The future’s procurement professionals will lead a high-tech, information-rich function that supports the organization and all its stakeholders with resource, tools, knowledge and intelligence reinforcing its effectiveness. The core qualification in procurement is traditionally perhaps financial experience and maybe negotiation skills. In order to lead a fit-for-future procurement function, other important skills will come into play, and these “higher-level” skills may not be purely about procurement.
Rather, leadership, decision-making, risk awareness and driving performance will all be essential. In a constantly changing landscape, the ability to be agile and responsive is vital, not just for systems and services, but for people. The future procurement professional will ideally be able to adapt to complexity and change. They must feel as comfortable on the sell side as they do on the sourcing side and ultimately support the overall mission and charter.
As technologies, workflows and processes become increasingly shared and synchronized, both internally and with suppliers, useful data will be there at procurement’s fingertips. The focus will fall on distinguishing procurement professionals who can enable procurement to interact with the business and focus on outcomes that matter to everyone. If they can bring analytical skills into the mix to extract useful and meaningful information from the data-rich environment that will be procurement, their strength will be seen as part of increasing organizational value.
Analytic savvy is a great skill. Analytics as a technology area is a key enabler. Put the two together and you have a real powerful combination. Of course, it’s not just analyzing, but using analytics to find opportunities and apply them to create value.
This, of course, raises the questions: Are we identifying the right set of resources from an analytical horsepower perspective to specialize in these efforts? And, are we developing the rest of the organization to take advantage of a new analytical environment as well?