SIG session recap: Want to digitize? It’s on you

Another SIG Executive Summit is in the books, and we covered the big picture and an interesting look at a hidden spend category. Also, this fall’s event in California was the first one that two members of the Spend Matters team spoke at together (more on that session later).

Walking through the halls and in joining the breakfast and lunch conversations, it was clear that “digitizing” is front and center for the majority of procurement organizations who attended. I think what myself, Jason Busch and Pierre Mitchell were most surprised by, however, was the “gap” in maturity levels.

Some organizations are considering implementing digital procurement solutions for the very first time. In fact, there’s a quite a bunch in this camp. But others are looking at some pretty incredible RPA to automate rote tasks and free up their teams to do more strategic work alongside pragmatic, source-to-pay technologies.

And of course there was the big question on everyone’s mind: Are robots actually coming for our jobs???

Fear not, sourcing and procurement pros — for the time being. The Spend Matters team can list the number of true AI use cases or real-life examples we’ve seen in the space on one hand.

On a more fundamental level, the question of assessing organizational maturity, goals, requirements and how procurement will be measured against stakeholders in an ever-expanding digital world captured the attention of delegates. And that’s exactly what Jason and Pierre set to delve into during their standing-room-only session.

How should companies look at digital transformation and the role of technology? What does the current landscape look like? And how should everyone cut through the solution provider marketing-speak?

Jason and Pierre began their session by walking through some of the results we compiled with Deloitte as a part of its 2019 Global CPO Survey, sharing how CPOs are actually thinking about “digital transformation” in the real world:

Source: Deloitte

Unsurprisingly, the simple act of buying and installing technology to automate or bring visibility to a process reflects less mature organizations, whereas those who are exploring true overall business value (seeking regular feedback from internal stakeholders, working closely with their suppliers and partners, and defining business-wide KPIs) are more mature — and, as you can see from the survey results, there are a lot fewer of them!

Jason and Pierre went on to walk through how organizations MUST define a “you are here” dot before they even begin to consider technology vendors. Spend Matters identified 54 capabilities for spend analytics alone. That's a lot to consider!

Jason and Pierre then discussed how to actually think about going out to market for a technology partner (yes, partner — these folks should work WITH you, not just for you!).

The biggest takeaway there is that companies should spend a lot more time navel gazing, taking a long, hard look at current processes, how they affect other teams, what their true goals are, and where they want to be in the short and long terms. Sometimes you won’t have the answers internally and will need to seek outside help (SIG plays a huge role in this, and if you have the budget, call in a consulting firm).

The main point is that you should approach solution providers with a clear set of priorities (whether technical or not) and assure that they can work alongside you to help achieve those goals. That’s why we created SolutionMap vendor benchmark rankings — because no organization is one-size-fits-all, and no organization should be hoodwinked by slick marketing and sales. Do the diligence, and challenge providers to do theirs!

It was a pleasure to announce our partnership with SIG, and many thanks again to Dawn Tiura, Geoff Talbott and the rest of the SIG team for welcoming us into the family (and feeding us steak and lobster). We can’t wait for the Spring Summit!

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First Voice

  1. Geoff Talbot:

    So happy to have you guys with us at another Summit !! : )

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