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How CPOs can tackle the enemies of technology adoption

procurement technology
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This extract is a preview taken from the Making Procurement Simple series. To read the full article and find out more about making procurement simple, click here.

Procurement technology has the potential to radically transform your procurement organisation. But technology availability and technology adoption are not the same thing. You may covet – or even own – the most sophisticated, space-age pair of running shoes on the market. But if you never put them on, lace them up, and get moving, they won’t help you get in shape. CPOs may want their teams to be less mired in administrative tasks, more invested in strategic collaboration with suppliers, and more in tune with the needs of the lines of business. Having the right technology won’t help them do any of those things. They have to use it, which is not as simple as it sounds.

Before you think about undergoing a procurement transformation, be prepared to tackle the enemies of technology adoption.

Enemy #1: Fear

Fear makes it difficult to adopt new procurement technology. Fear of enterprise software. Fear of having to re-train people. Fear of making a purchasing decision, only to find that nobody uses or likes the new solution.

To combat these fears, understand that the payoffs of greater technology adoption are tangible. Edward Cone of Oxford Economics, referring to Oxford’s research on the future of procurement, writes: “Our surveys indicate that technology adoption is linked to superior financial performance. Companies with higher rates of growth and fatter profit margins tend to be more aggressive in their use of technology. [Procurement] execs at high-profit firms are more likely to emphasise the importance of business networks, Internet of Things, and mobile.”

Plus, enterprise software no longer has to be complex. We live and operate in a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) world, in which enterprise technology gets easier to use with every new release and the release cycle is frequent. At SAP Ariba, where I’m the chief design officer, we talk about a total user experience that’s “consumer-simple, business-strong”.

Even if you’re just beginning to consider adopting new technology, don’t limit the decision-making process to a select few stakeholders. Modern source-to-pay solutions will benefit colleagues far beyond your department, so invite those stakeholders to the table from the beginning: finance, IT, end users from the lines of business, key suppliers. Solutions such as SAP Ariba are meant to eliminate fragmented processes, so don’t fragment the evaluation process. Let users test it and tell you whether they like it, so you can get validation and buy-in from your organisation up front and make a purchase decision with confidence.

This is an extract. You can read the rest of the article (including Enemies #2 and #3) here.

 

The Making Procurement Simple series is produced in partnership with Ariba, an SAP company.

 

Pre-order your free Making Procurement Simple ebook here.

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