You’d be right to say that eSourcing tools are everywhere these days. And many are quite good. eSourcing technologies, specifically eAuction tools, have quickly gained popularity due to their incredibly effective ability to lower a company’s cost of goods and services, and the subsequent positive impact to the bottom line.
But as quickly as organizations brought eSourcing tools in-house, significant challenges arose. The implementation of eSourcing with the self-serve platform has failed to live up to the lofty promises of providers for three main reasons:
- Lack of executive support (more on this here and here)
- Attempting to apply a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach across all categories
- Lack of understanding of how to properly apply the technology to ensure all requirements are met and proposals and/or quotes received accurately reflect quality standards and buyer expectations
These issues really boil down to one thing - a tool only becomes valuable when it is part of the fabric of an organization.
Change management professionals point out that this shift from ‘just another tool’ to an integrated and accepted part of the procurement process must be a combination of the use of the latest technology coupled with executive support. The final, and essential, component is the best practice services that deliver a total solution.
This methodology, properly deployed, allows eSourcing events to mature into experiences that are positive for all participants, ensuring future growth and participation in the program.
eSourcing can only truly affect change when employees embrace it as part of the culture. With a tool – even a ‘user friendly’ one - this is a tough place to get to. With a managed sourcing services team, however, it’s a much different story. Users aren’t bound by how much experience they’ve had with the tool or how comfortable they are with the process. While stakeholders still call the shots – administrative tasks are taken off the buyer's plate and at each step there’s a team of seasoned and talented experts to make recommendations, answer questions, offer guidance, and provide examples of past successes.
This approach works well for organizations with little to no exerience with online sourcing to those with a full eSourcing staff. Bringing in a solution that allows busy procurement professionals to get more done with less can't be a bad thing! More sourcing events equals more savings.
So don't blame your procurement team for the shortcomings of your eSourcing initiative. Because historically, the traditional one-size-fits-all approach to strategic sourcing works well only for very simple categories and can limit achievable savings, manageable spend, and enterprise-wide adoption within an organization.
The goal for any procurement organization is to implement eSourcing across all of their unique spend categories. A managed sourcing approach makes this possible.
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