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Digital transformation can be daunting. It can also create uncertainty among team members worried about what it may mean for their day-to-day work life. Here at WNS Denali, we not only face it when counseling our clients on making the most of their existing technology and digital tools, but we grapple with it when implementing digital tools for our own procurement team operations.
When we implemented an RPA bot to automate manual PR processing, we encountered some teammates anxious for what it could mean for them. We quickly gained their confidence and buy-in by freeing up 80% of their time, which they were able to redirect to handling exceptions and tackling spend analytics using our InsighTRAC digital tool (our next-generation CPO/CFO analytics and connected source-to-pay platform).
So, yes, even as a market-leading procurement services provider (ranked as a global leader in both Procurement BPO Services and Procurement Digital Transformation Services in the latest ISG Provider Lens™ Quadrant Report), we deal with the same challenges and opportunities offered by digital transformation as do our clients.
Whether counseling our growing roster of global clients or working with our internal procurement team, we fall back on these three tips that shape our digital transformation philosophy:
Digital is not just about digitizing documents and automating processes. The digital mindset requires leveraging new technologies in ways that allow us to think differently about how we do procurement and the value we can offer. This inevitably raises questions among employees and teammates concerned with how digitization will impact their work and or change how they accomplish their job. With all this uncertainty, it’s best to dive in, find a project, fail fast, and learn even faster. Allowing uncertainty to paralyze us into inaction cannot be an option.
Picking the right project to start with -- one that will help create the momentum needed to keep on the digital journey -- is key. Choose a project that promises an immediate impact, delivers a distinct benefit to stakeholders, and one that is visible and tangible. When people are able to directly realize and understand how digital can positively impact their work lives, they are more likely to be open to digital solutions in the future.
I also counsel starting with a project that doesn’t require a large amount of resources, expense or heavy lift for the IT organization; think RPA, chatbots, AI/ML tools to help cleanse and improve the quality of your data. Look to maximize and optimize existing technologies, such as source-to-contract and procure-to-pay, making these foundational tools more valuable. Start small and build from there.
I always say digital doesn’t stand on its own. Digital itself is not an objective, but instead is a way to help enable us to achieve our procurement goals and deliver value for our business stakeholders. Too often, procurement practitioners rush to enable the latest technology without considering the connectedness with their strategy, people and processes. Build your digital transformation roadmap with consideration for your business stakeholders, your existing operating model, your processes, and the talent resources within your organization. And don’t forget, as #ProcurementPeople, the most important element you bring to the table is your domain expertise and knowledge of procurement.
Some companies have in-house technology capabilities that will allow them to drive digital solutions to their procurement challenges. For the many who don’t possess the expertise or bandwidth, or just want some extra guidance along the way, there are plenty of service providers, technology companies and start-ups able to assist. Learn more about why WNS Denali could be a good partner by downloading the latest ISG Provider Lens™ Quadrant Report or learn more about how to get started by downloading our Digital Roadmap Handbook.
Head, Innovation Lab
Chris leads WNS’s Procurement Innovation Lab team to innovate and co-create leading procurement solutions and digital technologies that transform our clients procurement ecosystems. Chris has over 30 years of technical and business experience, and over 20 years collaborating with clients to improve their procurement programs and change how they leverage procurement through category management, source-to-contract and procurement transformation programs. Before joining WNS-Denali, Chris held management roles at FreeMarkets, Ariba, and Exostar. He is a real-life rocket scientist and holds an MS degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT as well as an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University.