The following Blog was written by Jon Hansen, Host for the May 21st Market Dojo webinar; Evolution Before Transformation: How Procurement Will Best Leverage Digital On-Demand To Achieve Real Change.
The webinar will focus on providing you with a practical and in-depth roadmap to transforming your procurement practice regardless of where you are on your digital journey.
Click the following link to reserve your seat today.
Going Small And Smart Is The Key To Procurement Success In The Digital Age – Jon Hansen
We are all probably familiar with the term “go big or go home.” With an air of both bravado and a touch of arrogance, such words challenge us to grab opportunities by the collar and embrace your successful future. In reading the words I have just written, even I am inspired to tackle the biggest challenge. Mount Everest, here I come!
While such sentiments are great if you are a Sir Edmund Hillary, when it comes to procurement in the digital age, a more thoughtful and strategic approach to conquering the mountain of digital transformation is necessary.
I base this assessment not on opinion, but 36 years in the high-tech industry, most of it related to procurement. Here is what I have learned.
We’ve Already Tried “Going Big”
By now everyone has been introduced to Gartner’s Postmodern ERP era. For those of you who may have been out of the planet for the past couple of years, here is an excerpt from a post I wrote regarding this new era:
“When ERP was in its heyday, CEOs and business executives wanted reliable and integrated solutions, so they seized upon ERP as the way to provide this,” said Mr. Kyte. “Business stakeholders still want these same qualities, but now they assume that these qualities will be present in any software solution, and their requirements have switched to the twin concerns of lowering IT costs and seeking increased flexibility. A system that is not sufficiently flexible to meet changing business demands is an anchor, not a sail, holding the business back, not driving it forward.”
What the above is confirming, is what everyone has learned (in some cases the hard way) – that a big overarching ERP strategy spanning years is not only expensive but lacks the flexibility to adapt to a real-world, on-demand market. A market, I might add, where customer expectations calculate performance in terms of minutes and hours instead of days.
However, I do not want you to think that I am suggesting that ERPs do not have a place in the modern global enterprise. They do. What I am saying is that rather than pursuing the big bang all-in-one strategy that was the hallmark of the ERP era, a more strategic and modular entry point that delivers steadily increasing returns in incremental steps makes far more sense.
And I am not alone in this thinking.
Universal Flywheel Success
If I were to take a step back from the procurement world and gain a broader view of business in general, I would see that going small and smart is neither new nor limited to our industry.
In his book, Good To Great, Jim Collins gives us a comparison between the Flywheel and Doom Loop. Seeing that the latter is self-explanatory, let’s focus on the concept of the Flywheel.
I was reminded of the Collins Flywheel analogy when I read a recent article by the Country Head of cloud computing software company Nutanix. In the article, Nutanix’s Robert Yelenich wrote about the fact that “when it comes to transforming your organization, there is no big bang or a single event.” Instead, and according to Collins successful transformation is the result of a “cumulative process of smaller events.”
This last point resonated with the Nutanix Country Head because the Flywheel analogy confirms that success in the digital age is “not achieved via an overarching, one-time undertaking, but has a result of a successive series of progressively smaller, strategic initiatives.”
Of course, and as already stated, the Flywheel analogy which provides “the necessary agility to respond to diverse, often changing needs and new technological advancements,” is universally applicable regardless of the undertaking – including your procurement practice.
We Now Have The Technology
The last webinar that I moderated for Market Dojo was Beyond The Bolt: How Cloud-Based Solutions Have Transformed Procurement.
The term “beyond the bolt” was the perception that early SaaS-type solutions were little more than an add-on to the monolithic ERP platforms of Gartner’s “pre” postmodern era. In one of the articles I wrote leading up to the webinar, I might have even suggested that references to being a bolt-on solution were inherently dismissive. But that is old news.
Through the webinar, which featured a guest panel that included IACCM’s Tim Cummins and CIPS’ Sheena Donaldson it became clear that rather than being an afterthought, today’s SaaS solutions are not only the gateway to procurement excellence but the essential building blocks to sustained success across the entire enterprise.
The question is how do you make it happen? How do you implement a successive series of progressively smaller, strategic initiatives that ultimately becomes the heartbeat of a lean and agile procurement practice?
In the May 21st, 2019 webinar Evolution Before Transformation: How Procurement Will Best Leverage Digital On-Demand To Achieve Real Change, joining me to talk about creating a digital roadmap to success will be a guest panel that will include both a Market Dojo prospect and client.
Click the following link to reserve your seat today.