The Analytical CPO: Technology, Skills, and Recruiting

This post is based on material from the Spend Matters research brief, Changing Roles of Procurement Leaders - The Analytical CPO. Registration is required to access this document – but free access to the content has been underwritten by BravoSolution until December 2013.

Technology can provide significant analytical leverage to CPOs and procurement leaders. The best solutions in areas such as spend analytics, market-informed sourcing, or contract management, can execute much of the analysis and take the user a long way towards gaining that actionable intelligence to support effective decisions and successful delivery.

But having procurement people who have an analytical approach is more likely to mean that technology is embraced and used fully, and that the right questions are asked and conclusions drawn. For example, we’ve seen powerful spend analytics tools producing huge amounts of data – but then a user who really doesn’t quite know what it means, or what to do with it.

There are huge benefits to organizations through taking an analytical approach to procurement issues and challenges, and procurement leaders need to make sure they understand and respond to this.

No doubt it helps if you are analytical by nature and inclination. Increasingly, it will be tough for people who don’t have a reasonable facility with numbers and an ability to think analytically in general terms to get to the top. If this is a gap in your personal skill-set, consider what training or development activities might help to strengthen this for you personally.

If you are in a position where you are recruiting staff, look for people who are comfortable with analytical processes and methods. Numerical and verbal analysis tests can be useful – personally, I would be more forgiving on the verbal but would probably not recruit someone who scored poorly on the numerical (say, below 50th percentile on a graduate population measure).

Read the full Spend Matters Research brief: Changing Roles of Procurement Leaders - The Analytical CPO (free, registration required). Temporary access to this material is underwritten by BravoSolution until December 2013.

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