Why procurement leaders must prioritise digital innovation to thrive in today’s economy

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To succeed in a fast-changing world, procurement leaders must use digital technology as a competitive advantage, delivering an intuitive, easy-to-use experience to stakeholders on their terms

Procurement leaders the world over know that, to keep their businesses competitive, they must embrace digital innovation. But it is no easy task, and not every digital transformation is a success, writes Globality CRO Keith Hausmann in this guest post. 

Given the scale of the challenge, it is important to ask a few key questions: how can procurement transform so it can better help businesses succeed in a fast-changing, unpredictable world? And what separates those who succeed at the digitalisation of procurement from those who continue to struggle?

At Procurement Leaders’ recent Innovation in: Digitalisation and Tech event, we explored these crucial questions with Keith Browning, managing director, supply chain management, at Delta Airlines; and Tony Joyce, director, services procurement, at BT Sourced.

A lot was packed into the discussion. But here are the five key steps the panel identified as crucial to making digital procurement an enabler of ongoing business success:

Five key pillars of a successful procurement digitalisation strategy

  1. Focus on what the business needs, not on what procurement wants

Procurement must change its mindset to make the most of the digital transformation. Old procurement processes and models were for the most part built around what procurement needed to achieve, rather than what those in the business might have found helpful or easy to use.

Digitalisation allows procurement teams to start putting the business user first. By designing platforms that focus on what users want and that deliver a consumer-like experience, procurement can both drive up compliance and, more importantly, play a bigger role in driving growth across the wider business.

  1. Put self-service at the heart of procurement’s digital transformation

In a wide range of areas, including requisitioning and travel booking, self-service has been around for decades now. It is time for procurement to catch up.

Although some may have concerns about giving colleagues in the business free rein with procurement projects, the truth is that the latest AI-driven solutions give the guidance and advice stakeholders need while enabling procurement professionals to turn their focus to more strategic projects and tasks where they can really add value and make a difference.

  1. Ensure procurement platforms and processes are available around-the-clock

We all know from our own working lives that not everyone works the same hours, and that people want to be able to do their work when and where it suits them – especially post-pandemic, where many companies are operating remotely or with a hybrid model.

To enable that flexibility, procurement can no longer restrict its services to office hours, so platforms and processes need to be digital, automated, and “always on.”

  1. Make digital procurement an enabler of agility

With the business environment undergoing near-constant change, with new challenges and opportunities arising by the day, there’s one thing that every business will need its procurement function to deliver: agility.

For businesses, agility is all about being able to make quick decisions, take immediate actions and change direction when required. To enable this, procurement needs to better harness digital technology.

For example, when stakeholders want a list of suppliers that their procurement function recommends, rather than having to wait for the function to draw the list up—or having to wade through spreadsheets to produce it themselves—they should be able to get it immediately, through a self-service platform.

  1. Use technology to drive diversity and inclusion

Digitalisation has created huge new opportunities to increase supplier diversity and inclusion by enabling businesses to source goods and services in a more open and competitive way.

In the past, many organisations would end up going back to the same old suppliers they’d worked with before, merely to avoid the slow and laborious procurement process. Speeding up these processes encourages business stakeholders to consider more fully the field of potential suppliers, leading to more innovative and more diverse choices.

Keith Hausmann is the Chief Revenue Officer at Globality, the AI-powered Platform and marketplace for companies to buy and sell services.

Find out more about the opportunities digitalisation and cognitive sourcing present for companies to increase internal customer satisfaction and demonstrate procurement’s strategic value and leadership to the wider business in this whitepaper.

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