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The Secret to Speedy Tech Procurement

Navigating Change: Understanding the VMware Acquisition by Broadcom

According to Gartner, the public sector is among the poorest performers when it comes to technology procurement, exhibiting the longest average buying cycle. The analyst company's multi-sector technology procurement survey, which spanned several countries, including the UK, found 48% of government respondents suffering six or more moderate or significant delays in the buying process. That contributed to an average 22-month procurement window. That's painful for end-users, procurement teams, and vendors alike.

Every sector can learn a lot from government procurement challenges. Here are some ways to help things go more smoothly:

Build a strong business case from the beginning

At least two of the problems facing procurement departments came before they even approached suppliers. Making the business case for the procurement was a major barrier for 75% of public sector respondents. This is where a good relationship with business management comes into its own.

Agree on what you want and how much to pay for it

Convincing people that you need something is just part of the battle. Deciding what it looks like and how much management is prepared to pay for it is another. Scoping the project and deciding on a budget were also stumbling blocks for three-quarters of the Gartner respondents, highlighting the importance of scoping the project properly early on.

Encourage better communication from technology providers

At some point, you'll go out to suppliers with a request for proposal (RFP). Here's where things can go seriously south. Gartner found that 68% of public sector organisations incurred moderate to significant delays because they couldn't get specific product or implementation details from potential providers. That affects a customer's ability to evaluate proposals. There are several ways to streamline this. One of them is to have an approved supplier list with companies that are used to working with you and understand your procurement procedures and formats.

Simplify your process

One valuable tool for better communication and evaluation is a lean-agile procurement methodology. This streamlines procurement processes through the use of simpler proposals and by getting all stakeholders on board at the beginning.

In a lean-agile approach, customers define their needs up front, including project scope, using a cross-functional project team. They use a simplified proposal document that sets out their needs and maps them directly against what each potential supplier can offer. Then they match those needs and requirements to quickly rule out any proposals that aren't appropriate.

Working in this way can reduce the proposal to a single page with some appendices, such as a set of potential 'user stories' describing typical customer tasks and how the supplier would support them, along with unique product features and which client needs they satisfy.

Get strategic

Changes like these that alter the underlying procurement process call for some strategic thinking. That's hard for companies to do when they're mired in operational processes. With that in mind, it's important to set aside time to think beyond today's tasks and consider how to improve your procurement.

Deloitte's Global 2021 Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) survey found that high performers spend less than two-thirds of their time on transactions and operations, which was 15% lower than the average CPO's time. Instead, they spent time transforming their operations. That can involve the use of next-generation technologies such as advanced procurement analytics and visualisation systems, robotic process automation, and AI. It also means getting better access to procurement and usage data, and integrating your procurement systems more closely with your own internal applications and those of your suppliers.

Work with a partner

For some companies, the demands on their time mean that just getting procurement projects over the line is challenging enough. With that in mind, it pays to work with a third-party channel partner that has procurement expertise. Probrand's technology marketplace, combined with its tailored procurement options, creates end-to-end technology-supported e-procurement structures for customers, drawing on a rich base of suppliers. Talk to us today about how we can supercharge your buying process and get you the products and services you want more quickly and at a reasonable cost.