The second session of the excelerateds2p Global Procurement Summit 2023 took a deep dive into the drivers behind procurement transformation and how the right balance of people, process and technology can drive value and improved visibility for organisations.

Featuring a combination of customer and industry insights and learnings, the discussion drew on the experience of Patrick Crawford, Chief Procurement Office at Synovus Bank and Laura Grant, Vice President of Customer Success at SAP. This session was hosted by Kent Reese, Head of Sales for North America at excelerateds2p.

We’ve rounded up the key takeaways from the session, however you can watch the full episode on demand here.

1. Know your common challenges

Transformation can be difficult, especially when it comes to assessing the value procurement provide, how it improves people, processes and technology. Addressing the lack of tech understanding can also be difficult. Drawing on his experience in the financial sector,

Patrick Crawford says: ‘Procurement has to be able to deliver value in spite of the challenges. Most procurement people do not understand technology. And if you’re not sourcing technology, you’re probably not sourcing procurement correctly.’

Procurement transformation can be a minefield. Understanding and addressing the challenges you face are critical to your success.

2. Addressing the Challenges

In that context, the need to revamp processes, add workflow automation, and enhance technology to support procurement’s goals are critical. At Synovus Bank, Patrick Crawford did just that, prioritising improvements to workflow integration and focusing on providing value back to the organisation.

‘In order to do that (provide value to the organisation), we’ve got to have better processes, we’ve got to get a lot of automation created and we need better systems and technology and processes and workflow.’

Critically assess your workflows and solve problems with automation and technology to deliver value to the organisation.


3. Build Internal Relationships

To drive transformation, it’s necessary to have the support of stakeholders and strategic partners within the organisation. For that, building internal relationships is crucial. Crawford stresses the need to do that in the context of organisation’s overall direction.

‘We’ve had several internal conversations and I think they’re starting to recognise the real value that procurement can bring the organisation. And that’s really the first step. The execs have got to see that you can provide value.’

Getting internal stakeholders on board is crucial for the success of digital transformation


4. Understand the Drivers of Procurement Transformation

The three most common drivers of procurement transformation among SAP’s clients are cost management, risk management, and supply chain visibility & agility. Cost management involves doing more with less, leveraging strategic suppliers, and automating processes. Risk management is crucial due to business uncertainties, while supply chain visibility is necessary for rapid adjustments in case of crises.

‘Procurement really needs to be able to adjust immediately if there’s a natural disaster, a global crisis or geopolitical issues,’ says Laura Grant. ‘So they’ve got to have those processes automated. They’ve got to consolidate across these legacy systems.’

The right technology and equipment will help your business stay agile and manage costs during disruptions


5. Data and Resilient Supply Chains

Michael Dosh highlighted the increasing influx of data from various sources and systems, leading to data silos, adding that leading organisations are working to avoid that trap.

When I think about what leading organisations are doing, what we’re seeing is that some companies are really placing a huge focus on getting access to reliable data so that they can then extract insights to be more proactive with how they’re managing their supply chain and their overall supplier risks.’

Avoid siloed and unreliable data by consolidating sources in a single platform.


6. Building a Case for Change

Following the theme of building internal support, Grant says that documenting processes and defining desired outcomes are important for creating buy-in. She suggests documenting existing processes and associated costs as a starting point for procurement transformation, adding that change management and adoption are critical enablers for success in procurement transformation.

‘Document the existing processes where there are risks, what it costs to maintain multiple legacy systems or to do manual processes,’ she says. ‘You cannot over invest in change management communications. Most people underinvest there and they run into problems.’

Effective change management and communication are crucial for successful procurement transformation.


7. Ongoing Enhancements

When the transformation has gone live, keep the second phase of implementation in mind and plan for ongoing enhancements.  

As Patrick Crawford says, ‘You’re trying to make procurement as integrated as possible.’ To achieve that you have to plan for incremental change, which requires ongoing support. ‘You need a team, a smaller team post go live that’s going to maybe do a phase two of the implementation, add in that additional functionality,’ says Laura Grant.

 Maintain a post-go-live team for ongoing support and enhancements to the system.