CIPS Middle East welcomes Market Dojo

Some exciting news fresh off the press is that we shall be attending the CIPS Middle East conference on the 11th May 2015 in Abu Dhabi.

This is courtesy of a generous invitation from our regional partner, ArcBlue / PMMS Consulting, who are sponsoring the event.

Their Dubai-based team provides a range of support to clients including training, organisational assessment, process development, coaching and mentoring, capability assessment and general advisory.   PMMS are also the sole provider of training services for CIPS in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region and have been using our tools as a training aid for the workshops.

We feel that the Middle East is an exciting market for us, given the extreme ease of use of our tools to benefit those who are less familiar with eSourcing.   Coupled with our very low entry price of just £500, there is a real opportunity for companies to give it a try with negligible downside.

So, if you are also due to attend the event or shall be in either Dubai or Abu Dhabi over that period, please do let us know so we can arrange to meet.  We have a few days spare during our flying visit and would welcome the chance to speak with as many of you as possible to lure us away from the pristine beaches!

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more atwww.marketdojo.com

‘What’s the first thing that comes into your head when you hear the word ‘eSourcing?’

It is obvious that eSourcing adoption has increased in larger organisations as they implement software to bring eSourcing in-house or use consultants to conduct eTenders on their behalf.
eSourcing comes with a huge number of benefits and companies are aware of these.

Recently I started a discussion asking the lovely members of Procurious:

‘What’s the first thing that comes into your head when you hear the word ‘eSourcing?’

They all responded positively with the majority stating ‘efficiency’ as the key factor of eSourcing. Other thoughts that people had around the topic include:

All great reasons to start using eSourcing. However, as touched on by one responder:
Why isn’t everyone utilising eSourcing?

Our biggest competitor is not an all bells and whistles ERP system- it is email… still!
What is it about email that keeps procurement professionals tied in? Or is it just a matter of being stuck in their old ways, unable to see the wood for the trees? People are notoriously opposed to change, but it doesn’t mean you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

How can we promote eSourcing to our fellow procurement professionals, who may still be stuck sourcing goods and services without all the benefits of eSourcing mentioned above?

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

Create your own portal

Today we are very pleased to announce a new release of Market Dojo.

The focus for this release is ‘White labelling’.  This gives Hosts some new options for customising Market Dojo with their own branding.

In addition to being able to use their own logo and colours, you can now do the following:

We think White Labelling will be to be useful to anyone who wants to put their  branding front and centre. This includes our partners who use Market Dojo as a component of their service, and Hosts, who simply want to give their Participants a clear reminder of who they are working with.

We have also taken the opportunity to upgrade a few other components of the platform, most notably the way we process file uploads.  Although not so noticeable, we think these will give many small improvements to the overall user experience.

Guest post – Successfully Implementing e-Auctions for Legal Services

Back in 2012, we received a great deal of interest from customers and prospects considering the use of Market Dojo for sourcing of legal services. Today we are pleased to welcome a guest post from Jason Winmill, Partner at Argopoint Consulting LLC, a management consulting firm dedicated to helping corporate legal departments address their most significant management and strategy issues.  Read this article to learn more about legal sourcing.

Sophisticated supply management professionals are introducing electronic sourcing solutions to their legal departments, and in doing so, delivering millions of dollars in savings. The media is gradually beginning to pick up on these successes: a recent article in the Wall Street Journal noted that several companies (including GlaxoSmithKline, Toyota, Sun Microsystems, and eBay) are using competitive bidding and e-auctions to purchase legal services. As with other important services, effectively sourcing legal is a delicate process with major upside.

Strategic implementation of e-auctions for legal services represents a radical change for most legal departments. While competitive bidding is commonplace in many other sourcing categories, it has been received with skepticism by many in-house attorneys. Legal services are highly complex, sensitive, and high-risk; supply management professionals face the difficult challenge of building credibility in the legal department and moving along a steep learning curve without losing sight of short-term savings goals. In spite of these difficulties, savvy sourcing and procurement departments are earning the appreciation of their legal colleagues and earning public recognition through the use of e-sourcing technology.

Three Important Steps to Successfully Implementing e-Auctions in Legal:

Market Dojo enhances solutions through HP partner program

We are really pleased to announce that we have joined the HP Alliance ONE partner program…

Market Dojo joined HP Alliance ONE partner program and have realised significant benefits. The AllianceONE program provides software vendors the tools and resources they need to more effectively address client needs. Market Dojo work with HP to deliver major upgrades to their platform, to conduct load testing and for locating suitable hosting providers for their cloud solution.

