What is your role and your day-to-day responsibilities?
I have been CPO at several global companies, where I had responsibility for all procurement, sourcing, P2P automation, as well as global real estate and facilities. I’m currently the President of Collabra Consulting, providing support to clients for procurement, sourcing, cost reduction initiatives, vendor risk management, advisory projects and interim leadership.
What is something that you wish more people knew about sourcing and procurement?
It’s exciting! Sourcing and procurement are mission-critical business activities and done well, they can provide significant bottom-line impact, strategic support, and risk and governance controls to a company.
I recently went back to read an article that I bookmarked a while back on the predictions for 2020. Forget self-driving cars and flying cars; Popular Mechanics magazine predicted in 1951 that every family in the 21st century would have at least one helicopter in their garage. They also predicted in 1957 that every road and street would be “replaced by a network of pneumatic tubes,” and your car would only need enough power to get from your home to the newest tube.
Dave Evans, the chief futurist for Cisco Visual Networking, actually predicted in 2012 that he'd be out of a job by this time because, as he forecasted, everyone would be able to predict the future themselves.
Automating Everyday Tasks
I wasn’t alive when Popular Mechanics made its predictions, but I was alive for the statement by Dave Evans. What I know for sure is that while his prediction for companies to make data-informed decisions is slowly coming to fruition, we are far off from a world without futurists. What amazes me is that most automation predictions were in the form of self-driving cars rather than taking place in everyday life.
According to Gartner’s latest predictions, in just four short years, half of all procurement organizations will have near-real-time procurement analytics – will yours be one of them?
While we can argue the probability of this claim (along with the debatable prediction that we will see a large rise in voice-command PO processes), there is certainly no denying that the way companies do business is changing. Between hyper-automation, machine learning, and a renewed focus on user-centric design, we can now access and influence limitless channels in a matter of seconds. With this massive influx of new data and opportunities for connection, sourcing and procurement must adapt to the rapidly evolving market or risk falling behind.
Like Sales with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms or Human Resources with Human Capital Management (HCM) solutions, modern sourcing organizations need technologies that will empower them with visibility into their processes, proactively manage projects and mitigate risks, and generate actionable insights based on real-time data.
Why Digital Transformation is Mission-Critical for Your Business
Implementing new technology can seem daunting, but with an effective change management strategy, you’ll find that the benefits far outweigh any costs. If you’re still on the fence about adopting modern solutions, here are five benefits your organization is missing out on by continuing with its current processes.
Chris Crane, Co-Founder, Product, Scout RFP, a Workday company
In highly regulated industries, there are seemingly endless regulatory and compliance requirements and activities, and they often are inseparable from the underlying risk management activities themselves, including those for third parties.
Since the 2008 financial crisis, the U.S. has arguably become the most complex and costly jurisdiction for regulatory compliance. An article published by World Economic Forum on enterprise risk management points out that banks are “less experienced with non-traditional threats such as cyber risk, strategic risk, operational risk, regulatory risk and legal risk. Making matters trickier, these risks aren’t easily quantified.” The authors also note that “the growth in such risks is virtually unprecedented in the history of banking. This puts a premium on firms’ abilities to make connections and to recognize the complex whole is far greater than the sum of its parts.”
The financial services sector leads the pack in terms of the amount of regulation it is subject to, including the compliance challenges, regulations and laws in near and far-flung jurisdictions, as well as the cost and complexity of compliance, risk management and governance practices. This sector is not alone is the endless struggle to balance costs and compliance. Healthcare, oil and gas, and the tech sector are also struggling with the cost and complexity to managing sector-specific risks and compliance.
Growing economic uncertainty, geopolitical unrest, and emerging cyber threats mean that security and risk management are now critical boardroom priorities. If that weren’t enough, businesses today are not only accountable for the factors that impact them directly, but they’re also responsible for those that impact their suppliers.
Take the recent Quest Diagnostics data breach as an example. Despite Quest’s strong internal cybersecurity infrastructure, the sensitive information of 11.9 million patients was hacked through a third-party billing vendor with subpar security standards. The lesson is clear: a company is only as safe as its weakest vendor.
Many organizations continue to manage suppliers, contracts, and procurement processes manually or with outdated, clunky technology that is too complicated for efficient use. These haphazard systems are, unfortunately, perfect harbors for risk, but there is tremendous opportunity here. According to a recent McKinsey & Company report, 56% of source-to-pay tasks could be “fully or largely automated using currently available technologies.”
While automation isn’t a cure-all, it does have the potential to drastically decrease overall risk. How? By reducing the “human factor” in supplier management and allowing sourcing employees to focus on more critical projects. In addition to putting risk mitigation at the forefront, automating supplier-related processes benefits businesses in these four key ways:
Chris Crane, Co-Founder, Product, Scout RFP, a Workday company
Here's your weekly briefing of the latest thought leadership, networking events and training with SIG.
New Speakers Announced for the Midwestern Regional SIGnature Event
The Midwestern Regional SIGnature Event will take place on March 6 at the beautiful Minneapolis Central Library downtown. The impressive line-up of speakers includes Nancy Brooks, Vice President of Procurement Commercial Office with Best Buy; Rohan Ranadive, SVP, Head Intelligent Automation at BB&T; Linda Tuck Chapman of Ontala; Shirley Hung, a Vice President with Everest Group; Clare Horn, Process Excellence Lead of Virtual Operations; and Dawn Tiura the President and CEO of SIG. Join us for a full-day of thought leadership and networking. This is a free event for buy-side participants and their team! Visit our website to see the agenda and register.
When critical supply chain partners are financially weak, they become more likely to be the source of unpleasant surprises. Such supplier problems can damage a company’s brand reputation and sales. To avoid surprises, companies can leverage risk management strategies and predictive analytics to gain visibility into latent supply chain risks.
SIG University continues to certify the most well-rounded procurement professionals in sourcing, supply management and third-party risk management. Take advantage of a 15 percent discount when you enroll by March 15. Classes begin on April 15.
When it comes to Robotic Process Automation (RPA) within a digital transformation project, the clear objective is to move all processes into a controllable, fully-automated workflow. This is achievable when processes need to use structured data. However, the most expensive and business-critical processes involve human workflows using complex, document-based information. Achieving the same levels of automation realized from structured RPA-enabled processes becomes much more challenging because the needed information isn’t always easy for a system to locate—much less successfully extract—from a document. Without a precise solution for getting access to document-based data, automation is adversely affected.
Finding the Right Solution
The answer is to approach cognitive RPA projects by understanding the level of “maturity” required with respect to the level of document automation your project requires and compare that with your peer’s experience within your industry.
This includes getting a solid foundation in what are current best practices regarding automation and understanding the various options for injecting document automation into RPA projects. Not all vendors approach a solution in the same way and not all capabilities are equal.
Greg Council, Vice President of Marketing and Product Management