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Procurement Automation-1
2 min read

Why Is Procurement Always one of the last areas companies automate?


Procurement often lags in automation due to factors rooted in historical technology adoption and process improvement practices. To this day manual processes still dominate today's procurement organizations with the majority of people still handling low-value activities according to Dr. Elouise Epstein's book, Trade wars, pandemics, and chaos. This means your organization is likely not alone if your are finding the majority of the time and attention teams are spending are consumed by routine, labor-intensive transactional activities including contract awards, supplier performance monitoring and negotiations.

As is true in other departments across the organization, the hours spent piecing together information flows are a task that can be performed in seconds with the right technology. But, why is that the case? In an episode of The Never-Ending Climb to Stronger Supply Chain and Procurement, we sat down with a true legend in the world of procurement solutions, Mike Marino, who has over 35 years of software industry experience under his belt.

Introducing Mike Marino

With a remarkable 35-year career in the software industry, Mike has journeyed through a series of roles, from medium-sized ERP companies to being a part of a small startup called Arriba. Throughout his journey, Mike has worked with renowned companies like Disney, Nike, HP, and more. His expertise centers around SAP Ariba and Fieldglass solutions, making him an industry powerhouse.

When asked about what he learned through his long tenure in procurement, Mike shares, "In my current role at Convergent IS (CIS), I focus on providing sales expertise to elevate the messaging and positioning of our solutions, complementing SAP and enhancing the Ariba ecosystem. Our goal is to unlock the true potential of SAP Ariba and Fieldglass solutions for our customers, leading to remarkable benefits."

Adoption: The Key to Transformation

The conversation shifts to the importance of adoption in achieving transformational results.

Mike emphasizes, "Adoption has been a cornerstone throughout my career. It's not just about selling software; it's about ensuring customers use it effectively. At ConvergentIS, our solutions are designed to enhance SAP Ariba and Fieldglass solutions, allowing customers to achieve paperless invoicing, increased compliance, and improved process efficiency."

Mike discusses the CIS primary solution – the Procurement Gateway. "Our cloud-based solution, powered by SAP's Business Technology Platform, acts as a single pane of glass to integrate processes, data, and applications. It's about leveraging the power of existing solutions to fill process gaps and improve functionality."

Empowering Suppliers: The Self-Service Revolution

The conversation delves into the supplier and vendor self-service trend.

"We're witnessing unprecedented supplier participation and compliance due to web-based applications. We've built solutions that simplify contractor time entry for services, catering to even the most intricate rate variations. Our solutions provide efficiency and ease, transforming manual processes into seamless operations."

Lessons Learned: The Cloud Advantage

As the conversation wraps up, Mike shares key takeaways for procurement and SAP directors.

"Shifting from on-premise to cloud solutions means embracing extensions. The robustness of SAP and Ariba systems is undeniable, but to unlock their true potential, you need to explore solutions like the Procurement Gateway. The value lies in these extensions that maximize your investment."

Closing Thoughts

Digital technologies continue to pave the way for the future of procurement, with the expectation that automation and transparency for the majority of routine processes will become tablestacks in the next 3-5 years. Is your team on track to embrace these new technologies? See where your solution adds up using our Foundations For A Strategic Initiative workbook linked below.

Strategic Initiative