Breaking Things and Permissionless Procurement: the future is digital!

Breaking Things and Permissionless Procurement: BT Sourced's Digital Frontier panel reveals how the future is digital!

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‘Hybrid’ is becoming the new normal as companies and individuals adapt to a blend of office and home working.

BT Sourced proved that this ‘normal’ isn’t just limited to the office and at home, but open to events too!


BT Sourced, focused on redefining procurement, hosted its first virtual event, Dare to Discover, an online interactive experience for attendees to listen to key speakers at its auditorium and check out Digital Garage partners – all from the comfort of their own home (or work, if you’d prefer)!

Spanning the whole day, the event held key sessions covering the Future of Procurement, its Operating Model and Innovation. ProcureTech’s focus was on one our favourite topics: digital procurement, in their Pushing the Digital Frontier session.

The panel included some notable names from the digital space, including procurement fanatic Dr Elouise Epstein (Author, Futurist and Partner at Kearney), including our ProcureTechSTARS alumni Natasha Foster, COO and Co-Founder at Paid; Harmeen Mehta, Chief Digital and Innovation Officer at BT; Adam Brown, Head of Digital Garage at BT Sourced, Kevin Frechette, CEO and Founder of Fairmarkit; and Cyril Pourrat, CPO at BT Sourced.

In this session, Cyril and Harmeen opened up by discussing how companies can embrace new technology vs creating an appropriate culture for it to be adopted. To create such a culture, ‘don’t be afraid of breaking things for the right reason’.

Hosted by Dr Elouise, the panel session focused on how digital providers are playing a key part in accelerating transformation within the procurement industry, with input from Natasha and Kevin creating startups that disrupt the source-to-pay market.

What did you see in the market before it was big? Why did you start? What needed disrupting?

Natasha revealed how Paid aims to create equal opportunities for businesses of all sizes with its next-generation procurement automation platform, for both buyers and suppliers, that transforms the procure-to-pay process to make it easier and faster for everyone. This includes the onboarding process, through to compliance and contracting, which small and large suppliers and enterprises don’t really have time for. Processes are often manual and slow, where prices and competition are then stifled.

Digital technologies like these are shaping the digital procurement landscape by bridging the gap to solve problems and provide better opportunities between suppliers and buyers of different sizes. Process automation software is just one of the digital procurement technologies to keep an eye out for.

Kevin recalls how Fairmarkit started as a completely different company to what it is now: an intelligent sourcing platform that empowers organizations to more efficiently purchase the goods and services they need, where automation and data come together.

Fairmarkit spoke to big companies where there was a lot of opportunity to fill in the tail end space, with 75% of companies listing it as a priority. However, they are still using legacy tools and processes which isn’t helpful when seeking clean data: Fairmarkit fills the gap and helps solve tail end space.

How has your company helped during COVID?

Natasha – Paid uses 3rd party partners to give the option to suppliers to access more buyers and receive payment quicker, a major issue before where large companies have long payment terms which smaller companies often cannot work with.


Kevin – Tail end is a general grey area, but Fairmarkit helps to automate and incorporate people by helping to achieve the organization’s goals, such as cost savings and more diversity. Successful customers are often companies where they embrace and empower their employees with a culture of innovation within the procurement team and whole organization.


“If things aren’t breaking, we aren’t growing fast enough!”
Kevin Frechette


Kevin noted that if the company is stagnated and is working perfectly, it isn’t driving anywhere! During COVID, this has meant introducing new technology, new CPOs and expand procurement teams, on buyer and supplier sides.

The trio then went on to discuss automation, which is a big area in procurement.


The panel loved Natasha mention how ‘Permissionless Procurement’ is set to be the future of automation in the procurement space to help sourcing and efficiency for buyers and suppliers – who can also be customers. Moreover, relationships emerged as vital, especially during the peak of the pandemic to ensure small and large companies feel enabled and able to combat through difficult issues and conversations.


What’s the one thing you see on the horizon for 2022 and beyond?

Kevin – End user focus, strong experience and people challenging status quo more.

Natasha – Utilise data that is available within large corporations and small suppliers and do something good with it. Demystify the long tail; create an environment with good data and look at benchmarking for the supplier and buyer side.


Both agreed it is hard to argue against data, as it is useful for creating efficiency for onboarding and compliance checks using automation tools and platforms.

Culture remains a hot topic for any organization, which is “great and vital for a start-up environment” said Natasha, where “everyone has a voice”. This way, people can live their roles, make decisions quickly and not be afraid to fall. As Kevin said, this links to people challenging the status quo more.


Adam finished the session with his support: you’re employed for a reason. accept your responsibility, be empowered, don’t dwell on things and make the next step!


“We go off script because we love procurement and have fun!”
Dr Elouise Epstein


“This is just the beginning of an adventure!” Cyril Pouratt


Click here to access BT Sourced’s on-demand resources.

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