Keel­var is help­ing the world’s big­gest firms to source goods

Irish Examiner - - Finance -

Keel­var was founded fol­low­ing seven years of re­search by Alan Hol­land, a former Univer­sity Col­lege Cork (UCC) com­puter sci­ence lec­turer.

The com­pany helps some of the world’s big­gest firms to op­ti­mise the sourc­ing of goods and ser­vices by im­prov­ing speed and spend.

Man­ag­ing €60bn of the ap­prox­i­mately €2tn world­wide spend is soft­ware de­vel­oped here in Cork by Mr Hol­land’s team in Keel­var.

Cus­tomers to­day in­clude Co­caCola, Daim­ler, BMW, and Siemens span­ning across in­dus­tries, from elec­tron­ics to au­to­mo­tive to food and bev­er­ages.

Keel­var’s head­quar­ters in Cork is grow­ing sig­nif­i­cantly, with the of­fice dou­bling in size in the past two years — it now has al­most 40 staff.

Few other Cork com­pa­nies its size and dy­namic have a cus­tomer base that spans the mag­ni­tude of Keel­var’s.

The com­pany draws on the pool of high-qual­ity com­puter sci­ence grad­u­ates in Cork and is steadily hir­ing lo­cally.

In­no­va­tion is cen­tral to Keel­var’s way of work­ing.

More than 80% of its ex­pen­di­ture is on R&D and the com­pany holds a be­lief that dili­gent rein­vest­ment in its prod­uct yields a fly­wheel ef­fect, whereby the prod­uct qual­ity sells it­self and the com­pany gar­ners a faster and more ef­fi­cient sales pipe­line via cus­tomer and bid­der re­fer­rals.

Keel­var has de­fined a new cat­e­gory of strate­gic sourc­ing soft­ware and is sup­ply­ing this to global en­ter­prises.

This new cat­e­gory is sourc­ing au­to­ma­tion, a soft­ware frame­work that al­lows sourc­ing teams to au­to­mate their sourc­ing pro­cesses.

Sourc­ing au­to­ma­tion uses sourc­ing bots to set up and run events, with the sourc­ing team sim­ply an­swer­ing ques­tions from the bot and then ap­prov­ing the event be­fore the event is ex­e­cuted and run by the bot.

The re­sults are then pro­vided to the sourc­ing team.

Sourc­ing au­to­ma­tion uses an or­gan­i­sa­tion’s past events and his­tor­i­cal data to learn and to iden­tify pat­terns and best prac­tice within the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

This al­lows the sourc­ing bot to make in­tel­li­gent rec­om­men­da­tions to the team when set­ting up an event.

De­spite its global reach, Keel­var is very proud of its Cork roots and her­itage with both the com­pany’s UCC ori­gin, CIT Cam­pus lo­ca­tion, and the ini­tial pay­ing cus­tomer be­ing Cork City Coun­cil.

The com­pany plans to in­crease staff num­bers to 85 by the end of 2021 and has iden­ti­fied a new of­fice lo­ca­tion in Cork.

“We’re proud of our UCC re­search ori­gins and firmly be­lieve that ad­vanced sci­en­tific break­throughs can be key to build­ing cat­e­gory-lead­ing world-class com­pa­nies,” Mr Hol­land said.

“It also makes the work more ex­cit­ing and chal­leng­ing.

“Be­ing a fi­nal­ist in the high­ly­compet­i­tive Cork Cham­ber Awards is a huge hon­our and is a tes­ta­ment to the fact that con­sis­tent hard work can build in­ter­na­tional suc­cess.”

Keel­var was founded by Alan Hol­land in Cork in 2012 as a spinout from Univer­sity Col­lege Cork’s com­puter sci­ence depart­ment.

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