Procurement Software: How to Tailor the Tech
From Dark Ages to Digital.
The data is in, and the consensus is strong. Procurement is (at long last) moving from dark ages to digital. According to a recent SAP & Oxford Economics survey, 35% of Procurement Executives (across the globe) would like to see "implementing and training in new technology" be a primary focus for their organization today, (and 42% would like it to be a main focus within the next 2 years).
But which technologies? How do you drill through all that’s available to what you actually need?
How do you decipher the digital?
Step 1. Beware “Software Savior.”
If you’re part of the 35% highly interested in “new technology,” then you’re likely looking around for different solutions. But before you start shopping, be warned, no one application will do it all.
Capterra (a software review site) put out a truly hilarious video based on what I call “Software Savior:” the promise of one perfect software. The problem is, it doesn’t exist. As they (satirically) say in the video:
It’s comical, but accurate. You can’t be an expert in everything, and neither can software. Some applications certainly have superior functionality to others, but there’s no magic wand. Need a better way to manage RFPs? Looking for eProcurement or eSourcing? Whatever the procurement software, remember there's no end-all, only specific tools for specific needs.
Simply put, if the technology seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Step 2. Pinpoint your priorities.
Step two, figure out what you need most. As in any vendor selection, when you know your priorities, it’s much easier to short list, and use weighted scoring. Ask yourself:
- Where do you spend or lose the most time?
- What is the worst tactical thing that could go wrong?
- What “workarounds” have you had to create?
- Where do you see wasted potential?
Your answers are clues to what type of solution would be a good fit. The greater the inconvenience, waste or liability, the higher priority it should be given in your product criteria.
And remember you’re not the only one the tech will affect. So shop with all your key stakeholders in mind, then find the solution that makes holistic sense.
Tailor the technology to the audience.
Step 3. Merely the means.
Whichever solution you choose, be it a vendor management system, or state of the art conference calling, it should simply be means of making your supplier relationships better. Procurement Consultants State of Flux said it well:
That clear line of sight and communication goes beyond vendor management best practices, really, it's about getting a higher return on investment.
In other words, it’s still about people. Tools just make it easier.
- Beware the myth of a perfect platform.
- Know what you need, so you can actually find it.
- Find a tool that helps you invest in your vendor relationships.
Empower your team, empower your partners.