A year ago, Arkestro (formerly Bid Ops) held Optimal. The conference was a recognition that procurement software is a strategic driver for modern business and that AI has become a critical tool for supporting organizations that are under pressure to make better decisions, faster. Optimal wasn’t all presentations, workshops, keynotes, demos, and networking among the 1,000+ participants. As part of the conference, Opti Awards were handed out. These were a celebration of stellar achievement and innovation in the procurement industry.
If you missed Optimal last year, or were there and benefited from the shared knowledge and experience of fellow procurement professionals, mark March 23 and 24 in your calendar for Optimal ‘22: The Leadership Summit for Predictive Procurement. That is when procurement, sourcing, and CFO leaders from around the globe will be convening in New York City to discuss the strategic issues pressing today’s leading organizations.
What to Expect From an Optimal Conference
Among the topics covered last year were sessions on the power of machine learning to transform sourcing, the business case for sourcing productivity, and the seismic shift caused by subscription culture.
In addition to the presentations, there were a series of workshops and panels. Among the areas covered with these hands-on sessions were how to select best of breed procurement technologies and best practices for supplier onboarding in digital sourcing operations.
The Opti Awards recognized several notable accomplishments within the industry. Among last year’s winners were BASF for exhibiting innovation in the area of raw materials, UCB for Tactical Sourcing AI Process of the Year, and Holman Enterprises for the category of Tactical Sourcing AI Process of the Year. You can read all about last year’s Opti Awards categories and honorees here. You can also learn details about what makes many of these companies such leaders in procurement innovation through case studies. As an example, be sure to check out this case study on Holman Enterprises.
Want to see first-hand want an Optimal session looks like? Words can’t fully describe the experience of what it’s like to attend an Optimal session or to take in an Optimal keynote. Video does a much better job of capturing the proceedings, and you can view a selection of videos from last year’s Optimal conference here.
How to Get the Most Out of an Optimal Conference
Attending any conference is an investment, and our team has suggestions on how to get the most out of attending. The overall message for procurement teams in attendance is to leverage the knowledge they get at a conference; otherwise, the cost-to-value ratio is too high.
How do they leverage that knowledge? Here are a few tips on how to do so:
- Target your learning by developing a list of sessions you want to be part of, then be sure to take extensive notes
- Networking is a big win. But to make the most of the networking opportunity, build a list of people you may want to speak to (for example, colleagues or vendors). Ensure you have an objective for the conversation, and know whether you want to continue with ongoing conversations
- Share your notes, summaries, and recordings with your team members
What to Expect From Optimal 2022
Optimal 2022 has an impressive lineup of keynote speakers, including
- Dr. Elouise Epstein(Partner at Kearney)
- Joanna Martinez (transformation thought leader and author)
- Mark Raffan (host and founder of Negotiations Ninja)
- Susan Walsh (owner and founder of The Classification Guru).
In addition, several of Arkestro’s trailblazing customers will be presenting. Of course, there will be presentations by senior Arkestro executives, including Founder and CEO Edmund Zagorin and Ben Leiken, Arkestro CTO
Susan Walsh, who will be talking about taxonomy troubles, will be sharing some of her top-secret tips. But you’ll have to be there to find out what they are. According to Susan, “At this event alone, there will be hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of knowledge and expertise, there will be the opportunity to learn from the best and find out what’s current and upcoming in our industry and ask those experts questions. It’s a chance to get ahead of your peers or the competition.”
Mark Raffan will be speaking about predictive negotiation planning and the cost to companies of clinging to the old—inefficient and ineffective—ways of doing things when implementing technology.
“The biggest thing standing in the way of procurement today is clinging to old ways of doing things that are inefficient and ineffective. If technology can dramatically increase productivity and effectiveness and the benefit outweighs the cost of implementation and the cost of doing it the old way, then implementing technology is a no-brainer,” explained Mark.
In addition to the keynote speakers, there will be
- two days of interactive sessions
- CPO & CFO panels
- analytics skill workshops
- the ’22 Opti Awards
You can see the full list of Optimal 2022 speakers, presenters, and sponsors here.
Optimal 2022: Where and When
Optimal 2022 will be held on March 23 and 24 at New York’s Fitzpatrick Manhattan Hotel. You can request to attend here.
With factors including inflation, ongoing supply chain disruptions, logistical disruptions, extreme weather events, and the ongoing issue of Omicron, procurement professionals are going to have another challenging year. The case for procurement teams, CPOs, and CFOs attending Optimal’22 is a strong one. We hope to see you there.