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HICX and Workday: New Year wishes for the procurement solutions and services marketplace 2022

01/07/2022 By

Our series of New Year wishes (rather than ‘predictions’) for the procurement, supply and services market for the year ahead (read more about it here) runs from mid-December to mid-January, then our analyst Bertrand Maltaverne will wrap up with his own take on the key themes that emerge. Wishes are published in no order other than when they are received in our digital postbox.

So continuing this year’s series of wishes from expert tech and service providers, we hear today from Costas Xyloyiannis, CEO of digital supplier experience management provider HICX, a Spend Matters 50ToWatch.

My 3 wishes 2022:

As we roll into 2022, we would love for Procurement to own the mandate of championing supplier relationships, through three main focus areas: unlocking data, removing friction and unearthing what really makes suppliers tick.

1. The most meaningful, data-based corporate initiatives

Our first wish is for procurement to become the reporting center for all corporate initiatives. With most organizations pivoting to address ESG issues, any resulting initiatives should, ideally, be as impactful as possible. The only way to ensure this, is to base them on quality supplier data.

If, for instance, a company launches a sustainability program, orchestrating the decision in the first instance will depend heavily upon data — as will implementing it. To ensure compliance, visibility into the supply base is absolutely crucial. Who are our suppliers? Where do the risks lie?

The best way to collect this valuable data, is to make it easy for suppliers to provide. At HICX we think of this as part of a wider movement: supplier experience management. The principle calls for organisations to enable a single version of truth across all supplier data, by making life easier for suppliers. This motivates and frees them up to provide more information.

Apart from being the right thing to do, corporate initiatives also present a major opportunity for manufacturers to examine their supply chains. There’s no better function to help get the house in order, than Procurement. Thanks to their close supplier relationships, insights into these businesses and deep data expertise, Procurement teams are well placed to collect, automate and report on superior supplier data – forming the cornerstone of meaningful initiatives.

2. Friction free relationships with 100% of suppliers

We know that trusty suppliers performing consistently, underpin agile and robust operations. So, as leading organisations continue to prioritise ESG and manage Coronavirus challenges, our second wish for 2022 is that they do so in a way that empowers 100% of suppliers to perform.

Aside from driving great data, the second principle behind supplier experience management, is to remove friction from 100% of supplier relationships. But first, organisations must consider the supplier journey. Too often, this is fragmented, with suppliers starting their tenure at a company working with Procurement and then being shimmied to other functions once they’re set up.

However, not all departments approach supplier management equally. Therefore internal silos form, causing suppliers to have a fragmented, confusing experience. How do I get paid? Where’s the purchase order? Who do I phone?

Encouragingly, simple steps taken behind the scenes to minimise supplier burden, go a long way in ensuring meaningful partnerships. To help suppliers succeed, we’d love to see their entire journey owned by a single function. Thanks to its company-wide perspective and understanding of the supplier landscape, Procurement is the perfect candidate to champion this cause.

3. Stepping into the suppliers’ shoes

As with any relationship, when an organisation seeks to understand its supply base, the makings of a successful partnership click into place. But before procurement teams can manage data and remove friction, they must first be able to view the supplier experience clearly.

So, our final wish is for every organisation with a complex supply chain to conduct a supplier experience survey. With a curious mindset, Procurement should investigate the situation. How easy are we to work with? What do our suppliers want? How can we change?

A supplier friendly exercise that endeavours to determine exactly how to improve engagement, is what’s needed. In the spirit of truly understanding where the issues lie, procurement leaders should venture to ask the difficult questions – and then be prepared for a tough read.

The reward, in the end, will be a report providing a critically important, genuine overview of the supplier landscape. Once the pain points are laid bare, the process of improving the supplier experience can really begin. As we head into 2022, we would be thrilled to see more businesses take on this challenge, to help set up themselves and all their suppliers for success.

If you are looking for SXM software to help with your procurement goals for 2022, try out Spend Matters TechMatch℠ to benchmark and shortlist providers 

Today we hear next from Michelle Conrad, Director, Spend Management Product Strategy at cloud spend management solutions provider Workday, a Spend Matters 50ToKnow.

My 3 wishes 2022:

1. Procurement charts the course for responsible sourcing

The past two years have shown a spotlight on procurement and sourcing, illuminating just how great of an impact high-performing procurement teams are capable of. Now, as procurement teams have stepped up to manage operational risk, navigate supply chain disruptions, streamline processes policies, their charter continues to grow. Responsible sourcing and ESG must be embedded into procurement and spend management processes. 2022 is poised to be a year of increased focus on environmentally and socially responsible sourcing with increased transparency throughout the supply chain. As businesses increasingly consider their supply base as part of their holistic corporate footprint, supplier diversity and environmental impact will continue to improve.

2. Procurement talent rises to the top

Talent everywhere is rebalancing in a major way, and procurement is no exception. With new hands stepping on board, esteemed leaders retiring and many practitioners looking to grow their careers in new ways, it’s incredibly important to be able to attract, retain and grow top-notch procurement professionals. Marketing your procurement team as a hub of talent and innovation makes these three key steps easier. With the right technology, you can rely on a single source of procurement intel, get people up to speed faster and reduce knowledge loss in case of attrition. As procurement and business leaders know, though, technology is nothing without the right people – in 2022, we expect talent and skills growth to be a key theme for procurement.

3. Suppliers become deeply integrated for innovation

The pandemic has forced us all to accept that our business’ true footprint is greater than its “four walls” as we depend on suppliers for critical processes and services. Suppliers have become an extended part of the business –with the most strategic ones emerging as true partners in innovation and operational excellence.  In 2022, we predict suppliers, sourcing and stakeholders will work more tightly than ever. Not only that, businesses will extend their corporate-level goals for sustainability, diversity, pay equity and more to their supply base, partnering to improve ESG metrics across the board.

Thanks to HICX and Workday, and look out for more solution and services provider wishes/predictions over the next week, with an overall take on the series from our analysts at the end. See more vendor predictions and wishes here.


And if you are looking for procurement services providers to help you with your 2022 decisions, look no further than our Procurement Services Market Landscape Directory.