Wednesday, 20 March 2013

eWorld - March 13 - Turning the corner

Relax with Market Dojo are the words printed on the square stress balls, part of our must have marketing paraphernalia that we had produced for the show (see here).  As it turns out, it seems that by the end of the show, it was probably us who needed them the most.

It was a typical start to the day as the co-founders (Alun Rafique, Nick Drewe, and Nicholas Martin) and their marketing executive, Justyna, made their way into London.  Sunny but cold (as always) with the proverbial traffic jams into London at 7am, is it ever possible to avoid these? However, the clear crisp morning led to some astounding views from the Queen Elizabeth II exhibition centre from just behind our stand.

Were there any differences from the conference last year?  Not to any significant degree in appearance.  There was the same mix of procurement professionals mainly from around the UK all with the same passion for e-Sourcing.  The right mix of people for the exhibitors who were probably more numerous than the previous years showing the interesting that is now being focused on e-Sourcing from the e-Procurement world.  There was a slightly different layout and the food was adequate (Note to e-World team - maybe a change next time?).

From our view though, things certainly seemed to have changed, perhaps it is because we have now turned a corner.  At our previous exhibition, September 2012, had a version of Market Dojo which assisted with runnings auctions in house and RFQ’s (Request for Quotations).  This was great for organisations who wanted to cast their line into eSourcing but was perhaps lacking in depth.

Now however, we had released the work from our first grant opening up the ability to work through complex sourcing activities including weighted events with complex scoring mechanisms.  The latest user hierarchy development that was released just before the show, makes our software even more attractive, not just to the casual user, but also to the more serious procurement professional wanting to embed e-sourcing in their procurement team and processes.

We also have several more significant developments coming out that we could announce on the back of a second grant and customer driven requirements. These not only  build upon our general sourcing capabilities but more importantly add in some much needed innovation.

We feel that the sourcing software of todays market is generally much of a muchness.  It is as if the large providers have set the tone and many other providers become a ‘me too’ in terms of sourcing capability before moving into areas such as P2P or contract management. At Market Dojo though we can see that this drive into other areas from general e-Sourcing is often undertaken too quickly.

Firstly  we see that building the P2P aspect of procurement in sourcing software, being driven by line item requirements can detract from the almost artistic concept of category management  and negotiation activities based on the annual requirements instead of the line item detail.

Secondly, we feel there is much innovation that can still be applied to the sourcing arena, and now we have enveloped the general capabilities we are looking to evolve.

At 9 am it was quiet, and we were fearful of a day desperately hoping someone would come to talk to us and enticing the professionals in with promises of Werther's Originals.  We needn't  have worried though.  From 10am onwards we were all stacked, with no overflow capacity.  A continual stream of onlookers, interested parties and current customers came past to see what we had to offer.  

This was definitely a change to the norm where we have simply been busy.  Now the full spectrum of reputable potential clients came past both large and small, all with a serious interest in Market Dojo.  By the end of the day, it was certainly us who got the most use from our square balls.  A great day with many memories and discussions to follow up.

We should say a special thanks to e-World once again for always supporting us and a huge thanks to our current customers for sharing in our vision. Also a final congratulations to our winner on the day from the prize draw.

Looking forward to the next show and suggestions on a post card please for our next crazy marketing idea.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Many hands make light work

We are delighted to announce our second major upgrade of the year.  Log into today and use our new User Hierarchy feature.  It has been released to help our more enterprise customers collaborate on their sourcing activities.

Some of the key features include:
  • Creating your own groups of users and assigning view or edit capabilities over their sourcing events.
  • Inviting users who are either internal or external to your organisation to view or edit your sourcing events.
  • Centrally tracking all users, what permissions they have and whether they have registered and/or have a valid licence to use the software.
  • Improved security on defining whether another user is in your organisation or not.
  • Organisational white labelling of the software.
Here are a couple of scenarios where you might find this feature very useful.

Showcasing your work

You’ve put in weeks of hard work preparing your tender documents, managing the suppliers, chasing in timely proposals and validating the responses to ensure all is on track.  However, you’ve largely done this in isolation via your Market Dojo e-Sourcing event.  Next step you want to conduct negotiation via e-Auction and you want others to witness your accomplishment, especially those overseas stakeholders.   Well, this is now very easy: simply add them as a user and give them view rights over the auction event.  Our software will send them a viewing invitation, guiding your colleagues through the process.  Let them sit back in amazement at your success!

Being assisted by consultants

Many of us wish to have a helping hand with our work.  With User Hierarchy you can either run the sourcing events yourself yet give a third party edit rights over your events to keep things on track, or you put the consultant in the driving seat who can then give you access to their sourcing events – it’s your choice!

Managing a team

Finally, with User Hierarchy you can build your own online sourcing team.  Define which team members can have edit rights over things like the Supplier Database or the Document Library.  Pick a team leader who can be given a team-wide view of the sourcing events.  Have multiple team leaders if you wish and give yourself complete visibility over everything that is going on.  It is completely up to you on how you wish to structure your team.

