How to Use Best-of-Breed to Create Transparency and Drive Collaboration

How to use best-of-breed to create transparency and drive collaboration

In this webinar, hosted by Procurement Leaders, Caroline Dillon is joined by Anthony Payne, CMO at HICX and Andrea Sordi, Clinical Professor at Haslam College of Business to discuss how Best-of-Breed solutions are being used to create transparency and drive collaboration within enterprise.

The disruptive events over the past few years have transformed the world – and that includes many organizations and their associated ecosystems. This raises the question: where does Procurement fit in to all of this? What should the function’s key priorities be in the future?

The pandemic has shown that businesses that adopt a holistic and collaborative approach to their ecosystem are able to remain competitive and thrive.

This webinar covers:

  • How organizations can partner with their ecosystem to increase resilience and better prepare for disruptive events
  • The role technology plays in facilitating more effective and collaborative relationships with the supplier ecosystem
  • What collaboration looks like in practice and what practical steps organizations can take to adjust to a resilience-first footing

Preparing for disruptive events

Anthony starts the discussion by explaining why he believes most large organizations struggled as a result of the disruption caused by the pandemic. The way in which companies were impacted – and the timing of when they were impacted – largely depended on the jurisdictions in which they were operating and the respective government’s response, as all territories reacted to the pandemic at different stages and with varied responses. The political and economic landscape became dramatically more complex at an astonishing pace.

Anthony talks to three key reasons why frailties were exposed in this context:

  • Data quality: In most cases, supplier data is of bad quality with gaps and inconsistencies
  • Data governance: Operations become difficult without knowing which systems hold the truth, how data is organized, its hierarchy, and how it’s managed.
  • Communication channels: Most organizations do not have an efficient way to communicate with their suppliers at scale in the event of an urgent situation. Emailing thousands of suppliers, without being sure who the point of contact is, is not effective and is inadequate.

“Organizations find themselves not being able to respond fast enough to very rapidly changing events, and those events could represent opportunities for growth – but they also represent challenges and failure to deliver commitments,” he continues.

Andrea agrees and adds that procurement professionals have ‘traded-off’ risk management for other priorities for years. The results of that trade-off weren’t visible until the pandemic specifically required risk management to lead the way in resolving issues. Organizations have since realized that they need a way of resolving these issues, that they need to take a pro-active approach – and that they must be better prepared for the unexpected.

The role of innovative technology

One way of preparing for the unexpected is to build a strategy based on the technology needed for the business to achieve its overall goals and objectives. Although some companies may have the right technology, the right strategy and a robust digital infrastructure in place, many do not. Andrea says that organizations must first start by asking themselves what their business needs are. There is a requirement nowadays within enterprises for the procurement function to be more digitally advanced and many are deploying Best-of-Breed technology to achieve this.

“It’s not about the choice of the tool and what the tool provides. It is about choosing a strategy that best fits with what your mission, as a procurement function, is to the business,” Andrea advises.

According to Anthony, most organizations are suite-focused, rather than Best-of-Breed focused, which, in his view, is the wrong approach, as this represents a technology driven-decision, as opposed to a business-driven one. Anthony explains that most large companies tend to address issues on a department-by-department basis, despite the fact that the workflow often spans multiple departments, and with it, the issues. As a result, they lack visibility into the end-to-end view, which causes long-term problems.

“We need technology to be able to handle multiple suppliers and the last two years demonstrated that, as we needed to expand our [collaboration with the] supplier base for creativity, for innovation, for resilience, for many, many different reasons,” Andrea concludes.

Collaboration in practice

Anthony points out that innovation can come from any supplier, which is why organizations should be building an environment that enables 100% of their suppliers to be collaborative and set them up for success. One of the ways of doing this is by removing friction. Businesses should ask themselves how easy they are to work with, how easy it is to communicate with them, and, where necessary, make changes.

“We live in a commercial world, but most of the friction is not because the customer wants to create hell, or difficulties, for the supplier. They’re just not structured, and they don’t have the mindset to remove that friction,” Anthony adds.

Andrea meanwhile believes that more and more companies have realized this in the last few years – and are working on changing their practices.

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