For Procurement, It’s All About Cyber Monday — Isn’t It?

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Too often, we hear about the procurement professionals who are stuck in the last Age of Aquarius and remain laser-focused on tactical — rather than strategic — approaches to spend.

No matter how much we (Spend Matters, or other reasonable/logical analytical minds) try to drive home the importance of procurement adding value to the enterprise, fomenting transformation within the broader buying organization, or blazing a new path toward efficiency and effectiveness in doing business as a whole, there are folks who are just trying to save a buck or two — or even less — at the end of the day.

As our friend and industry leader Prentis Wilson of Amazon Business put it in a recent interview,

"If I'm a lab technician trying to finish my research, and it takes me 20 minutes to order a new beaker or some new antibodies — why can't I just 'one-click' that and be done? Or why can't I just look at my Amazon Echo on the desk and say, 'Alexa, order two beakers.' Man, I didn't miss a beat! Imagine the amount of money they're going to save the company just by putting those hours of employee time back into getting real work done. That's way more than the 25 cents they would've saved on 'those damn pens.'"

So is it all about Cyber Monday? The lowest price, the best deal, instant gratification, checking something off a list, doing everything you can just to get some savings — that's the be all, end all, isn't it? Sure, it's still part of a lot of gigs. But is it everything? Not even close.

As our own inimitable Pierre Mitchell put it this time last year, there are 9 things procurement should be thankful for:

  • Demand
  • Supply
  • Procurement [Having] a Huge ROI (and for Finance too, bless 'em)
  • Customers ("without them, we don't have jobs — period")
  • Suppliers
  • Technology
  • Our Peers (let's share the learnings, folks)
  • Influence
  • The Internet

To that last point, the one big takeaway? We hope that procurement, for the most part (or at least our readership), has realized that it's more about Cyber Monday, not Black Friday. If not the spirit, then at least the platform. Gone are the hardware days (trampling people outside a Long Island Wal-Mart), and in with the cloud (one-clickin' and I'm OUTTIE).

All kidding aside, there is a lot more that procurement professionals have to be thankful for than simply savings, or the interwebs. Intelligent procurement, and the role of AI and other intelligent assets in our businesses and lives. 'Procurement-aaS,' as well. So many other instances of transformation. As Andrew Karpie put it yesterday, "expand[ing] sources of talent and new, efficient ways of making work happen." In short, procurement's central role in changing the world.

The possibilities are truly endless, and we're excited to get 2017 rolling right alongside the procurement practitioners and solution providers we count as our sources, clients and colleagues.

But first, I'm going to hop online first thing on Monday to make sure I grab my Amazon Echo.

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