How do you react when you hear the word ‘procurement’?
Most people balk, sigh, groan or slump in their chair – however, there are a few key people (who we couldn’t manage without) that, fortunately, get really excited about it. And actually, with the increasing amount of technology available to every industry now, procurement is becoming much easier to manage. Upgrading systems and implementing new hardware and software has the potential to deliver sweeping changes…but these aren’t always proving as effective as you might expect. Getting plenty of bang for your buck is a priority when it comes to investing, but are you going about the process in the right way?
The digital age is here to stay and that means business technology procurement will stand fast at centre stage for the foreseeable future. However, to feel the full force of any return on investment there needs to be a cohesive strategy too. This is where a procurement professional can help take the pain out of the process.
Check out the guide below for more information about what you need to consider to get things moving in the right direction.
Business Technology Procurement – How the professionals can help
Any business that stands still in the modern age will quickly lose its competitive edge so it’s essential to be constantly assessing your progress. A great idea in theory, but what does it actually mean in practice? A procurement professional is able to identify when it’s time to update systems and hardware in order to introduce the latest technology to reap the potential rewards. Employing a specialist in the field will ensure you don’t go splashing the cash on every new bit of kit that emerges, but instead focus on selective investment to ensure your company gets the best results.
In a market that’s flooded with digital devices, we know it can be challenging to identify the pieces of equipment or software that will offer a genuine return on your investment. A new system that sounds great on paper might not deliver the improvements anticipated, leaving a big hole in company finances without the end result to balance it. A procurement professional can stop you drowning in the flood of technical specs, by helping you identify and implement the standout investments that will work for you.
Procurement professionals are also really good at being able to envision how new technology could be used in practice and how it will dovetail with your existing systems and processes. Though we all get a lot of enjoyment from spotting a whizzy piece of kit – it takes specialist expertise to make sure it’s going to be right for your business. A procurement professional will carry out a full evaluation by asking questions such as, ‘would I or my team actually use it or is just a flashy bit of tech that looks good in the office but delivers no real value?’ The whole process can be quite complex with so many issues to consider, but by putting your faith in a procurement professional, you don’t have to wade through it on your own, and chances are you’re likely to end up with better results.
When thinking about business technology procurement, it’s also a good idea to seek opinions from everyone who’s likely to be using the new technology. Have you asked your employees what parts of your current systems or processes drive them crazy? Staff can offer a very different perspective on potential benefits and may be the first to identify where problems may lie. You may find that employees respond more honestly to an outsider. Given the reassurance of being able to speak anonymously and freely, our procurement professionals could help to cut through to the very heart of the matter in a way which simply wouldn’t be possible for you as the business owner.
Employees may feel hostile towards any intended changes particularly if it’s going to mean the automation of part of their role, so this whole process needs to be handled sensitively to secure their engagement. We have experience in working with individuals under these kinds of difficult circumstances and can offer a sympathetic approach plus the necessary expertise to keep things running smoothly, despite the potential turmoil.
Technology is nothing without the people that use it…
We think that the easiest way to think about business technology procurement is to consider it as part of a wider process. After all, there’s no point just having one shiny cog while the rest of the wheel rusts – often a proper overhaul is needed so that other departments aren’t left lagging.
We often find that one of the biggest problems encountered by companies who have opted for procurement is the failure to consider it as a business-wide solution. Frequently, the changes are only viewed in consideration with the work that will be directly affected and not just part of a strategic implementation for the whole business. A procurement professional can help steer companies towards ensuring they embed the new technology successfully right across the company. Does this mean more work? Absolutely yes. But you’ll find you reap the rewards in the long term. Trust us on this: we’ve done it enough times to be sure.
Even once the hard work of business technology procurement has been completed, there’s no time to relax as there’s more to be done. Have you given enough thought to the people that are going to use it? New technology can leave users as dazzled as deer in the headlights if you don’t provide proper training and support. Trying to provide this may just leave you overstretched but you don’t need to work through this on your own. The skills of a procurement professional can give your company the support it needs at every stage of the transition process, helping your staff to re-adjust by providing them with technical know-how and practical, on the job help.
Training in any new technology is obviously a big consideration. Procurement professionals can help ensure your staff are comprehensively trained on how to use new systems, ensure they are comfortable with the extent of the technology’s capability, allowing them to access the full functionality, and of course, understand the point of it!
As procurement experts, we have been through this process multiple times with a wide variety of different companies. Being involved from the start right through to post-implementation means we can ensure that you’re including everything you need for a successful transformation. The aftercare really is just as important as the planning; if you just sling everyone in at the deep end, you’ll never really achieve what you set out to do.
Making procurement a success
To make business technology procurement a resounding success rather than just a lukewarm improvement, a multi-faceted approach is required rather than just a “lift and drop” mentality. Central to this is having the right people by your side. Implementing new technology won’t be a quick process if you want to do it properly, but employing the expertise of a procurement professional can really help you extract the full value from your investment.
It can also be beneficial to embark on any other changes you’re looking to implement at the same time so the new systems, software or hardware can be fully integrated into the business model. This makes it an excellent time for performance alignment; the process of evaluating the business and how it runs from top to bottom. Business process engineering, tech strategy and procurement all go hand in hand to deliver changes which may be challenging at first but can go on to make the company far more competitive in the longer term. This might all sound way too complicated to even begin to consider, but try not to get overwhelmed by all the jargon. This just means streamlining your processes and structure to make your business as effective as possible for the lowest cost.
We know that all of this will sound like a huge undertaking – particularly when you’re running a business alongside it. This is where the procurement professionals can step in. With many years of experience in delivering these kinds of changes and making big investments in technology, they can help you to make the right decisions for your business.
If we’ve not managed to persuade you enough so far, take a look at the stats. Results from the companies that have been through these processes suggest that the earlier professionals are brought in, the better the outcome. This is because the decisions you make right at the beginning of the procurement process will have far-reaching consequences and in some ways, these are the most critical elements. Some people may fear feeling out of control; does this ring any bells? Don’t worry, procurement professionals won’t be making the decisions for you, but they will ensure you’re asking (and answering) all the right questions.
A combined approach – procurement professionals and technology
It’s looking like procurement is a process that’s here to stay and, in a business world which is evolving faster than ever before, it’s important to have experts by your side to help you make wise investment choices. We know that being savvy with the company cash is difficult, so if you really want to get top value for your money let the professionals lend a hand. Infinity Loop’s business consultants are experts in providing you with the business technology procurement advice you need.
Infinity Loop offers procurement professionals plus a range of other support services which can help to ensure that you are getting the best-integrated approach for your company. Start the conversation todayand let us help you redefine your business quickly and efficiently to deliver the returns you want to see for your business.