On an uncharacteristically rainy February evening in Dubai, we ran the second of our recent events focusing on the Evolving use of Technology and Analytics in Procurement and Supply Chain.

Staged by Simfoni in collaboration with CIPS MENA, and hosted by the PwC Academy in Dubai, the event was attended by over 80 procurement professionals and students from the region.

It was a great opportunity for us to bring together a collection of interesting speakers to impart their knowledge and experience of Procurement in the Middle East.

Opening the event, CIPS Dubai Branch Chair Cory Thwaites spoke of his excitement at seeing the level of interest that the event had generated with the large turnout. Sidhant Dhamija – Chairman of CIPS MENA Millennials Chapter then delivered an engaging presentation on the CIPS Millennials program that he is pioneering.

Arun Babbar of PwC Academy then made an exciting announcement regarding the launch of the PwC Academy CIPS program, which Simfoni are pleased to have helped develop.  The program is now available to corporate customers, and with many of Simfoni’s current clients showing a keen interest in enrolling their staff, we are certain that PwC Academy will become the premier CIPS delivery center in the Middle East.

We were then pleased to welcome Andrew Jefferson (PwC Director of Finance) to the stage to discuss the journey he and his team are currently embarking upon to become a strategic Finance and Procurement function within PwC Middle East.  Andy delivered a tremendously engaging and interesting presentation that highlighted the need for company’s data to be used in a meaningful way to inform strategic business decisions.

Andy was joined by his colleague Bethan Powell, PwC ME Director of Procurement, to talk about the strategic priorities of her team, and how timely and accurate MI and analysis underpin delivery of these.

This section led seamlessly into the headline event of the evening, with our Middle East MD Stefan stepping up to deliver his presentation on The Evolving Use of Analytics and Technology in Procurement.

Stefan’s engaging presentation talked about the evolution of technology and its increasing impact on both the world around us, and the Procurement and Supply Chain profession.

His presentation touched upon many influencing factors from the early inception of computers through to the present day with the rise of machine learning, artificial intelligence and advanced analytics and the competitive advantage that this technology can deliver to a procurement function, and to the wider business.

The subject sparked some interesting debate around the benefit of in-house verses specialist data analytics services, with a consensus that analytics for procurement and supply chain should be driven by specialists, not IT generalists with the critical requirement to drive actionable insight from raw data.

The evening also included some lively discussion on the future of the Procurement function (referencing our hugely popular Magnificent Seven event of 2016) with some exciting and innovative ideas voiced around the room.

As with all such events, the evening culminated with some great networking and lively discussions, fueled by some delicious food.

Thanks again to everyone that attended this successful and enjoyable event, we are already planning the next so watch this space for announcements!

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