Implementing emerging technology: first steps to take
In a recent webinar with Hugo Evans, Vice President at A.T. Kearney, talked about the impact emerging technology is having on procurement with our SVP of Growth & Business Development, Vikas Shah, and one of our Customer Success Managers, Marisa Pierron.
During their discussion, one topic they covered was how organizations can start implementing emerging technology. Want to know what steps you should take first? Read the transcript or check out the clip below to find out!
And if you haven’t had a chance to see the full webinar yet, you can watch it here!
VIKAS: Let’s talk about how procurement organizations can adopt advances in emerging technology. What are some of the steps that organizations can take in terms of embracing these emerging technologies? I know there is a lot out there, so how should they go about it, and what steps do you recommend?
HUGO: I think the first thing is to recognize every organization spikes in certain areas. Some do sourcing really well. So if they do sourcing really well, then they shouldn’t spend a lot of time on that. Most companies could do a better job with requisition systems, and there are opportunities in payment systems.
You need to do an informal assessment. Ask yourself: where are your pain points? A lot of time they’re in contracting, spend, analytics, or SRM – and sometimes they’re across the whole board. Then, start to talk to these emerging technology vendors and attend conferences, webinars, and industry events. There’s tons of information out there, but just start getting basic knowledge and get other people engaged and excited about it. There is lots of exciting innovation happening that actually is useful.
The huge leaps forward these technologies allow can really build your business case. It’s a very easy business case to make. For example, the automation piece of Xeeva’s solution is super compelling. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that it’s disruptive and transformative, and so it lends itself to a strong business case.
You want to do 2 things in parallel:
- Build a business case – not a huge, super complex one that says you’re going to solve all the world’s problems – but very tangible, bite-size pieces about layering this emerging tech to create benefits.
- Help your organization build the muscle strength to adopt these types of technologies. For example, with my financial institution clients, it’s hard to get these emerging technologies in, but it’s not unheard of. They do it a lot on the consumer side of their institutions. But you have to work through the processes and IT, and just start that process.
VIKAS: It also can be started smaller, right? You don’t have to embark on a massive project. You can start in a particular area. Start a pilot, test out something really small to see if it works, and then expand into other areas of your organization.
Marisa, what do you see as feedback from customers you interact with?
MARISA: Once you’ve identified your pain points and where you want to focus your energy on in finding new technology – whether it’s in something as broad as sourcing in general or something specific, like supplier onboarding – really dig into your “as-is” process. When you start working with vendors, the more detailed answers you’re going to be able to give them to their questions about what your current process is, and the better the solution they’ll work with you on creating is going to be.
Related: The effect of emerging technology on procurement
Until vendors understand all of the minute pain point areas that you have, they are not going to be able to solve all of them. So the more information you bring to the table, the more in-depth and better the conversations are going to be, and the better the result is going to be at the end of that.
That is general across the board, but we have some clients that had a huge problem getting access to their data. When they first started working with vendors, they didn’t even really know that until they already got into the process. They then realized they wouldn’t have even engaged with these vendors until maybe a year or two down the line.
So those are good things to learn, and good conversations to have. Maybe that could have been avoided in a better discovery process, or just a better understanding of your internal structure and the current process. The more detailed understanding you have of your “as-is” process, the better the “to be” will end up.