Procurement Automation – The Inevitability of Change and the Need to Plan for It

Charlotte Sutton
Charlotte Sutton,
Organisations are coming to understand that the future will not be like the past or present when it comes to procurement technology (or any other information systems needs for that matter).
How many businesses today are the same size and structure they were 15 years ago? How many will be the same 15 years from now? The pace of mergers and acquisitions just keep accelerating. The globalisation of business is becoming a given. Even in the public sector, local authorities are more and more merging procurement and other functions into cross-organisational shared services to gain essential economies of scale.

When you think in terms of 5, 10, or 15 years in the future, there are many possible scenarios. You may only have one division now, but when might your company acquire another or split current operations into multiple business units? You may operate only in one country now, but will that always be the case? You may be a stand-alone hospital, school, NFP or local authority today, but what if you merge with another or regulations change?

More than ever, it’s important for any organisation to look at a wide range of capabilities and flexibility in any major software technology evaluation. You want a major solution to last at least 10 years or more. So make sure the solution you pick has capabilities like flexible organisation structures, support for multiple languages and currencies, and workflows that can evolve along with best practices and organisation changes. And make sure it can scale well beyond your current size in terms of both volume and sophistication.

And if you are using the same procurement systems you were 10 years ago, have you and your vendor maintained focus in ensuring the system keeps up with your changing business models and requirements. Is it empowering your organisation to reduce costs, improve efficiencies and mitigate supplier risk, or is it restricting your workforce and performance?