On Thursday, July 23rd, experts from Ardent Partners, Amazon Business and BuyerQuest held an online discussion around the Consumerization of Procurement. The well-attended, interactive event offered some perspective and analysis on the growing trend of user expectations with business technologies.
Andrew Bartolini, founder and Chief Research Officer at Ardent Partners, opened the discussion by reviewing the current state of Procurement with the added context of the current global pandemic. Their recent survey of Procurement professionals showed that for more than 60% of respondents, the impact of COVID-19 to their business has been either extreme or significant to their business. Andrew noted that nearly all businesses are dealing with some form of change. The pandemic exposed organizations that have not completed a digital procurement transformation, as they are now struggling without a technology backbone to support staff who are working from home.
Steve Braat, VP of Strategy at BuyerQuest, continued the conversation by discussing what the consumerization of IT means. The Consumerization of IT, as Steve noted, starts with the growth in popularity and the use of consumer applications that drive the conversion of business applications. People in their work environments gain experience with these intuitive technologies and expect the technologies at work to mimic those experiences.
Steve noted the proliferation of employees using personal devices, applications or unsecured networks for conducting business has created a challenge for the IT, who have responded by looking to the Cloud for more user and business-friendly solutions.
Jack Mulloy, CEO of BuyerQuest, pointed out the low levels of procurement technology adoption rates noted from Ardent Partners research need to change, and that a successful procure-to-pay program is predicated on high levels of adoption, particularly in the end-user community.
David Stout, Head of Global Alliances at Amazon Business, discussed the philosophical approach that Amazon Business has taken with their customer-focused technology. Amazon leverages what was built for their consumer experience and tailors it to the specific needs and features that satisfy business customers, such as approvals and workflows. David noted that this digital transformation journey presents a tremendous opportunity for businesses.
Near the end of the session, Andrew outlined the must-haves of consumerized P2P with commentary from each of the panelists.
- Powerful, comprehensive search capability
- User Friendly, ultra-intuitive user experience
- Smart systems that leverage AI and machine learning
If you have not watched the event, the recording can be found here.