Announcement Overview:

Description of AllianceONE:
HP AllianceONE partner program offers a solid framework for collaboration by integrating servers, storage, networking, security, power & cooling and services. As a member of the AllianceONE program, Market Dojo can significantly extend market reach and improve selling success. Market Dojo can leverage HP AllianceONE solutions, tools and resources to help clients speed time to application deployment, optimize infrastructure capacity, reduce power consumption and free resources to focus on innovation that drives business growth.

Quotes from Market Dojo:
“The Alliance One program has given Market Dojo access to significant support not normally available to a new UK SaaS business. It is fantastic that they have seen the potential of our innovative online solution to help with effective procurement in the private and public sector.” Alun Rafique, Co-Founder
“We are also very happy that the ISV Alliances team have helped us locate Liberata who can address our hosting needs thus helping our clients wanting to deal with cloud solutions, but who still have concerns over security and data.”Nicholas Martin, Co-Founder

“HP is unusual for a large multinational in that they proactively help SME’s and see the long term benefits. They have been invaluable in supporting our work, for example, by providing workshop rooms for our next innovative product partly funded by grant from the TSB (Technology Strategy Board).” Nick Drewe, Co-Founder
What solution does Market Dojo hope to enhance through AllianceONE:
Market Dojo decided to join the HP Alliance One program due to the unparalleled benefits offered to a new SaaS company seeking to grow in difficult economic conditions. It is also in these times that their innovative tool assisting procurement professionals to reduce their costs becomes of paramount importance and HPs assistance gives Market Dojo solid foundations from which to grow globally.

Team MD – The force behind the ‘samurai’ release

As Team GB were creating a success this summer smashing many records and providing one of the most impressive Olympic results in recent times for Great Britain, Team MD was also hard at it.

Now, we’re not saying we are as impressive as the Olympic team (not yet anyway!) but we do try to emulate the spirit.

We were awarded a grant from the Technology Strategy Board late last year to make e-Sourcing, amongst other things, more accessible to the Public Sector. As a small team, we soon realised that the way to make the most of it was through collaboration.

By working closely with many small partners, we achieved a certain synergy and created something worth far more than the sum of its parts. We want to share with you the team makeup and pay tribute to those who made our games a triumph, ultimately resulting in the release, nicknamed ‘Samurai’.

The ‘athletes’ –  working for victory:
‘Kolibria’ – Who says you can’t find designers and developers for a reasonable price in the UK? Not only did they do a great job, but as this boutique French consultancy operation could do the design and development, we had found a one stop shop (although not so sure if the Team GB’s thrashing of the French in the medal table made them any happier).

The ‘Coach’ – supporting the team:
The ‘Technology Strategy Board’ – otherwise known as the UK’s Innovation Agency, they were instrumental is listening to our ideas.  With matched funding, we had to work together.  The Technology Strategy Board steered us to completion through their organised management and assignment of a Monitoring Officer.

The ‘Olympic Torch’ – setting everything in motion:
Is it wrong to equate this to the Market Dojo team? We certainly started the process, created  and held the vision for the ‘games’, however I think only time will tell if we are a shining beacon to inspire a generation!

Whilst those above were the core components, there was a huge support crew help to make it happen.

The ‘volunteers’ – helping wherever needed:
We have often found many benefits from working with the academic community. Unfortunately, good students don’t just fall into your lap, you need to work at the relationships and you only get out what you put in.

‘The University of the West of England’ provided an MBA team to help define the market and profile the audience. We work closely with this local university and we also lecture there and even supply the occasional case study.
’Ecole Atlantic de Commerce’ sent us the very capable Hadrien Geffroy who assisted with the multi-cultural element, translated the website and through an affinity to the Rocky movies kept us motivated too. Now we have the software available in French as well as Greek, German and Russian.  We also look forward to several more students from this college joining us for a few months next Spring.
The Arts University College at Bournmouth’  provided the unique Sam Hallet whose interpretation helped us draw an innovative infographic of our product offering, incorporating our logo as an inspiration.

The ‘message’  – pointing us in the right direction:
‘Modern Media’, a skilled Bristol Marketing agency took the outputs from the UWE project and converted them to the right message for the audience to hopefully inspire a generation.  This is seen through the new website and targeted communication, why not have a look.

