Creating The Right Digital Experience Is Key To Your Procurement Team’s Success (A SIG Summit Keynote Review)

Digital Transformation procurement

At the heart of that urgency is assessing and then mobilizing your procurement team’s digital capabilities throughout the extended organization.

How do you mobilize your procurement team’s digital capabilities?

With this third article from the 2022 SIG Procurement Technology Summit Keynote Series, I will share with you the "key insights" from Chris Kee (VP, Sourcing and Procurement at Northwestern Mutual) and Colin Frazier (VP – Solutions at ZIP) keynote on creating the right digital experience.  

To better understand what creating the right digital experience around your team's procurement process involves, you must first understand your organization’s procurement workflow.

What Is The “Procurement Workflow?”

When asked, "what does the term procurement workflow really mean to you,” Northwestern’s Kee indicated that it does more than encompass the process for supplier onboarding. Kee believes the workflow process involves all critical end-to-end touchpoints, including reviews and signoffs. It also provides total stakeholder transparency to address company risk and privacy, legal, and data security requirements.

Furthermore, procurement professionals can't only be involved in the transactional process, which has traditionally been the case. Beyond managing the process from start to finish, procurement professionals also need to be capturing stakeholder engagement feedback to best manage the supplier relationship post-contract.

The challenge with this ownership/oversite responsibility is that there are usually multiple (and sometimes siloed) workflow permutations for each touchpoint. This disconnect – which I equate with simultaneously juggling multiple balls in the air with one arm tied behind your back, leads to what Kee called an “inconsistent experience for business owners.” These many permutations also make the collection and analysis of data more difficult for the procurement team and, therefore, unable to readily identify and fix process inefficiencies.  

Northwestern has implemented ONE primary integrated workflow to create the best digital experience around their team's procurement process to address the problem.

What Is The “Digital Experience?”

In the retail world, a great digital experience “ensures that your customers feel valued and understood, irrespective of the platform or channel they reach out on, along their customer journey.” In short, "each customer interaction needs to be smooth, convenient, and hassle-free for this to happen.”

Providing a similar digital experience to all stakeholders who interact with procurement is, as Kee and Frazier put it, "a big but necessary step” that quantifies the value procurement brings to the business.

At its core, the digital experience is about relieving bottlenecks and creating continuity and unity flow throughout the entire workflow processes for all stakeholders – not just procurement, on a real-time basis.

This extended capability enables your procurement team to move from a reactive to a proactive state, where they run the workflow process versus the workflow process running them.

Ultimately, by digitizing the workflow process, the Northwestern team no longer must deal with timely and costly processes that traditionally took up a lot of resources without delivering any real value.

Instead, the team can now focus on proactive activities such as predictive sourcing with complete confidence that their digitally integrated workflow process is running smoothly.

Now, that is an experience worth having!

<< SIG Members: Download the complete slide deck from this panel session in the SIG Resource Center >>


Dawn Tiura, President and CEO, SIG

Dawn Tiura, CEO and President of SIG, SIG University and Future of Sourcing Digital Publication, has over 26 years leadership experience, with the past 22 years focused on the sourcing and outsourcing industry. In 2007, Dawn joined SIG as CEO, but has been active in SIG as a speaker and trusted advisor since 1999, bringing the latest developments in sourcing and outsourcing to SIG members. Prior to joining SIG, Dawn held leadership positions as CEO of Denali Group and before that as a partner in a CPA firm. Dawn is actively involved on a number of boards promoting civic, health and children's issues in the Jacksonville, Florida area. Dawn is a licensed CPA and has a BA from the University of Michigan and an MS in taxation from Golden Gate University. Dawn brings to SIG a culture of brainstorming and internal innovation.