Coupa Blog

Coupa is a company of talkers, passionate about sharing tips, tricks and advice for improving finance and procurement and saving companies of all sizes time and money. But we’re not the only people with opinions and ideas. We’d love to hear from you so join the conversation!

How to think creatively about your digital procurement roadmap

It’s widely believed that digital transformation will drastically change procurement over the next few years. It’s an overwhelming prospect, but it’s a lot less overwhelming once you create a digital roadmap. In this series of posts, I’m walking you through how to do that, based on my experience leading and participating in several technology transformations.

 

In step 1, we created the problem statement. In step 2, we mapped the actual process and identified opportunities for improvement within that process. You should have both the problem statement and the listing of opportunities up on the wall for step 3.

 

For this third session, plan on getting your same group back together for another four hours. This session is typically the most challenging one, as we are asking people to let go of the constraints we “have” today.  We are also going to ask them to let go of focusing on what has not worked in the past, or on the technology that they lack.

 

To get started, place a big blank piece of paper on the wall. It needs to be big enough to draw out your newly imagined process. The idea here is that with this new process, you address the opportunities for improvement identified in the last step. To get people thinking creatively, ask the following questions:

 

  • What if you could automate a process?
  • Where could you have better data available?
  • What process steps maybe are not needed anymore?
  • What if you had a different workflow?
  • What if you had a different organizational structure?
  • What if you had different capabilities on the team?

 

Draw this wonderful process on the piece of paper on the wall. It will take some time to do, and it will take a strong facilitator to keep the group unconstrained, and the ideas flowing.

 

  • Investing in RPA
  • Acquiring better data visualization tools
  • Reskilling our organization with “X” skills
  • Creating team “Y”
  • Investing in a chat bot

 

The fantastic part about this approach is that you’re not just hopping on the bandwagon because you know you have to digitize, and everyone is investing in RPA and chat bots and data visualization. You will know exactly where (and if) you would like to implement these technologies and why, and the value they could deliver for your company.

 

As an output of this session, have someone document the newly imagined process flow and the listing of investments that are needed for the process to work.

 

That is it for step 3. And, we have still not invested in anything other than time, brain power and office supplies, but our digital roadmap is coming along nicely. The last step to developing your digital roadmap is to take the opportunities and investments needed and prioritize them. There are several ways to do this, and I will discuss them in my next post.

 

Amanda Prochaska joined MGM Resorts, a Coupa customer, as Vice President of Sourcing Program Management in December, 2015. She is responsible for designing, implementing, and sustaining new, best-in-class programs and technologies to reduce costs or increase value for the company.

 

Before joining MGM, Amanda served as Associate Director of the Source thru Pay process at Kraft-Heinz Company. Prior to that, she was Director of the Procurement Global Center of Excellence & Capital Procurement at Kellogg Company, where she led a team accountable for purchasing transaction processing and strategy, managing a capital purchasing budget of more than $300M. She also is the author of “Procurement Unstuck”, a blog related to Procurement and Source thru Pay issues, where this series was previously published.