SIG University

Combining Intelligent Automation Techniques for Strategic Digital Transformation

Intelligent Automation Techniques

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

Automation Really Isn’t About Automation

automation technology

SIG University Certified Intelligent Automation Professional (CIAP) program graduate Paul Kistner discusses how automation allows best-in-class organizations to find ways to add strategic value to their customers. 

Paul Kistner, Executive Director, Business & Customer Transformation, Allegis Global Solutions

The Importance of Supplier Governance Programs

governance programs for procurement

SIG University Certified Supplier Management Professional (CSMP) program graduate Adrienne Westerfield outlines how supplier governance programs and relationships are extremely beneficial to all stakeholders involved and can help drive business success.


What is a governance program? During the SIG University Certified Supplier Management Professional (CSMP) program, while learning unfamiliar governance terminology, I realized I had been involved with creating and establishing various types of governance throughout my career. Supplier governance is a relationship or framework that is mutually agreed upon. Both the company and the supplier benefit from this relationship. The framework can be at a corporate, business unit or contract level depending on the needs and value sought by both parties.

If it is an established relationship that has never been formalized, adding governance will ensure contract compliance. It will mitigate risks for both parties while making sure the objectives of the relationship are met. Over time, the goals for each company may change so that the structure can be re-evaluated accordingly and adjustments made to align with a new direction or specific initiatives. A more structured governance framework will also define the roles and responsibilities for teams, departments and individuals at each company, which will mitigate the risk of any tasks remaining incomplete or done incorrectly.

Adrienne Westerfield, Contract Administrator, Louisville Gas & Electric Company (LG&E)

Digital Disruption in Sourcing and Procurement with Intelligent Automation

Intelligent Automation for procurement

Procurement leader Canda Rozier and senior sourcing veteran Lawrence Kane joined the Sourcing Industry Landscape Podcast to discuss the new age of intelligent automation, based on what they learned in SIG University’s Certified Intelligent Automation Professional (CIAP) program. They outline how intelligent automation can be a powerful tool to promote an organization’s growth and prosperity, and how – when implemented correctly – it can be targeted to improve areas holding back the enterprise.


What is a simple definition of intelligent automation?

Canda Rozier: I think intelligent automation is a fully holistic approach for business transformation that lets companies start to analyze data, provide analytics on the data and deliver digital solutions to optimize business processes and tasks. I think one of the things that has really struck me as I've learned more about and become engaged with intelligent automation is that it's as important to understand what it's not as to understand what it is.

 A lot of intelligent automation projects fail or don’t provide results – why?

Lawrence Kane: It's not a panacea, and it really needs to be implemented systemically because it's a program. It shouldn't be a one-off, because you have to look at your tools and processes and how the enterprise creates value and understand where are the places that you want to go and automate. Where are the places you want to stop doing things, where are the areas that you need to change doing something, right?

Desmond Williams, Digital Marketing Coordinator

Does Your Business Need to Understand Category Management Principles?

Category management tips

SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Diana Redwine shares her thoughts on the best way to get business stakeholders engaged.


Ugh, here comes procurement, getting in our way again!

In the Tech world, the role of procurement changes with the transition from start-up to a public company. That transition is full of bumps if not addressed with a support mindset.

Somewhere in the timeframe from growth to a public company, experienced procurement talent is engaged to help move spend activities from tactical to strategic. The notion of this is much more grand and idealistic than the reality.

The Idea

Traditionally, handling contracts, licenses, order forms, etc., have been managed by the person with the need, not necessarily by someone with expertise in contract development and negotiation. With procurement added to their toolkit, the business stakeholders might say, “gosh, it would be nice to hand this off to someone else” or “how do I know this is the best price/terms?”

More likely, they have been advised that a new policy is being implemented that requires procurement involvement. However, in my experience, many stakeholders view procurement as an impediment to progress and do not willingly hand off their contract needs. Hence the need to truly consider this question of just what the stakeholders REALLY need to know about category management.

Diana Redwine, Senior Procurement Manager, Smartsheet Inc.

This Month at SIG – June 2021

Here's your monthly update on the latest thought leadership, networking events and training with SIG.

This month we host our June Microlearning Event, have a host of exciting industry research and webinars to keep you up to date.


June Microlearning by SIG University

Microlearning by SIG University is a two-hour immersive session for all levels of sourcing, risk and procurement practitioners.On June 10, renowned third party risk expert, author, and educator, Linda Tuck Chapman, CEO of Third Party Risk Institute, will lead a session on integrating strategic sourcing and third party risk management for high impact results. She will be joined by Tom Ciardiello, a strategic sourcing executive, who will present on the total financial impact of a deal from cost modeling to hidden cost & savings.

Join us for this opportunity to “ask the experts" and gain valuable insights based on tested and trusted methodologies.

 

Power Hour Webinars

Beyond ERPs: How Source-to-Pay Solutions are Changing the Game for Procurement

To manage complexities like the global pandemic, rapidly fluctuating customer demands, and changing regulation and compliance standards, procurement teams require a unified Source-to-Pay solution that offers:

Desmond Williams, Digital Marketing Manager

Implementing Third-Party Risk Management Framework

Third-Party Risk Management Framework

SIG University Certified Third-Party Risk Management Professional (C3PRMP) program graduate Andrea Solano discusses how taking the C3PRMP program helped her to implement the framework for her team to operate as an optimal risk management and risk mitigation function across her department and enterprise-wide. 


