Last week, a group of forty Bonfire users gathered in Vancouver for the Bonfire Western Canada User Meetup. The day was focused on strengthening partnerships with clients, building community among sourcing professionals, and empowering users to maximize the Bonfire platform for better sourcing decisions.
Leveraging AI for a strategic edge
Omar Salaymeh, Director of Client Success, kicked off the meetup with a forward-looking session envisioning the potential applications of artificial intelligence (AI) in sourcing. The discussion cut through the buzzwords to consider the real opportunities of leveraging data from thousands of sourcing events to provide users with greater knowledge and visibility into their sourcing decisions.
Omar noted that while these applications may be years away from everyday use, the crucial first step for forward-looking teams is bringing their sourcing process online. By capturing and aggregating data on all sourcing activities in a modern platform, teams are positioning themselves well to leverage data for a strategic edge as AI finds wider application in the sourcing process.
Expanding the Bonfire toolkit
Next, users had the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and expand their use of the platform through learning sessions with Bonfire’s Client Success team. Fellow Bonfire user Chris Sheel, Manager of Procurement Services for the City of Vernon, shared on-the-ground perspective on how his team uses Bonfire to spend less time administering projects and invest more time on strategic, value-add activities in the sourcing process.
A major theme that emerged from each session was taking advantage of processes and tools that allow teams to be proactive rather than reactive to their procurement needs. For example, by leveraging the Contracts modules alongside the Projects modules, teams are able to forecast upcoming procurements and set automated reminders for stakeholders so nobody is ever caught off guard by an urgent sourcing request.
Shaping the evolution of Bonfire
Bonfire works closely with clients to define the growth of the platform, and the final session of the day gave users the chance to experience firsthand the process through which their feedback finds its way into the tool. (Spoiler alert: it involves sticky notes, sketches, and asking a lot of questions).
James Barr, Director of Product Management at Bonfire, led a hands-on workshop in which attendees had the chance to take part in the design of a new feature. Their sketches, input, and ideas will be incorporated into the feature as it’s developed later this year.
Developing a community of sourcing leaders
Throughout the day, the halls were buzzing with lively conversation as attendees swapped stories and shared advice from their own experiences. Hailing from a variety of different organizations, they found many common challenges. Many teams are dealing with limited resources, increasingly complex legislation and trade agreements, and difficulty engaging stakeholders in the procurement process.
The User Meetup gave clients a chance to share solutions and expand their use of Bonfire to tackle these challenges, leaving them better equipped to drive true impact in their organizations.
About the Author
Lindsay creates case studies, white papers, and other content to help modern sourcing and purchasing teams navigate the procurement technology landscape.More Content by Lindsay Kroes