While the tech adoption and mastery issues discussed previously here on CPO Rising are not unique to procurement departments, the major hurdles that Chief Procurement Officers (CPOs) face in pursuit of their objectives are. The competition for personnel and resources has spawned a talent war that requires a new way to engage workers. The prevalence of online staffing (i.e. online talent platforms, social networks, etc.) has allowed procurement leaders to better assess their current skill gaps, and, in an on- demand fashion, find and engage the best-aligned talent. As the function becomes more focused on innovation, it will behoove CPOs (and hiring managers that work directly with them) to ensure that they are tapping into the world of non-employee labor…not only as a supplemental source of talent, but also as a value-added driver of expertise, skillsets, and fresh thinking. As the procurement function continues to move forward and expand its reach, talent remains the spark for transforming the impact of the unit. As such, new, agile talent sources, like independent contractors and freelancers available in new talent networks, must be tapped to bring specific expertise to core initiatives and help procurement’s full-time staff improve operations and performance.
The competition for talent and resources is also fierce inside the enterprise. The CPO’s rise continues; most find it difficult to outshine the executives leading commercial teams. As a result, procurement budgets and headcounts can be less than optimal. This is not a new game for CPOs who must play the hand they are dealt and make smart bets. Another ongoing challenge that procurement organizations face in 2017 is the difficulty they have when they try to map their current processes to the new systems. There is frequently a fundamental disconnect between the current legacy process (what steps are being taken to complete the activities today) and the future automated process (what steps are modeled in the system for end users). This is one major reason why technology proficiency rates are not higher and is an area that should be analyzed and addressed before new systems are deployed.
In 2017, and going into 2018, the “State of Procurement” is generally strong. While many groups are exposed by real, and sometimes deep, fissures within their operations, overall momentum continues. The very real threat of complacency must be actively contested and subdued. The CPO’s journey continues forward in 2017 an into 2018. As they advance, CPOs must continue to challenge the status quo, increase procurement agility, and make the decisions needed to improve their operations, competencies, and performance.
If you’ve enjoyed reading about the state of the CPO and procurement in 2017, then you’ll enjoy reading Ardent Partners’ flagship research report, CPO Rising 2017: Tools of the Trade. Click to download, but hurry! Today and tomorrow (September 30) are your last chances to download the report for free.