 There are different types of workstreams and specializations that have been around a long time. However, the discipline of Third-Party Risk Management is something that is in the very beginning stages of inception. Currently, it is evolving into a discipline that many organizations shall be implementing as a standard operating function in the Silicon Valley business sector I work at. Working at Silicon Valley, the term Third-Party Risk management is still somewhat foreign and not understood as a critical and vital risk management function.

Third-Party Risk Management Function

The key role that I fulfill within the Third-Party Risk Management life cycle is in the due diligence process, which is the internal audit function that serves as a 2.5 – 3rd line of defense within my organization’s Risk Management Function. The SIG University Third-Party Risk Management training that I have taken throughout these past ten weeks has been highly instrumental for me. It will help create, build-out, and develop an internal audit framework that will be customized to meet the needs of this brand-new Third-Party Risk Management function within my organization.  

Andrea Solano, Global Security 3rd Party/Outsourced Audit Manager, Facebook

Getting Optimal Results from Complex Categories: Sourcing Optimization

sourcing optimization for procurement

SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Tim Johnson details the power of true sourcing optimization within the organization.


It is incredible how many companies are still using a basic RFP platform with minimal scope for optimization. Even the platform Excel has no capacity for optimization or sourcing processes to manage the sourcing of highly complex categories. None of these methods can deliver any substantial savings or ROI.

A simple and easy-to-use sourcing platform is all you would need – even if you are not a sourcing specialist – for a three-bids-and-a-buy sourcing project to source a single item. But if you have hundreds of suppliers and thousands of possible scenarios, a simple platform does not make the grade. As for trying to manage (and more importantly, analyze) complex sourcing events in Excel, that will require a full-time mathematical genius or a team of full-time employees for weeks or months on end trying to figure out the best outcomes. 

To manage the sourcing of complex categories and create business value, you absolutely must use a solution that takes full advantage of the power of optimization complemented with artificial intelligence and game theory.  

To be “complex” in the sense of the word here, a sourcing category needs to meet some combination of the following criteria:

Tim Johnson, Sales Director, JAGGAER

This Month at SIG – January 2021

Here's your monthly update on the latest thought leadership, networking events and training with SIG.

Happy New Year! We kick 2021 off with sustainable procurement for executives and training resources that will elevate your team to excellence for the New Year.


Sustainable Procurement Strategies for 2021

Executives are invited to attend SIG’s next CPO & Executive Virtual Series on January 13 for open-mic discussions on sustainable procurement, enabling growth through partnership and innovation, and how to nurture talent and culture.

Jumpstart Your 2021 Strategy

Sourcing and procurement professionals learned a lot in 2020: The importance of making supply chains and operations nimbler, how to digitize your processes and mitigating unforeseen risk were all key lessons. Get a jumpstart to your 2021 with a SIG University certification.

Delivered entirely online, a certification can be completed in five, six, 10 or 12 weeks depending on the area of study. Programs start in January and February. Prefer to go at your own pace? Inquire about the new self-paced option.

New Contributors Wanted

Future of Sourcing, SIG’s flagship digital publication, is looking for new contributors. Once you've reviewed the editorial calendar and the contributor guidelines, reach out to pitch us an article. You have the choice to submit articles on a regular cadence or you can submit whenever you feel inspired. Contributors are encouraged to subscribe to Future of Sourcing's email newsletter, which is delivered to readers twice a month.

Desmond Williams, Digital Marketing Coordinator

For Better or Worse, It’s Been a Year to Remember

To be able to see where you’re headed, you’ve got to look back at where you’ve been.

To be able to see where you’re headed, you’ve got to look back at where you’ve been. 


I just looked back at my December 2019 blog post and I was spot on, but for all the wrong reasons. I predicted that we would continue to elevate the role of strategic sourcing, broader adoption of technology, and a focus on upskilling sourcing and procurement teams.

I did not predict that a global pandemic would make the world talk about “supply chains,” albeit with a focus on toilet paper, Clorox wipes and a shortage of personal protective equipment. People came to realize that strategic sourcing professionals were the heroes who protected their sources of supply or quickly adapted to secure new sources.

While the pandemic continues to rule our lives in one way or another, we still see shortages on components for home gym equipment, bicycles and even casters for home office chairs. So, while some supply chains still have issues, many industries are experiencing a boom year and outpacing sales over any year in the past.

Looking back at the news of this year, many of us vaguely remember the Australian bushfires, and I distinctly remember racing go karts when news broke that Kobe Bryant died. I know some people were distracted by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle walking away from the royal life and Parasite swept the Oscars. This was all immediately non-news and forgotten quickly when the pandemic became a reality. (Personally, I am glad of one “trend” that did not last through the pandemic, which was padded shoulders and puffy sleeves.)

Dawn Tiura, President and CEO, SIG

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