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Globality and Aquanima – rising to the economic challenge through collaboration

20 September, 2022 | By DPW

As one of DPW Amsterdam 2022 Headline Sponsors, we caught up with Diego Barilla, Chief Customer Officer at Globality, and Jorge de la Vega, Global CEO at Aquanima, to hear how both companies have collaborated closely to maximise indirect spend outcomes and meet the challenges posed by the current economic volatility.  

Diego ensures that Globality’s customers and their suppliers around the world have access to the state-of-the-art content and capabilities of Globality’s platform. He was previously a partner at McKinsey for 11 years, helping lead their global Operations Practice. While at McKinsey, his work focused on innovating the Procurement Operating Model, and building McKinsey’s value proposition on Digital Marketplaces. Before McKinsey, he was a Global Commodity Manager at General Motors.

Jorge is Global CEO of Aquanima Santander Group, which provides value-driven sourcing solutions to the Santander Group and more than 100 other clients from different industry sectors around the world. He was previously Head of Organization, Cost and Procurement for Santander UK and then Chief Risk Officer, Santander Asset Management.

Interview with Diego Barilla, Chief Customer Officer at Globality and Jorge de la Vega, CEO at Aquanima Santander Group

Why did Aquanima decide to partner with Globality?

JV – When I joined Aquanima three years ago, I wanted to do things differently, and for Aquanima to be seen as being more strategic across the Santander Group. We were looking in the procurement technology market for an innovative digital solution that would enable us to work in a different way. So that’s how Aquanima met Globality.  

DB – What got our partnership moving very quickly was a shared view on what needed to happen within the procurement world to make the function more agile, more efficient and to add wider business value. Aquanima was committed to really changing the way they were doing things and that’s exactly what Globality is trying to help procurement do –  we both wanted to achieve the same thing.  

How are Aquanima and Globality making procurement more agile and able to quickly meet the challenges of today’s volatile global economy? 

DB – One of the things that Globality brings to the way companies source is a lot more transparency, a lot sooner in the process. Our platform also helps to provide a lot of additional insights for procurement teams, enabling them to make better sourcing decisions, more quickly. Here in Europe, we are currently relearning about inflation, but Latin America, where Santander has such a big presence, has been through these waves many times over recent decades. We’re going to see the same type of agile decision-making, based on data that’s available on the spot, increasingly across Europe and the US too.  

JV – When we began to use Globality, nobody could really have expected everything that we see now. When working with suppliers, you have to break the silos and truly collaborate, and working with Globality is helping us to change the thinking around that within Aquanima very fast.   

Using Globality, Aquanima has been able to get ahead and quickly make informed sourcing decisions to deliver immediate benefits.

Jorge de la Vega, CEO at Aquanima Santander Group

How has the partnership enabled Aquanima’s team to add more strategic value to the wider business at Santander and your other customers? 

JV – The collaboration with Globality and the commitment to a model that facilitates self-procurement and self-sourcing brings increased agility and efficiency by shortening the time required from scoping requirements to awarding the work. This enables our teams to focus on higher-value activities that support our customers’ wider goals and add new strategic value to their procurement function such as supplier diversity, supplier innovation, and achieving their ESG targets.

DB – Our partnership has been very successful and one of the keys to that success is that digitising your processes means changing how you operate – not doing things the same old way but with new technology. It’s very important to understand that difference because if you try to acquire new technology to just do things the way you were doing them previously, then you’re not going to be successful in your transformation and you’re also, ultimately, going to waste your money. What we’ve really admired about our partnership with Aquanima is the commitment their whole team has put into making this new way of managing their indirect spend a real success.  

How can innovative procurement technology like Globality’s play a role in advancing a company’s ESG strategy?

JV – In terms of ESG, our partnership with Globality is really allowing us to understand the ESG policies and ratings of our suppliers and this data will be a key factor in who we select. We’re still at a very early stage of this with our suppliers because the external market is not yet mature enough but the partnership with Globality will help us to really understand and implement those policies moving forwards.  

DB – When I think about ESG, two things come to mind. One is data transparency and access to the required information when a sourcing decision needs to be made, which is something that Globality provides. The other issue is agreeing on standards and, unfortunately, there is still a lot of work that needs to happen in terms of defining what those standards are. Technology can play its part but a key role has to be played by governmental institutions – once those standards are agreed, our platform enables companies such as Santander to implement them within their supply chain.

Finally, what’s around the corner for your partnership? 

DB – A lot of exciting things! The most important thing to remember is that we’re a machine learning solution and machine learning is not magic. It’s based on data – that’s how it learns. Santander has adopted the platform at scale, thanks to Aquanima’s stewardship, with all the countries in their global organisation now using Globality. As our Platform learns from all this data, the benefits Aquanima has seen to date are just a fraction of what is to come!

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