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 17: Making everyone better at procurement will be the single most transformative objective that procurement can achieve.
Procurement will teach rather than lead alone. It will serve the role as mentor and teacher to the business and individual users within it. It will embed its guidance not just in direct communication, but also in systems and apps and other content/intelligence sources. Think of procurement as a CIA country analyst studying a given geography, organization or individual within it that provides information to other government “customers” that can then decide the best course of action. Note, this analyst does not just provide static reports, but also “briefs” his or her customers and is available to help guide decisions based on his or her insight, or contribute to them.
One of the biggest themes of this blog series has been how procurement will benefit from the increase of information. However, all of this increased intelligence won’t be beneficial to the average business user if they aren’t guided on how to use it. A 4 year old behind the wheel of a car will not be able to see the benefits that a fully licensed driver would.
The next wave of procurement will involve giving internal buyers and external suppliers the guidance and lessons they need to become better at procurement themselves. As procurement professionals move into the role of teacher, they will enjoy moving out of the role of babysitter. Instead of wasting time on administrative tasks, correcting other user’s mistakes and working in an inefficient system, all users of the company’s procurement system will have the education they need to work efficiently and make critical business decisions regarding procurement.
Most important for procurement technologies will be moving away from teaching through direct communication and instead focusing on contextual, relevant direction. This is what the Manifesto means when it says we will move from static reports to “briefs.”
Procurement solutions that offer greater insights and analytics are already beginning to provide users with more detailed and useful information. Using this technology, procurement professionals are able to embed guidance to the user path instead of directing communications in emails that will be quickly forgotten. This guidance can be embedded into systems to teach internal buyers and suppliers how to get through the optimal path in whatever task they are attempting.
If the organization as a whole is going to be taught and briefed by procurement, it needs to have a solution that everyone will use. Mobile procurement will ensure wider adoption and give procurement the opportunity to teach users using whatever device they are most comfortable with and with even more context.
As procurement takes its place as one of the most critical aspects of business operations, it will be even more important for every employee and supplier to fully understand the procurement process and the insights gained from it. Improving how your procurement technology delivers this education will help ensure it leads to a true transformation.