A key issue on many procurement executives’ minds is the much talked about concept of “digital procurement”. It’s a hot new buzzword and everyone at every conference is talking about it.

SwissCognitiveWhile achieving digital is front of mind, what’s important is to tread carefully and understand what does it mean for your organization, and what are the foundational elements of a strong digital-forward procurement strategy?

The promise of digital procurement holds many obvious appeals. True digital procurement is about digital transformation internally—the application of digital technologies should be about transforming the function to become far more internal customer focused, and not simply about finding bits and pieces of the department to digitalize.

In line with that, it’s all about creating a digital-forward procurement model. One where procurement organizations are focusing on more differentiating, value-adding activities and strategic decision-making, augmented by advanced technologies such as cognitive computing and predictive analytics.

Digital transformation can be a competitive advantage—improving insights, spend and how procurement interacts with and serves its stakeholders. This transforms procurement into a vehicle that not only manages costs but unleashes the potential of the supply base and market to significantly improve business performance.

To help procurement organizations become ‘digital-ready’, we have created a checklist comprising a mix of attributes and pre-requisites. Although your answer may not be ‘yes’ to all of these, depending on where you are along your digital procurement journey, the list can map out a path to get to ‘yes’ on all of them over time.

  • You need to have senior stakeholder support from the start – you can’t move forward without it, so ensuring there is visible vocal support from the top is a must. Are your senior stakeholders truly pro-technology? Do they see it as more than a simple efficiency tool? Do you have adequate support from your senior stakeholders, including both the vision and inclination to prioritize and commit resources?
  • Define clear roles and responsibilities and create new roles, if required – your existing team may need to be reinforced, updated or changed. Do you have access to the right talent and skills needed to operationalize your digital strategy? Do you have access to a cross-functional team of people with distinct skills such as knowledge of data science and AI, category/business expertise, IT professionals who understand the technology tools and software applications, design professionals, etc.?
  • Gauge the adoption appetite of your organization before launching new technologies – what kind of cultural pushback can you expect? Change management is as important as the digital changes themselves. Is your organization open to the adoption of new technologies? Is your team tech-savvy and quick to adopt new technologies? […]

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