Today’s typical consumer buys products, shares reviews, provides feedback and rates brands and suppliers in a digital marketplace governed by new trends and technologies such as social media, mobile and cloud. So why can’t enterprises do the same when it comes to procurement? After all, enterprises want a transparent marketplace where all employees/buyers can connect with the right suppliers to buy what they need when they need it in the most efficient way and with the best price possible.
Enterprise sourcing is a challenging feat for most chief procurement officers (CPOs), who struggle with manual-based sourcing models with little or no process control. Additionally, most organizations face a surfeit of challenges in procurement including limited visibility into enterprise spend, maverick buying, lack of a formal supplier management program, non-rationalized supply base, ineffective use of technology tools, etc. All of these inefficiencies have a significant business impact on the bottom line and measurable savings.
Over the past few years, several providers have created a range of out-of-the-box solutions to meet these challenges such as strategic procurement, outsourced transactional procurement through BPO initiatives, etc., along with add-ons such as spend analytics and category expertise. These have driven improvements in the procurement process and provided scope for innovation and value-addition across the enterprise.
Despite such growth within the procurement outsourcing market, why are large organizations, particularly those with a global footprint, still struggling to realize tangible business value through procurement? Organizations find that after implementing ready-to-use procurement solutions the actual numbers for return on investment (ROI) are fairly low. Further, implementing best-of-breed procurement solutions is a challenging endeavor without the right expertise and also requires a huge effort to drive internal adoption.
Organizations looking to drive value from procurement need more than mere process improvements. And this is not something that can be addressed through a traditional outsourcing or a pure BPO play. They want to realize significant business benefits and savings. They want to enhance supplier relationships and improve compliance for contracts, suppliers and buying channels. And they want all this with effective and efficient Source-to-Pay or Procure-to-Pay models.
To drive procurement transformation, CPOs need strategic partners / service providers that can implement procurement solutions tailored to their business need. Such a partner should leverage expertise and support capabilities across technology and business processes to help the sourcing organizations achieve their strategic procurement objectives.
With the latest emerging industry trends, customers really want to drive greater adoption when it comes to sourcing initiatives. Additionally, there is a clear industry need to see benefits around an enhanced B2C or intuitive UI solution for indirect procurement. This is like a “skin layer” that can be integrated to the existing P2P and ERP environment that allows both front- end and back-end integration points, even catalog punch-outs, supplier outreach and configurations all leveraging a buying platform, hence providing seamless integration and ease of use to drive spend adoption. This is now becoming an interesting play in the industry, which is rapidly changing the face of procurement systems for the coming years.
This fundamentally allows organizations to drive greater spend utilization and adoption to accelerate efforts for deploying a more comprehensive indirect procurement deployment strategy. The visibility gained provides better insights to “land and expand” and impact key areas of opportunity.
Leveraging a consumer-centric and cloud-based hosted approach, Infosys’ ProcureEdge platform integrates the entire Source-to-Pay and Procure-to-Pay processes with consumer behavior, thereby creating an ecosystem of buyers and suppliers. Such a supplier-buyer marketplace can be easily deployed, adopted and used within the buying organization, thereby optimizing the entire procurement process.
By driving synergies into an organization’s global spend, suppliers, employees, buyers and sourcing teams, the solution fosters innovation, thought leadership and expertise. It creates the perfect ecosystem by transplanting tools and business models from B2C to B2B, thereby generating unprecedented value.
Are you working with a knowledgeable service partner to manage the procurement process, technology and application? Is your CPO focusing on strategic organizational objectives and process excellence? Is your organization ready to take the next transformational jump?
Amit Puri is head of sales (N.A.) of enterprise sourcing platforms at Infosys Technologies, a global business unit within Infosys that provides sourcing transformation solutions to customers across different verticals. He has a strong background in outsourcing and technology. Prior to Infosys he was founder/CEO of a startup to build a mobile BPaaS platform. Earlier he held leadership roles at GE/Genpact, HCL Hewlett Packard, Oracle and iGATE. He can be reached at email@example.com.