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A Strategic Roadmap for Digital Procurement

Procurement is a purchasing process that controls quantity, quality, sourcing and timing to ensure the best possible total cost of ownership. Procurement professionals are nowadays key member of firm’s core team and are actively participating in new product development, managing supplier risk and sustainable procurement. Digital technologies are enablers and supporting procurement in this direction. Procurement leads needs to define a clear strategic roadmap to achieve digital procurement.

Diagram created by Saurabh Mani (2019). Background picture taken and modified from https://sethtan.wordpress.com/2018/12/26/a-discipleship-roadmap/

As you can see from above diagram, a strategic roadmap covers the following steps:

1. Define Procurement Strategy
2. Understand benefits and pitfalls of Digital Procurement
3. Assessment of current stage
4. Select digital tools and partners
5. Define scope of current transformation
6. Get buy-in from stakeholders
7. Implement as per plan

Defining Procurement Strategy

Strategy should clearly articulate the goal of the organisation. It should improve effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability. From the effectiveness perspective, the goal is to reduce price, or total cost of ownership (TCO) and up the revenue. Sustainability means reducing supplier risk, continuously innovate and show agile way of working.

Beside effectiveness and sustainability, it’s important to improve efficiency. Efficiency means that you have insights or actionable intelligence, work you do should enhance customer, supplier and workforce experience and encourage collaboration. The future of Digital Procurement will enhance all three areas of Procurement, as shown in the diagram below. Strategic Sourcing will become more predictive, and transactional sourcing will become more automated, with supplier relationship management becoming more proactive.

digital procurement
Image taken from https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/us/Documents/process-and-operations/us-cons-digital-procurement.pdf

Understanding Digital Transformation

It is always better to understand deeply the benefits and pitfalls of digital transformation, and is easier to sell ideas of transformation to senior management and users once you have thorough knowledge on this area.

Below is a diagram that depicts the key benefits and pitfalls of digital implementation.

Diagram created by Saurabh Mani (2019). Background picture taken and modified from https://blog.5nine.com/pros-cons-adopting-hybrid-cloud-architecture

Assessing Current Stage and Digital Tools Selection

People, Process and Technology are three core elements for successful business transformation A balanced focus is needed to address each one of them. Ignoring any one of them means that you cannot create true value of transformation.

Digital tools impact the four key areas of automation, decision-making, connectivity, and innovation. Thus it is always better to select tools according to the procurement strategy or objectives.

key digital dimensions
Image taken from https://medium.com/swlh/procurement-agility-in-the-age-of-digitalisation-e5b9a71da9dd

Defining Scope of Current Transformation

The following questions address the scope of transformation.

• Clearly define what is covered and
• How much time it will take to achieve the defined scope
• Assess the cost of procurement transformation
• Build the business case so that you can get senior management approval.

The scope should clearly answer following questions

• What will you do as part of procurement transformation?
• What will you not do as part of procurement transformation?

Getting Buy-in from Stakeholders

Sponsorship is critical for procurement transformation and he or she should be Senior most in the organisation. Depending upon the scope, procurement transformation could be expensive. So spend some time calculating the return in the form of Internal rate of Return and Net Present value of your proposed investment. Procurement success is based on stakeholder engagement. The better the engagement, the better the chance for success. So, take views of all control functions you generally work with e.g., legal, compliance and data protection. It is always better to take views from client who you are supporting. Your client may have concern on supply chain or concerns around how the vendors would react to it.

Whatever the concerns might be, list them down, discuss the concerns and make sure you and your stakeholders agree on the game plan. Finally, always take views from your own procurement team. Create a team of change agents whose responsibility is to take continuous feedback from team members.

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Giles Breault. The Startup (2018). “Procurement Agility in the Age of Digitalisation”. Retrieved from https://medium.com/swlh/procurement-agility-in-the-age-of-digitalisation-e5b9a71da9dd, accessed 15 Dec 2019.

Hunter Lowe. (2019). “What is digital procurement”. Retrieved from https://selecthub.com/eprocurement/what-is-digital-procurement, accessed 15 Dec 2019.

Joe Kok Kong Loong, DPSM (2019) “Essential technology application for public procurement. Retrieved from SIPMM: https://publication.sipmm.edu.sg/essential-technology-application-public-procurement/, accessed 15 Dec 2019.

McKinsey & Company. (2019). “Roadmap for a digital transformation”. Retrieved from https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/financial-services/our-insights/a-roadmap-for-a-digital-transformation, accessed15 Dec 2019.

Paisley Ang Siew Boay, DPSM (2019) “Key consideration for sustainable procurement”. Retrieved from SIPMM: https://publication.sipmm.edu.sg/key-considerations-sustainable-procurement-2/, accessed 15 Dec 2019.

Philips Charles Loges, ADPSM (2019) “Crucial Digital Technologies for Effective Procurement”. Retrieved from SIPMM: https://publication.sipmm.edu.sg/crucial-digital-technologies-effective-procurement/, accessed 15 Dec 2019.

ProcureDesk. (2019) “Procurement Transformation Roadmap [7 Steps to transformation]”. Available at: https://www.procuredesk.com/procurement-transformation/, accessed 14 Dec 2019.

Saurabh Mani
Saurabh Mani
Saurabh Mani is currently working for Deutsche Bank as Vice President for Strategic Procurement. He is performance-driven, a self-starter, and an entrepreneurial professional with more than 25 years of continuous advancement. He holds the Masters in Business Administration from State University of Buffalo, and is a member of SIPMM. He completed the Advanced Diploma in Procurement and Supply Management (ADPSM) course on January 2020 at SIPMM Institute.

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