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Nov 22, 2021

Why Smart Tech Is Key to the Evolving Role of Procurement Leaders

The TripActions Team

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Procurement leaders have emerged from the pandemic stronger and smarter thanks to the recent development of next-gen tools such as AI and automation to support strategic goals and build resilient organizations.

To explore this technology in the evolving role of procurement leaders, Sourcing Industry Group (SIG) recently brought together Kate Seagriff, Director of Strategic Sourcing at TripActions, and Aurelie Krau, Travel Consultant at Festive Road, to discuss the topic with Sourcing Industry Group President and CEO Dawn Tiura. SIG is the world’s premier membership association representing Fortune 500 and Global 1000 companies with a combined spend of $17 trillion USD in sourcing and outsourcing.

The webinar "Building Resilient Procurement Organizations with Travel & Expense Technology" pushed the audience to reexamine whether they have the tools to scale business growth, gain real-time visibility on spend, and show value by driving continuous improvement.

The Evolving Relationship Between Procurement and Technology

As the panelists explained, procurement functions are becoming the cornerstone of organizations as cross-business optimization and efficiencies grow in importance. The role of spend analytics and the procurement function has further shifted against the backdrop of a changing global economy influenced by the fourth industrial revolution, the localization of the value chain, and increasing consumer demands from mass customization and personalization.

COVID helped to accelerate procurement leaders’ awareness of the digital transformation taking place as they were forced to think differently about how to manage their roles. Advancements that can take two or three years happened in a matter of months.

In a 2017 survey, nearly half of executives ranked cost savings as one of the main reasons for investing in their digital strategies. Today only 10% of executives still think that way. Instead, more than half invest in technology for the competitive advantage or as part of a larger digital alignment--not just for savings. What drove this change? The perception of digital technologies as an enabler of growth within organizations.

The panelists believe that a digitally-enabled procurement function of the future will be involved in all business value chain activities. These leaders will be involved in everything from product development to distribution while playing a very strategic role in managing budget and costs, anticipating and mitigating supply risk, and driving compliance.

Kate then discussed how technology can be used to empower people, processes, and products to do more when they have the right support.

“You'll hear me talk about the importance of building on top of a strong foundation. From my experience of working with Fortune 500 companies, as well as the companies that are less than 10 years old, those who have a long-term vision and make investments in people, systems, and processes yield the greatest success,” said Kate.

The heart of procurement sits at the intersection of efficiencies and people. With the right technology, such as cloud-based modern T&E solutions, procurement leaders can ensure that they’re harnessing the powerful technologies possible to ultimately take care of their people.

To learn more, watch the full webinar from Sourcing Industry Group today.

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