I often say one of the most satisfying things about my work in procurement is experiencing the diversity across our client base. At WNS Denali, we support Procurement teams across all industries and regions. The way we partner with each client is unique and because each organization has its own challenges specific business objectives, we strive for total business alignment. That requires embracing all the nuances.
With a business-aligned approach, we dive into the core of what makes each client tick. What are the business’s main priorities and what is driving growth? What do stakeholders care about most? What is the business culture like? How are end users influenced and inspired to drive compliance?
Not surprisingly, we see some notable trends within industries. Across our high-tech industry clients, whether they be software developers, high-tech manufacturing firms, data centers, or other high-growth, innovative organizations, a few key themes influence the solution model:
High-tech organizations tend to be highly entrepreneurial and carry that mindset into their interactions with procurement.
High-tech stakeholders, particularly those in start-up mode or who rely on a constant stream of innovation for success, are used to doing the work themselves and on their own terms.
Speed is paramount in everything high-tech organizations do. They don’t want to be bogged down in lengthy supplier negotiations, for instance. They know what they want and they need it quickly.
Culture is an important part of the brand of these companies. It’s imperative that procurement aligns with that larger culture to ensure smooth engagements.
Procurement’s reflex often is to focus on cost savings as a key metric of success, but for high-tech firms flushed with funding, that may not be a priority. Instead their goals are likely to be achieving faster growth, identifying reliable suppliers with an eye toward sustainability or diversity, and/or matching the entrepreneurial spirit of innovation they prize. Understand that mentality and align your solutions to that cultural mindset and you are on your way to a winning high-tech procurement operating model.
Keeping in mind these common attributes, how can high-tech procurement teams drive the success of programs and increase engagement within their organizations? By focusing on what matters to key stakeholders and showing how procurement helps achieve those objectives following these 4 simple tips:
Tip #1: Embrace the DIY Culture. Harness the problem-solving approach of your stakeholders and take a page out of their playbook. Host a series of focus groups over shared pizza or, more likely in today’s virtual environment, start a Slack channel to communicate as you uncover what they need from procurement, what’s working from a process standpoint and what is a pain point. Find out what their problems are and then use design-thinking to innovate workable solutions.
Tip #2: Focus on Simplicity, Transparency and Speed. Procurement tends to come with complex mandates, rules and procedures, which can be seen as cumbersome and potentially alienate high-tech stakeholders used to quick and direct solutions. They don’t need the details of how you are going to execute a project, they just want confirmation that you are on it and to know when it will be completed. Digital tools, such as our ProjecTRAC, offer a simple way to engage with procurement and peace-of-mind that comes with clear, real-time sight into project status.
Tip #3: Create the Right Procurement Operating Model. To avoid getting bogged down in executing transactional projects and losing focus on the strategic, high-value procurement projects that will drive the company forward, craft a Procurement Operating Model that segments out your workstreams. You need the right people interfacing with strategic stakeholders while others operationalize the execution process to ensure speed and effectiveness. This builds trust and momentum and results in a culture of shared success.
Tip #4: Streamline the End User Experience. With a focus always on the end user experience, ensure that you have the right capacity, tools, and templates to ensure a smooth, simple, transparent and quick process for engagement and program delivery. Easy-to-access, intuitive interface tools – such as our PIA (procurement intelligent agent) tool -- gives stakeholders a centralized place to request procurement help with simple forms/questionnaires to ensure they are funneled to the proper team member.
The bottom-line is that for most high-tech organizations, speed and efficiency are paramount. Procurement teams must respond and execute quickly to ensure they are delivering value as they help their stakeholders achieve the company’s fast growth goals. To learn more about enhancing your existing procurement ecosystem with the right vision, approach and digital enablers to meet the unique needs of your high-tech organization, download our Digital Roadmap for High-Tech Procurement Organizations.
About the Author
Corporate Executive Vice President & Head Procurement Services
Alpar Kamber is the Head of Procurement Services at WNS. He was the Founder and CEO of Denali Sourcing Services (now a part of WNS), a next-generation procurement services provider that enabled procurement organizations to influence more spend, and execute more effectively and efficiently. Prior to Denali, Alpar developed his cross-industry expertise in procurement value chain while in management positions at Ariba, FreeMarkets, Diamond Technology Partners and E&Y. He holds an MBA degree from the Tepper Business School of Carnegie Mellon University.