How tech procurement can drive operational improvements

It's no secret that technology has been the impetus behind the recent wave of developments in enterprise agility. Cloud computing and the availability of Software-as-a-Service applications are driving faster, more adaptive business operations - but infrastructure shifts aren't the only technological advancements taking place. Manufacturing technologies are driving down operating costs and speeding up production times, while big data analytics programs are allowing companies to manage their supplier networks more closely and carefully than ever before.

However, in order to reap the advantage of the new generation of tools, companies need to procure the necessary hardware and equipment. The question is: How can firms make the up-front investment in these resources while also driving down expenses in both the short and long term?

Innovations boost quality

Improvements in customer experience are among the most beneficial outcomes that digital and high-tech tools can make possible for enterprises. Gallup Senior Strategist for Customer Experience and Innovation John Timmerman recently spoke with Gallup Business Journal about the quality-boosting potential that cutting-edge tools offer. He highlighted the ability of innovative technologies to create more personalized products and services. However, he also noted that executives face challenge in this regard, particularly when it comes to how quickly innovations need to be utilized in order to drive these changes.

"In the past, a hallmark of quality was a steady cadence of continuous improvement. Incremental improvement is still necessary, but it isn't sufficient to get businesses where they want to be ... The next domain of quality will be innovation, because market dominance now requires fast and transformational change," Timmerman told the news source.

Procuring the technological resources necessary to achieve this level of operational efficiency will inevitably require considerable investment and necessitate changes within the company. However, enterprises that do so may find they are able to offer a much more attractive set of products and services that better meet the shifting demands of consumers.

The satisfaction gap in supplier management 

Furthermore, obtaining improved hardware and software can enable firms to overcome a set of challenges that is specific to the procurement process itself. A study by DirectWorks recently found that while 93 percent of companies recognize the importance of being able to track and analyze sourcing data, only 69 percent are satisfied with their ability to do so.

"Much of it can be tied to manual, disjointed processes and under-performing technology," the firm stated.

Investing in the infrastructure required to run big data analytics, for instance, can allow companies to address these problem areas, reduce waste and limit interruptions.

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