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SIG Summit keynote by GEP: The coronavirus crisis ‘has forced everyone’s hand’ to adopt technology

05/12/2020 By and

The Sourcing Industry Group kicked off its online SIG Procurement Technology Summit on Monday with a discussion of the coronavirus disruption and the importance of companies embracing digital transformation to help weather the crisis and create stronger businesses for the recovery and beyond.

In a video Q&A with SIG President and CEO Dawn Tiura, GEP Vice President of Technology Santosh Nair talked about what he’s hearing from customers and how GEP is responding with its suite of source-to-pay solutions, GEP SMART for sourcing and GEP NEXXE for supply chain insights and control.

Nair said the use of GEP SMART after the coronavirus outbreak is up 300% from before.

“It’s no longer a luxury to consider using some aspects of the solutions,” he said. “The crisis has forced everyone’s hand.”

GEP VP of Technology Santosh Nair

He recognized the human toll of the pandemic and the negative effects it’s having on businesses. Nair said that the best help available to businesses is coming from procurement and supply chain professionals. They have the insights that stakeholders need to lead companies through the crisis, he said.

“All the executives want to use the dashboards to see where the money is going,” Nair said.

CEOs and CFOs want answers fast about financial matters and operational resiliency. Procurement departments that have digitally upgraded have insights into how to reduce costs, ensure that the cash flow is safeguarded and provide vital information for business continuity.

Tiura said she’s shocked to see some Fortune 1000 businesses not embracing technology and automating repetitive, manual functions across their operations.

“I don’t know how companies function right now if they don’t have technology,” she said. “But I see top companies that don’t have a technology platform like GEP offers.”

Nair said that the coronavirus crisis is making the case for technology that couldn’t be made when times were good and executives were doing fine with business as usual — on-premise ERP systems, manual processes and plenty of personnel to make it all work.

But things changed.

Companies can’t afford large staffs now — and they can’t afford to keep technology solutions at arm’s length. Nair gave examples of how this changed and how the crisis is changing the need for technology.

“Schools and higher education, these were institutions that were not ready for digital and you could have continued to push the idea and the philosophy and they would not have adopted it,” he said. “Today, these universities have no choice, these schools have no choice. And they have been very quick to adopt.

“The same thing is happening at a personal level. Most of us have become experts at procurement and supply chain, even outside of the profession — dealing with hand sanitizer and toilet paper and whatnot.

“Everyone is a category manager now trying to figure out how to control the risk. The crisis is creating a push for people to learn certain things,” Nair said. “It’s making organizations change their culture much faster than they otherwise would have done.

“You will see companies emerge from the other side of this crisis looking very different, seeking more agility and being much more comfortable with technology.”

The SIG Summit continues all this week, and to listen to the full discussion with GEP’s Santosh Nair or participate in other sessions, register here.

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