The ‘starters gun’ – an explosive beginning:
‘Hewlett Packard’ helped kick off the process by providing the premises for our customer and partner engagement workshops.  They are an exception in the market, showing that even a behemoth of a company can still support and help nurture SME‘s, focusing on the marathon rather than the sprint. Their benefits will come from the sale of hardware to their partners whose servers we reside. They also help us with load testing, ensuring our software can run at maximum efficiency.

The ‘track’ – underpinning the games:
‘Liberata’, an HP partner and another example of a firm who shares the vision in supporting up-and-coming technology companies.  They provide secure foundations and enhance our credibility.  Together with Liberata we not only have data assurance to IL3 but they also have their own innovative tools for the public sector such as Capacity Grid, which is a is a virtual shared service marketplace, through which local authorities can connect, collaborate and trade resources.

The ‘Sponsorship’  – gaining momentum:
‘I’m with them productions’, run by the impressive Lee Matthews, developed a marketing video series that grips a nation. See the first episode here on how companies can best save money (…or not!). Lee has had an illustrious career to date which also includes many horror films, such as the award winning Shrove Tuesday.

The ‘audience’ – supporting the games and judging success:
Where would any of us be without the public, quite literally in our case.  The public sector have been involved from the start as the inspiration, in providing the challenge, aiding us along the way and ultimately being the audience who will determine our success.  Why not visit us and let us know.  Our Sandpit allows you to try to all the e-Sourcing strategies you need, sign up for free and explore our solutions.

A fantastic article about Market Dojo on Buyers Meeting Point

Buyers Meeting Point has written a great article about our new Samurai release. We were so pleased, here it is in full:

ENTER THE SAMURAI: ESOURCING MADE SIMPLE

In October 2010, Buyers Meeting Point received an email from Nick Drewe, the co-founder of a then new-to-market eAuction solution provider based in the U.K. He asked to have Market Dojo listed in our vendor directory, introducing their offering as “very easy to use, has all the professionalism that you would expect, and is offered at a transparent price level.” We have since gotten to know Nick and Market Dojo’s other co-founder Alun Rafique quite well. Their belief in the value proposition of their solution has caused them to invest in development that makes that value apparent to us as well.In the two years since they launched, much has changed – both for Market Dojo and in the spend management solution landscape. Market Dojo has steadily increased their presence through successful application of their technology and industry recognition of their thought leadership. They have been recognized by the U.K. public sector, receiving two Technology Strategy Board (TSB) grants to develop additional functionality. They recently announced the release of Samurai, an upgrade of their solution nine months in coming. This new release brings a revamped user interface and new functionality that increases the breadth and depth of the solution.

While they made their initial entry to the market with a focus on auctions, including less commonly found event types like Japanese auctions, Samurai adds best-of-breed RFx capabilities to the solution. With an eye to the strategic need for collaboration with suppliers, Market Dojo has also added an innovation portal for soliciting and accepting well-defined ideas for improvement from the market and a ‘sandpit’ where buyers can validate the presentation and setup of events by test-driving them before release to suppliers.

Of the changes included in Samurai, the one most likely to make an impact in procurement organizations is the addition of scoring capabilities that can be applied when weighting the information and prices collected in RFx’s and eAuctions. While scoring itself is hardly a new idea in eSourcing, Market Dojo’s approach is closely tied to their philosophy on procurement decision-making and the relationship between procurement and the rest of the organization. Much has been made of procurement’s (sometimes precarious) relationship with Finance. Beyond questioning savings calculations and realization, many Finance groups have trouble accepting the ‘transformational math’ used in scoring scenarios that allow too much subjectivity into what should be an objective evaluation process.

Market Dojo supports two approaches for scoring, both linear in nature:

In the first case, non-leading prices are scored purely against how they rank in the market, as represented by the participants. In a pro rata (or proportionate) scoring scenario, both the market and the buying organization’s expectations are reflected in the pricing score.

While the RFX or eAuction is under way buyers can clearly see the breakdown of the price and non-price scores in real time, adding transparency into the negotiation and decision-making process. This breakdown can be clearly communicated to the participants as well, mitigating the risk of participants challenging the award decision. Furthering the need for transparency, price and non-price scores are independent of one another, which is fair and consistent for the participants. If a participant earns a score of zero in the qualitative (questionnaire) portion of an event, they can stay in the process (if allowed to by the host) by offering a competitive price.

