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Insight

Procurement Technology: Keeping your Tech Stack Competitive

For many years, organizations have understood the value of procurement software, which has emerged as a key enabler of efficiency and strategic insight. However, organizations that have utilized procurement technology often see that the efficiencies gained are reduced over time.  In this insight, we’ll talk about how to maximize the value of your procurement technology, regardless of what solution(s) you use.  

 

Maintaining User Knowledge of Procurement Technology  

 

Maintaining and evolving the user’s skillset with your procurement software is a strategic necessity. Continuous training ensures your key user’s capabilities within the solution will become more advanced. In our experience, organizations typically utilize between 60% and 80% of a solution’s features at go-live. Continuous training should be focused on enforcing these capabilities, and then introducing additional functionality that builds on the core knowledge. This becomes a roadmap to maturing your user’s adoption of the procurement solution.  

 

With the Labor market still showing signs of constraint, employee turnover is still an issue that many organizations are facing. The users who were involved in implementing your procurement software will feel ownership of the solution and will typically be well-versed in it. However, as these users turnover or get promoted, new users will join the organization, and that sense of ownership and core skillset will need to be rebuilt.  

  

One of the most difficult issues with ongoing training is that it needs to be kept up to date. As new features are adopted, user interfaces change, and processes mature, training materials need to be adapted to remain accurate and relevant. Organizations that do not have a format training curriculum for their procurement software will often have a new employee shadow an existing user. While this is relatively easy to coordinate, the process introduces a high risk that the new employees will have knowledge gaps, or that they will be taught an incorrect process. Both can erode the initial value that was seen from the solution implementation.  

 

Assess and adopt newly released features 

 

As procurement solutions have largely moved to the cloud, customers must implement new software releases on a regular schedule. However, many organizations do not efficiently review new features that become available and understand how these can be used within their existing process. In many cases, the System Administrator or IT support are the people involved in reviewing upcoming release notes. If this information is not communicated with the stakeholders responsible for each process, new features that could have a significant impact on your organization’s efficiency may never be implemented. 

It is best practice to institute a recurring meeting, scheduled in coordination with your permit software release schedule. The feature releases should be reviewed and discussed with its, management, as well as representatives from each functional area of your source-to-pay process. Failing to utilize new features can lead to the user feeling that the solution is stagnant and cannot keep up with industry trends or their specific needs. 

 

Incorporate your Procurement Technology into Process Changes 

 

An organization’s procurement processes will change over time. This may be due to new regulations being instituted at a country or regional level that the organization must adhere to. In other cases, organizations will need to adapt their processes to meet new corporate initiatives (such as ESG). The adoption of additional technology to address specific functions within the source-to-to-pay process can lead to the need for an overall process change 

 

The challenge with process change is ensuring that it is properly documented and rolled out throughout the organization and incorporated into existing technology. Changes can often happen in a reactive fashion. In these cases, the change is often seen as a tactical step, and therefore, it is not properly communicated. When your procurement software was implemented, it was configured based on the relevant business processes your organization had. If this configuration is not maintained as processes change, manual offline steps will be created. These steps erode the efficiencies that were gained during implementation and incorporate unneeded risk and potential data inaccuracies within your procurement process. 

 

Maintain a primary data map 

 

As processes change, the data collected within a step will often change as well. The adoption of new capabilities from your procurement software can also lead to new data. Any new data collected could likely be utilized in other aspects of your source-to-pay process. 

 

For example, as your organization begins an ESG initiative, supplier social practices or carbon emissions data may be captured in your supplier onboarding process. This information may also benefit the sourcing team when comparing existing suppliers to new candidates when sourcing the category. 

 

It is important to periodically review your primary data map, understanding what data is collected at each step of your process and what system or module it is collected in. As new data points are identified, stakeholders from other areas of the process should review them to determine whether they can provide additional value across the organization.  

 

Implement a Procurement Technology Maturity Cycle 

 

Considering all of the moving pieces we have discussed around procurement software, it is best practice to institute a review cycle to help retain and improve process efficiency. Your maturity team should include stakeholders from across the source-to-pay process. Members of this team should be included in conversations around process change and upcoming regulatory requirements.  

 

In addition, the maturity team should deploy a center-of-excellence approach to address user questions, suggestions, and complaints about the procurement solution. Actively listening to your users and understanding their feedback will help drive solution adoption and maximize the value gained from your procurement solution. 

 

Maintaining a competitive procurement technology stack involves more than just adopting technology; it requires evolving with it. Velocity partners with our clients to navigate this journey effectively. Our tech desk service, through monitoring software usage and providing adoption recommendations, ensures that your procurement technology is not just a tool but a strategic asset driving your organization forward. Our white-glove approach to support fills the gaps between your user feedback and traditional support provided by your solution provider.  

 

Contact us today to learn more about how our tech desk offering addresses these challenges and can help you maximize the value of your procurement technology.