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eProcurement & Procure-to-Pay Resources

People, Process and Tech: How to Optimize Each

Posted by Brian Shuey on June 14, 2016 at 11:32 AM
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Technology has found its way into every aspect of our lives. Need to go somewhere? Call an Uber. Purchasing a few routine household items? Shop on Amazon. There’s an app for everything to make our lives more convenient and efficient.

And it’s not just our everyday lives that are changing—technology is changing the way businesses operate too. Analytics, automation, and user-friendly interfaces have changed the way we work—for the better. 

However, technology on its own cannot optimize performance. Effective change management and transformation require the right technology paired with the right people and processes to drive strategy, improve performance, and increase productivity.

In this post, I’ll explore the components of people, process, and tech, and how procurement teams can drive success with the optimal use of each.

People

Jim Collins, author of “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Other’s Don’t,” knows what it takes to drive success—it takes dedicated, motivated people.

“Leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with ‘where’ but with ‘who.’ They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. And they stick with that discipline—first the people, then the direction—no matter how dire the circumstances.”

Collins’ point emphasizes the importance of having the right people to get the job done well and drive a company forward. But even the best employees can’t do their job well without the right technology.

In today’s workplace, technology isn’t optional—it’s a must-have. For procurement teams, next-generation Procure-to-Pay (P2P) platforms simplify and streamline workloads, and free up the right people to focus on the areas that can take a company from good to great.

CPO tip: Seek out high performers and engaged employees to support your technology roll-out plan. The technology should simplify and automate processes, creating a solution that’s easily adoptable across the enterprise with little change management and no required training. As a result, you'll have happier end users and drive the highest levels of adoption, all while operationalizing pre-negotiated savings on goods and services.

Process

Processes are designed to help organizations run smoothly and efficiently, realize savings opportunities, and maximize employee performance. Without proper processes, companies will see a decline in productivity, waste time and money, and increase opportunities for errors.

Procurement teams that find a next-generation P2P technology to seamlessly integrate with existing processes, and introduce new ways to refine and optimize them, will improve employee performance and the organization’s bottom line. Automating workflows (think: invoice approvals) can minimize time spent on manual processes, reduce human error, and even make existing processes more efficient.

However, processes can’t be improved without users. End users are the ones executing operations from start to finish. A bad process can lead to many unnecessary steps and inefficiencies. To create successful, dependable processes, teams need an intuitive solution that users can easily learn and navigate, and, which provides touchless automation to as much of the process as possible.

There is no denying that processes are necessary. However, to make the most of processes—now and in the future—it takes the right technology.

A common area of inefficiency in many organizations is accounts payable (AP). Employees with first generation systems have a high risk of human error while manually reviewing, rerouting and approving invoices. With next-generation automation, AP departments can eliminate the need for manual processing, achieve faster cycle times, increase purchase order capacity, and shorten supplier lead times. In the long run, these workflows also help to better allocate employee skills and attract top talent.

CPO tip: Don’t settle for a provider who offers inflexible software. The technology should meet the customer’s needs down to the specifics of their business. Implement a next-generation solution that takes all the conveniences of modern day simplicity and common sense, and pairs it with the proven practices that help to successfully manage procurement across the entire organization.

Technology

Every procurement team is tasked with driving better spending decisions, increasing efficiencies, and unlocking new savings opportunities. To accomplish those goals, teams need the right technology.

Before procurement teams jump on board with a new solution, it’s important to take the time to learn which product will best serve the goals and needs of the company. Best-in-class  P2P solutions are continually evolving to support and satisfy the dynamic needs of organizations today and in the future.

Here are a few must-haves of next-generation P2P solutions:

  • A single, intuitive interface from start to finish
  • The ability to automate workflows without involvement from IT or your solution provider
  • Analytics and reporting into buyer behavior, trends, invoice processing time, etc.
  • Flexibility to design the platform to mirror the features of your brand and create individual interfaces based on user groups

The right solution will support users wherever they are—on the go or in the office. With the automation of workflow in next-generation P2P solutions, teams can minimize the time employees spend on manual processes, freeing up more time to focus on higher-priority work.

Overtime, the right technology will expand the scope of procurement. Focus on measuring the right metrics (user adoption rates, realized savings, total spend, ROI) to evaluate your technology and share the results with your leadership. Find the right solution that’s flexible enough to evolve with the needs of the organization and support end users today and in the future.

CPO tip: Implement a P2P solution that fits every need of your organization, not just the procurement team. The right technology will enable every end user wherever they are.

To be successful, every organization needs people, process, and technology. And there’s a common theme between the three: technology.

Technology is the center of our universe at home and the office, so it’s more important than ever to make sure we have the right technology to live and work well.

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Topics: Next Gen eProcurement

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