Getting IT Onboard with Procurement Technology Decisions – New Paper Available Now

We wrote a briefing paper earlier this year sponsored by leading spend management firm Coupa.  It is titled “How to get IT onboard with your procurement technology business case”.

Coupa has been using it internally and with clients / potential clients, but now it is generally available, free on registration here.  (We have explained that background because we have another Coupa-sponsored paper which will be published soon – we don’t normally do two in such quick succession with the same sponsor but this one was written some months back).

This paper addresses an issue that comes up surprisingly often, and we heard about a couple of cases that inspired the paper.  The problem occurs when procurement has a good business case for investment in technology, maybe even has financial approval to go ahead – but then runs into a roadblock in the shape of the technology function, the CTO / CIO or similar.

In some cases, Technology can exert what is in effect a veto and simply say “no” to the investment, leaving the procurement folk (and perhaps the solution provider) extremely frustrated. So why does this happen and what can you do about it?

Some of it comes back to an age-old problem for procurement – we are often better at buying than selling! We may not feel that we need to persuade our colleagues that our approach is sensible – surely if the numbers stack up on paper, it is obvious that this is a good route to take? But we still need to think about how to sell the idea to our colleagues in technology – not just tell.

And selling means looking at the situation from the other party’s point of view. That is critical here. How does the CTO or his / her team perceive your wonderful new P2P, source-to-pay or other procurement solution? Is it going to make their lives easier, or more difficult? How much new work might it bring them – or could it actually be a positive?

There is also the question of involvement. It is somewhat ironic that nothing irritates procurement executives more than being presented with a done deal – the old “can you just sign off this contract we’ve negotiated here in marketing” problem?  Yet sometimes we do the same thing with out IT colleagues. “We’ve chosen this software, can you just sign it off please”?  (And install, maintain and run it of course!)

So think about how technology colleagues can be involved in the process, even in the provider selection decisions. That can go a long way to getting their buy-in to the project, and make that selling step much easier. Anyway, there is a lot more on the topic in the paper, which you can download now, free on registration. And we’ll have a couple of excerpts from it coming it over the next few weeks.

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