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Many procurement functions today are eyeing the latest digital technologies to help them become more agile and better able to respond to competition, change consumer habits as well as shift the focus of their team from tactical to more strategic and value-adding projects.
But, while the end goal of complete digitalisation promises much, there are a number of challenges and hurdles that need to be worked through before that agility can be realised.
In New York, the roundtable discussion, which was partnered by Determine, a cloud-based solution provider for source-to-pay and contract management applications, focused on this journey. But the procurement executives who were in attendance also suggested a number of key things that procurement chiefs had to have in their minds when they embark on this journey.
One of the first jobs you should carry out when looking to implement new technologies is to find out what systems you already have in place, how people use them and specifically what they like and dislike about them. The outcome of that review and those conversations will allow you to analyse what technologies might work for your business, especially if that is aligned to the ultimate digitalisation goals of your business.
There will be people in your organisation who have more influence over others when it comes to making sure systems are being used and gaining traction across the business. Those at the discussion in New York said it was extremely important to identify those with influence and work with them. They pointed out it wasn’t always the CEO who would automatically have this influence – instead, they suggested you may be better going to your COO or CTO who would have more influence over such matters.
Closely related to finding out who your influencers are, it is vital to build up relationships with stakeholders across the business. You can implement as many new systems as you want and roll out as many new processes as you want, but if you don’t have the buy-in for those from the stakeholders who are going to use them, they will be rendered almost useless through the fact that they won’t be used.
Those in New York said building these relationships will also help you change the mindset of people who are used to simply complaining about procurement. If you listen to your stakeholders and find out their needs, you will be able to put systems in place that are beneficial to them and help them do their jobs rather than hinder them.
Procurement can build and implement the very best systems and processes. But if no one knows what they can do, they will never be completely embraced by the business or reach their full potential. Attendees in New York said it was of vital importance to “show the value you have created”, with one saying they had run a series of end-of-year town halls to showcase where procurement can offer support to other stakeholders and highlight key priorities for the year ahead.
For many, the digitalisation of procurement is all about making procurement simpler and more agile, cutting out friction and trying to eliminate the tactical work the function has long had to carry out. The only way the function will reach that goal is to know where it wants to go and how it will get there. This plan will provide a solid base on which to go forward, but success will only happen with the support of stakeholders across the business. This involves finding out who you need the support of and building from there to get the rest of the business on board.
Determine is a global provider of SaaS Source-to-Pay and Enterprise Contract Lifecycle Management (ECLM) solutions. To find out more about them click here
This article is a piece of independent writing by a member of Procurement Leaders’ content team.