GSA ran a highly successful sourcing symposium on multiple sustainability issues such as: talent development and wellness in the workplace through the nirvana of enterprise wide automation, to all the latest techs that drive agility and how to contract for them.

The main focus of this symposium is on Sustainability and Agility, the two hottest subjects in strategic sourcing today which are intrinsically linked. You cannot be agile if you are not sustainable and you will not be sustainable if you are not agile.  


Kerry Hallard, CEO and Mark Devonshire, Chairman, Global Sourcing Association opened the symposium and shared all the latest industry findings and predictions for the year ahead and discussed these with its panel of enterprise buyers. 

They covered:

  • The advent of the strategic sourcing function
  •  Upskilling the profession
  •  The evolving sourcing eco-system
  •  New contracting models 
  • Wellness in the workplace 
  • Supply chain assurance

Lauren Tennant, Co-Founder, Horizon7 joined the Symposium to explain how to create a sustainable and performing outsourcing landscape.

She argued that buyers are under pressure to extract value and reduce costs from their outsourcing landscape, combined with service providers’ internal pressures to increase profitability and focus on new logos – the result is often deckchair swapping when (or before) the contract expires. Lauren will share insights on how to buy and maintain sustainable deals to leverage their full potential and value while simultaneously advising service providers on how to sell and deliver their services for a sustainable future.

Jamie Gannaway, Co-Founder, Deployed defined Work for Good! 

With the rise of Procurement as a Service, the collapse of the contractor market (IR35 in the UK) and the inextricable expansion of the gig economy into white collar work, we are seeing disintermediation of old markets, creation of new rapidly scaling platforms and testing of new resourcing models. But while the supply chain is being disrupted, where do we stand on the “demand” chain. Many corporates still rely on outdated modes of writing requirements; suppliers author over 60% of the work they perform via statements of work, and like going to the gym, everyone skips the essential pre warm up stretching. This costs time, money and adds significant risk to the bottom line. Jamie discussed the importance of well-defined work and how a problem well stated is not only half solved, but can add 9% to a company’s bottom line and reduce work disputes by 40%, and 4x improve time to sign on even complex engagements. This is driving essential change among both buyers and providers.

Tom Bridgford, Partner & Thomas Whitfield, Legal Director, Eversheds Sutherland explained both how to Manage crises and how to avoid them. 

They analysed and included different issues such as:

  • You’ve gone live with your outsourcing but the service levels have plummeted and costs are out of control
  • You haven’t agreed terms with your supplier but it has been on site for a year; they now tell you the project can’t be delivered and your board is expecting delivery in six weeks 
  • You are changing a key supplier, but there is a dispute with the incumbent and they are threatening to withhold goods and not to assist your new provider through the handover.

Professor Leslie Willcocks, London School of Economics and Political Science offered  speech on  Enterprise Wide Automation. 

He argued that despite exponential growth and massive potential, automation technologies, often dubbed AI, are getting mixed results so far. The session will give a progress report on how robotic process automation, cognitive automation and AI are being deployed, and with what results. Then drawing on the LSE case database of over 450 deployments, and his new book ‘Becoming Strategic with Robotic Process Automation, Leslie focuses on the relatively few leaders gaining superior business value from, in particular, RPA and cognitive technologies. He identifies the distinctive leading practices of frontrunners and a total value of ownership (TVO) framework to drive out value across the automation technology life cycle. 

Sven Köhler, Head of Digital Centre of Excellence, Nokia and Andy Appleby, Vice President and Major Account Lead, Symphony Ventures, presented Nokia: Challenges of getting to enterprise-wide automation – a case in point!

Nokia offers a rare example of successful deployment of enterprise wide automation.

Learn how the programme at Nokia has achieved:

  • over 100 processes automated across multiple business functions

• 1m transactions per annum automated

• 800% ROI estimated over 2 years. 

Nick Patience, Co-Founder & Research Vice President, 451 Research introduced us on the infrastructure of AI – what is driving it and what’s changing.

