Tuesday 16 September 2014

The Internet is Dead, The Internet is Dead! Long Live the Internet! (Part 2)

By Sarah Clarke & Steven Low

A few weeks ago, I attempted to spend a day without the internet and the honest truth is that my efforts were completely and wholly unsuccessful and I was back online a mere 40 minutes into my working day.

A lot has changed since I entered the office workplace almost 20 years ago. Gone are the days of posting, faxing, and photocopying; they’ve been replaced by email and web based solutions.

An article on the Guardian website titled “Is the internet full and going to shut down?” sparked much conversation in the BravoSolution offices a few weeks ago; what would the modern procurement professional’s day look like without the internet?

Being one of the few members of the BravoSolution team that’s never actually worked in procurement, I turned to my colleague Steven Low – a procurement professional that turned to the dark side (er ... I mean joined our commercial consulting team) just over a year ago.

Steven and I then created a day in the life of a fictitious sourcing director called Morag (a nod to Steven’s Scottish roots).

Morag works for a financial institution in Scotland. She’s a seasoned procurement professional with 15 years experience and a CIPS qualification under her belt. She’s an avid reader of Spend Matters, Supply Management and Procurement Leaders. She is also, of course, a BravoSolution super-user.

Morag’s day without the internet starts at 8.47 a.m. when she arrives at her company’s Glasgow offices. She makes herself a coffee and starts to think about her day ahead.

9.01 a.m. The dashboards that Morag uses to monitor the status of her team’s ongoing procurement activities are out of bounds today. She must individually call each category manager in her organisation for an update on all of their open projects. A task that normally takes her 15 minutes, consumes most of the morning.

11.48 a.m. There’s a backlog of voicemails on Morag’s phone – her team need her approvals to progress their procurement initiatives, a process that normally happens online in her programme manager workflows. She can do nothing to action these today.

1.01 p.m. Morag has not had lunch. The team had a major tender closing yesterday and they’re having to form an opening committee and prepare to open and print all of the supplier bid responses. Thankfully, someone took the time yesterday to download all of the documents last night (before the internet went down!). It’s a large tender, and without an electronic sourcing tool, it’s going to take some time to manually evaluate all of the tenders. They can’t electronically evaluate and auto score any responses, so coupled with a lack of lunch, everyone is starting to get grumpy.

4.45 p.m. Morag misses an alert via her contract management system. She isn’t aware of this yet, so she’s no idea how furious her CFO is going to be .... yet.

5.32 p.m. The team’s entry into the 2015 Supply Management Awards is due today, but they were meant to submit their entry for evaluation and consideration using the AWARD ® platform, so they’ll have to miss out this year unless they phone and beg for an extension. They really shouldn’t have waited to the last minute and then come unstuck due to unforeseen circumstances. It’s a shame as they really do have an award winning supplier relationship management system in place, which they use to drive innovative value to their organisation.

6.57 p.m. Morag leaves the office. She experiences a feeling of unease about the events of the day. There were no management systems available, tracking, analytics or results at her fingertips, and Morag has only achieved a very small percentage of what she normally can in a day’s work.

Now whilst Steven and I may have let our creative ideas run a little wild here, we did remind ourselves of a truism. It’s having the correct blend of skilled people, well managed processes and underpinning technologies in place, that help procurement professionals truly maximise procurement’s value.

Long live the Internet! Long live the Internet!


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