Procurement Business Case Q&A with Jenny Draper

We recently caught up with Jenny Draper General Manager for Europe at Spend Matters Technology, about making a business case for procurement technology investment in your organisation. Jenny kindly answered some questions we had:

What is your top tip for anybody who is looking to become that catalyst for change in their organisation, if it’s not something that they themselves have done before?
Don’t think you have to be a CPO to be a catalyst for change... that is one of the most common misconceptions as it is actually the people doing the job that face the day-to-day issues that technology solves. So, to be a catalyst for change, you need to start building your own cases showing what your problems are, what the problems with working the way you do today are, and what the impacts of that are. And then, start to do your homework and identify how your role and the roles of your colleagues can change for the better.

I believe a catalyst for change comes from people that have done some homework, understand their problem and, to an extent, where the solutions exist. For me, a catalyst for change is somebody who is brave enough to plot that, to note it, and to be able to have that conversation with a wider community within their business. And again, this comes from the ground up, not top-down.

What advice would you give to help overcome resistance to change within an organisation?
Homework. How can you make an argument in anything that you do, whether you’re in an organisation or a personal situation, without doing your homework? Do your research and make a compelling case to your organisation. And if you can include elements of “this is what it will do for the organisation, not just for us in our role, but everybody” you will have a great chance of success. Socialise such conversations to start with, but actually, having it in writing and bringing in the right people to that conversation is key. Get buy-in from the leadership team. You have to be compelling and this is only possible if you’ve got facts and if you’ve got knowledge and research –look at peer organisations that have done something similar. So, it’s getting out of your own organisational community and looking at what is out there and bringing that back in.

Do you have any advice for internal adoption of Spend Management technology?
This is probably one of the areas where technology fails most in organisations. Effective adoption is only possible with planning and preparation. Bring people into the business case discussion at an early stage – your team, stakeholders, the community – and make them feel like they are invested themselves. Make it part of their journey. Not everyone is going to want to change, or to use a certain technology, but if you can include “solution champions” to help make the case, you will stand a much better chance of adoption.

Emphasise the improved user experience. Highlight that it is like software they are very used to – such as the “Amazon experience”. The line between our personal lives and our professional lives, particularly at the moment when our homes are also our offices, is reducing and we shouldn’t need to change our usage from personal to professional. So, it’s a mixture of bringing people along from an early stage and making them feel like their voice, is heard and ensuring that you are providing a positive user experience.

Read Jenny's full session - Making a business case for procurement technology investment in your organisation.