At a time when companies are increasingly focused on their corporate purpose and ways of contributing positively to the economies and communities in which they do business, it’s a stark fact that the average global enterprise spends US$4 billion on services each year, yet 70% of this is never exposed to transparent, fair, and competitive processes. Transforming the way a business procures its services will not only rectify this gap but also deliver a wide range of benefits—more efficiency and lower costs, improved speed to market, a broader supply base featuring more diverse providers, and the elevation of procurement’s standing among business stakeholders. In addition, this new, intelligent, automated, and easy-to-use ecosystem for global trade in B2B services can enable a company’s ESG agenda, fulfilling that purpose by helping to build fairer, more sustainable and inclusive global economies.
A major problem with many procurement processes is that a company’s buyer simply uses the same incumbent supplier they have bought services from for years. Yet, do parents invest in their children’s college education without evaluating multiple choices? Would consumers buy a new car or new home without researching consumer feedback or comparing the price with alternatives? If a buyer just gives business to a supplier they have a personal connection with, not only are they creating bias in the value chain, but they are missing out on generating any value. Conversely, when buyers create a competitive market among suppliers, it generates savings and leads to new ideas and innovative solutions.
Increasing Speed to Market
Similarly, most businesses want a faster sourcing process, so business stakeholders often find it easier to just buy from the same old suppliers rather than go through a slow and inefficient traditional analog procurement process. However, innovative digital technology now allows buyers to procure services in a fair as well as a quick and efficient manner, so they can still prioritize speed to market while ensuring complete transparency and making informed, merit-based decisions and selections that are the best fit for their requirements.
Broadening Your Supplier Base
Using new digital technology to implement competitive and transparent procurement processes builds a more diverse supply base, enabling enterprise companies to easily do business with qualified companies of all sizes regardless of location, helping create a more inclusive global economy. Numerous studies have shown that diverse populations produce better results and improve company performance, so tapping into them can help build competitive advantage. And, according to the Harvard Business Review, “inclusiveness can make value chains more resilient and agile.”
Improving the User Experience
Dr. Elouise Epstein, in her recent book, “Trade Wars, Pandemics, and Chaos: How Digital Procurement Enables Business Success in a Disordered World,” highlights how many business stakeholders are dissatisfied with the technology decisions procurement has made. AI-driven procurement platforms enable real-time collaboration and increased visibility at every stage of the sourcing life cycle, so users gain alignment quickly and easily. Stakeholders can also be empowered to source services autonomously with full transparency and compliance via an intuitive, self-service platform. This creates the seamless end-to-end experience that people are now used to in their personal lives and expect at work.
Elevating Procurement's Role
Transformational technologies like AI have also unlocked a huge new opportunity to move procurement from a cost center to a function that drives enterprise growth and helps create strategic value. Although finding the best services and products at the best price remains a core focus, procurement can use innovative digital platforms to automate repetitive, manual processes and make better decisions quicker, allowing its talent to focus on higher-value tasks, such as supplier collaboration, product development, and innovation. Putting this new operating model into practice will enable transformative procurement leaders to earn that long-talked-about seat at the table.
Enabling the ESG Agenda
Another way that procurement can position itself at the heart of the enterprise is by capitalizing on the unique opportunity to enable a company’s ESG agenda because how a company spends its money can be the biggest asset it has to advance and achieve that strategy. Through digital innovation, visionary procurement leaders can create far more impact on a company’s profitability as well as its sustainability, governance, and inclusiveness. This exciting new world of performance spending will help build global economies that are more inclusive, more transparent, and open to all.
Seize the Moment
Committing to buying the company’s billions of dollars of services through fairer and more inclusive processes using cutting-edge, AI-powered technology is the right thing for a business to do both ethically and financially as they embrace a new way of sourcing complex services. And innovative, digitally-driven operating models are the foundations on which this bold vision for the Future of Procurement is built, improving both the quality and diversity of a company’s supplier base. The sooner a business puts these changes into practice, the greater the value will be to the wider organization as it seeks to gain a competitive advantage in today’s fast-changing world.
Watch this introductory video showing how Globality helps companies select the best service suppliers at the right price, while at the same time prioritizing supplier diversity.