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Transforming the Procurement Function Digitally

Much like innovation in the early history of the nations of the world was about a forward-looking mindset rather than advanced tools, organisations need to channelize innovations with the same degree of foresightedness.

The technology that we see in front of our eyes has been the backbone of growth and advancements that are key factors for an organisation’s existence. Technology has enabled workplace productivity in more ways than one. We have come to a stage where we believe that technology drives performance and performance drives growth. We have come to depend on technology to such an extent that the default answer to a problem lies in using software that can help counter it. This is what software developer call as product solution. However, it is to remember that product is not a solution in itself.

This is to be paid attention to when we talk about the positive impact of technology in procurement and supply chain management. Technology deployed to procurement can help drive bottom-line savings in a business.

In the recent years, Chief Procurement Officers or CPOs have come under increasing pressures to deliver more with less and at a higher frequency. Procurement transformation is the order of the day where large savings, quick turnaround, lower risks and higher efficiency are paramount. However, limits that seem fundamental exist. Some of the examples are in the form of limits on how quickly requisitions can be raised, approved or submitted to suppliers, limits on reduction that can be squeezed from mature commodity categories and limits on locating new suppliers, running businesses and going to the market. Can deploying technology make all the difference when the machinery has been running at the maximum? Most often, it is the technology that organisations aren’t ready to change around which hampers their growth and their chances of reaching their utmost potential.

While technology has been rendered effective in parts, say in sourcing, contracting and purchasing processes for documents and emails, it is never a part of the entire process. For example, when a contract is signed, it is manually filed away without knowledge of the world which is a problem. This can be countered by digital procurement transformation which can help facilitate flow of data from the initial opportunity to the realisation of the further plans by breaking the productivity barrier.

With application of chatbot, voice, AI and automation capabilities and advanced support, the goals can be achieved and targets can be met. It will be a single unified platform in which C-suite, procurement, suppliers and end-user buyers stand to benefit immensely through interaction, collaboration and participation in a rapid, smooth and efficient way.

Without adhering to the status quo, it is time to think big and widen our horizons so that technology doesn’t only become a platform getting together disconnected parts but a channel, an enabler bringing together a real solution in a unified platform.

Sticking to conventions and stuck with conventions are two different aspects that can make mighty and hassle-free difference if understood well by organisations and procurement teams.

It is time that organisations rise from their slumber and take note of the quintessential value of digital procurement that cannot just make the lives of managers easier, but also improve the savings and lead to timely delivery of output which can help make quicker and thought-provoking decisions.

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