SIG and Globality, the world’s only AI-powered Marketplace and Platform for B2B services, partnered to produce a study looking into why B2B services remains one of the greatest untapped opportunities to drive business value
Almost 70% of Globality and SIG survey respondents indicate that they are either proceeding as planned or are now accelerating their digitization initiatives.
However, bridging the gap between intent, action, and a positive outcome has never been an easy endeavor. In fact, and as pointed out in her latest book, Trade wars, pandemics, and chaos: How digital procurement enables business success in a disordered world, Dr. Elouise Epstein talks about how people are coming clean about the challenges with their existing or historical tech. In other words, organizations need more than just a desire to digitally transform the enterprise if they hope to avoid the same pitfalls that have undermined initiatives in the past.
The purpose of this article is to leverage the insights gained from the Globality and SIG survey to create a clear and more certain path to digital transformation success.
According to most survey respondents, there are several priorities when it comes to digitization in critical areas. These top priority areas include the rapid identification, selection, and engagement of suppliers, the ability to react with speed to market dynamics, and the capability to drive revenue through innovation.
While varying degrees of organizational maturity regarding procurement processes may result in some differences in the priority of identified objectives, there is generally no argument that the benefits of a progressive digital strategy are clear.
As cited as an example in the paper, a multinational IT services company reduced its previous contract cycle time by 50% to 60%. Another finding from the article reported that RPA alone can “reduce the handling time of highly repetitive, rule-based functions by as much as 40%, and processing costs by up to 80%.”
In the examples above, we are not even talking about the unrealized promise and potential of AI-technology-based savings.
Embracing the Potential
Perhaps one of the most important revelations of the paper is that success is not based on the recognition of the digital promise alone. Nor is it to be found in the earnest intent of organizations to take action. In short, it is not a question of what to do or how to do it, but one of who should take the lead.
In this regard, and according to the Deloitte 2021 Global CPO Survey, the key to capitalizing on the above digital promise is for procurement leaders to recognize that there is so much more to procurement today. What this means is that CPOs must proactively look beyond traditional cost savings and operational efficiencies. In this context, procurement leadership and, more specifically, CPOs must embrace and facilitate innovation to achieve digital transformation's full potential.
Beyond Technology Acquisition
Of course, and as Dr. Epstein astutely points out, embracing and facilitating innovation means more than simply acquiring new and promising technology.
According to Epstein, when "you look at an organization and see how many people are doing tech – maybe half an FTE – that's not digital!" Instead, you need the whole organization to be operating in this new digital mindset because results will not be "served" to you.
In this regard, Epstein talks about how the good CPOs are “rolling up their sleeves and working with the new procurement tech founders to make it happen.
According to Epstein, leaders must be "actively invested" in introducing new technology, meaning that success is ultimately in the hands of the end client, with the CPO as the driving force.
The results of the SIG and Globality study were presented to procurement leaders from leading global companies interested in learning how they can use digital transformation to gain a competitive advantage at a recent CPO & Executive Virtual Roundtable.
Geoff Talbot, Chief Growth Officer has 20+ years of sales, marketing and business development experience. Prior to joining SIG, Geoff spent 12 years with a technical staffing services consulting company where he led the business development, sales support and partner groups. Geoff has worked extensively with information technology, supply chain, procurement, human resources and business process executives within the financial services, retail, telecom, energy, government and software industries.