There's an unmistakable tide of tech transformation sweeping the procurement function at companies of all kinds. Many of the processes typically delegated to employees within these departments are subject to automation, which can deliver impressive benefits to organizations that make the switch. When companies become more technologically enabled, they can make their operations increasingly strategic, delegating low-effort work to automated systems and spending more time on effective decision-making and collaboration throughout organizations.
The actual process of getting on board with automation systems is a complex one, and timing may be key to making the event successful. Many companies are lagging behind in infusing their supply chains with modern IT, while others may be charging in too quickly. Experiencing transformative moments in business technology is never easy, and leaders will have to show extraordinary judgment to commit when they'll experience maximum value.
Transform soon, or talent may leave
There's a reason to adopt process automation that goes beyond the operational benefits of having the software. According to Spend Matters, top employees, ones who can truly make a difference in their organizations, may become frustrated if their employers don't possess up-to-date systems. Great workers want to know they're serving industry-leading businesses, ones that will give them an optimal chance to succeed. Firms that haven't begun to upgrade their IT don't give off this feeling.
The effects of modern IT deployments often build employee capabilities, as more data-intensive firms help workers be productive and allow them to access data remotely, quickly and easily. Workers who know these technologies exist in the marketplace, but don't see them at their own firms, may consider moving on to other companies that will place them in more IT-enabled environments and scenarios.
Spend Matters quoted a recent Unisys report that found employees at "laggard" tech companies report frustration levels of 51 percent. Workers at tech leaders are far less fed up with their employers - only 6 percent frustrated. The divide is a serious matter for leaders to consider when making decisions. Spend Matters offered a reminder that businesses will have a hard time reaching ambitious goals if their best team members get frustrated and leave.
While there is risk associated with leaving IT adoption too late, there are also ways to go about the upgrade process to quickly and haphazardly. Nearshore Americas' Matt Kendall pointed out leaders who pushed their way into previous tech areas such as the cloud too early ended up trapped with poorly optimized solutions or ones that didn't reflect their actual needs. Buyers who believe that a tech tool represents an "endgame solution" instead of a means to reach their objectives are in particular trouble.
Kendall recommended a middle way that acknowledges process automation in the supply chain is a trusted and transformative solution, one that companies shouldn't ignore, it's also a tool to consider in strategic terms. When the cloud was a young tech area, some leaders thought about becoming cloud-powered as an end rather than a means to accomplish something. These organizations ended up with systems that didn't move them closer to their objectives.