Lightyear: Redefining Network Procurement
Traditionally, network procurement—the buying of telecom enterprise infrastructure—is done in back rooms, marked by zero transparency, negotiations with large, powerful vendors, and no online options. Lightyear took one look at that experience and built the first system where procurement teams could buy telecom infrastructure over the web. ‘The [previous] experience was so poor that a lot of enterprises were extremely happy to see what we put in the market’, said Lightyear CEO and co-founder Dennis Thankachan.
Now, the company is coming off a US$13.1mn Series A round, led by Ridge Ventures, Zigg Capital, and several individual investors. Coupled with last October’s US$3.7mn seed round, this brings its total amount raised to US$16.8mn—which is plenty to invest in redefining network procurement.
How Does It Work?
When Lightyear first launched its online marketplace, the options were basic. Companies could configure their basic needs, request price quotes from a range of vendors, and finalise their purchase. Now, Lightyear’s solutions can configure more complex services, manage installations, cut down on delays, mitigate against install errors, track network inventory, and renew services as needed. For many CIOs, that’s a holy grail.
According to Thankachan, Lightyear’s marketplace is a vast improvement over manual negotiating. Rather than keeping written track of negotiations, the tool’s inventory dashboard keeps track of all relevant details: carriers, costs, contract files, IP data, vendor records. It’s carrier-neutral, transparent, and much, much, faster than finalising in-person.
‘As someone who has led global technology operations’, said Yousuf Khan, partner at Ridge Ventures, ‘it’s refreshing to see Lightyear transforming the way business infrastructure gets bought. I wish Lightyear had existed during my years as a CIO’.
How Will Lightyear Proceed?
Since its October funding round, Lightyear has grown by a factor of four, built relationships with approximately 150 new vendors, and doubled its employee headcount. To play devil’s advocate for a moment, growth isn’t always a metric of future success. But matching a familiar approach (e-procurement) with a field that’s frankly overdue for disruption (telecom procurement) feels right—and its first adopters seem to agree.
‘Lightyear got us multiple on-budget options within a day and saved us money on hardware installation as well’, said Tyler Lambe, VP of Strategy at Hack Reactor. ‘We avoided a huge headache by working with them’. Added Prashanth Vijay, CEO of Flume: ‘Lightyear’s software ran an RFP for us in two weeks that would have taken our engineers two months. So for us it’s a no-brainer...the Lightyear ROI is instant’.
To be clear: thank goodness online network procurement has arrived. It’s about time.
JAGGAER: Advancing Procurement Technology in Healthcare
JAGGAER has revealed the latest technological advancements in its cutting-edge, ground-breaking system at this years Arab Health, hosted by Informa Markets, as the industry-leading all-in-one procurement platform provider continues to provide support for the global healthcare industry as it struggles to recover from a year and a half tainted by the novel Coronavirus, and the ongoing pressure that it is putting on hospitals and pharmaceuticals.
With new technology and innovation taking centre stage this year’s edition of Arab Health, JAGGAER announced the launch of its new ‘Digital Mind’ strategy. The strategy features a core set of advanced strategies, including embedded intelligence, predictive data analytics, and real-time user guidance that can all be used to support healthcare procurement teams with the necessary and oftentimes difficult strategic decision-making involved in the acquisition process. It’s set to better efficiency across the sector, reduce risk, and better customer service capabilities.
The Exponential Growth of IoMT
This development comes at a time when the Internet of Things (IoT) has started to infiltrate all industries in an elaborate way. In a report published by Deloitte, it has been suggested that the global market for the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is projected to exceed US$158bn by 2022, with the IoMT market specifically in the MENA region, expected to hit US$9bn.
Hany Mosbeh, Vice President of Sales Middle East & Africa, JAGGAER, said: ‘The healthcare sector is increasingly adopting disruptive technologies into the IoMT ecosystem including artificial intelligence (AI), augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), and robotic process automation (RPA). From a procurement perspective, these technologies are also being utilised in our systems, having far-reaching benefits for the healthcare industry.’
JAGGAER’s Digital Mind
The new Digital Mind strategy incorporates JAGGAER Adopt, Assist and Advise. The latter of which enables users to be more proactive in recognising potential areas of improvement and mitigating challenging situations such as supplier risk. By leveraging a combination of advanced predictive analytics, machine learning, and customer-specific business rules, JAGGAER Advise empowers procurement professionals to identify steps that could improve performance or results and take corrective action on behalf of users.
The software also provides its users with data-driven actionable insights and recommends the next steps to mitigate the risk of supply disruptions, supplier qualification, performance issues, and underperforming sourcing events.
Speaking at one of the sessions during the event, Microsoft Research’s Chief Medical Scientist, Dr Junaid Bajwa, outlined the role of data in the healthcare sector, he said: ‘Today’s story is one of automation of processes, aggregation of data, moving to intelligent analysis and AI, and then repeating that cycle. If we get this right, it has the potential to reduce costs and support clinicians by unmasking occult disease types, generalising new associations and perhaps even generating new novel hypotheses and new mechanisms.’
Right now, JAGGAER supports over 120 healthcare organisations globally. They do so by modernising and transforming their procurement capabilities through digitalisation─an action that is propelling the industry forward at pace. To name just a small number of companies that JAGGAER services: Dubai Health Authority, Uniting Care, NHS England, HCA Healthcare, and Bright Horizons.
‘During Arab Health, we heard from a range of experts who highlighted the challenges directly linked to COVID-19, from developing enough vaccines to combat the infection to the flow of raw materials to make the vaccines. In an era of technological advancements in the healthcare industry that are saving lives, it is also important to utilise this technology from a business perspective so that we can identify future risk and improve performance’, Mosbeh added.