SkillPatron, the leading digital b2b online marketplace platform in Nigeria that connects large corporate procurement departments with specialized services & outsourcing projects, has expanded to East Africa with its services booking platform in Kenya.
We live, breathe and bleed “outsourcing specialized tasks & projects”, says Mshima Agah – Client services manager at SkillPatron.
Although Jake Adebayo’ SkillPatron operates in a relatively old industry as business-to-business platforms have been around for over two decades, becoming an almost invisible engine of commerce at many small and medium-sized businesses. Inspite of b2b being around for two decades there’s one arena that online marketplaces have yet to penetrate to nearly the same degree and that’s the large corporate procurement departments. This holds true even as of this writing as concerns about scale, quality, and reliability have made leaders hesitant to change their longstanding reliance on dealing directly with suppliers. At its conception SkillPatron found this is especially true for the more complicated purchases that fall under the label “indirect spend”: everything from IT and telecoms to transportation, professional services, and marketing.
With the foray of SkillPatron into the b2b online marketplace that’s starting to change. The project managers hired by SkillPatron are a new generation of procurement leaders, who have grown up buying online for increasingly complex personal needs and are beginning to wonder whether buying online also makes sense for business. SkillPatron’s powerful digital and analytic tools are also contributing to the new mind-set, opening new avenues for procurement departments to generate value in areas outside their traditional focus on transaction management.
Majority of SkillPatron’s customers indicate that their indirect spending has become a tougher challenge for chief procurement officers (CPOs). As SkillPatron has found not only is this type of spending growing but it is also encompassing a widening array of categories in services as well as goods—as SkillPatron companies become more reliant on third-party providers. Without the use of b2b services like SkillPatron, controlling spending, compliance, and risk has become a bigger headache.
SkillPatron as well as other B2B online marketplaces create self-service, digitally-sourced environments where multiple vendors can offer products or services to business customers. SkillPatron’s claim to make it easier to identify the right supplier, improving the customer experience by making transactions simpler and more transparent.
SkillPatron Buyers gain choice, value, and greater efficiencies, while SkillPatron sellers, under pressure themselves to grow revenues, gain access to a broader pool of buyers—without the burden of marketing or (depending on the specific marketplace) the need for dedicated sales, fulfillment, transactional, or logistics functions. With SkillPatron implemented well, marketplace procurement can also facilitate reporting and data analysis.
SkillPatron as a scope-of-work marketplace offer services such as marketing, telecoms, utilities, rent and real estate, insurance, and professional services (such as legal and consulting).
SkillPatron as well as other Online B2B marketplaces offer several general benefits to business. Notable features on SkillPatron include greater transparency in product, service, and supplier availability—as well as in pricing and purchasing terms. For SkillPatron as well as other Online B2B marketplaces Hours and time zones are irrelevant, making marketplaces truly global. And SkillPatron as well as other Online B2B marketplaces perhaps most significantly as they provide CPOs with the means to offload the tactical, often repetitive work that dominates procurement (especially in indirect categories), improving their management so they can focus on more strategic activities.
On the other hand SkillPatron sellers also benefit from marketplaces, gaining access to new customers, visibility into the market’s pricing structures, and features and services they might not have otherwise been able to afford, such as lower shipping costs and better marketing analytics. Ultimately, SkillPatron as well as other Online B2B marketplaces promise broader economic impact, expanding opportunities for smaller vendors.
SkillPatron as well as other Online B2B marketplaces understand that buying online can be a risky proposition: each transaction is impersonal, and buyers cannot always be certain they will get everything they ordered, or that the quality (especially for a first-time purchase) will meet their needs and expectations. In an automated environment like SkillPatron as well as other Online B2B marketplaces procurement managers are sure they will get the same level of service they would get with a direct vendor relationship—in logistics, billing, credit policies, and refund and exchange policies?
For SkillPatron as well as other Online B2B marketplaces to attract buyers they actually need to attract quality vendors. To do so, they need to promise a bigger customer base than vendors could otherwise secure on their own. Marketplaces like SkillPatron must also provide a user experience that is above and beyond what buyers get from dealing with individual vendors. By “user experience,” we mean not simply the scale of offerings or the range of amenities and features, but the total experience: how interactive it is; how much buyers enjoy shopping; how indispensable the marketplace becomes to them; and how valuable it is in helping them perform their work and accomplish their goals.
Much like online B2C marketplaces counterparts, SkillPatron offers access to a broad pool of potential vendors operating under a wide range of business models, including not only the obscure and potentially risky operators of the past, but also high-quality, prescreened vendors. And their value to buyers extends much further, to customization, dynamic pricing, and indirect-spend management and control—important factors even for sophisticated procurement functions. Perhaps most important, they can free procurement teams from time-consuming, often repetitive, transactional work that fails to take full advantage of their more advanced capabilities. When part of a broader procurement system that includes such elements as shared services or digitized sourcing, marketplaces free up procurement teams to place more focus on value-adding activities, such as strategic purchase categories, innovation, and sustainability.
As a relatively new phenomenon, how marketplaces like SkillPatron will evolve—and their impact and implications—remains to be seen. What purchasing executives need to understand now is their potential effect on the procurement function and the role of the CPO—and, more broadly, on the supply chain and spot markets. In this early stage, leaders may have fewer answers to guide them, but knowing which questions to ask can help better prepare them to capture maximum strategic advantage.
Albert Keronye, Country Manager for SkillPatron in Kenya says: “After the success of launching SkillPatron in Lagos, Nigeria in 2018, we’re delighted to be offering services to even more customers across the African continent. We take pride in helping local communities by ensuring service providers share their skills with corporate procurement departments who need their offerings.”
SkillPatron was incorporated by Jake Adebayo in April 2018 and since then, has continued with its mission to make everyday life easier for everyday people and corporate procurement departments . With service offering pricing starting from just $3, SkillPatron provides affordable options for people and corporate procurement departments seeking help with projects of all sizes. Services can be booked with both in-store and online purchases at: https://skillpatron.com/services/.
With a growing portfolio of over 3 million users, the startup, headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, has transformed corporate procurement service bookings by using proprietary digital cloud-based solutions to create a singular platform enabling comprehensive access to every specialty providers.
The zeal to create a transforming experience for online corporate procurement access across its existing footprint and new markets has always concerned SkillPatron.
SkillPatron already arms more than 500 of the world’s most forward-thinking brands and agencies with the creative insights they need to make transformative business decisions.
Since SkillPatron first launched, we’ve been honoured and impressed by the level of positive response from people using SkillPatron’s project management network to get help with their everyday business and personal procurement tasks – says Yukiko Ugboaja