Aligning Procurement Delivery To Your Organisation
By Dr Chris Proudfoot, Lead Consultant at ExceleratedS2P
In a previous article I discussed how use of Procurement Technology platforms can be an enabler for the Procurement function to become a true business partner with the organisation/enterprise at large. In this article I will describe a methodology for increasing the probability that technology enabled procurement processes are aligned with organisational requirements.
The methodology has 4 steps, as follows:
- Organisational Alignment
- Process Design
- System Design
- System Build
Organisational Alignment is the process of ensuring that the organisation has a clear vision of the problem that it wants to solve and, perhaps more importantly, what the organisation will look like once this is done. In our experience this is a vital first step and may involve multiple iterations as different stakeholders could have a divergent views as to what the problem is. As an example, for Procure to Pay, the CFO may be looking at efficiency of Accounts Payable operations, whilst the CPO may be more interested in pre-order approvals. It is important to ensure that all expectations are met and that each stakeholder has a clear view of the value that the system will bring to them.
Once the purpose of the technology implementation is clear, the next step is to design the business processes that will deliver the required outcomes. As referenced in previous articles, this process design should, ideally, be carried out with an understanding of the types of processes and value delivery that the technology supports. Without this insight there is a real risk that the processes will not be optimised and will therefore under deliver. It is important that the designed processes are agreed with key stakeholders and that these stakeholders understand how the business processes will deliver what they want. Importantly, too, Stakeholders need to understand the role of the organisation in interacting with these processes.
The system design and build steps form more conventional activities within a technology implementation programme. We have found, however, that the two steps are often merged, with system “build”, essentially, being part of design. From our experience the merging of these activities can risk outcome delivery. The reason for this is that, during the system design stage, you may discover either that the technology would not allow full implementation of desired processes, or, potentially, the system design could lead to an enhanced process design. In either case it is important to allow for an iteration of system and process design so that the impact of any required changes can be understood and allowed for in setting stakeholder expectations.
The final stage is build. This should be done according to the system design. In order to increase likelihood of user and stakeholder adoption, however, we would recommend early involvement of key users and stakeholders in the build process. This will enable them to get insight into what will be delivered and allow them to start to take business ownership, another key aspect of value delivery that I will discuss in a future article.
At ExceleratedS2P we have worked with many clients in delivering Procurement Technology. Our focus is to ensure that business value is obtained. Please contact us in order to know how we can help your organisation to increase Procurement value delivery.