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How to Achieve Adoption of Digital Procurement Tools
4 min read

How to Achieve Adoption of Digital Procurement Tools

There is no argument.

Digital procurement is the future of the industry.

We've already seen it. Automating labour-intensive tasks like the 3-way match, reducing costs per purchase order, bringing approvals to mobile - the technology is there.

Unfortunately, the sad reality is investing in these new tools is only 25% of the journey.

The other 75% is adopting it.

Overview of the Adoption Process 

The adoption process of digital procurement tools is akin to charting a course through uncharted waters.

It involves developing a strong understanding of how people work, determining pain points, evaluating a solution, building a business case around it and then convincing the rest of the procurement team that the new solution is better than the old one and it is time to move over.

However, the real secret sauce according to Former President of SAP Procurement is mastering this series of steps by making adoption the focus of your next procurement initiative.

Fortunately, as Haydon brings out there are a few secrets that can guarantee that adoption is successful. These secrets are what we will highlight below.

Understanding Your Current Processes by Talking to Your End Users 

When embarking on the journey to adopt digital procurement tools, the first crucial step is understanding your organization's specific needs and requirements. This stage is the foundation upon which your entire procurement transformation will be built. However, what many teams skip at this stage is talking to the end users to understand how they are currently working. For more information on this step, we encourage you to check out our latest episode of Neverending Climb for Stronger Procurement and Supply Chain.  

However, to summarize talking to end users is so important because it gives you more than a problem at face value, it gives you the root problem, and what you really need to solve. 

Identifying Pain Points and Inefficiencies

Once you have talked to your end users and documented the day-to-day processes.

Your job should be trying to find the pain points, the lengthy processes (and where things tend to go wrong) and look at opportunities to simplify them.

Some questions you might consider asking are; Are there bottlenecks that slow down operations? Are manual tasks prone to errors? 

Setting Clear Objectives 

Now that you know what challenge you are trying to solve, you can set an objective. 

What are the specific goals you aim to achieve with these tools?

Do you want to reduce operational costs of conducting a 3-way match by 50%?

Or, do you want to reduce requisition approval time?

Remember that at this stage in the process 

Your procurement strategies should be aligned with your procurement goals and should outline how you plan to achieve them. For example, if your procurement goal is to reduce procurement costs by 10%, your procurement strategies might include:

Selecting the Right Digital Procurement Tools 

Selecting the right digital procurement tools is akin to choosing the right tools for a craftsman. It's crucial to pick solutions that align perfectly with your organization's needs and goals. Begin by researching the multitude of digital procurement tools available in the market. Each solution may offer unique features and capabilities. It's essential to conduct thorough research to identify which ones align best with your objectives. 

Once you've narrowed down your options, delve deeper into evaluating the features and capabilities of each tool. Consider factors like ease of use, scalability, integration capabilities, and the potential for customization to match your specific requirements. 

Budget Considerations 

Budget constraints are often a significant factor in the selection process. It's essential to weigh the costs of implementing and maintaining the chosen tools against the expected ROI and benefits they will bring to your procurement processes. 

Building a Strong Business Case 

A robust business case is the cornerstone of securing support and resources for your digital procurement initiative. It's your opportunity to demonstrate the tangible benefits and value that these tools will bring to the organization. Showcase how the adoption of digital procurement tools will lead to a return on investment (ROI) and substantial cost savings over time. Provide concrete data and projections to support your claims. 

Highlight how the digital procurement initiative aligns with the broader organizational goals and strategies. Demonstrating how it contributes to the company's overall success will garner support from leadership. 

Gaining Stakeholder Buy-In 

Securing stakeholder buy-in is a critical step in ensuring the success of your digital procurement transformation. Engaging key decision-makers and addressing concerns is essential. Involve key decision-makers from the outset of the project. Their support and input are invaluable in navigating the adoption process effectively. 

Communicating Benefits and Advantages 

Effectively communicate the benefits and advantages of digital procurement tools to all stakeholders. Tailor your messaging to address their specific interests and concerns. 

Addressing Concerns and Objections 

Expect resistance and objections from some stakeholders. Address these concerns with empathy and provide solutions and assurances to alleviate apprehensions. 

Implementing and Integrating the Tools 

With buy-in secured, it's time to move forward with the implementation and integration of the chosen digital procurement tools into your organization's workflow. Carefully plan the implementation process, including timelines, roles and responsibilities, and contingency plans. A well-structured plan will minimize disruptions and ensure a smooth transition. 

Properly train and onboard your teams to ensure they are proficient in using the new tools. Training is key to maximizing the benefits of digital procurement solutions. 

Adoption Underway 

Integrate the new tools seamlessly with existing systems and processes. This integration ensures data continuity and a holistic approach to procurement management. 

With these strategic steps in place, your organization is well on its way to successfully adopting digital procurement tools and reaping the rewards of enhanced efficiency, cost savings, and improved supplier relationships. Stay tuned for the next installment of our guide, where we will explore the vital step of monitoring and measuring success.