My first Op-Ed, Open Letter to the C-Suite, appealed to the C-Suite to hold Procurement accountable for not investing in technology. The blog referenced a Gartner perspective that only 22% of procurement leaders have a long-term digital strategy. I touched a nerve, invoking comments from a few readers suggesting there are procurement leaders - the Magical CPO - that understand how to navigate the C-Suite to get the budget for technology investments.
To give credit where credit is due, Nikesh Parekh, CEO of Suplari (Now Microsoft), is the source for the term Magical CPO. It describes a procurement leader that understands how to build business cases and secure budgets for technology investments that improve their department's efficiency and effectiveness while supporting the needs across all business disciplines. The Magical CPO persona, by definition, is juxtaposed with the technology laggard. If you saw my first Op-Ed, I noted that 78% of procurement leaders are technology laggards without any digital automation strategy.
The Magical CPO persona
Let’s unpack the Magical CPO persona to agree on common qualities. My views are based on my observations and experiences over a 30+ year career in procurement. There is no Wikipedia page for Magical CPO nor a Google search that prompts any relevant hits - I checked. While I understand there are more sources than Wikipedia and Google, the point is that there is generally no standard persona for the Magical CPO. Here’s my interpretation of what the Magical CPO must possess:
Greg Tennyson, SVP of Strategy & Procurement, Fairmarkit
Accounts Payable function is fundamental to the operational and financial success of many organizations across the globe. Yet it continues to be viewed as a cost center.
It was never uncommon to hear of documents buried in paper trails, missed discounts and strained supplier relationships, etc. But recently, the pandemic added to these woes and proved that the ways in which many Accounts Payable teams still operate are not just dated and costly, but may also put the health and safety of employees at risk.
Stuck in the dusty alcoves of the back-office and bogged down by a myriad of time-consuming, manual tasks, an un-optimized AP Function is host to a slew of redundancies, avoidable costs, and frustrating friction areas.
Not recognizing and dealing with these redundancies will become increasingly costlier to businesses – competition is already at an all-time high and teams are being asked to deliver more every year. And in addition, issues like climate change mean that uncertainties and global disruptions will only become more frequent with time. In this backdrop, organizations that still haven’t got on the AP Automation bandwagon need to ‘level up’ to survive.
Fortunately, as per the latest bodies of research, these problems aren’t just easily rectifiable but they’re also ones that are likely to pay the most dividends once solved. Case in point: Gartner’s research found that AP (APIA in specific) is one of the best applications of artificial intelligence in a business, both in terms of business value and in terms of feasibility.
Procurement is entering a new era of increasing complexities in which traditional measures of success such as cost savings are no longer the sole focus.
Instead, and as reported in the Deloitte 2021 CPO Survey, "changing business dynamics and increasing layers of complexity" and corresponding "expectations" are transforming the way the industry thinks and acts.
For example, new and more challenging areas such as "climate change, geopolitical stability," and "increasing societal expectations" are now part of the new equation.
The introduction of these emerging variables is causing organizations to re-examine their digital transformation strategies, including how Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help them address the industry's challenges.
The SIG Survey
In 2021 SIG surveyed 100 procurement professionals from Fortune 500 and Global 1000 organizations on digital transformation and AI in procurement.
Based on the results, it is clear that those responding to the survey believe that "procurement's priorities lie with how AI technology can streamline the roles and processes to deliver meaningful and sustainable results."
Unfortunately, and despite the opportunity for more significant gains, the survey reports that "several obstacles" make it difficult for organizations to "bridge the divide" between the promise of digital AI and the realization of its optimal benefits.
Crossing the Divide
Understanding the importance of AI and identifying the challenges with realizing its potential to redefine and empower procurement to achieve critical objectives is the first step to crossing the aforementioned divide.
Mary Zampino, Vice President – Content, Research & Analytics
SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Katherine Smith shares how lessons in the CSP program informed her during her company’s digital transformation.
One of the many areas of the CSP program that I found to be of great relevance for my role as a Procurement Specialist at Fannie Mae was the Lesson on Artificial Intelligence. Being of an older generation, I can remember working as a manager when there were no computers. Inventories were taken manually and then extended using calculators or adding machines. It was a significant step forward when we could automate that process.
Gone are the days of spending long hours on the phone reading off SKU numbers and quantities needed when placing orders for products, such as the food and paper supply needs of a hospital foodservice department.
