June 25 by Steve Feyer
Apttus was at the ProcureCon IT Sourcing conference in Denver last week, meeting with hundreds of procurement managers from leading companies.
When you hear procurement, you may think that it’s a drab routine of stamping documents at a desk all day long. But today, procurement is a dynamic profession that can create significant, positive change in businesses. We heard many examples of how procurement professionals are achieving these changes at ProcureCon.
Here are 6 ideas that struck us.
1) Automate Compliance:
Procurement can benefit tremendously from technology. We all find it a hassle to follow policies and procedures, and the larger and more complex our businesses get, the more manuals we’re expected to read. With technology, there’s no more manual. The important policies can be “coded” and enforced automatically, improving compliance and making life easier for staff.
2) Digital Security:
With proper understanding of cybersecurity threats and emerging risks, Procurement can be the main line of defense, making purchasing decisions that minimize exposure and close the gaps that bad actors squeeze through in order to harm businesses. If a cyber incident is like a fire, a business needs a sprinkler system to put it out: cyber response teams, digital forensics, public relations and other specialists. In this way of thinking, IT sourcing can provide better building materials to prevent the fire from breaking out in the first place.
3) Advantageous Negotiations:
Procurement can maximize value to the business with better negotiations. Many companies spend a large amount on IT contracts that guarantee high costs, but not significant benefits. Using technologies that provide end-to-end understanding of negotiation processes and contract outcomes, IT sourcing professionals can reduce expenses without loss to their businesses.
4) Value Management:
Procurement can enable businesses to live their values. No business wants its activities to contribute to horrors such as child labor, illegal pollution and human trafficking. Unfortunately, in a globalized economy, the origins of a product or service can be invisible to consumers. With contract processes that enforce values on their supply chains, procurement can play a key role in cleaning up supply chains so that businesses can reflect the values of their customers, and themselves.
5) Greater Tech Mindset:
Procurement can enhance its value by embracing a tech mindset instead of a legal mindset. In the traditional view of procurement, supply professionals simply do the bidding of the business according to a fixed set of rules. In this “legal” way of thinking, procurement is a necessary but low-value actor—the water boy of the company. Instead, procurement can seek out the technologies and practices that will drive the business forward. With this “tech” mindset, sourcing becomes the quarterback of the business.
6) Talent Magnet:
By creating flexible, employee-friendly sourcing practices, procurement can create the type of attractive work environment that top talent seeks. Inflexible and slow buying practices tend to drive away workers. An example of this idea, now widely adopted in business, is the popular “bring your own device” policy. Companies that still don’t allow employees to use their own mobile devices are at a disadvantage in hiring and retention.
For more ideas on how you can overhaul the effectiveness and identity of your Procurement, visit Apttus Buy-Side Contract Management.