eProcurement & Procure-to-Pay Resources

Millennials Are Redefining Procurement Software Usability Requirements

Published March 30, 2017 at 12:32 PM

We live in a time of enormous change for Supply Chains. In the last decade, we have seen massive technology shifts that have disrupted industries and redefined competitive market boundaries. While much of the focus on these shifts has largely centered around the move to cloud and the advancements being made in cognitive computing, there is one massive shift underway across the Supply Chain that, until now, has gone largely unnoticed. 

Millennials are Driving Usability

According to census analysis by the Pew Research Center, Millennials now make up one-third of the workforce, making them the largest share of the American workforce. It is expected that by 2020, Millennials will be half of the workforce. This unique generation is on its way to becoming a dominant force both within and outside of their organizations. According to a recent survey on B2B purchasing trends 73% of Millennials are involved in product and service purchase decision-making at their firms.

The technical demographics of your Supply Chain employee and contractor base is changing With each day that passes, your user base is being increasingly occupied by new, young, tech-savvy workers who have never known a life without the internet, who have grown up on Xbox and iTunes and Facebook, who have a much different relationship with technology than their predecessors did several years ago.  These millennials have a completely different expectation for how technology can and should work for them.

They Have a Unique World View

Studies have shown that Millennials are much different than their preceding generations. Based on a UNC study, Millennials, “view the world differently and have redefined the meaning of success, personally and professionally. In some cases, this has led to misunderstanding among the different generations coexisting in today’s workplace. Increasingly, however, business leaders are realizing this generation’s unique competencies and perspective, and employers are looking for ways to harness their strengths.”

With different life experiences, values, mindset and decision-making lenses, Millennials are changing traditional operational norms across all industries, and corporate procurement is no exception.

As Gen Y Millennials (27-35 year olds) become the decision-makers du jour in their organizations, procurement teams that understand and embrace the Millennial mindset will deliver superior results for their firms.

BuyerQuest recently moderated an online webinar with from Forrester Research and KinderCare Education discussing what makes Millennials tick as well as how to enlist, inspire and enfranchise this increasingly influential block of employees in the procurement process. The dynamic session included some recent study data on this growing segment of the working population.

  • Millennials are self-sufficient and astute, “search engine 1st” buyers
  • They are eager to engage, but via different methods than their predecessors
  • B2B businesses are behind the curve concerning millennial strategies.
  • Managing Millennials is a top 5 concern among Fortune 500 CEO’s,
  • Several larger companies that have created environments that engage this population which is focused on co-creation and innovation.

Business Technology Must Adapt

The Millennial audience expects a personalized experience online, including their interactions with business technology, and that their desire for self-education leads them to higher levels of engagement with intuitive technologies. They make no distinction between an “at-home” interface and an “at-work” interface. They just expect their software to be intuitive and easy to use. They expect to be able to use any browser, on any device, at any time. They expect to personalize their own interactive experience with the software. They expect to just walk up and use it without any training. 

For one company the most dramatic changes have been in e-procurement through the ability to engage users. For a business focused on core activities, any activities that pull users away from the core mission need to be re-engineered. For procurement, this included addressing some challenges in the buying experience and designing a process that makes users feel like they were shopping, but were actually inside an e-procurement tool. If e-procurement is easy to use, then users would want to use it versus abandoning the system to make off-contract, PCard purchases.

This business’ e-procurement initiative included reductions in support calls and order tracking calls, as well as overall adoption and training. Perhaps the most interesting data point was the fact that the use of BuyerQuest delivers 300,000 FTE hours a year in increased productivityWho wouldn't want an extra (free) 150 employees a year to help get things done?

To view the recorded event, click here.

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