eVA: Your Still The One!

Posted on October 21, 2010

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You are still the one that makes me shout
Still the one and I wouldn’t switch
We’re still having fun, and you’re still the one…

Lyrics from the song “Still The One” by Orleans

With the decision to resume my speaking schedule (I had taken time off to write three books), I have had the great opportunity to really get a feel for what is happening from a global perspective.

Through recent journeys to London (eWorld) and Stockholm (IBX Capgemini Executive Summit), emerging trends such as the non-consultancy approach, public sector procurement transformation and, the globalization of the supply chain were at the top of the list of most procurement professionals.  Even the utilization of social media and social networking had broken through from the “what I had for lunch” misperception to being seen as a viable communication/collaboration tool.

Ultimately these sojourns, as will be the case with upcoming keynotes, provide an important point of reference in terms of challenging the veracity of past ideas and opinions regarding a variety of topics.  Challenging the accepted norms or mainstream thinking – especially your own, is an incredibly important exercise because it ensures an ongoing relevancy of your views and ultimately the opinions and advice one shares with their readers.

For example, hearing how major consultancy firms recognize the need to abandon long adhered to revenue models based on engagements that extended over years, in favor of a model that will now span months and even weeks and produce a clear outcome or result within that shortened time frame is interesting and a bit exciting.  One can thank the emergence of the on-demand or Software-as-a-Service “SaaS” technologies for being a key driver in this transformation.

In short, the epiphanic significance of this coming to terms of a changing reality is on the same scale as was probably the realization that the world wasn’t flat but round.

While shifting perceptions impact some long-held beliefs inspiring a change in direction, with others the deluge of new insights only serve to reinforce that which has and continues to work well.

Like the invention of the wheel, designs as well as the materials used to produce the end product may evolve, but the basic underlying “foundational” principles remain the same.

In this regard, and although not perfect – what after all is, the Commonwealth of Virginia’s eVA program is still a coruscating example of what can happen when you get it right!

Commonwealth of Virginia

As the only North American expert invited to join the SSON Roundtable discussion on the recently released Sir Philip Green review of the policies and practices which currently define how the UK Government acquires goods and services, I found myself once again referring to eVA (as well as eProcurement Scotland) as the defacto public sector models that everyone should emulate.

Now I can assure you that this ongoing “endorsement” of eVA is not merely a rubber stamping exercise that is based upon familiarity and laziness.  As a kid, I used to like taking things apart (although I wasn’t always adept at putting them back together), in an effort to understand how things worked.  That indigenous curiosity has stayed with me to this day, and as a result provides a unique and discerning lens through which I view almost every situation.

In the case of eVA, the cornerstone attributes of the program’s enduring effectiveness is linked to it’s people, the on-going and earnest desire to review and where warranted test new technological developments and a model that generates enough revenue to be largely self-funding.

This means that the brain-trust behind the eVA program is in essence at the helm of their own ship, where the path of self-determination has taken precedence over the usual abdication strategy of most governments who treat the challenges of running a purchasing apparatus within the realms of the public sector as a hot potato to be passed off versus seeing it as an opportunity to be embraced.

Now if only they could find a way to bottle or package the eVA formula . . . stay tuned!

Media Bites:

The following links are to broadcasts regarding the legislative review (JLARC) of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s eVA program which first aired in July 2009; The JLARC Review: Phantom Echoes of Discontent? and, The Virginia Legislative Review of eVA Call-In Show.

The second broadcast was a call-in show, in which vendors called in to express their thoughts regarding eVA.  Great segments to listen to if you would like a more in depth understanding of the Virginia program.

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Posted in: Commentary