Tuesday 22 January 2013

Technology Cannot Be Procurement’s Safety Net

Authored by Richard Hogg

Procurement Leaders reporter Tim Burt wrote an interesting post last week based on the results of the latest Procurement Intentions Survey. The numbers outline a story that we hear often: our industry is hungry for new technology.

Burt explains that, “53% of our CPO level Panel said they would be increasing spend on technology and systems for their function over the next 12 months, with just 6% indicating this would decrease.”

While this is a nice sign for enterprise spending, technology alone is not procurement's savior. It takes more than new tools and software to align procurement with bigger business goals, and add value to colleagues and the management team outside of the function. And, if we’re being frank, we have many conversations with potential clients who have invested massive chunks of their budgets in a new sourcing or spend analysis tool, only to realise months later that their team is not using it properly. The assumed ROI quickly disappears, and the investment turns into time wasted.

Investing in new, advanced sourcing technologies makes sense for a lot of obvious reasons. But before you make any major investments in 2013, consider these questions:

  1. What is the number 1 impact on the organisation we’d like procurement to be recognised for? 
  2. Will this technology help us achieve that goal?
  3. How will our processes need to be refined if we integrate another tool?
  4. What additional resources – whether it’s consulting, on-site or online training – will the staff need to become ‘super users’ of this tool?
The more you think about the outcome at the outset, and what will take to get there, the better the results will be down the road.

And one last question – Are you a part of the 53% who will be investing in technology this year?

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