When I spoke at ISM earlier this year, I got a lukewarm response on my attempts at humor. That’s fine, I’m not a professional comedian. But what really got enthusiastic nodding heads and agreeing murmurs was when I announced that streamlining processes is a top concern for the CPO.
I have observed the same reaction in casual conversations with CPOs/Heads of Procurement over the last year. Process looms large. In an analysis of 30+ customers who use DocuSign in Procurement, all cited 85% reduction in turnaround time as the primary reason for using e-signatures. Cost savings and error reduction are also important but they are not the drivers. This is a distinction worth making and signals a shift in Procurement priorities that both practitioners and solution providers should pay attention to.
The reasons for this change are many. The macro trends of cloud, mobile, social, analytics are raising the standard of applications across the enterprise – think Workday for HR. I challenge you to name a colleague who does not conduct business while on the road or during daily commute – mobile devices are the norm. Social media is increasing playing a big role in recruiting. Internal clients’ dissatisfaction can now find an outlet in yammer, chatter, twitter, Glassdoor. Bottom-line: either streamline the procurement process or face the consequences.
Contract management is a procurement process that has tremendous potential for improvement with readily available and easily implementable technologies that yield immediate returns. If I were to classify procurement processes on an impact-effort matrix, contract management would be in the high-impact, low-effort quadrant. High impact comes from the fact that people who are approving and signing contracts are usually senior leaders in an organization who are frequently traveling. You need to reach them where they are, on the device they are using, in order to keep the business moving at a fast pace. And I have yet to meet an executive who is not happy about being able to conduct business faster. Think what this can do to internal NPS scores for Procurement.
Join Andrew Bartolini (Chief Research Officer, Ardent Partners) and myself for a webinar titled “SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED: Innovative Solutions and Strategies for Better Contract Management” on Wednesday, November 18, 2015 at 10:00 AM PST. The focus is on the strategies and tools that modern CPOs and their procurement teams can adopt in the pursuit to become more agile, collaborative, and innovative throughout their supplier contract lifecycles. Register at link below:
After the webinar, we’ll provide a downloadable copy of Ardent’s recent survey of procurement leaders from across the country on what is driving their business practices, good and bad, and what they believe needs to be done to improve operations and create positive impact.