facebook CIO Procurement LessonsIn a recent leadership report from The Wall Street Journal, Facebook CIO Timothy Campos discussed his responsibility for keeping the social network’s 5,000-plus employees as productive as possible.  As Pierre Mitchell pointed out in a couple of posts (Part 1; Part 2) for the Spend Matters Network’s Chief Procurement Officer resource center, the processes that Campos discussed are very transferable from Chief Information Officer to Chief Procurement Officer.

For the CIO of the world’s largest social network, laying an operational foundation – and remaining committed to it – is crucial to the company’s internal, back-office strategy.  Campos’ most important lesson for both CIOs and CPOs, says Mitchell, “is the commitment to picking the right approach and tool that’s best suited to the processes that add differentiated value to the customer.”

In other words, physical enterprise resource-planning (ERP) tools will get the job done, but using the whole toolkit means leveraging the cloud.

“You can’t go buy the off-the-shelf solution that everyone has and expect we’re going to have a better outcome,” says Campos.  “We found that tweaking off-the-shelf software would force us to adapt our process to the tools.  We want to do the opposite: make our process better, more efficient, faster.  Our tools are very purpose-built.”

The type of software Campos is looking to leverage is an internal workflow processing solution that can streamline a business operation, while also building upon it an agile means for balancing technology, metrics, and information – including, among other processes, in regards to procurement.

“A CPO needs to harness supply market innovation (which is becoming increasingly digital) for internal stakeholders, for procurement itself, and for IT,” says Mitchell.  “And this, by definition, goes beyond technology applications, since procurement ‘solutions,’ broadly defined, in an industrialized XaaS (everything as a service) world are increasingly getting mashed up.”

Innovative solutions will help organizations to conduct their business processes without needing much (or any) IT support (or interference).  The best software for non-IT teams are plug-and-play solutions.  Solutions that require little in the area of onboarding, maintenance, and workflow processes – for all end-users – will ensure that the process remains perpetually in the hands of those that actually factor into it.

Innovative solutions will also help procurement teams to discover an agile recipe of mixing and matching for improved sourcing value in their supply chains.  Agile procurement solutions mean more power; more power means better cost-effectiveness; better cost-effectiveness means more of a strategic advantage.

So, yes, you can learn more from Facebook than just what your friends are up to or what the blogs have deemed to be the most important news ever (of the day).  Like with all back-office strategic processes, procurement is a dish best served quickly, efficiently, and with purpose.