We really hope you find this useful.  Best of all there is no cost at all to add a user to view sourcing events - licences are only required for users who wish to create or edit events. 

Friday, 1 March 2013

Camelia's final post...for now

'And here is the last post from our effervescent intern, Camelia...'

Wow. I can’t believe I have already reached the end of my internship. There’s only one week left and the time has passed so quickly. So much happened during my time here.

First, being the world’s biggest fan of the Skins TV show, and realizing that I was working with two of the characters was definitely impressive. (Ok maybe not the characters themselves but their big brothers at least – See picture)

From a more professional point of view, I was in charge of a lot of marketing during my internship. I got to design promotional items to promote the company and I can say that I really enjoyed doing that. I’ve always been quite good with using editing software but it was mostly to retouch Facebook photos – nothing really contributing to the society. So using graphics for an interesting and useful work such as creating promotional items or making a contribution to the website was more gratifying. Now and thanks to this internship, Market Dojo has a whole new 404 page (woop woop!)

The last weeks were also about a pitiless competition between Antoine (the other intern) and I. Alun and Nick encouraged it by using a point system every time we gave the right answer to a question, or beat the other one in any field, or did anything really good.

Thanks to that competition, our previous articles on this very blog have reached +400 views each [at the time of writing], which is quite huge considering that Market Dojo's previous record was around 250, and this was only because we couldn’t resign ourselves to letting the other one win. No way.

The story does not say who had the most views at the end (me). However, I can tell you for sure that we both took the TOEFL test (Test Of English as a Foreign Language) in Cardiff a few weeks ago. And I won, obviously. Serves you right, Tonio! I knew from the beginning I was the best. You knew it. Nick and Alun knew it. That fly over there knew it. And nothing is going to keep me from enjoying my victory. Nothing.

In brief, if I had to describe the last weeks in a few words, I’d say: genuinely interesting, deeply enriching and full of surprises. I had the opportunity to learn so many things… But the two main ones are that any time is Beer O’clock – literally any time – and the only phrases you need to know here are “hey pal” and “cheers mate”. If you’re aware of this then you can survive in the amazing city that is Bristol.

A typical day with Market Dojo - by Antoine Boton

 Our intern Antoine Boton sums up his experience on his 6 week internship with Market Dojo.  Here is an outline of his typical day's work with us:

Before arriving at the Market Dojo premises, which is actually based in a three-storey house, I would have never expected that these 3 guys were running a successful business and have employees across the UK and even overseas.  And believe me, they know what they are doing.  Here is a typical day during my internship at Market Dojo:

9:30am (add few minutes depending on the night before) – arrive at the office (thank God the office door is different to the others otherwise we would have knocked at the wrong place).  A tall man (Nick), holding a cup of tea (more accurately a giant mug), opens the door.

10am – Well settled in the office upstairs, Nick and Alun are already on the phone talking to customers, prospects or associates.  The “hey pal” and “cheers mate” are gushing out.

10:30am – Time for tea, probably their third of the day.  I am actually starting to enjoy this beverage, it slips down pretty easily.

11am – I promote one of the articles that I wrote; there is big competition internally on the number of views we can get.  The intern who gets the most views by the end of their internship gets a nice reward.   We eagerly wait to see what that is.

12pm – I do some translations (and correct the current ones from the previous intern Hadrien – honestly…!) and assemble a few trophies (at the second attempt) for our customers for completing their first e-auctions.

12:45pm – Starvation

1pm – Time to eat.  Nick and Alun go the grocery store down the road to get the ingredients.  We take turns to cook (I only cut the cheese, that’s my thing). On the menu: either sandwiches, pastas, burgers, and did I mention sandwiches?  Of course, none of these meals are eaten without chili, in great measure.

1:30pm – We take the advantage to watch the news or the fights in the Jeremy Kyle Show when we eat.

2pm – Back to work; some Software Engine Optimization and there is already some shopping to do. Bubble wrap, printing papers, I turn into a real errand boy.  The change is in a jar: I haven’t seen so many coins in a pot. There must be 100 pounds in it and it weighs the same amount!

2:30pm – I make my debut in software testing and successfully crash the test server of new products several times.  Apparently that is a good thing?

3pm – My turn to make the tea, I have perfected my tea-skills since my arrival (including walking up the stairs with 3 cups!!). 


3:15pm – Ordering some marketing materials to make Market Dojo known all over the world: cube-shaped stress balls, branded post-it notes and even some lovely red ties with the logo on it.

4pm – The end of the day approaching, we must keep our heads focused, hard thing to do with the yellow stress ball which incessantly flies across the room.

5pm – End of the day’s work.  We send our daily report and head home to impatiently wait for another day at Market Dojo.

I have worked here for over a month now and the time has passed very quickly.  The term of my internship is coming to an end and I can honestly say that I have had a great time (“I’m having” actually) and learned a lot during my time here surrounded by a fantastic team.