What Is Shaping Procurement’s Technology Choices? (Part 2)

Jon Milton, Director at Comensura, continues with the three trends that he believes will put  procurement professionals in charge of their own technology destiny. Part 1, Value, not software, as as service, is here. 

2. Integration of the perfect mix of systems

Business technology integration is by no means new, but for procurement the dynamics have changed. Rather than integration being seen as a necessity to ‘fix’ processes that do not work across multiple systems, integration is to some degree becoming the system itself. If we look back at the first trend of Value as a Service - where technologies we use are embedded into value-added managed procurement services - it follows that integration will be needed more because we will potentially be bringing together a multitude of systems to manage procurement, not just one.

This points to an interesting turnaround in the market that is made possible by powerful integration: we no longer have to rely on one system or a ‘one sizes fits all’ approach to do everything; we can pick and choose ‘services’ that are the best at meeting specific needs and be sure that they can work collaboratively as one procurement process.

3. Systems built around the end user

In the consumer world, we are all used to smart devices and technology applications that are simple and easy to use. In business technology, this hasn’t been as important but is changing. Procurement systems are not back-office applications but increasingly commercial, transactional tools which unite the workforce as it needs to buy things and the supplier base as they respond to their requirements. It’s imperative therefore that future procurement technologies keep ease of use and intuitiveness front on mind when they are developed and redeveloped.

This was paramount in our thinking when developing the latest version of our c.net technology. Not only must user interfaces be simple and clear across all types of access device from desktop to smartphone, they must be adaptable to the user’s profile and requirements. Showing an entire system that performs 20 different functions, to a user that only uses two of those functions, is likely to cause confusion. Ease of use is something that we have encountered particularly in our area of managing the supply of non-permanent workers to companies via third-party recruitment agencies.

It is common for each department (and potentially each hiring manager in a department) to want their own approach to hiring temporary workers and contractors.  They need an agile and personal approach to the agency or agencies they use, how they interact with them and the approach they take shortlisting candidates based on each role. In the private sector for example a hiring manager in logistics with an urgent need and limited access to a PC will recruit temporary workers in a different way to a manager in the IT department seeking a contractor with niche skills.

Our c.net5 technology is used by hundreds of recruitment agencies, direct contractors acting as a business and self-employed freelancers from all job sectors and skill sets. They want to spend the minimum amount of effort filling in time records and managing billing processes. Systems that are difficult to use fall at the first hurdle for people less technology-savvy and lead to spending outside of the correct approval processes and procedures.

Procurement technology has come a long way, but there are some key trends which are going to shape its future direction too. In my view, the principal focus of future procurement technology is that it will be more embedded into specific processes, procurement will have more freedom to pick and choose specialist systems and it will become increasingly intuitive, relieving the users of the burden of having to ‘think’ how to use it.

Discuss this:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *