A look at CPO Rising 2017: Tools of the Trade
This four-part series explores the CPO Rising 2017: Tools of the Trade report from Ardent Partners. As a companion to our webinar with Ardent Partners, we examine each chapter of the benchmark report individually, and offer it as a full report.
Chapter 1. The State of the CPO
The following statement in CPO Rising 2017: Tools of the Trade, stood out for me: New technologies are always emerging; and the most successful ones over time are universally adopted and become part of a regular routine, no longer even considered a technology.
That harkens back to my recent blog on user experience, in that when technology works so well, you forget it’s there. It’s not a grail, but a constant process of refinement. The reason this is critical, is because nothing ensures technology adoption better than ease-of-use. That includes both the look-and-feel UI, and the behind-the-scenes functionality that does the work for you.
I point this out because the report identifies “Improve use of technology” as the leading strategy for CPOs in 2017, an increase of 7% over the same report last year. The speed and frequency at which business and commerce are changing demands the level of agility that only technology can provide. Indeed, procurement technology is a major factor behind that change; a virtuous circle of enablement.
Interestingly, the other top strategies are based on improving communication, collaboration and capabilities – all areas that Determine has focused on both in further developing our procurement software solution in particular, and the Determine Cloud Platform in general. That’s why one area mentioned in this report is so surprising: the lack of process automation in place at the average procurement organization. With the functionality made possible by integrated workflows, shared data and business process management, not leveraging those in this day-in-age seems almost irresponsible. Especially in light of the increasing mandates given to procurement departments without the headcount to go with them.
Which brings us to one of the biggest revelations in chapter one of this report. That is, while savings is still critically important to CPOs and procurement leaders, its intensity has been firmly supplanted, pushing it to fifth on the list of CPO priorities. Top of the charts? Improving process efficiencies and effectiveness. The fact that Determine is standing firmly at the intersection of “Process Under Management” and “Improve Use of Technology” is, at least according to this report, the perfect example of right place, right time.
As Chapter One of the report sums up, technology is not a panacea, but its potential impact cannot be avoided or ignored. In other words, it’s one of the critical Tools of the Trade.
Chapter Two: The State of Procurement examines how the procurement mindset deals with procurement hurdles.
Check out our on-demand webinar with Andrew Bartolini, Managing Partner and Chief Research Officer of Ardent Partners, and Greg Tennyson, CPO of VSP as we dissect CPO Rising 2017: Tools of the Trade in more detail.