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How Do You Architect for Supplier Experience?

How Do You Architect for Supplier Experience

Demystifying the Technology Landscape

During this year’s Supplier Experience Live event’s panel discussion, moderated by Lance Younger, CEO at ProcureTech, Duncan Jones, former Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, Marc Bengio, Sr. Director and Head of Technology Enterprise Procurement at J&J, and Jacy Basset, VP of Solution Assurance and Enablement at HICX came together for a deep dive discussion into the real mechanics of how we start to architect our technology landscape for the procurement function of tomorrow. 

In this article, we cover the main areas of discussion: 

  • The importance of domain expertise 
  • Ensuring the flexibility that the procurement organization requires 
  • Integrating the supplier experience into the considerations 

The importance of domain expertise

Duncan starts the conversation by underscoring the importance of working with partners that understand the unique challenges and nuances within the procurement domain.  

One of the key takeaways from this part of the discussion is the acknowledgement that technology alone cannot drive procurement excellence. It requires a deep understanding of any given industry, its regulations, and the intricacies of supply chain dynamics. Duncan emphasizes how organizations must seek solutions that align with their industry’s particularities, ensuring that the chosen technology is not merely a generic tool but a tailored asset that addresses the specific needs of the procurement function.  

Marc agrees, pointing out how the integration of domain expertise into the technology architecture enables organizations to make informed decisions, optimize processes, and stay ahead of industry trends, adding, “Domain expertise acts as the guiding force, steering organizations away from one-size-fits-all solutions towards those designed to thrive in the unique ecosystem of procurement.” 

Ensuring the flexibility that the procurement organization requires

The dynamic nature of the business environment demands flexibility from technology solutions. Marc Bengio, with his extensive background in technology enterprise procurement at J&J, sheds light on the critical aspect of adaptability in the architectural blueprint. 

Marc states that organizations must future-proof their procurement technology by adopting solutions that can evolve alongside the business. The procurement landscape is not static, and an organization’s technology infrastructure must be agile enough to accommodate changes in regulations, market dynamics, and internal processes. A rigid architecture, he warns, could hinder growth and innovation. 

The discussion delves into the need for modular solutions that can be easily integrated or upgraded without causing disruptions to existing workflows. Marc advises, “Look for technology partners who understand that flexibility is not just a feature but a strategic imperative in the ever-changing landscape of Procurement.” 

Integrating the supplier experience into the considerations

Jacy emphasizes the critical role of the supplier experience in the technology architecture. She argues that, in the pursuit of procurement excellence, organizations often overlook the supplier side of the equation. 

“Creating a seamless and positive experience for suppliers is not just good practice; it’s a strategic advantage,” says Jacy.  

The panel continues to discuss how technology can be leveraged to enhance collaboration, transparency, and communication between buyers and suppliers. By integrating the supplier experience into architectural considerations, organizations can foster stronger relationships, streamline processes, and ensure the reliability of the entire supply chain.  

As Duncan explains, “When product innovation is so rapid, we need to be getting the best ideas from our suppliers – and research I did at Forester found that suppliers were most willing to be sharing their best ideas with their preferred customers. Those were customers that treated them fairly.” 

The session highlights the need for procurement solutions that go beyond the immediate needs of the buying organization and extend to creating value for suppliers. Jacy continues, “A successful procurement architecture is one that considers suppliers as strategic partners, rather than as mere transactional entities.” 

Where to start with your procurement technology

As organizations navigate the complex terrain of procurement technology, armed with this knowledge, they can embark on a journey to design an architecture that not only meets current requirements but is resilient and adaptable for the demands of tomorrow.  

The future of procurement technology lies in a holistic approach that balances expertise, flexibility and collaboration, setting the stage for transformative evolution within the function. 

The main advice? Look for technology partners that understand the complex landscape of Procurement and that can offer the flexibility required. And design your architecture in a way that sees suppliers as strategic partners, rather than as entities that simply fulfil orders on demand.  

Watch the Live Session at Supplier Experience Live 2023

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