Learning isn’t just about knowing something but also about knowing what to do with new knowledge once it is acquired.
However, turning "educational dialogues that generate actionable takeaways" can be challenging within a traditional extended learning framework because of busy schedules and increasing workday demands. Because of this new reality, SIG University’s Microlearning sessions deliver tangible and measurable insights that you can use immediately within the convenience of a two-hour session format.
In today's post, I will briefly talk about the May Microlearning Session in which one CPO shared her experiences in leading her organization’s digital transformation journey beyond the Maginot Line.
Beyond The Maginot Line?
"Like France's 1930's Maginot Line, 'digital washing' of old ideas and lack of forward-thinking has the potential to create strategic disaster in a highly competitive world where speed to market and agility are key." - 'Digital washing' can wreck your strategic business planning, ZDNET
“Like the Maginot Line?”
Here is the link to the above article that delves deeper into the historical significance of the Maginot Line and its relation to a digital transformation strategy. In the context of the May Microlearning session, the "digital washing of old ideas” and the “lack of forward-thinking” statements stood out to me from the article.
According to May’s session expert Canda Rozier, Green Washing – when you tick a box for purportedly achieving a broad or vague sustainability target, is now happening with digital automation initiatives.
In this fourth and final installment in this Keynote Series, we talk about the "judicious deployment" of emerging technology without losing sight of the human side of digital transformation.
To achieve this "balance," Mattress Firm's VP of Indirect Procurement, Quave Burton, discusses the importance of motivation through employee recognition while challenging her team to "stretch themselves" to learn new and better ways to achieve strategic objectives.
For Quave, the journey of transforming procurement at Mattress Firm started at ground zero.
When I say ground zero, there wasn't a procurement department when she started working with the company. As she explains it, she was immediately on a transformation journey, starting with getting the right people to do the right things.
Fortunately, and with the full support of senior leadership, the organization was ready and willing to make changes.
At this point, I think it is essential to stop and stress the benefits of having to build the foundation for procurement transformation, starting with people before introducing technology. As anyone who has been in our industry for some time will tell you, in the past traditional ERP-based procurement initiatives have generally failed to achieve the expected results. Many studies estimate that the failure rate is between 50% and 75% - some even put that number higher.
The three main reasons for this less than stellar performance are poor User Experience, data inaccuracy, and analytics.
Despite introducing more advanced and intuitive "by-the-drink" technology solutions, CPO's dissatisfaction with digital initiatives remains high.
At the heart of that urgency is assessing and then mobilizing your procurement team’s digital capabilities throughout the extended organization.
How do you mobilize your procurement team’s digital capabilities?
With this third article from the 2022 SIG Procurement Technology Summit Keynote Series, I will share with you the "key insights" from Chris Kee (VP, Sourcing and Procurement at Northwestern Mutual) and Colin Frazier (VP – Solutions at ZIP) keynote on creating the right digital experience.
To better understand what creating the right digital experience around your team's procurement process involves, you must first understand your organization’s procurement workflow.
What Is The “Procurement Workflow?”
When asked, "what does the term procurement workflow really mean to you,” Northwestern’s Kee indicated that it does more than encompass the process for supplier onboarding. Kee believes the workflow process involves all critical end-to-end touchpoints, including reviews and signoffs. It also provides total stakeholder transparency to address company risk and privacy, legal, and data security requirements.
Furthermore, procurement professionals can't only be involved in the transactional process, which has traditionally been the case. Beyond managing the process from start to finish, procurement professionals also need to be capturing stakeholder engagement feedback to best manage the supplier relationship post-contract.
In what will be the first of several articles on the 2022 SIG Procurement Technology Summit Keynote Series, I will share with you the insights from each session, starting with today's post on my discussion with Shashank Saxena, General Manager for VNDLY - A Workday Company.
In the session - aptly titled "Closing The Digital Acceleration Gap In Procurement," Shashank and I talk about the disruptive approaches and new innovations that will reshape how procurement leaders can satisfy their most pressing strategic imperatives.
A little background information is in order before getting into the above specifics.
The New Digital Imperative
"Everyone wants to do digital transformation – think of all the board level priorities you have this is probably the most and biggest."
The above words by Shashank resonated with me on many levels.
They are a reminder of how far we have come over the past few years and how we still have a way to go before we achieve or realize the full potential of the digital promise.
What do I mean when I say "the full potential" of the digital promise?
A December 2019 Forbes article reported that "70% of companies either have a digital transformation strategy in place or are working on one." However, recognizing the importance of having a digital strategy is not the same as realizing the anticipated return as "only 7% of companies have fully implemented their digital transformations." As you can see, there is a notable difference between having a strategy and the ability to implement it successfully, and it is quite a gap to bridge.
