Source-to-pay – The Cross Functional Way
When we think of procurement software, and end-to-end procurement technology platform, we can’t ignore the non-procurement part of it. Even as users, it is important for each of us to ensure that we are not restricting the technology use and benefits to the sourcing and purchasing team. The more we open it up to the other departments, the more successful and impactful the implementation will prove to be.
There are many different types of software in the market in every domain that pertain to a given specific department’s function. But since every department is in a seamless interaction and communication with other departments on a day to day basis, it becomes very important that the technology reflects that symbiotic existence.
So what are the ‘moments-of-truth’ wherein it becomes important for us to manifest that cross functional nature of our work through technology? Well, that may differ from company to company but you can implement it, using the flexibility and the configuration available in the tools. Let me go further towards how you would begin identifying these areas of linkages, where better collaboration and communication are crucial.
Zoom out, visualize and verbalize
Draw out your team’s piece vis a vis the other teams’ pieces. I suggest working on a white board for maximum convenience! Treat each team or department as a circle and connect them with rays. Let each ray be uni-directional – either emerging from a circle or going towards it, but not both. Then let each ray be tagged with its objective. This could be anything – seeking approvals, asking for details, providing information, sending reminders and so on. In simple terms, you would be able to create a list of ‘inter-departmental moments-of-truth’ for your function.
Categorize in terms of your processes
Once you have the list with you, tag each of the list-items with the processes they are involved in. So for example, seeking approval could be a case in contract negotiation, in payment processing, in supplier substitution and so on. This way you would get chunks of areas of inter-departmental liaison that can be translated to your tool’s processes and features.
Configure your tool for those moments-of-truth
Now that you know where exactly to plug the inter-departmental touch-points on the tool, you can ask have the custom scenarios, the custom drop-down lists, and such other configurations added to the skeleton of the tool to better streamline your department’s communication with other departments, and to increase the visibility of both what you do, and how the tool helps the organization this way. Encouraging such participation can be a great way to build credibility, and create a culture of transparency and mutual respect with other departments.