In preparing a presentation with a long-time customer for the SIG Global Executive Summit next week, I had the chance to step back and take an objective look at what we’ve accomplished together, and how. I find it a really compelling procurement case study.
As anyone who plays music in a group knows, the ultimate gig is working with musicians who push (and inspire) each other to do better simply through their own skill. That’s when everyone gets more proficient. It’s the same with sports – to improve, you have to play with people who really know their stuff.
Working with this particular customer is like that. It’s a major global corporation that knows what it’s good at, where it’s going and where it needs help to keep pushing new limits. They’re also really good at getting the best out of partners, like us. Our relationship is a true symbiosis.
In an industry that is constantly changing, and becoming increasingly fractured and competitive, our customer was wrestling with trying to maintain profit margins in an environment of shrinking revenues. Cost and spend control was where they could make the biggest impact, and why they originally came to us.
Working very closely with customer teams, we planned a global roll-out of our solution. In a company that operates in dozens countries around the world, with thousands of employees, you can imagine the complexity (and pain points) the company was managing.
A decentralized organization with individual countries running differently makes cost control difficult, to say the least. Lack of universal purchasing process, inconsistent methods, disparate reporting, little alignment with procurement and finance – all of these issues (and more) would have to be brought into line for any financial planning and strategy to be effective.
Once the company consolidated into one centralized SAP system deployed globally, we built out our native SAP integration. From there our end-to-end procurement solution would give them the visibility and control to manage spend against budgets. Against a backdrop of hundreds of thousands of suppliers, nearly 200,000 projects and over a dozen points of real-time integration with SAP, it was quite a task.
So far, almost two dozen countries are currently deployed in Europe, North America, and Latin America, representing a bulk of the company’s revenues. The cost savings across IT, finance operations and projects is in the millions per year.
There is obviously a lot more to this story. To hear it, you’ll have to attend our breakout session – it’s at the SIG Global Executive Summit on March 15. I hope to see you there.