Spend Matters welcomes this guest article by Vroozi.
As Spend Matters and Vroozi wrote in their jointly produced research paper Declaration of the New Purchasing: A Buying Manifesto:
Article 7: Even as procurement masks complexity, it will still show us the optimal path, continuously adapting to the world around us as things change and as we buy.
Procurement will become the WAZE of corporate functions, guiding the business (from individuals to business units) through periods of uncertainty and adapting strategies and tactics as the world changes. Much of these changes will be transparent (ideally) to business users, stakeholders and end customers. But procurement will be operating in the background with the equivalent of its own “traffic monitoring” tools, GPS and predictive models – making everything, as close to as much of the time as possible, transparent.
As we detailed last week, “less is more” is certainly among the pillars of New Purchasing. With all of the technology at our disposal today, there’s no reason to suffer through any business process that can be made easier by the strides already made in our everyday technology.
Advancements in procurement technology have helped to make the processes of procurement collaboration, spend management and mobile procurement simpler and more easily navigable than ever before. For the end-user, this is a reduction in complexity. From the technology, this is masked complexity.
As declared in Article 6 of the Buying Manifesto, “Procurement will mask complexity and work with the business to provide the right information, at the right time, in context.”
Procurement technology harnesses the power of back-end calculations to present you with the most optimal solutions as you’ve come to define for your own needs. Leveraging procurement technology allows you to quickly and efficiently identify only the most relevant solutions – from the relevant optimal suppliers. The whole process is easy, efficient, simple and elegant.
Procurement technology masks complexity and presents us with the optimal path by incorporating general and company-specific business rules into the procurement workflow. Think of some of the products you see in a catalog that have GL accounts you’ve associated with them. A laptop would probably be assigned to an IT GL account, but marketing services are likely assigned to a different account – just like how different users are assigned to different departmental associations. By having these rules and the ability for users to default their activity to their own departments or select how to assign and categorize the items they purchase being already built into an enterprise-grade solution, all that the users will have to do is click to place orders; there’s no need for users to struggle to figure out how products are being paid for, which suppliers are applicable to them, etc.
In masking the complexity of the situation at hand, procurement technology enables us to block out all the extra bells, whistles and distractions around us, instead focusing our eyes on the prize. Article 7 reads: Even as procurement masks complexity, it will still show us the optimal path, continuously adapting to the world around us as things change and as we buy.
Procurement technology helps us to complete purchases with improved efficiency by offering us a sort of laser-focused tunnel vision focused on the optimal path to success. This is the same sort of evolving, adapting means of tunnel vision toward the optimal path that has made Waze such a successful app.
Waze is a collaborative mobile app that offers more than just directions, but live-updating of information on traffic, accidents and even roving police officers. Just as Waze provides a solution for discovering and determining the optimal path in a commute, procurement is evolving into “the Waze of corporate functions,” helping both individuals and business units to move past the uncertainty of an always changing environment by showing them their best path to success.
Procurement has always maintained a collaborative, community-focused feel by nature of the tasks at hand. As the space adapts technology to ease this collaborative process, the optimal path will feature more monitoring, better optimization and superior transparency throughout the process.