The additional capabilities added to Market Dojo with the release of Samurai allow them to compete for business with a broader base of prospective clients. They have expanded their reach in the sourcing process while their established place in the negotiation phase.And yet, with all the growth and change, Nick’s introductory statement holds true. Market Dojo is still easy to use, professional, and transparent. Two years after launch, Market Dojo saw £120 million auctioned through their solution in a single month. Buyers Meeting Point looks forward to seeing and hearing more from the Market Dojo team as more companies harness their solution to manage spend and innovate with their suppliers.

Market Dojo vs. eWorld – Round II, September 2011

Over a year old and apparently a lot wiser, would we be able to take the time out to tackle Revolution’s second e-purchasing event of the year? Is it worth attending? Will there be value in a biannual event?

I must admit that whilst stuck on the M4 into London, admiring the Lucozade advert and the well placed broken down vehicle causing a 5 mile jam, I had second thoughts.

However, on arriving at eWorld just after nine a.m., all the concerns evaporated, along with the oxygen debt from the sprint from the station! My fellow co-founder had set up the stand and was engaged in deep conversation. There was already a great feel to it. Obviously we weren’t the only ones to agree on its value and decide to pop along. The floor was busy, everyone engaged in conversation and lots of smiles.

Clair Boffey and Revolution had managed to again squeeze us in at the last minute in a great position at the foot of the stairs to the seminar rooms. Our bright-coloured stand and viral videos were catching more than a few people’s attention. With the fantastic London backdrop it really did set the scene for a great day and we even managed a small interview for the events show-reel (which can be seen Here).

The whole day went in a bit of a blur. Admittedly there seemed to be fewer delegates than in March, which seems normal for an event held later in the year, but in the end we only had minutes to spare in between discussions and live demos. For an exhibitor, you would think that the main time for engaging with the delegates is between the seminar sessions, although many delegates took advantage of the quiet periods for more detailed chats on our solution and our unique view on e-negotiation.

The main difference this time, apart from our dashing red ties and balloons on the stand, was that we knew many people there and they also knew us or knew of us. There were friendly faces passing by to see how we are getting on, many new people who had heard of us and also even a few customers.

At one point, we had our third co-founder come and join us. As a new business breaking out in this market, we are very fortunate to have been able to generate a real buzz in the e-purchasing community and it is an exciting time for us all.

eWorld is certainly the right place to meet companies interested in e-Procurement and it once again proves itself with real value and many conversations to follow up, a number of which have continued from the previous event in March. The corner has certainly been turned and we really feel that we have arrived.

As the day drew to a close, we only seemed to become busier and before we knew it, we were once again the only stand left as everyone else packed away amidst the complementary drinks. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day and our only disappointment would be the lack of an after-show party – Revolution…maybe next time?!
About: Market Dojo provides business-to-business e-auction and e-sourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

Why we are so grateful for the ‘cloud’

Last month we surpassed the milestone of our first year in business.  Understandably we were delighted, as we read previously that up to four-fifths of start-ups fail in their first 12 months.  Yet we feel we are truly on our way to becoming an established player in this market, with a client list that is expanding rapidly.  However, when we look back at how we started Market Dojo, there is one aspect that stands out when assessing what helped us reach this goal, and that is the use of cloud technology.

For those who are not familiar with cloud technology, and to admit such a thing is akin to never having watched a Star Wars film or never to have heard a Beatles song, our take on it is the use of software or an application over the web on a ‘pay per use’ or monthly basis which you can use straight away with clear benefits.  Think Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or YouTube.  No installation, no set-up costs, and in many cases no fee.  If you like just think of it as the dotcom boom version 2.0, only this time it is here to stay!

When you consider any business, you will find it will most likely have office infrastructure to some extent.  Such infrastructure might include a phone system, an e-mail system, a fax system, an accountancy system, a CRM system, a calendar sharing system, a data storage system, a web-hosting system, or even a customer support system.  Clearly there can be a lot of systems and many of these are non-core to your business, meaning time and money spent in these areas would be detrimental to other areas of your business.

I can only imagine how much it might have cost us 15 years ago to cater for all these systems.  We would probably require a receptionist for the phones, a PA to manage the CRM, an on-site accountant, a very large printed calendar, an even larger filing cabinet and a staffed front-desk for our customer support.  We would then need a rather large room to host all this.

This takes me to why we are so grateful for the cloud.  At Market Dojo we have embraced the best of today’s technology to turn us into a professional company, as ultimately that is what we wish to extend to our clients.  
Our phone system is Skype, where you rent a phone number by the month and only pay for your usage, most of which is free.  This includes video conferencing, file sharing and instant messaging for everyone in our company and gives us a global presence by allowing us to rent or cease renting international phone numbers when we like.   Whilst Skype is not strictly cloud, as you do install software, you can log in across the world from any computer that has it or that you can download it to, so in many respects it is very similar.

