Spend Matters Paper: Choosing the Right Tools – How Procurement Can Better Align with Both Trade and Brand Marketing’s Needs

Phew - made it! The last paper!

So here’s a plan - through August and into September we’re highlighting all the research papers, briefings and so on that we’ve produced in the last two and a half years. We’ll  include what we said when we first launched it, and of course the link so you can download – free on registration.

Today, to finish this run through our papers,  we have a short, sharp example looking at the need to make sure procurement technology is aligned with our business stakeholders’ needs. “Choosing the Right Tools – How Procurement Can Better Align with Both Trade and Brand Marketing’s Needs” was sponsored by ProProcure.

And here’s what we said when we launched the first paper quite recently...

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We’ve published another paper that you can now download – Choosing the Right Tools – How Procurement Can Better Align with Both Trade and Brand Marketing’s Needs

It’s sponsored by ProProcure, who provide software to manage marketing materials, as we’ve written about already here and here. It is aimed at Marketing Services category managers and any senior procurement managers who have that area as part of their portfolio.

It’s a short paper – just a couple of sides – and whilst it looks mainly at the marketing procurement area, it takes a look at an issue that has wider implications. In terms of software tools, what is the better approach? Going for general solutions that apply across most of or indeed everything the organisation buys, or looking at specialist products, that meet a more specific need with a closer, more precise “fit” to user requirements?

 There’s no absolute right or wrong answer here, and we discuss the issues rather than coming down firmly on one side or the other (like all our papers, it is written from an independent standpoint). But there are some important points for procurement people to consider. In Marketing, as with any other areas, we have to consider the requirements of the stakeholders above all else. What do they want out of any tools, technology or solutions? What will meet their business needs?  As we say in the paper:

But why not just use a standard solution? Because, if it doesn’t meet the real needs, it won’t get used.  Procurement can usually drive systems compliance in direct materials fairly easily, and in indirect areas that maybe aren’t perceived as business critical.  But when the Marketing Director goes to the CEO and says, “the effectiveness of our new product launch, critical to the future of this business, is being put in jeopardy by this stupid procurement system” – who do you think wins that argument?  I’ll give you a clue – it’s not procurement.

As I say, this doesn’t mean “suite” type products aren’t often a great solution, but it does mean we shouldn’t rule out more focused solutions. And if my colleague Jason Busch is right and we’re going to move to a world of “platforms” and “apps” even in B2B software, then it may be that the future isn’t about everybody using giant SAP, Oracle or IBM suites but a more mix and match approach, with inter-operable, highly specialised, yet easy to use tools forming a portfolio of solutions. We’ll see.

We don’t get into quite such broad visionary technology stuff in this paper, as its focus is very much on procurement successfully working with the marketing community, but these are going to be major issues for procurement to consider in the future.

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