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A Corcentric Company.
November 15, 2018

The Power of Alignment: Achieving Cross-Functional Transformation – Part 2

The Power of Alignment: Achieving Cross-Functional Transformation – Part 2

How Watermark Retirement Communities took their processes from “black hole” to “Best Team Performance” at CPO Rising 2018.

In Part One of this series, we looked at how Alliant Credit Union (ACU), an invaluable Determine customer, turned their approach to establishing business process alignment into operational excellence and award recognition by being named “Best Credit Union in America” by MONEY. Part Two explores another stunning achievement in cross-functional alignment — how Watermark Retirement Communities took a holistic strategy to process improvement and parlayed it into transformational success and earning the “Best Team Performance Award” at CPO Rising 2018. Like ACU, Watermark’s accolades are well deserved.


Watermark Retirement Communities is one of the leading senior housing management companies in the country, with 52 locations nationwide. That translates into an incredibly complex sourcing, procurement, supplier management and contract management infrastructure. When Amee Foss, National Director of Procurement and Plant Operations joined the organization, Watermark was using disparate systems across locations to manage all those processes. The resulting lack of visibility and data integration hampered collaboration across people and departments (which is unfortunately an all-too-frequent situation we hear from prospects at Determine).  The term “black hole” was applied to their contract management – obviously a less-than-ideal scenario for something so critical as contracts. That was what she was first tasked with remediating.

Process alignment: Holistic thinking, incremental steps.

As Alliant Credit Union did, the teams at Watermark took a big-picture view of their processes as a whole. What do the different business groups need? How can different functions better integrate? How to make better use of data? Where to use the power of scale to optimize spend management on a national level? Moving from a siloed approach to a more seamless one requires a shared commitment and objectives, and as mentioned in Part One, senior executive support is a critical early step.

But holistic doesn’t mean “all or nothing” when it comes to implementing the technology that will make process alignment possible. Watermark recognized this, and saw the value in adopting a modular technology strategy. For any organization, this concept–proof–results–repeat model accomplishes a number of vital tasks. First, it doesn’t overwhelm the IT infrastructure, or push it to an unviable maturity level. Second, it allows users across an organization to become familiar with new tools, fully adopt them and establish consistency. It also allows for a lower Total Cost of Ownership and a faster route to ROI. In other words, show that the technology works and that it empowers people to add value to the organization. Then integrate other solution capabilities and keep the results moving.

The Procurement Maturity Curve: A Four Stage Hierarchy of Value

These results across Watermark’s procurement processes and contract optimization efforts range from purchasing efficiencies, operational streamlining, more advantageous contract agreements, supplier advocacy and more. The agility that the company brings to bear by aligning their people, processes and data is powering the company to not only run the business more smoothly, but provide even more outstanding service and quality of life to their residents.

And that’s what earned them the “Best Team Performance Award” at CPO Rising by Ardent Partners. We congratulate them on a truly well-deserved award.

If you’d like to learn how to take a step-by-step approach to process transformation from an experienced and trusted advisor like Determine, contact us.

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