Procurement's Role in Digital and Agile Transformations

Procurement digital and agile transformation

There’s no question that companies are turning to technology to manage many facets of their operations, and procurement is no different. Adopting a technology platform to manage one business unit can result in positive changes, reducing costs and increasing efficiencies. But what happens when a company decides to go through a complete agile and digital transformation?

Our client, College Board, decided to undertake such a sweeping change, and while they’re still on their journey, they are seeing positive outcomes across the organization. About five years ago, College Board saw successive changes in leadership with a new CIO coming in, followed by a new CPO. When they joined the team, College Board had disjointed technology – no department could communicate with another. So, the decision was made to jump into the deep end and take on a complete agile and digital transformation.

Building a Movement

The agile transformation, which would ultimately lead to the digital transformation, required a culture change at College Board. They knew behaviors had to change, both individually and companywide. There was a serious need for collaboration and cross-functional teams to remove the silos each department was in, which could be fostered by new technologies.

And College Board’s 1,800 employees and 250 contractors had to be on board. So, it all started with leadership. The organization’s forward-thinking CIO and CPO laid out clearly defined goals and strategies. Setting the example that this would be successful went a long way in encouraging employee buy-in.

The technologies used by College Board’s HR, technology, finance and procurement departments would all change, replaced by enterprise solutions that would break down barriers and reduce redundancies. Specific systems replaced included the HRIS system, IT provisioning, finance and budgeting, e-procurement and the VMS. The strategy at this phase was to transparently map out processes and design organization-wide changes that brought about incremental change. College Board’s leadership wanted the previously siloed teams to be excited to partner with other departments, so the new technologies had to seamlessly integrate with each other, creating open lines of communication and information sharing.

As part of the transformation process, College Board had to meet changing needs for talent. They created an agile center of excellence and brought in scrum masters and agile coaches. This came with a reevaluation of existing staff to ensure everyone was working the proper role. When new people were needed, procurement stepped up, enlisting the capabilities in their new VMS.

A New Way

The previous VMS didn’t provide the agility or user friendliness that would allow for quick changes to reporting and job details, which College Board needed to support their change efforts. After looking at nine VMS platforms, they chose VNDLY because it had what they were looking for – easy-to-use, customizable functionality; a customer support team that could respond quickly to their requests; and seamless integration capabilities with other software. College Board included their hiring managers in the adoption process to ensure the technology chosen would work for them.

To date, some impressive benchmarks have been achieved. College Board has saved millions of dollars across departments. In procurement, time to fill has been reduced by about 30% and money has been saved with direct sourcing. Time has been saved companywide and the silos are gone. The organization is now able to focus on strategic growth opportunities and is bringing new products to market at a faster pace, which increases their competitive advantage and creates new revenue streams.

College Board’s director of strategic development, Carlos Burgos, will be joined by Shashank to discuss Procurement as a Partner for Fueling Your Digital and Agile Transformation during the Procurement Technology Summit. Registration is FREE for SIG member companies and buy-side executives who are non-members may qualify for free attendance. Email to request your free ticket.   



Shashank Saxena, VNDLY CEO and Co-Founder

Shashank was the Corporate Strategy leader at The Kroger Co. Shashank joined Kroger in October 2012 as a manager in the digital team. Six months into the role, he got promoted to serve as the Director of Digital and eCommerce technologies at Kroger. As part of this role he managed the Web, Mobile, Tablet, eCommerce and platform development teams within the Kroger Technology organization. In November 2015, Shashank was promoted to Sr. Director, Partnerships and New Business Development where he led these function before taking on the Corporate Strategy role.