July 15, 2021
“Surviving is important. Thriving is elegant.”
Maya Angelou said that. I am sure we all understand how this could apply to us as individuals, but the same message also applies to organizations.
Thriving means being intentional about going beyond the day-to-day routines in which we find comfort. As an example, for companies who just went live with their new procurement software, there are often success metrics set for Go-Live, 6 months, and 12 months from launch. Survival is hovering at or near these metrics – thriving is exceeding them.
Thriving also includes impactful user adoption. This happens when there is thoughtfulness around how users will maximize engagement with the platform and is a differentiator from those companies who simply just add all employees with the ‘they will figure it out’ philosophy. Just putting in users is a survival technique to prevent a ‘backlog’ or ‘queue’ of people waiting to get access. Thriving is ensuring only those who need access are granted such, with the appropriate roles, and are using the system as intended.
Being able to validate that metrics are exceeding expectations and that users are adopting the new process requires proactive, meaningful reporting. A company can survive on basic reviews/reports that are out of the box, but a company that takes the time to build visibility with customized reporting that shines a light on those metrics and proves adoption success is one that thrives.
Even so, thriving is not done on metrics alone – the behind-the-scenes factors of training, support, and supplier enablement ensure exceptional platform success.
Training on new features, functions and business processes is critical for thriving. The same applies to refresh training for new and current users. If there isn’t a component of ongoing training when it comes to your platform, users will be limited in their overall platform engagement which can result in inefficiencies.
Your users, regardless of their role in the platform, are going to have questions, concerns, ideas. It is critical that they have a consistent, reliable resource they can use in the moment. The minute users don’t feel like they have the information needed to proceed, they will find a workaround. Getting them that ‘on demand’ support will ensure they thrive in the new platform.
Next we need to assess supplier enablement. It goes without saying that if there are no suppliers, then there are no orders, no invoices, no procurement. Further, enablement is a forever activity. There is always a need to remove non-strategic suppliers, add new ones, coordinate better contracts and pricing. Just leveraging the suppliers at Go-Live doesn’t get your metrics thriving – it only ensures survival.
Naturally, all companies want to do more than just survive – mere survival isn’t a long-term strategy. Procurement platforms can be a key aspect of an organization shifting into the thrive category.
When developing the list of strategic goals for a procurement platform, typically, increasing ROI is always near the top of the list, if not the most sought-after use. Tied into this is improving the strategic value contribution of their internal resources. Often overlooked is the improved relationship with suppliers – once they are engaged electronically and receiving payments faster, the partnership with them also thrives.
So, it seems straightforward to see how those things weave together. Consistent training leads to improved adoption and better ROI as users understand what they are doing and become more efficient and effective. Dedicated, reliable support improves strategic contributions as users become more confident in their choices and buy-in to the process. Clean, updated, and approved supplier population ensures more passthrough, smoother transactions, and thriving partnerships.
Do these things happen overnight the minute you Go-Live? Of course not. There is a learning curve for all roles and all sides. Lean into that by stabilizing training and support as you gain experience – your users will thank you and then become your advocates. Gain momentum as you build out your supplier network within the platform – your suppliers will thank you and then become a deeper partner. Set your goals and enforce the process to exceed those targets – your stakeholders will thank you for the increased ROI and demonstrated passthrough.
Truly thriving takes hard work. It is a slow, methodical shift that requires dedication, consistency, thoughtfulness, and intent but when it is done correctly, your company will see a whole new level of results. Surviving is the easy road but thriving produces game-changing results.
To hear the story of a company that is currently thriving on their journey, click the link below to view our latest Coffee Chat webinar featuring First Republic Bank & Coupa.
by: Kelly “KC” Carpenter, Head of Procurement Operations