An Interview on Transformation in Procurement & Technology with Karthik Rama
During this episode of Supplier Experience Live from HICX, we are joined by Karthik Rama. Karthik is referred to as the ‘Procurement Doctor,’ as he uses his deep expertise that he has gained over the years to help various organizations around the world in transforming their troubled procurement processes. Karthik talks to us about his biggest passion, transformations in Procurement and technology.
The importance of technology for successful business transformations
Karthik starts off the discussion by explaining how the trending buzzwords, such as business transformation, digital transformation and automation can all hold different meanings for each organization, as it largely depends on the changes they are looking to implement and the overall objectives.
According to Karthik, various systems ‘not talking to each other’ is to this day one of the biggest challenges within the procurement industry. He wonders, “Are we okay scanning paper contracts or invoices to a file cabinet or share drive – and having literally zero to no visibility or reporting as to what’s happening, with a highly error prone process?” In order to fix these issues, he suggests filling the gaps in the overall business process before implementing the technology, or at least doing them simultaneously.
He does emphasize that implementing procurement transformations is never easy, as, in most cases, the CPO, CFO and CTO all need to be on board. The challenge is that they will all be concerned with different aspects. The trick is to focus on each concern separately and then demonstrate how they can also work together.
Karthik mentions another common challenge within the industry – data quality and the organization not realizing the level of its importance and the role it plays for them. He states, “Data is the key success factor for procurement transformation. Unfortunately, my personal experience has been that organizations have a blind side when it comes to the data of the organization. There is this illusion that the data is world class, then, in actuality, they’ve never even looked at the data for a long time.”
Karthik points out that this challenge has occurred time and time again during his projects, causing delays of approximately three months, or longer. The way he approaches the issue is by studying the current processes in place in conjunction with the technology landscape. This gives him an insight into the true standings of an organization, which allows for identifying where the shortcomings are, and how to overcome them.
Karthik concludes, “We shouldn’t shy away from mixing and matching different technologies, depending on the requirement of your business processes.” However, he highlights the importance of aligning the project at hand with organizational goals, as well as having full support from the top-down where leadership is actively engaged throughout the process.