Beyond Spend Influence: Enabling Procurement’s Emerging Roles in Business Transformation (Part 3) — Digitally Enabled Engagement, Outcomes, Demand and Spend [PRO]

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In the first installment of this Spend Matters PRO series, we kicked off our analysis of how progressive organizations are influencing spend and stakeholders at a deeper level beyond traditional sourcing influence.

In Part 2, we discussed how progressive procurement organizations were improving their influence through coherent communication and alignment of procurement “services” to various stakeholders. This influence isn’t just seeking to drive stakeholders to procurement for procurement resources exclusively to create value that procurement gets credit for, but rather, to have procurement educate and enable stakeholders to make the best decisions that will deliver the outcomes most important to them.

Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, said in an interview, “I don’t think we make money when we sell something, we make money when we help someone make a purchase decision.” In other words, Amazon is looking to be your trusted advisor and buying concierge to help you get the best deal (whether or not you actually do — especially with dynamic pricing!), which keeps you in the Amazon “walled garden” and elevates its brand/role beyond just being another online supplier to find stuff. By broadening its value and “brand permission,” it can then “help” you make these purchase decisions and others in your life. Just ask Alexa!

In this installment, we will dive into the details of how some procurement organizations are digitally enabling this engagement and elevating their brand in ways that meet stakeholder outcomes but also allows procurement to see and shape the demand that will drive spend, supply and needed source-to-pay resources.

The “quality” of spend influence isn’t about late-stage sourcing involvement, but rather, early engagement upstream at the moments of truth when spend is being planned by a few critical budget holders — or when suppliers are being sought by thousands of employees with a business need.

In either case, procurement must proactively find the stakeholders or help the stakeholders find procurement (or find the preferred suppliers and their products/services via “guided buying”). There isn’t just one “seat at the table” for procurement, because there is not just a single table to sit at (although the CEO’s executive team/committee is a good one!), but multiple tables where stakeholders sit.

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