Our CRM is Zoho.  We only pay per user per month.  It integrates with our other applications, including Skype, which means no repetition.  Within our own software development we have the approach of “Don’t Repeat Yourself” (DRY) which any business would be wise to apply to administrative tasks as well.  Zoho also caters for the customer support system on the same basis.

Data storage and sharing, calendar sharing and e-mail is all with Google Apps, which is completely free and is as robust as the google.com website, even though everything is still in beta!

Our accountancy software is Clearbooks.  Again, pay per month per user.  We can even add our accountant to it so that they never even need to set foot in the office, as we can upload all our receipts and invoices to Google Docs.
We don’t have any need for a fax system, but if we did there are plenty of cloud systems out there that charge per use.

And finally our web-hosting is all with an external hosting provider, secure and backed-up daily, paid monthly of course and with zero set-up costs.

The advantages that cloud technology has brought to us are simply enormous.  The most obvious one is cost.  If I were a sole trader, I would be able to set up and manage all of this for less than £600 a year.  I would need no training and no upfront capital expenditure.  To ‘house’ all of this technology, all I would require is a computer, in fact no, a smartphone.  It would take me all of about 3 hours to set up and I would be happily catered for until I was running a global empire, at which point some apps might start to creak at the edges.

The main risk that companies quote for not examining the cloud as a serious solution can be easily mitigated.  Data security is a major and very understandable concern.  However, with such a broad choice of hosting providers on the market, you can always source a provider that offers the necessary level of data protection, whether for personal use or for the Ministry of Defence.  You can also find cloud-based data back-up providers!

Another major objection is reliability.  Today though, the internet is probably less likely to fail than your internal LAN and with an increasing number of companies providing networks that are dual-hosted, these risks are diminishing.  In fact, you can actually end up with a more reliable solution than your own internal network.  For your servers, do you have back-up generators, CCTV, a fire suppression system, 24/7 security patrols, CESG accreditation, dual-hosting and multiple internet providers?  This is certainly what we look for in our hosting provider.

When you compare the old approach to starting a business and the new with all the technology that is now available to us, the two are worlds apart.   You don’t need capital expenditure for office infrastructure, nor the staff to manage it, nor the space to house it.  You don’t need a hardware refresh, nor have costly upgrades as you grow or as old technology becomes redundant.  There is a valid question over whether you need an office at all.  And best of all, you only pay for what you use.

Just like you do with us!

Our Press Release (A bit late!!)

Market Dojo celebrates their 1 year birthday!
Market Dojo, an innovative Bristol-based software company, recently celebrated their first year in business.  The company, incorporated on the 2nd August 2010, is looking to soon become global with potential clients in Greece, Peru, US and Germany.

Co-founder Alun Rafique reflected, “It has been a fantastic year in which we have learned a lot and come a long way.  We’ve been very surprised by the level of interest that we have seen, not just from the small-to-medium sized companies but also from the larger enterprises.”

Market Dojo offers easy to use, professional e-sourcing software to help businesses save time and money on their purchases. The key benefits of their software include increased efficiency, centralisation of information, repeatability, transparency and auditability of the sourcing process.

To date Market Dojo has helped their clients average savings of approximately 30% from e-auctions alone, as well as bringing major efficiency improvements for all involved.  The more standard Request for Quotation activities have seen similar results, which is all the more significant given each client averages 15 new sourcing activities a month.
Even more impressively, their clients have generated an average return on investment with Market Dojo of little over 2 weeks!

Alun Rafique looks forward to the next year with huge enthusiasm, “We have laid a great foundation for the future.  We have established the business and proven the benefits of our product, so it is now a case of expanding the sales and marketing activities to bring the benefits to many more companies.”

About Market Dojo:

We offer Business to Business e-Sourcing software [RFQ’s and Auctions] to help companies save time and money when negotiating for their goods and services.
Our guiding philosophy has been to develop cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) suited for the in-house professional.

It is designed around three core ideas:

Our software costs just £1,000 per sourcing event or £5,000 for a single-user annual licence to run as many sourcing events as you wish.

For more information please refer to www.marketdojo.com
Key contact: Co-founder Alun Rafique, 0117 230 9200, alun.rafique@marketdojo.com.

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