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Your checklist to future proof procurement in your organisation

In today's fast-paced business environment, expectations for procurement are growing. Procurement teams are being asked to take on a more strategic role; however, are often still burdened by manual, administrative processes, while continuously being asked to do more with less. It's essential that procurement teams have the right procurement system to drive automation and compliance, and support them in focusing on more strategic, value-added initiatives.

It's more important than ever to have a procurement system that is future-proof. A procurement system that is future-proof is one that can adapt to changes in the market and technology while still providing value to the organisation. As buying needs evolve, it can also help procurement managers and teams streamline their processes, reduce costs, and improve supplier relationships, ultimately contributing to the success of the organisation as a whole.

We’ve put together a checklist of non-negotiables to help you find a future-proof procurement system that will empower you and your teams to thrive.

  • Cloud-based: A cloud-based procurement system is more flexible and scalable than an on-premises solution. It allows for easy access to data from anywhere, and the ability to add or remove users as needed.

  • Integration: A future-proof procurement system should be able to integrate with other business systems such as ERP, CRM, and accounting systems. This ensures that procurement data is accurate, and there is no need for manual data entry. It also provides procurement teams with oversight of lifecycle expenditure that supports financial oversight and controlled expenditure from within the OWS.

  • Automation: An automated procurement system can reduce the workload of procurement professionals and streamline processes. Automation can be used for tasks such as procurement planning, contract management, and variation approvals.

  • Analytics: A future-proof procurement system should have robust analytic capabilities that provide insights into procurement data. This allows procurement professionals to identify trends, track supplier performance, proactively manage supply chain risks and optimise procurement processes.

  • Compliance: A future-proof procurement system should have compliance features that ensure the organisation is following all relevant regulations and contract conditions. This includes features such as contract performance management, issue tracing and monitoring, supplier screening, and risk management.

  • User-friendly: A future-proof procurement system should be easy to use for all users, regardless of their technical expertise. This includes features such as a simple interface, clear instructions, and intuitive workflows.

  • Customisation: A future-proof procurement system should be customisable to meet the unique needs of the organisation. This includes features such as customisable dashboards, user-defined fields, and custom reports.

  • Security: A future-proof procurement system should have robust security features to protect sensitive procurement data. This includes features such as user access controls, data encryption, and regular security audits.

  • Source-to-contract in a single system: Because many of your staff will perform upstream procurement and sourcing activities, and also the downstream contract management following award, it is important to choose a solution that provides sourcing AND contract management in the same system. That way, your staff can be managing contracts, and also embark on a new sourcing or procurement process, without leaving their single consistent user interface.

  • Ask to look under the hood: Like buying a car, a slick paint job may be hiding some problems under the hood. The same is true with IT systems. Just because the quick demo you see looks sexy and impressive, does not mean that there is functional depth in the solution. You should spend many, many hours evaluating the system you decide to implement, before signing on the dotted line, just to ensure you are not buying smoke and mirrors. Choose a procurement systems vendor with a long history of service and good references of happy, satisfied customers.

  • Go with the large user group: As valuable as the system itself is what you can learn from engaging with a large community of users. There are countless benefits to talking with other system users, and discovering how they get the best from the system you chose. Of critical importance is how they implemented the system, and learning by shared experiences, which most customers are happy to help with.

  • Talk to the team as part of the buying process: Embarking on a software implementation process is like a relationship, so you need to like the people you will be getting involved with. Are they just slick salespeople? Or are they people who understand our challenges and have the solutions. Talk to the consultants who will be implementing your system because you are committing to each other for some time.

In summary, a future-proof procurement system should be cloud-based, integrated, automated, user-friendly, have analytics capabilities, be customisable, and have robust security features. By following this checklist, you can help ensure that your procurement system is ready to adapt to changes in the market and technology while still providing value to your organisation.