#34: Adaptability and Customer Value with Pascal Bensoussan CPO of Ivalua

Adaptability and Customer Value with Pascal Bensoussan CPO of Ivalua Featured Image

Pascal Bensoussan is the Chief Product Officer Ivalua. He leads the global R&D team at Ivalua, encompassing Product Management, Design, Data Science, and all Engineering activities, with responsibilities over the overall vision, strategy, roadmap, development, and go-to-market plans for Ivalua’s cloud-based Source-to-Pay platform.

Pascal brings 23 years of experience leading product strategy and development at Enterprise SaaS companies. Most recently, Pascal served as CPO at Reputation.com helping grow revenue 5x during his 4-year tenure.

Ivalua was founded in 2000 on a disruptive idea: that Procurement can unlock significant strategic value from a company’s spend and supply chain.  19  years later, we have helped over 300 leading companies achieve a competitive advantage by strategically managing over USD 500 Billion in spend.

Listen to the full discussion here:

  • Stream by clicking here.
  • Download as an MP3 here.



Connect with the Guest:

Pascal Bensoussan: LinkedIn

Some of the highlights from the podcast:

  • [07:15] Ivalua is a single code base platform. What are the advantages?
  • [10:14] The city of New York using Ivalua to find suppliers for their 6 mil/week demand for masks
  • [18:09] Using computer vision and machine learning in contract management
  • [22:25] Creating the biggest directory of suppliers and connecting them with customers
  • [29:35] The important skills for Ivalua when hiring
  • [35:35] Leading by example and growth mindset vs fixed mindset

Show notes:

  • [01:34] It would be great to have your perspective on how your career has evolved so far and what are some of the most interesting milestones in it.
  • [02:44] What ties all of those experiences together is fundamentally to build a great product, to have a great vision, a very customer-centric model, and to pay attention to a lot of the details that matter in iterating and building a strong product.
  • [03:42] As the Chief Product Officer, can you tell us more about Ivalua’s missions and what are the main or the biggest challenges that the company wants to solve?
  • [05:39] So the mission that Ivalua has is very simple, very straightforward, all spend, all suppliers, no compromises, and become the number one leading platform doing so.
  • [06:14] How would you differentiate Ivalua compared to other players in the market? What makes Ivalua stand out? 
  • [08:25] The platform has built a lot of flexibility in adapting to different kinds of scenarios without compromising the complexity and speed of deployment.
  • [09:12] If you can take a few examples and guide us through how your customers have seen excellent results, proving their operations, using your solutions, and if there is any connection with the current crisis we are facing.
  • [11:41] IKEA is another example of Ivalua’s customer worldwide, who is using the solution for a collaborative cost model with its supply base so that they can really understand the cost drivers of the different kinds of raw material and parts that they’re buying from their suppliers.
  • [12:46] BorgWarner is another example of Ivalua’s customer in the automotive space who is leveraging the bill of the material capability of Ivalua and the visibility through the supply chain to find an alternative supply.
  • [13:29] We have a solution within Ivalua that allows buyers to negotiate with suppliers and potentially face suppliers faster, sooner to you get extra discounts. 
  • [14:21] You interact with clients all over the world, from different geographies to different industries, are there certain patterns you see from your side of the table that emerge in the supply chain procurement spend management sector?
  • [16:03] How do you see the importance of machine learning or different parts of data management algorithms connected to this visibility part? What is your perception of that and how is this connected with Ivalua’s product?
  • [20:09] What can you tell us about the challenges when you implement a solution, both from your side as the solution provider and from the client side where expectations are different?
  • [20:57] The biggest challenge is to align the key leadership within a company on what you’re trying to achieve and the vision for the organization and particularly a good alignment between the CPO, the CFO, and potentially involving the CIO.
  • [24:17] And if you want to think about the next steps for Ivalua and maybe expansion plans or the next milestones that you are looking ahead, what do you see?
  • [27:32] My focus when I joined was to build what I call those extended teams, which are not only the R&D product team, but it also includes our professional services people and customers who are collaborating to build and look at the product together. 
  • [29:05] How are things on the hiring side? What do you see are the impacts on hiring for Ivalua? And are there certain skills that are becoming more important?
  • [31:44] If you’re not positive or if you’re not enthusiastic it’s very hard to believe in what you’re doing and have a very strong perspective to fight, to iterate, and to get to that outcome.
  • [32:59] How do you define your success as the CPO? 
  • [35:58] I own one of the Ivalua products because I want to lead by example, and it’s not as big of a product as other solution owners, but it’s important for me to kind of show how to do it, to focus on customer value and speed to value. 
  • [37:48] You don’t do things because people tell you to do things. You do things because you believe in them and because you made a decision.
  • [38:01] What is the best piece of advice you would give or you may have received for a successful career like you had so far?
  • [38:49] If you do things and you don’t feel passionate about them, just don’t do them. You’re just wasting your time and you might be wasting other people’s time. I think the best moment in your life is when you feel very passionate about the outcome you’re trying to drive.

About the Host:

The host, Andrei Palamariu is the founder of Supplify where he and his team works on building a platform to connect the supply chain tech ecosystem. His most interesting discussions with the clients are focused on implementing the best technology, digital transformation, company growth and expansion, turnarounds, and product and business development.

Alcott Global connects and upgrades the supply chain ecosystem by finding the right talent through executive search, developing talent through learning solutions, and meeting supply chain technology needs through a comprehensive crunch base marketplace.

The supply chain executive search has been our focus since the very beginning, offering recruitment services for top-tier supply chain roles at every level of the end-to-end supply chain: plan, source / procure, make, and deliver. Our consultants have years of experience in placing top talent, in North America, LATAM, Europe, the Middle East & Africa, and APAC, and besides speed, one of our biggest strengths is our network within the supply chain industry, and we capitalize on it to find the best solutions.

Through the years, we have grown as an organization and our offerings with it. One of our initiatives, the learning solutions- training and supply chain academy, is focused on transforming leadership- self-leadership, executive presence, influence capital, and business acumen. Through Supplify, we aim to match corporations with the top technology companies to solve their supply chain and logistics challenges with a focus on innovation and digital transformation.

We are in constant touch with the leaders in supply chain, inviting them to inspire the supply chain professionals in thought-provoking podcast episodes and events, and showcasing what is possible at the yearly Leaders in Supply Chain Awards.

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