Procurement Personas — the High-Level Visionary

Please welcome the last in what has been an excellent series of posts looking at the four types of innovation persona, devised by Daniel Ball, director at leading UK-based eProcurement provider Wax Digital.

In the final of this series of articles outlining the different procurement innovation personas characterised by our recent research, let me introduce you to the High-Level Visionary. Reading my other posts, here and here,  you’ll have learnt that personas like the Pragmatic Professional are up against some barriers when it comes to leading innovation, but what about those procurement types at the other end of the scale actually leading the organisation in its quest for innovation? Well, if your approach to innovation sees you playing a critical innovation advisory role to different business functions and the board of directors, then chances are you fall into our final category.

What is a High-Level Visionary?

In our survey of 100 senior managers in charge of procurement 18% were High-Level Visionaries. They work in organisations where procurement constantly influences the innovative direction of the business, and therefore the department has found its seat at the top table. Other business functions are inspired by procurement’s expertise and advice, making the High-Level Visionary poised to influence the organisation’s top-level growth.

What does innovation mean to the High-Level Visionary?

For this group, innovation is more than an initiative; it’s a state of mind that determines how they approach all aspects of work. They’re holistic in their approach, taking into account the bigger picture before making any key decisions. But while other procurement personas might be practical and hands-on when spurring change, the High-Level Visionary is more likely to take a helicopter view of the organisation’s entire needs, letting others do the legwork to make it a reality.

How do they achieve innovation?

With a strategic mind-set, High-Level Visionaries are busy leading integrated procurement initiatives that futureproof complex business processes, while embracing innovative delivery methods such as digital and cloud. Now with a firm place at the top, they’re in a good position to have their say when adapting to changes in the digital economy, and are using this to improve the business model moving forward.

But even with a tight grip on innovation, the High-Level Visionary never fails to look for areas of improvement, and this is where its strong analytical ability comes into play. Using solid research and development techniques, they’re confident that the business decisions they have influence over are informed by sound insight. To keep its influential position alive, the High-Level Visionary strives for procurement to improve its communication skills so that it can operate intrinsically with all other business functions and not just play an innovative role in its own department.

What innovative technology do they prioritise?

The High-Level Visionary is the persona most committed to technology, and wouldn’t have reached new heights without realising its value. Having seen first-hand how technology can enable innovation, they rarely hold back from adopting new procurement systems, particularly analytics and reporting tools aimed at seeking constant improvement. And with a genuine interest in technology, they have an open mind when looking at how advancements, such as mobile purchasing apps, can be applied to procurement processes and ultimately impact business innovation.

In a nutshell …

Have you taken procurement to the next level and won the admiration of the rest of the organisation? If so, you could well be a High-Level Visionary: a procurement persona with a strong influence on the business’ top-line innovation growth. But you’re not falling into the trap of becoming complacent, and you’re constantly looking at ways to shape the business as it moves forward, particularly through harnessing knowledge through data analytics.

Whether you’re a Pragmatic Professional, an Early Strategist, an Enlightened Activist, or a High-Level Visionary, innovation is on the agenda for you. Our research found that there’s no single approach to innovation; different procurement types have varying innovation needs, and much of this is determined by the size, type and age of the organisation. Whatever type of persona you fall into, there’s always room for procurement to apply its innovative mind with the use of new technology, and show the rest of the organisation that it can be a spearhead of change for the better. And if you’re not sure you can, then take a test here to discover who you are.

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