Bringing B2C Into B2B: Consumerization, Mobile, and Self Service

One of the more prescient findings in Deloitte’s 2013 CPO survey is not just that procurement executives expect to focus more investment and time on technology and analytics, but the specific areas they’re most interested in focusing on – from both  “what” and “how” perspectives.

Consider the drive to consumerization in procurement and B2B enterprise software and SaaS applications. As Deloitte observes, “in our personal lives, we are being provided with increasingly user-friendly and mobile technologies, whether that is click-and-buy on Amazon or trustworthy reviews from Trip Advisor, we are coming to expect simplicity and clarity from all our commercial and personal online interactions. The question is how to extend this into the Procurement.”

But it will no doubt happen, as the market wants it to happen. Here, Deloitte notes that:

“Fifty four percent of respondents indicated that they are currently investing in technology to improve the user experience, with investment most likely to take place in self-service portals, online eCommerce and mobile technologies. There might be a challenge to
 the traditional mainstream Procurement solution providers, reflected in some leading organizations looking to tailor other tools or developing bespoke solutions. This has been exemplified by the revitalization of the niche vendor market in Procurement. If the user experience can be improved then these investments will enable Procurement to realign customer expectations, and focus on the broader propositions it has to offer.”

But who is best positioned to deliver interfaces that change how we plan “the buy” and actually purchase and consume goods and services? It’s our view that the ERPs (including Ariba) lost this game a long time ago. SAP and Ariba have individually and collectively struggled to bring new UIs to market to simplify the eProcurement shopping, requisitioning, and workflow experience. Others, such as Coupa, have made significant investment in simplifying the broader procurement experience (and actual shopping, for that matter).

But I believe the future may belong to neither the laggard ERPs, nor the first generation of upstarts. Rather, folks like Vroozi (maybe not them, but those like them), who have designed their tools entirely around a mobile premise, stand to rise, as well as those who can truly surround existing applications and ecosystems.

The full Deloitte report can be downloaded via this link (including the cool embedded videos).

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