In this session Nick addressed the challenge of the changes to infrastructure that are happening - and need to happen - to facilitate greater adoption of AI and machine learning at scale. Even though we’re only at the beginning of the enterprise AI journey, enterprise adoption is quickening and deepening, especially in industries such as financial services, healthcare, manufacturing and retail. In this session Nick will reveal the barriers organisations face to delivering AI at scale in terms of the infrastructure they have now and the types of infrastructure investments they may want to make in the future, also addressing the changing role of service providers within these scenarios.

William Ellis, Director & Usman Wahid, Partner, KPMG asked the audience: What does successful agile contracting look like? and presented a case in point on Coke. 

They explained what a good Agile contract needs to balance the creation of a collaborative culture that allows for continuous delivery of software and embraces change, with the provision of sufficient commercial protection for the customer. We found out that incentive's all parties need to work together and take a shared responsibility for success. KPMG provided its point of view, and referenced its work with Coca Cola European Partners with whom it broadcast a webinar on this topic.

Craig Rogers joined William Ellis and Usman Wahid for The Coke case study which moved into a panel discussion on contracting for agile.

Paula Kennedy-Garcia, Vice-President, Concentrix offered a talk on Strategic Sourcing Shifts - Including the Gig Economy. She explained how might the integration of crowd sourcing technology and the sharing economy change the shape of customer support for the future. The audience could find out how disruptive innovation can converge brand fans and anytime consumer demand to unlock cost reduction, remove the barriers of time and language and simultaneously respond to the challenges of sustainability for the future of work.

Katherine Chapman, Director, Living Wage Foundation tackled the issue of  low paying one contract at a time - Why your business needs to join the Living Wage movement?

All you ever wanted to know about what the real Living Wage is, why it matters and how you can champion the real Living Wage in the outsourcing sector. PLUS the Recognised Service Provider Programme .


The afternoon session explored a number of key themes pertaining to Wellness in the workplace and how this drives sustainability of the business.

The session was comprised of a number of quick-fire presentations and then open discussion, sharing challenges themes and ideas.

Chaired by Kerry Hallard, CEO, GSA

Sourcing of Tomorrow – the Story of People and the importance of Robo-Shepherds

Konrad Jakubiec, COO & Magdalena Adamczewska, Head of Operations, Digital Teammates

Helping colleagues grow families as well as their careers – using tech to drive community engagement in the workplace

Hortense Thorpe, Strategic Sourcing Manager, Centrica

Future of work and future of the workplace in the face of disruption

Simon Lightman, Partner, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP Louise Skinner, Partner, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP Lee Harding, Partner, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP

The GSA shared the new industry code of conduct for partnering with start-ups and SMEs, as the sourcing eco-system continues to evolve at pace.

• Kerry Hallard, CEO, GSA

• Hortense Thorpe, Strategic Sourcing Manager, British Gas

• Konrad Jakubiec, COO, Digital Teammates


This afternoon session will explore a number of the new techs impacting the sourcing industry and how they can drive business agility.

The session was comprised of a number of quick-fire presentations and then open discussion, sharing challenges themes and ideas.

Chaired by Mark Devonshire, Chair, GSA

How will Block Chain affect the outsourcing community and what are the issues to look out for?

James Burnie, Senior Associate, Eversheds Sutherland Developing sustainability using modern technologies such as blockchain, AI, ML and IoT

Paweł Pustelnik, COO, Future Processing

How Fintech can benefit via agile and innovation in synergy with IoT – a case story about a car wash

Andrius Minkevičius, CEO, MB IT Girnos

Strategic considerations when implementing a successful AI project


• Charlotte Walker-Osborn, Partner, Eversheds Sutherland

• Chris Bates, Partner, Ashurst

• Sarah Barrington, Data Scientist & CEO

• Andrea Ruggieri, Vice President, Digital and Privacy Legal, GSK

This session will also provide a forum to discuss the challenges on how to get to get to enterprise-wide automation

• Imran Syed, Legal Director, DLA Piper Supported by:

• Professor Leslie Willcocks, London School of Economics and Political Science

The Big Bot Debate 

The GSA is posing the Motion:the automation industry would evolve faster if we stopped referring to robots.


• Mike Havard, Director, Ember Group

• James Johnson, Client Director, Symphony

• Terry Walby, CEO, Thoughtonomy

• Professor Leslie Willcocks,London School of Economics and Political Science

• Durvesh Ganveer, CTO EMEA, NTT Data Services

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