Three Questions To Ask When Framing Technology Decisions in Procurement Functions

By asking three key questions, innovation, procurement and their organizations will be best-suited to choose the tools that best fit their business needs.

SIG University Certified Intelligent Automation Professional (CIAP) Program graduate Daryl Hammett discusses the three key questions organizations should ask when framing technology decisions in procurement functions to best suit their business needs.

While legacy resource planning systems are key to all global supply chains, they are also cumbersome, expensive and not designed to support the type of relational data businesses deal with to drive decisions.

Procurement organizations are thinking more often about innovating old processing systems. What areas have inherent risks in innovating? To what degree do we change? How do we manage it? Who do we get involved? A lot of attention is focused on getting the results from innovation and change, especially those associated with people. Most companies have implemented procedures to manage and grow innovation, but I believe one of the most under-analyzed risks in innovation, and one that could be the biggest threat going unaddressed today, is the risk of group think in implementing change in procurement teams.

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As we look ahead to the rest of 2020, cutting-edge technologies will play an essential role in the innovation of procurement. New technology brings with it new responsibilities and it’s easy to become lost in the sea of digital tools available from blockchain to automation to application programming interfaces. It’s important to assess what these tools can actually bring to the organization. They are most effective when utilized with strategies closely aligned to the values and goals of the wider business. Focusing on a problem and selecting a tool that solves this problem will be vital to its success.

With this in mind, I believe there are three fundamental questions that should frame technology decisions in procurement functions.

Where do we start?

Before selecting any tool, organizations must first assess its capacity, including the strengths and weaknesses of their procurement process. A careful analysis of today’s state will lay the roadmap for future strategy and success. For example, corporations are increasingly being held accountable for issues around transparency and risk within their supply chains. Thought should be given to what current challenges and problems you are experiencing now.  After you answer that question, it’s time to determine who should be a part of your Center of Excellence (COE). Procuring with purpose will look different to each organization. Analyzing problems first will frame the goal and ultimately frame innovation choices.

Who gets what information?

Technology revolutionizes the way information gets distributed. It lowers the barrier to entry for receiving timely, accurate data and gives power to a broader user base, such as business users that might not have technical backgrounds. But in many organizations, this data is currently scattered across numerous internal and external silos, making it difficult to use this information accurately. Digital tools can consolidate data repositories and provide centralized, real-time access to this information.

How do key stakeholders communicate?

If the answer is “not well,” the opportunity exists to introduce tools with new communication features. Leveraging your COE and key stakeholders is key to having domain expertise in the specific areas in which they operate. Improved communication and collaboration will create a whole that is than the sum of its parts. The growing ability to track multi-tier data has become an essential facet of telling an organization’s innovation story to its various internal and external stakeholders.

By asking these three key questions, innovation, procurement and their organizations will be best-suited to choose the tools that best fit their business needs.

The Certified Intelligent Automation Professional program is a six-week course delivered through SIG University’s unique education platform. Visit our website to learn more about intelligent process automation and enroll for the upcoming semester.


Daryl Hammett, CSMP, CSP, C3PRMP, General Manager/Chief Operating Officer, ConnXus

Daryl joined ConnXus as General Manager/Chief Operating Officer in 2014. After retiring as Senior Vice President/General Manager of Sears Optical, N.A., Daryl founded Peabody Executive Coaching in 2012. With over 20 years of experience coaching C-suite levels in organizations large and small, Daryl leads a diverse, cross-functional team and manages day-to-day operations.