Reflections on the 2023 Tradeshift Partner Advisory Summit
James Stirk, Interim CEO at Tradeshift, provides his reflections on the latest Tradeshift Partner Advisory Summit in London, UK.
I recently had the tremendous pleasure of connecting with new friends and old at the Tradeshift Partner Advisory Summit, which took place at the Cadogan Hotel in London. This is, without doubt, one of my favourite events of the year, and as the first such formal gathering of our partner community in my new role as CEO of Tradeshift, it took on even greater meaning.
This year’s Partner Advisory Summit took place against the backdrop of a profound transition taking place across multiple fronts. Businesses face a generational challenge to reshape strategies, technologies, and operating models to stay ahead. CFOs, CPOs, and CEOs that I speak to are all focused on balancing the need to reduce costs with the pressure to grow their business in an uncertain macroeconomic environment.
This tension point proved a dominant theme in the informal conversations that took place on Monday night. Enterprise leaders are searching for the digital pivot that can help them do more with less. Looking around the room on that first evening, what struck me most was the sheer scale of the opportunity we have as a collective to deliver precisely the toolkit businesses are now searching for. From procurement to the office of the CFO and extending to the millions of small-to-medium enterprises starved of working capital, we have a chance to make a real difference.
The sense of a pivotal moment carried over into the formal agenda of the following day. A year ago, when we last convened as a group, I provided a strong hint of transformative changes on the horizon. This summer, we formally announced our intention to create a joint venture with HSBC. In a day of many highlights, I was delighted to welcome Vinay Mendonca, Chief Growth Officer, Global Trade and Receivables Finance at HSBC to the stage to give us all a sense of the scale of what we are building together.
The journey we’re on together with HSBC represents a world first in the provision of embedded finance solutions on the Tradeshift platform. I cannot underestimate the significance of what lies ahead, not only in terms of the enhanced value we can deliver to businesses on the Tradeshift network but also in terms of the opportunity for growth we are unlocking for Tradeshift and our partner ecosystem as a whole.
Our joint venture with HSBC is symbolic of the incredible power of the Tradeshift network and the flywheel effect we set in motion by connecting buyers and suppliers across the globe. From marketplace operators Chain IQ who are leveraging our technology to reimagine procurement processes at a global scale, to BPO partners such as Conduent who are driving digital transformation for the world’s largest enterprises, our partners are very much the co-authors of what promises to be the most exciting of next chapters for Tradeshift.
I must give a special acknowledgment to Sourav Niyogi, Senior Partner, Finance and Supply Chain Transformation, EMEA at IBM, who shook off the remnants of a nasty cold to deliver his perspective on the transformational impact that AI is having in our sector. Among the many valuable insights he shared, one message really resonated with me. Now more than ever, we live in an era where experience determines outcomes. And that’s particularly true when suppliers are asked to adopt new tools and processes to do business with their customers. When the experience fails, the project dies.
What we’ve built at Tradeshift is an experience that delivers obvious and tangible value to any business – buyer or seller – that joins our network. I’m proud of the work we’ve done to deliver against this promise. Our commitment to creating value for any business that joins the Tradeshift network means suppliers onboard faster and buyers achieve their digitization objectives quicker. And the more our partners continue to build on this foundation, the more compelling our proposition becomes for the 85% of businesses that have yet to digitize. It’s a virtuous circle that is now coming to life in a very meaningful way. Together, we’re not merely embracing change; we’re driving it.
I extend my sincere gratitude to our partners and friends from HSBC, Conduent, Chain IQ, Genpact, IBM, KPMG, Brait, Quyntess, and Consider Solutions. Many of you invested not only your time but also travelled great distances to be with us. And my thanks also to the Tradeshift team, who worked tirelessly to ensure the day was such a phenomenal success.