Ivalua NOW conference shares the superpower role of procurement in organizations

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Procurement has the power to transform the world and all it takes is a little technology to get started, at least that is Ivalua’s take on the industry. Last week, the source-to-pay and spend management solution virtually hosted its flagship Ivalua NOW event for the Americas, where many conversations arose discussing the important role procurement plays in organizations.

The theme for this year was “Procurement Rising,” to reflect the company’s keynote message that there has been an accelerated trend of procurement having a higher profile in organizations. Procurement teams are realizing their potential to change not only their organizations, but the world, for the better.

Check out Spend Matters’ new 5-step “Procurement Technology Buyer’s Guide”

Ivalua’s Chief Marketing Officer, Alex Saric, kicked off the keynote address with an inspiring message for procurement practitioners. Saric said procurement is the superhero of an organization. It may not be in the traditional sense, but Saric said there are examples of superheroes, like Batman, who don’t have inherent talent but rather tools that give them super powers.

Procurement is no different. Practitioners need quality technologies that can track multiple metrics — like supplier diversity, spend or time-to-completion.

“These are all real people,” Saric said. “What allows them to accomplish amazing things is the fact that they have the vision, the determination to see it through, and they have the right gear. The right tools to make it happen. That’s really the model that we view for procurement.”

It seems like procurement is accelerating at such a rapid pace that the responsibility of the role can’t keep up with resources. But, the Ivalua NOW conference showed that there actually are plenty of resources that procurement practitioners can use. Some strategic thinking and technological deployment can go a long way for organizations.

For example, it could be considering deploying cloud-based technology that can track corporate IT spending. It could be modernizing a contract lifecycle program. Or maybe it could be discovering touchless procurement. These are just some of the opportunities available under the Ivalua platform featured in the event.

Ivalua NOW breakout sessions delve into digital procurement transformation

Ivalua NOW also hosted breakout sessions with its clients and partners to share case studies, tips and tricks to implement different procurement tools.

One example was John D. McCollough, the Executive Director of IT at the Cleveland Clinic. When the Covid pandemic hit just over a year ago, it halted the progress of many procurement projects the clinic was working on. But the use of a few technological tools was enough to keep the procurement transformation process continuing even through the pandemic.

McCollough said the first priority for finding success in the pandemic was understanding the organization’s strategy. Once the organization laid out the plan, it was better able to allocate resources and discretionary spend to hit its goals and continue a procurement transformation journey.

To keep their procurement transformation on track, the company used a target operating model that combined all project metrics and tools under one strategic roof.

“We wanted to deploy end-to-end solutions for the Cleveland Clinic enterprise to make sure that we could effectively utilize a shared service,” McCollough said. “Create a center of excellence. And also develop very strong business partnerships across the enterprise.

“The second thing that we wanted to make sure we did was create and deploy technology that was global in nature, that allowed us to standardize and streamline operational processes, and drive cost effectiveness across the enterprise.”

Another breakout session discussed the recent executive order issued by President Joe Biden focusing on domestic manufacturing and production. Matt Palackdharry, the Chief Strategy and Revenue Officer at Tealbook, said organizations that successfully promote the Made in America initiative will have quality supplier data.

According to Tealbook data, 81% of procurement leaders were not completely confident in their supplier data in March 2020. Another 82% of procurement leaders discovered their supplier data was less than completely adequate.

Palackdharry said organizations should rely on these three principles to promote domestic manufacturing:

  • Using quality supplier data
  • Evaluating spend categories
  • Identifying similar suppliers

Also on the event agenda was a discussion of Ivalua’s updates and goals for its platform. In March, Spend Matters’ Publishing Director Nancy Clinton attended the Ivalua NOW event for Europe and laid out nicely what those innovations include. She also covered a few of the interesting breakout sessions from the European event.

Keynote speakers connect life lessons to procurement leadership and goals

At last week’s event, two inspiring keynote speakers connected seemingly polar opposite topics with procurement.

While the military or exploring the South Pole may seem distant from procurement, they were actually lessons in leadership and teamwork to get jobs done.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, former Commander of US and International Forces in Afghanistan, shared the important role of leadership in getting work done. McChrystal said leaders should have a “eyes on, hands off” approach to work, meaning they should encourage and allow others to do good work.

Meanwhile, Ben Saunders, a world record-breaking polar explorer, shared the story of his journey walking to the South Pole, a trek that is grueling mentally and physically. He shared the importance of teamwork in the journey. He also reflected on his own goals after achieving what was essentially the pinnacle of a polar explorer’s career. When accomplishing one goal, Saunders said, it’s important to continue finding new goals.

But he also reminded attendees that “in business, there is no finish line.” So his advice for procurement practitioners was, “No one else is the authority on your potential. With the right team and a bit of endurance, anything is possible.”

These sessions were just the tip of the iceberg for this year’s Ivalua NOW conference. Many of the events are open for on-demand viewing to learn more about all the possibilities of procurement’s rising role.

How do you find the right procurement technology and vendor for your company? Spend Matters’ new 5-step “Procurement Technology Buyer’s Guide” can help — with how-to documents, checklist templates and other tips.

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