz words and value statements, you need to get down to the How. At Brooklyn, we really think our emergent technology is changing the game. We can point to multiple customers that interrogate their contract stock using our AI-powered engine, and that orchestrate and automate their engagement with suppliers far down that vendor tail, where previously they just had no time to interface and collect information, draw out innovation, and control risk. You need lightweight workflow, policy-driven actions, an alert-up architecture, and a platform purpose-built for the challenge as opposed to just some bolt-on to an already bloated ERP-scale solution suite.
How can the BVA VendorOps solution product help organizations maximum their value?
- The first step is to listen closely to the business challenges and the needs of the particular sponsor. There is so much variability today since the strategic potential of the Procurement organization is only recently appreciated, if at all.
- Typically they fall into one of three buckets: Tighten up and standardize the governance of the top tier suppliers, ensure compliance against external regulations or internal policy, and cover that huge sprawling vendor tail.
- Ultimately, since the Brooklyn solution is comprehensive and modular, you can chart your own maturity model and roadmap right across the various capabilities that you need to light up, in the right order.
What advice do you have for businesses trying to integrate contract management into their organization?
- Start with executive sponsorship, and start by tracking those most important few obligations in your most important supplier relationships. There are so many choices from there. But it is easy to pick up and begin, and the economic impacts start racking up right away.
- What you DON’T want to do is sit on your hands and do nothing, usually because you are worried about a systems integration challenge or a change management challenge down the road. The better path forward is to take some steps with proper sponsorship and improve your way of working. We’ve seen it over and over – you can save time and go further from the first days of trying it out.