E-Procurement Business Models
86th Annual International Purchasing Conference & Educational Exhibit
Julie S. Roberts
Sunday, April 29
William S. Schaefer
Vice President, Procurement Services
IBM Global Services
"E-Procurement Business Models"
The difference between a good chess player and a poor chess player is strategy. Good chess players begin with a strategic plan. As a child, Mr. Schaefer learned from this lesson in relation to chess from his father but has since related the experience and need for strategy in the beginning for e-procurement initiatives to succeed.
How did IBM develop its strategy? What were its strategic imperatives to begin the e-procurement transformation? IBM first considered that "strategy starts with an overall understanding of the opportunity for value." From there, the strategic imperatives were formed. These include:
- Continually deliver the lowest overall cost and greatest competitive
- Establish premiere supplier relationships.
- Maintain e-procurement leadership.
- Continually drive improved client perception of our value through increased influence and exemplary customer service.
- Attract, motivate, and retain the best talent within our profession.
IBM made an ideal start, but the organization was not exempt from challenges. Organization, people process, and technology problems challenged the e-procurement initiative. Nevertheless, the organization kept to its goal and addressed the problems as they arose.
What were the lessons learned? A few of the lessons learned include: don't just automate; reengineer the processes that can be more efficient; integration to legacy systems is key; start with a strategy and end with the technology.
It's no secret that implementing an e-procurement "way of life" is challenging, but developing a strategy to follow from the beginning makes it easier to stay focused.
By Julie S. Roberts, writer for Purchasing Today®.