shadow_procurement

With the ability to work from any location – on any device – the mobile boom has been a blessing for the enterprise in terms of increased productivity and connectivity. But without the proper safeguards, strategies and solutions, this mobile blessing can quickly become a mobile curse.

Take for instance the rise of what’s commonly called “shadow IT.” This worrisome trend was summed up nicely by the bloggers over at enterpriseappleization.com, in part 2 of their series on 2014 Mobile Tech Trends. Take a look:

IT used to be the gatekeeper of all things enterprise technology. But now, employees have unlimited access to mobile devices and information and want to make their own decisions in regards to mobility. Enterprise IT must be prepared to work with employees in order to make informed choices. As a recent InformationWeek article points out, if employees are not offered updated, well-designed apps, they may work around IT and download a consumer app instead. These “Shadow IT” activities increase security risks and lower IT visibility dramatically. IT can maintain control and keep employees satisfied by offering relevant and useful tools, such as specific apps or features for mobile devices that meet corporate security standards.

Can we apply these learnings to the world of mobile procurement? You bet we can. Let’s take a look at two of these key points in particular:

“If employees are not offered updated, well-designed apps, they may work around IT and download a consumer app instead.”

In this instance, simply replace the word “IT” with “procurement” and you start to see the point: If your organization is going to rely on mobility, then you have to have a procurement solution that is mobile-centric (dare we say, mobile first?) and one that is used consistently by all members of the team. Without this, employees will track spending data using different tools, resulting in an uninformed department. They will compare prices with other tools, meaning they could miss out on the best deals. There are all sorts of negative consequences, but the main point is this: Visibility isn’t just important to the IT department. Procurement leaders are just as reliant on relevant, up-to-data information. And without standard solution, they’ll be left in the dark.

IT can maintain control and keep employees satisfied by offering relevant and useful tools, such as specific apps or features for mobile devices that meet corporate security standards.

Again, if mobile is going to be a key component to your procurement strategy and execution, it must not sacrifice anything in terms of features or functionality. Not. One. Thing. It must give them ability to search multiple catalogs from a single location. It must give them an easy way to review budgeting and tracking information. Even for features that might seem less important – like the ability to support CSV, TSV and other file formats – it’s critical that they be included for all devices. Without consistency, you’ll run into the first problem we mentioned.

If you’re organization wants to avoid “shadow procurement” and be a true mobile-centric department, we can help.