Politics and Spend Management SaaS Solutions
Procurement Possibilities

Understanding the Connection Between Politics and Spend Management Platforms

By Katie McEwen

There’s an age-old question those of us in procurement need to consider: why do mature procurement organizations stick with spend management platforms that fail to deliver value?

The answer? Politics.

While you may think we’re talking about politics like the ones you see government agencies or diplomats engaging in, that’s not exactly what we mean. For a number of reasons, corporate politics have caused some enterprise firms to stick with the same digital solutions, even though better solutions exist.

Keep reading to see if your company has fallen victim to this mindset and learn what you can do to enable better innovation and drive change for your procurement team.

Why are enterprise procurement teams hesitant to make a change?

Politics within procurement differ slightly from that of government agencies, but there are still bargaining and buying factors that keep certain players in the game.

Teams stick with their original software

Back in the 1990s and early 2000s,  a lot of careers were made because procurement was finally getting some long-awaited, desperately-needed technical attention and digital transformation. In some cases, the professionals that implemented those systems are still holding the wheel and refusing to move on to newer SaaS solutions.

Consultants have their favorites

Strong relationships and partnerships have been formed between consultants and SaaS companies over the years. While it often seems taboo to talk about, it’s not too hard to uncover for yourself. These strong relationships can sometimes be prioritized over choosing a solution that better serves the organization.

Now, that’s not to say that all firms operate this way. There are some consulting firms that do it right. They take an unbiased approach and look at each client uniquely, ensuring that the organization has a successful go-live. Talk to former clients to ensure that the firm provides an unbiased approach. 

Promises must be kept

In some cases, politics apply just like they do in the real world. Promises were made to receive special commercial rates when these solutions were in their infancy, so procurement teams stick with them until those promises are delivered. Speaking engagements and marketing support have made some executives superstars, and they’ve branded their careers to these platforms. It’s hard to walk back from that.

The age-old adage applies

Perhaps one of the most poignant political phrases to ever be said too often applies to procurement’s choice of a sourcing and spend platform: “we’ve always done it that way”. With that mindset, CPOs and other procurement professionals keep themselves blind to potentially better solutions on the market.

How do I better utilize existing solutions?

The risk is high and everyone has an opinion on the best way forward.  If you’re finding that your organization’s eProcurement platform is no longer serving your procurement needs, there are steps you can take to push past the politics and find the SaaS product to enable innovation and serve your team.

Build your own case

In some cases, you may recognize the need for a better solution, but that isn’t a priority for your team—in a lot of cases, it’s not an issue of technology performance but rather a data issue. Take the initiative of doing your own research and finding SaaS solutions that best fit your team’s needs. Remember to focus on solving for an immediate need rather than on the future state. 

Measure functionality

Examine your organization’s unique requirements and measure those against specific feature functionality. From there, you can narrow down some options to offer as replacement software.

Examine your data sources

I’ve seen a lot of organizations leave fantastic procurement solutions because they weren’t getting a strong ROI, only to learn that it wasn’t the platform – it was the data. The technology performed well, but it was simply shuffling around errors from one system to the next.

Before making the decision to move on from your organization’s existing SaaS platform, examine that data to discover areas of concern, ensuring that your decision is based on actual pain points that can’t be resolved through data and process improvements.

Speak to peers

One of the best ways to understand how a  solution functions day-to-day is by speaking to the people who use it. Talk to your network of peers and listen to their experiences with specific tools on the market.

Build a 5-year timeline

Each organization has unique requirements, goals, people, and processes. No matter where your organization falls in the digital transformation journey, data management and supplier intelligence should be core to your strategy in terms of adoption and the success of existing tools.  

Maybe it is time to check out the competition?  The data will let you know if it’s time for an upgrade.  If we arm ourselves with the right intelligence, we can stop the political debate and spend time strategizing and advancing the organization based on fact, not opinion.

Unleash Procurement Possibilities with TealBook

One of the biggest challenges plaguing the procurement industry is a lack of reliable data. TealBook delivers dynamic supplier data in one cloud-based Supplier Intelligence Application to enable innovation, agility, and supply chain resilience.

Contact our team today to learn how you can unleash procurement possibilities with robust, dynamic supplier data that can power your e-procurement stack.

About the Author

Katie McEwen is a Community Advocate at TealBook.

Unleash procurement possibilities.

Whether you’re looking to maximize diversity spend, optimize supplier diversification, or identify emergency sourcing options, the best available supplier data makes all the difference.

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