Evolution in Procurement

As technology evolves, so does the world around it. Advancements in technology have been driving innovations in business processes since the dawn of civilization. With the rapid evolution in technology we’ve been experiencing in recent years, it only makes sense that the world of procurement follow suit.

“Technology is about to expand into dimensions we have not seen since the birth of the internet in the 1990s,” says Tom Linton, Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) at Flextronics. “Most of what we do today is based on tools that were invented to leverage the internet, and based on processes and tools designed before the internet.”

While the emphasis on procurement may not have been as prominent prior to the internet-era, the concept of supply chain management has always been one not to be taken lightly by successful businesses. For the past couple centuries, not much changed—until recently. As Linton records it:

Traditional sourcing is based upon a buyer-seller relationship that is built on the core offer, acceptance, contract and payment paradigm. This structure is supported by a business and legal framework that stretches back to the time of industrialization in the 19th century. As a result of the changes that evolved since the invention of the internet, however, new ecosystems have been formed that are not only automating the processes of old but reinventing them as well.

While the same basic formula for procurement remains true, new frameworks, new supply channels, and new methodologies are revolutionizing the sourcing landscape. No matter how seasoned one is in their purchasing role, it’s always important to remain on the pulse of today’s evolutionary curve. In the modern business world, those who don’t change with the times risk falling behind.

One such ecosystem reshaping the world of procurement is the cloud. Cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions helps to make a single procurement platform available to an entire team—anytime, from anywhere.

“The net effect of

[cloud computing] for procurement professionals is access to unlimited amounts of information at a fraction of today’s cost,” writes Linton. “The remote, off-premises access to information is lowering the cost of doing business in every part of the procurement process.”

We’ve discussed previously how the cloud has been transforming small business operations, saving smaller organizations both time and money. However, adopting a cloud-based procurement solution really helps companies of all sizes to reduce costs and improve efficiency.

Adds Linton, “Intelligence will be richer and faster to access, and the processes to support it will be cheaper and ultimately faster.”

The process that Linton described has been exactly what drives technological innovation. Consumers are always looking for something cheaper and faster for use at home or in the workplace. As today’s business community is increasingly mobile, people need business solutions that move as fast as they do.

With the proliferation of mobile devices, it only makes sense that consumers looking for faster, on-the-go solutions look directly to the tablet or smartphone in their hands to complement their business process.

Mobile devices allow us to remain incessantly connected to an unlimited flow of information. From these devices, we always have access to the ‘big data’ found on the internet and stored in the cloud. This access to a single source of truth offers us an innovative way to centralize our spending. As told by Procurement Analyst Karen Moorhouse:

One element where technology has really changed the game for procurement is the ability to centralize real data across a network, even when the function is decentralized and the systems are disparate. Just because decision-making has been spread out, the availability of data and techniques to manage that can still provide a central pivot point across the various branches.

“The information we will access in the cloud from our mobile devices will be faster than any single source of information available today,” remarks Linton. “Today we surf the internet, tomorrow machines will surf the internet.”

Vroozi’s mobile procurement system does just that, harnessing the power of the cloud to bring you a mobile solution for ‘big data.’ Mobile procurement allows all of an organization’s users to access a single platform—directly from their mobile devices—surfing supplier catalogs in a cross-catalog search approach for a consumer-like shopping experience.

Looking to reduce costs, increase speed, and improve efficiency? Evolve with the procurement times.