Organisational Adaptation to drive Adoption of Esourcing, by Dr Chris Proudfoot, Lead Consultant at ExceleratedS2P
In previous articles; I have referenced Technology and Organisational Adaptation and Process alignment as significant drivers for successful adoption of Procurement Technology. In the first article I talked about Organisational Adaptation and it is this aspect that I will expand upon here.
Many organisations that introduce Procurement Technology into their business processes will do so within existing organisational hierarchies. So, for example, if “eSourcing” is introduced into an organisation as a “new” process or approach there is a strong likelihood that a new team or department will be established to manage and administer this capability. Such teams are often tasked with managing the technology (system administrators), managing user (leavers and joiners), system updates, training, etc. The “eSourcing” team may also be tasked with developing and owning the Procurement Business Processes and/or acting as “Superusers” for the broader Procurement community. It is in this aspect, in my opinion, that the conventional hierarchical structure starts to break down!
In Procurement organisations that ExceleratedS2P has worked the real process learning and experience tends to reside within those who are responsible for execution of the eSourcing process. This is most often associated with Sourcing or tendering, but as we will discuss in a future article could also involve, for example, Supplier Management and/or Contract Management, Performance Management, Innovation Delivery, etc. Often this activity would be within a Category Management structure, but other structures are also possible.
The issue with a separate “eSourcing“ team is that, in reality, they can never be neither the “process owners” nor the “superusers” as, rarely are people in these teams actually executing the processes involved. Thus the processes are often theoretical and “correct”, but can be cumbersome and lead to poor adoption across the people who are supposed to be using the technology.
One way to address this is to create a structure whereby the eSourcing processes are owned and developed by the same teams that are responsible for carrying out the particular eSourcing activity, This could be the Sourcing category Teams or the Supply Management Teams, for example. If this is done there are at least two aspects that improved:
- The processes are aligned to business need
- There tends to be a higher adoption amongst the user community
A similar position will apply with Superusers. The best Superusers are those who are using the technology every day and really understand how the technology facilitates and supports business process development. These superusers should then be able to coach and support users as they develop their expertise. People who are just part of an eSourcing Technology team rarely have this experience.