The Accelerating Rise of Cloud Platforms in Procurement
Procurement is going digital at an accelerating rate, and this transformation is critical for every organization – public and private. Not just for staying competitive and relevant, but for increasing the c-suite-level influence that is so crucial to driving enterprise strategy.
According to Ardent Partners, procurement is embracing cloud platform solutions because it allows teams to automate and repeat processes, scale resources and drive greater value through greater volume. And it frees up people to focus on goals, strategy and adding value.
Adopting a cloud platform-based procure-to-pay solution and strategy makes that possible by simultaneously reducing technology expense, increasing organizational agility and delivering improved service and results. Having a solid cost/benefit analysis argument is something every CPO should be prepared for.
To see why companies are moving to cloud platforms, it’s worth taking a look at where they’re coming from and what’s motivating them. Perhaps there was a new CPO in town who was more familiar with a solution they used at their previous company, or perhaps procurement made a decision to simply move to new technology without looking at a wider scope.
Regardless of the reasons, as enterprises advance along the procurement maturity curve, chances are they eventually end up with a suite of solutions, or even a collection of point solutions. Depending on how large a company is and how fast it’s growing, technology that is not flexible will eventually show limitations – especially in terms of data visibility, workflow inflexibility, end-to-end asset collection, vertical integration, etc.
In other words, for dynamic, growing companies, point solutions and even legacy non-integrated suites have a shelf life.
When an enterprise is expanding – especially through mergers and acquisitions and across geographies – it needs much more robust capability in order to manage increasing complexity. A cloud platform has all the advantages of shared data and integrated workflow that allow it to become a long-term business enabler for procurement, and companies as a whole.
Since savings will always be the sine qua non of procurement, think about it in terms of total cost of ownership. With no need to invest heavily in IT infrastructure and personnel, from the get-go capital expenditure is significantly reduced. Factor in the reduced maintenance and (mostly) eliminated upgrades, and technology management costs are bottom-line advantages.
There are many other reasons that make a cloud platform attractive – scalability, security, mobile access, storage/business continuity, etc. Whether an organization moves to a cloud platform or not, what’s important to ask yourself is, what is the main problem you’re trying to solve – what do you most need to achieve now and in the future?
If managing complexity (and all the savings, compliance and risk management benefits it entails) — not to mention preparing for business growth — are what you need, then a cloud platform may be your answer.