Driving to the airport for the ISM and Spend Matters Global Tech Procurement Summit (#ProcureTech2016), I realized I forgot to check-in for my Southwest flight to Baltimore. Undoubtedly, I knew I’d find myself in the last row of the plane, near the bathroom, and snuggled up in the middle seat.
Call it intuition, or call it fate, but I ended up in that exact spot. As a marketer and social butterfly by nature, I wasted no time sparking up conversation with the gentlemen next to me. I spent the entire flight talking about technology with a Software Engineer from Baltimore.
We shared stories about the tools and technology we use in our daily lives for work (like JIRA, Confluence, and Slack). We talked about the technology processes we follow when building a platform and apps. We even talked about how technology has changed dating (and I was immediately grateful I’ve never had to experience dating on Tinder). Technology is changing the way we work, learn, and experience life at unbelievable rates. I’m fortunate that most of my career has allowed me to learn and grow in the technology space.
After arriving at the welcome reception that night, I was impressed with the amount of energy that filled the room. People were excited to be at the conference. As Jason Busch said when opening up the conference the following morning, our industry needs a conference to talk about all-things technology. As a leader in the space, BuyerQuest jumped at the opportunity to exhibit and network with fellow technology leaders and innovators.
Related read >> Global Procurement Tech Summit: A Wrap!
It was hard to only write three things that I learned from the conference. But I believe in the power and simplicity of keeping things in threes. So, here goes my list of three key themes from the 2016 Global Procurement Tech Summit.
#1: Technology drives change and inventory management.
Anne Rung kicked off the conference with contagious energy and great storytelling. As Spend Matters wrote, “By title, Anne serves as, administrator, Office of Federal Procurement Policy. In reality, she’s a procurement and policy expert who serves as our federal CPO.”
Anne was a fantastic speaker and kept my interest the entire time. She shared an excellent story that highlighted the impact of data and analytics for category management.
After performing a data analytics project, her team realized there are 58,000 PCs on a shelf in a warehouse. That’s nearly $50M worth of PC inventory sitting on a shelf and collecting dust! She immediately took action and said that anyone who needed a new PC went through her office first.
When someone would call her team wanting a new PC, they would say, “The good news is...you can get a PC in a few days! The not-so-great news is your PC is three years old!”
They also put in a policy that no new PC contracts could be created until the PC’s on the shelf “found a home.”
Now that is effective category and inventory management.
Through similar efforts, her team found more than 3,000 wireless lines that weren’t being used. Anne didn’t share the cost of their wireless bill per person each month, but that finding alone could have saved millions.
There is no doubt Anne inspired the room with her stories and words of wisdom. Learn more about her session at the conference in Spend Matter’s recap.
#2: Powerful technology can help change buying behaviors.
Dan Carrell from IBM spoke about their research related to buying behavior and trends. Through their research, IBM found that people will purchase an item if it has 90% of their original requirements.
Let’s say your Procure-to-Pay (P2P) solution has three types of keyboards available for end users to purchase. To save costs, you want to always recommend the second-most expensive keyboard that has nearly all of the features as the most expensive keyboard.
IBM’s research discovered people will take the recommended product 96% of the time! Depending on your user adoption success and contract size, you can save millions of dollars by having your P2P solution offer recommended items for buyers to easily compare their options.
At the end of day, it’s all about changing buying behaviors and empowering users to make a decision that’s best for both themselves and the company.
#3: Technology is only as great as your strategy.
Craig Reed from DuPont kicked off Day two of the conference with some powerful messages about technology, adoption, and the importance of starting with strategy.
“What are you driving for? How are you adding value?” Reed challenged the room right from the start.
Once you realize what you’re driving for and how you’re adding value, you need to think about how technology helps you achieve those goals. He encouraged everyone to take a step back and really think about requirements. For DuPont, they had requirements and initiatives to:
- Free up data from users desktops
- Gain an enterprise level view of spend and contracts
- Fix data standards
- Compile better data to support their ideas
Those challenges and issues drove the strategy and change management plan. Then, he built his business case that started with strategy and ended with how technology could help his team (and the company) achieve their goals. Every piece of technology you implement must have a purpose and measurable ROI.
And equally important, he reminded us all that technology is only as great as you use it. That’s why a primary metric CPOs focus on for their P2P investment is user adoption. The sun rises and sets on user adoption.
“Look to speed up adoption of innovation,” Reed said.
Oftentimes, practitioners find themselves presenting a business case to someone who has been in the industry for 25-30 years. They have seen many technology platforms come and go. Some have failed while others have succeeded. How will this solution be better?
The answer is simple: the technology you recommend must be directly aligned with your core strategies and requirements.
Find out more about BuyerQuest.
When I left the conference, I felt proud and inspired to be a part of the technology community! Companies like BuyerQuest are moving at lightening speed and creating game-changing technology. We aren’t bogged down addressing core functionality and features that take years to update. We have speed, agility, and flexibility to go the extra mile for our customers to drive adoption and realize the best ROI possible. In addition, we have behavioral analytics to gain insights beyond what people are buying; we can share what people were thinking while they were buying. Curious about what I mean? Let’s set up a time to chat!
Wondering what else you missed? Visit the #ProcureTech2016 hashtag on Twitter for pictures, commentary, and links to other posts.