Katherine Smith, Sr. Contracts and Procurement Specialist, Fannie Mae
Before any organization can do business with an external vendor, it needs to examine its data privacy protocol against new legal requirements. Recent legislations like General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the U.S. has cast a spotlight on the handling of consumer data, especially the way it is shared among third parties. Organizations of all sizes in every industry are upgrading the vetting processes to make sure that new vendors don’t bring additional risks.
These risk assessment processes contain several moving parts, and a mistake at any point along the way can jeopardize the result. The easiest way to pinpoint the holes in your organization's vendor vetting workflow is to review the entire process from beginning to end and examine the opportunities for data privacy lapses. Here are four common pitfalls to look for:
1. Overlooking Contract-level Details
Amid all the changes happening to the regulatory landscape, it’s easy to overlook errors in the language of your contracts. In a short window of time, contract language—on old and new agreements—needs to be updated to provide consumers with new legal protections and redefine business-to-business relationships with any party that touches consumer data. If contracts are being negotiated in that window, some terms might slip through the cracks and expose you to new risks.
At the SIG Procurement Technology Summit, attendees will experience the latest procurement technology in a virtual Innovation Hall. These companies are using artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotic process automation to elevate the role of procurement, ignite innovation and impact the world.
Featured here are company overview, solution overview, and company approach and process to help you learn more about the following virtual Innovation Hall technology providers:
What is your role and your day-to-day responsibilities?
As CEO of a software SaaS company, I spend time with my leadership team focusing on the product and obsessing over the problems we're trying to solve for our customers. I focus on making sure all of our teams – internal product management, sales, engineering and customer support – are functioning at optimal levels. I also enjoy spending time with our customers, hearing about their pain points and how they're actually using the software we've built.
What is something that you wish more people knew about sourcing and procurement?
Sourcing isn't just about finding the right vendor or supplier, it's about understanding the problems business stakeholders are trying to solve. Very often I see teams obsess over the solution, its features and price, rather than focusing on the problem the stakeholder is experiencing. The best sourcing and procurement teams I've worked with are strategic in their approach and never lose sight of the pain points stakeholders have throughout the sourcing process.
Jai Chinnakonda, co-founder of a provider technology start-up, enrolled in SIG University's Certified Third Party Risk Management Professional (C3PRMP) program to learn how he can better serve his clients by gaining a more thorough understanding of third-party risk management best practices.
In the C3PRMP program, students focus on best and emerging practices to identify, assess, manage and control third-party risk throughout the lifecycle of relationships, and learn how to align risk fundamentals and frameworks with risk culture to develop the essential tools and controls for effective governance.
The digital age is seeing an increased dependence on third-party service providers of varying sizes – including start-ups – to meet the challenges of technological innovation, cost, demand for service excellence and heightened competition.
Organizations are often locked in a love-hate relationship with their vendors as they struggle to meet expectations, sometimes both ways. In today’s digital journey, no organization can thrive on its own. To create true value for your organization and help meet business objectives, your organization will need to build a lasting relationship with your third parties. Organizations will need to adopt the art and science of engagement.
The business ecosystem is experiencing a fundamental shift. Organizations are moving away from purely cost-savings partnerships to value-generating risk-sharing partnership models. As the third-party ecosystem grows, the ability to manage and govern third parties is becoming more critical to success.
This month our clocks spring forward and we gain an extra hour of daylight. To make the most of that extra hour, consider attending a networking event, thought leadership webinar or exploring SIG’s new partnership with Everest Group that brings delegates proprietary research, insights and analysis. Ready to get started?
Midwestern Regional SIGnature Event
March 6 Minneapolis Central Library
The Midwestern Regional SIGnature Event takes place at the beautiful Minneapolis Central Library on March 6. The event includes a great lineup of speakers from BB&T, Best Buy, Everest Group, Ontala and Virtual Operations who will present on topics that include third-party risk management, artificial intelligence in procurement, sourcing transformation strategies and how to buy digital platforms for your enterprise.
The event will begin with an executive roundtable for director-level and above delegates, while their teams take part in a training workshop on the fundamentals and frameworks of third-party risk management with risk expert Linda Tuck Chapman, who created the Certified Third Party Risk Management Program for SIG University.
To learn more about the day’s events, speakers, who should attend and to register you and your team, visit our website.