Supply chain disruptions call for rapid, agile solutions. To succeed in this ‘new normal’ with its new challenges requires new strategies and practices, with earlier whisperings of digital transformations now being widely implemented to help teams cope during quickly evolving times. Today, digital technologies impact every aspect of how companies run their businesses, from creating digitally connected products to automating data-driven supply chains.
With remote working the norm rather than the exception for many and procurement executives increasingly turning to automation to boost efficiencies and effectiveness in their sourcing processes, it’s of little surprise that technology has played a pivotal role in keeping businesses with supply chains afloat.
But even so, technology adoption rates among procurement teams continue to face high friction and resistance. Ardent Partners’ State of Procurement 2021’ report suggests an “incremental rather than meteoric” pace of adoption of procurement technology for the next 24 months, with just over half (54%) of CPOs surveyed currently using eProcurement, 46% using eSourcing software and just 20% using sourcing optimization.
It’s a concerning trend as – in our view – widespread adoption is the benchmark of success for a new e-sourcing solution. We would even go so far as to say adoption is an e-sourcing tool’s most valuable KPI, and for most companies using sourcing optimization, they see 100% ROI after just their first sourcing event in such tools.
Of course, implementing technology can impact how employees manage their workload, and many won’t accept the change with open arms. As was seen with first-generation esourcing tools, if the power and flexibility to adapt rules, enter into expressive negotiations and cater for special conditions aren’t there, teams are going to return to using a solution that they’re more comfortable with, even if that only option is a spreadsheet and email.
But even with modern sourcing software, if the new technology's importance and time-saving benefits aren’t understood or valued by its users, then successful implementation is very unlikely. As the Keelvar team discussed in a May 2021 webinar:
“You can have the most powerful sourcing optimization tool in the world, but if nobody in your organization knows how to use it, it does absolutely no good.”
Technology adoption is integral to successful digital transformation, and it’s one reason we designed our AI-backed Optimization and ”no-code” Automation products specifically with ease of use in mind. As a result, most of our product users rarely think about the advanced optimization technology running their sourcing events behind the scenes.
But regardless of how intuitive and unintimidating a new sourcing solution is, it’s unlikely to be universally adopted by your team overnight, particularly if you try to boil the ocean with your initial rollout. As your team adapts to an e-sourcing solution, some ways to influence adoption include:
- Identifying champion or ‘expert’ tool users. These can be employees with e-sourcing and category knowledge who can help show its usefulness and sow the seeds for further engagement as you phase out the old system.
- Including more e-sourcing events in your standard sourcing process to help to familiarize your team with your changing business landscape.
- Communicating and publicizing strong results and benefits from e-sourcing success use cases.
- Developing a training plan that focuses on navigating the interface and the core functions of the tool. With our customers, we encourage our product users to work towards the Keelvarsity certification within a month of the first connection.
At Keelvar, our team is happy to help you implement these steps for our products, and at the start of our partnership, each customer is assigned a Customer Success Manager who is on hand to advise how best to increase and retain the adoption and engagement metrics of our tools.
By having a solid adoption plan in place, your team is much more likely to realize the benefits of having a new e-sourcing system rather than limiting their processes to fit into underperforming solutions of yesteryear.
Thinking of switching up or adding optimization to your e-sourcing tool kit? Get in touch with our team to find out how Keelvar’s solutions can help your procurement move forward.