User’s Club NYC Review: With the Right Tools, Procurement Prevails
On November 8, 2023, we hosted our first User’s Club in North America. We joined 18 of our customers in New York City where we learned about what’s new in Procurement, how they’re using our Strategic Procurement Platform, and what they want to see from us next.
Our discussion on Procurement realities uncovered some fascinating trends and gave our veteran procurement team unique insights into what our users are facing as they battle against inflation, global supply disruptions, and mounting pressures as the function’s importance grows. Here are three of the most important trends our users mentioned.
Strong data foundations matter more than ever
In early 2023, we worked with Procurious to release a report, which revealed in part that Procurement has a problem with data. Procurement doesn’t trust its data and executives don’t trust it either. So we weren’t surprised to learn that several User’s Club attendees mentioned data as an ongoing Procurement struggle.
The first major point of discussion focused on the difficulties of securing trustworthy data. Procurement performance relies on stakeholder engagement, but without quality data, practitioners struggle to get this buy-in. Not only is it hard to cultivate a trusting business relationship, but it’s also hard to find opportunities to take to other business units.
Attendees also raised the classic roadblock to procurement performance—data silos. Without a unified picture of what’s happening across the business, Procurement can’t find opportunities or even reliably act on the ones they do find because they don’t have the kind of context that drives safe, effective decisions.
However, when Procurement has the right tools, teams can secure quality data and turn it into insights and information. When Procurement turns these insights into business case stories that tell stakeholders what’s possible, buy-in and collaboration naturally follow. So what do the right tools look like? Our attendees agreed that it starts with comprehensive spend visibility and doesn’t stop until you have a pipeline and reporting solution you can trust.
Procurement is more than a cost cutter
Another core message many of our attendees echoed is that even in a business environment where inflation has dominated conversations for the past year, Procurement is doing more than counting cost savings. The leading Procurement teams are redefining what Procurement’s role is by branching out and driving the board’s goals. As a result, some teams are finding themselves with influence in areas of the business they’ve never had an impact before.
Of course, this isn’t a new goal for most Procurement teams. However, teams who are achieving it are doing one major thing differently: they’re demonstrating the results and how they benefit the business—cost avoidances, risk mitigation, ESG, and diversity. By leveraging tools like Procurement Performance Management (PPM), which helps teams manage and highlight performance, many teams are receiving recognition from executives and board members because their business-critical contributions are now easier to see.
Tech adoption is still a struggle…but you can solve it
Another core discussion point revolved around why end-user adoption of digital procurement solutions is so difficult and how procurement leaders can solve it. This is another reality that likely won’t surprise many CPOs, and it poses a critical risk to budget requests in the future. If Procurement makes a large technology investment request only for a small percentage of users to leverage a technology daily, Procurement may struggle to obtain funding for the next digital transformation project. So why aren’t practitioners using the tech?
One reason is that not enough leaders tie usage to job performance. Instead, they assume that practitioners will either understand how the tool benefits them or simply adopt it into their daily arsenal. However, this is rarely the case for practitioners with a wealth of tools (sometimes too many) already at their disposal.
Instead, our customers mentioned that they found success when they set clear expectations around adoption as a standard part of daily work. By making sure that managers understand how the tool empowers team members to get the data and insights they need to do their jobs well, procurement leaders can have managers enforce tool usage and make it a standard part of successful procurement operations. Procurement must take the same stance as a sales team that treats their CRM as an embedded part of daily operations.
The pressures and goals that our users mentioned aren’t anything new. Procurement publications and influencers across the world have mentioned them for months, and in some cases longer. However, our most important takeaway was that our clients were actively finding solutions to these pressing problems.
It illustrated once again how resilient Procurement is as a function and how, when equipped with the right tools, the function can adapt to turn any situation into a net benefit. If you’re ready to experience for yourself the tools these leading Procurement teams rely on daily, click the link below to schedule a demo now.