Procurement professionals confirm the investment in enabling IT is not creating enough value – and not in balance with the need for on-going skills development.

105 Consulting Perspectives
We set out on this survey with the intention of assessing the trade-off between systems and skills in Procurement, and did not find what we had expected! The combination of tough economic times, requiring business functions to be evermore effective, and the history of systems investment that has taken place over the past five or more years, intuitively indicated that many organisations would be leveraging their technology investment, and operating at a less tactical level than before.

Why might we have expected that outcome? Three simple reasons.

  1. The basic expectation that systems improve efficiency, and enable better performance;
  2. Systems help ensure consistent and compliant adherence to processes and policies;
  3.  The data captured by systems provides more accurate information with which to make better decisions for the future.

Rather surprisingly we appear to have stumbled upon an area where the deployment of systems is much more ad hoc than we expected; the value they add to the enterprise is regarded with more scepticism than we would have predicted; and the up-skilling that we thought would have been made possible by the existence of enabling technology, is not widespread. The bulk of the value from the technology deployed appears aligned to improving transactional efficiency and compliance. We are intrigued that only a minority of respondents felt the technology supports them on their strategic procurement agenda. This perhaps supports our view of the need to build improved procurement capability through skills development, in parallel with technology.

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