In what was traditionally a siloed function, separate from overall executive and organizational strategy, procurement professionals have more recently become integral to company operations and resilience. This prominence grew during the COVID pandemic, which broke down barriers between departments and raised attention to the importance of Chief Procurement Officers (CPOs) and other procurement personnel, and the work they do.
The Power of Procurement
The procurement team is at the interface between the enterprise and the extended enterprise: the organization and its suppliers. Procurement professionals are in the position to understand the risks and the wider ecosystems their suppliers operate in. They, like no other function, can make predictive connections and be able to quickly identify risks specific to one supplier or those endemic to the wider ecosystem, and quickly pivot alongside the business accordingly. And it’s not just risk, but opportunity and innovation for the enterprise, such as identifying new products, materials, capabilities and offerings.
With this greater inclusion of procurement professionals into organizational strategy, CPOs and similar roles need to begin to reframe how the function can best serve the organization, and how other departments can serve them. One key to this new way of thinking is framing procurement around holistic risk management, particularly when it comes to managing third parties, suppliers and the supply chain.
Best Practices for Taking a Holistic Approach to Procurement
While not everything in this shift can be implemented immediately, there are general aspects of agility that should be on procurement’s agenda, including:
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.
SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Tom Conti shares the four crucial areas to turn your tactical RPA initiative into a strategic Intelligent Process Automation program.
While an organization's digital transformation journey may include Intelligent Process Automation, it is only one of the components necessary to influence disruptive organizational change. But what is Intelligent Process Automation (IPA)? At its core, Intelligent Process Automation is the tactical or strategic application of technology to automate a process. This might include loading data, orchestrating different areas of work, or automating repetitive tasks. When properly implemented, an organization can achieve many benefits by using IPA, such as reducing operating costs, enhancing the customer experience, reducing risk, or improving compliance adherence.
The Four Areas for RPA Definition
There are four central areas to consider when defining the objective of the transformation program to evoke disruptive change. These areas include Robotic Process Automation (RPA), the automation technologies available, process excellence, and change management. When executed together, these techniques offer the greatest return on investment when implementing an IPA program to address the defined business objective.
First, Robotic Process Automation, or RPA, is a tactical approach to beginning a transformative intelligent automation journey. RPA is best suited where productivity is the primary driver, where simple, rules-based processes can be applied. Often, digital and structured inputs are utilized in RPA processes as little variation is observed within the process where it would make RPA a disagreeable approach.
Tom Conti, Solutions Consultant, Canon Business Process Services
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
This month we kick-off SIG’s Procurement Technology Summit, have a host of exciting industry research and training to keep you up to date with Procurement’s rebirth.
Procurement Technology Summit
The 2021 Procurement Technology Summit will pioneer a new era for sourcing leaders and their teams to transform the future of procurement. Come prepared to engage and learn from the brightest industry experts, connect through AI-powered speed networking, and experience live solution deep-dives from best-in-class providers.
This year’s agenda includes a really unique line-up of keynote speakers who are covering key Procurement topics like design thinking, diversity & inclusion, the future of technologies and building a high-performing team.
We’re inviting SIG’s buy-side members and their ENTIRE TEAM to attend. Yes, you read that right! Whether you’re a team of two or 200, everyone on your team gets to attend for free!
The Summit will take place May 4 – 6 and will be 100% online, so you can attend sessions as it fits your schedule. You do not want to miss this event, so register today and get ready to be impressed!
This month we host our April SIGnature Event, have a host of exciting industry research and training to keep you up to date, and registration is open for SIG’s Procurement Technology Summit.
Geofencing of Employees, Onshoring and More - The New Normal
There’s still time to register for our upcoming digital SIGnature Event on April 21. The theme for the event is The New Normal. Senior-level and above delegates will participate in an executive roundtable hosted by Oliver Wyman to discuss energy transition and sustainable procurement.
Concurrent to the Executive Roundtable session will be an interactive panel discussion on Diversity & Inclusion, hosted by Janice Green, President & CEO , Women’s Business Enterprise Council Pacific (WBEC Pacific) .
Registration is Open: SIG Procurement Technology Summit
Prepare yourself and your team for the future of business at the SIG Procurement Technology Summit May 4-6, 2021!
Registered buy-side attendees get FREE ACCESS to attend all keynote sessions, engage and learn from the brightest industry experts, connect through AI-powered speed networking and experience live solution deep-dives from best-in-class providers.