Looking back at Zycus Horizon 2017 - part 1

October 18, 2017

Last week three employees of Qando attended Horizon, the largest event of our software-partner Zycus. From all over the world (potential) clients, analysts, experts and partners gathered together at this 3-day procurement congress at the Roosevelt Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New Orleans. A great group of approximately 200 people. Theme of this year: Beyond savings, beyond value.

The 6th edition contained two essential ingredients for a successful congress: an overview of the most important insights in new procurement and technologic trends and several great use cases from best-in-class organisations, shared on the main stage or one of the break-out sessions.

Qando was once again proud sponsor of this yearly event and we provided every attendee with a Dutch Cookie in their welcome bag: the well-known 'stroopwafel'!


The first evening

It started out with a welcome reception followed by a dinner with music performed by a swinging blues band. This is where we became acquainted with other attendees of the congress and were able to catch up/get to know current Zycus-clients in the US with European offices overseas.

For these clients in particular, we can add value as a the European partner of Zycus by providing them with local, contextual support (European law) when using Zycus in Europe. Examples of our services are:

  • Implementation workshops
  • Actual implementation of Zycus
  • Optimization of sourcing and procurement processes
  • Setup and training for reports, dashboards and KPI-dialogues.
  • (Additional) custom made training for daily use of Zycus
  • Hands-on support, for example:
    • Retrieve and upload spend data
    • Onboarding of suppliers
    • Setup RfX and contract templates
    • Improve clause library contents

Keynote: Miracle on the Hudson

Jeff Skiles kicked off by telling his impressive story known as "The Miracle on the Hudson", he was the co-pilot on US Airways Flight 1549. This flight lasted only 5,5 minutes. Two minutes after take-off, a number of geese hit both engines on an altitude of 3000 feet resulting in a total engine failure for the right engine and left the left engine with barely enough power to keep the hydraulic systems up and running. A landing on an airfield nearby was not possible since the pilots could not rely on the aircraft to keep functioning and they had to fly across high populated areas to reach another airfield. That's why the Hudson was the only option with a 'flat, wide surface'. So, 3,5 minutes after hitting the geese they made an emergency landing on the freezing-cold water...



Watch the full story in this video.

An interesting link with procurement appears when we pay attention to the learnings of the successful emergency landing by US Airways.

  • The need for a team-based approach. A procurement team needs structure to be successful. Procedures, guides, quick reference cards and training sessions are important to take the right decision. The four eyes-principle should be applied to every impactful decision.
  • The importance of ‘near misses’ reporting. Reporting of procurement mistakes without repercussion enables everyone to learn. This is used to improve procedures and provide training sessions.

Great results can be achieved by a clear role assignment and (additional) training of people, better than working as a procurement professional individually.

Tech trends

Several presentations and panel discussions were held on the main stage. The most discussed topics were Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA); words like 'Cloud' and 'Analytics' were often used. We can see that 'Cloud' is already here and so is Virtualisation; the Internet of Things is emerging more and more.

Did you know that only 32% of all organisations have a strategy for digital procurement?

Many organisations say their biggest challenge is to work together both with internal clients and with the supplier community. The goal should be to offer a better customer experience to internal clients and suppliers.

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Read all our tweets about Zycus Horizon 2017

Roadmap Zycus

CEO Aatish Dedhia of Zycus shared the platform roadmap by using inspirational videos and slides, stating that Zycus will commit to to following priorities: 

  1. Customer focus
  2. Comprehensive s2p suite
  3. Flexibility & agility
  4. Long term commitment


Each two to three years a new user interface will be launched, the first one will have the name 'Dew Drops'. Furthermore, Zycus will have automatisation in place for testing new releases to facilitate a new and quicker release cycle management. 

A number of improvements was discussed specifically, these are improvements for:

  • Quick source
  • Contract life cycle management
  • Collaborative platform (SCAR)
  • Inventory management
  • Manage contingent workforce / freelancers
  • E-invoicing

Hype Cycle Gartner | Magnus Bergfors

Magnus Bergfors, Research Director Procurement Technology of Gartner, presented the Gartner Hype Cycle. In this hype cycle it becomes clear that many tech developments have a (in)direct influence on procurement.



Magnus said that Smart Contracts can be used together with Blockchain-technology, combined with the Internet of Things for monitoring the entire supply chain. Contracts have to be really smart since they will be executed as written and automatic payments will be made when tasks are finished (verified by monitoring) as written in the contract. This is dependent on data of course, such as data from suppliers, government and other independent sources. 

Would you like a further explanation of the Gartner Hype Cycle, applied to procurement? Let us know and we are happy to schedule an appointment. 

A panel discussion concluded the content on the second day. This panel discussed procurement automation in a postmodern ERP age. It is remarkable that many organisations still use highly customized ERP-systems which are obstructing innovation.

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Read all our tweets about Zycus Horizon 2017

The evening of the second day started in New Orleans-style with joining a Mardi Grass Parade, bringing all attendees to the well-known House of Blues. Zycus rented the entire location for all 200 attendees and offered a delicious dinner and drinks with powerful blues music performed by the House of Blues-band. Never seen that many dancing CPO's together :-)

Continue reading in the second blog post. That blog post is about the future of procurement, (upcoming) tech developments and our summary of break-out sessions from both Duncan Jones (Forrester Research) and Jason Busch (SpendMatters).

Lucel Mulder

Written by Lucel Mulder

Qando | Business Development Manager